Actions

Work Header

Song of Sherlock

Chapter Text

 

oOoOo

Chapter 1

" Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,
for your love-making is sweeter than wine.
In his delightful shade I sit,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
My love is mine and I am his. "

Song of Solomon

oOoOo


I’m kissing Sherlock. Even better, Sherlock’s kissing me.

Isn’t this the point where I wake up?

Up until yesterday, I didn’t even realise how badly I wanted this to happen. The last 24 hours have been a life-changing whirlwind. I had drinks with Sarah, and finally poured out my heart to her about my confusion over everyone’s obsession with my relationship to my mad flatmate. She gently, but ruthlessly, pointed out that it’s obvious to everyone (although it hadn’t been obvious to me) that I’m besotted with Sherlock.

After a long night of soul-searching, I came to the realisation that she’s right. God help me, I’m bewitched by this ridiculous, marvelous madman. I’d rather spend a Saturday afternoon with him, rooting through a skip for severed fingers (if only I were being hyperbolic with this example), than spend that same time with anyone else doing something normal. Normal isn’t for me.

So it’s good that I’ve found Sherlock.

Because now, at this moment, things are better than they’ve ever been in my life. We’re sprawled across the sofa, shirts untucked, hair mussed, arms and legs tangled together, and we’re trading breaths and our tongues are circling and dancing, and I’m all too aware of a certain hot, hard pressure against my hip, and notice that either my own jeans have shrunk in one specific area, or my erection is becoming a…errr…growing problem. If I don’t calm things down, I’m going to come in my pants like a randy teenager. It’s hard to believe I’m pushing forty.

I reluctantly pull back, a feat made even harder by a little whimpering sound from Sherlock. (Oh my God, me, I did that to him!) I stroke his cheek, kiss his neck lightly, laughing softly into his ear.

He pulls back, studying me, that adorable, confused half-smile on his face that he gets when he’s uncertain what the joke is. I both love and hate that expression. I love it because it’s so charmingly awkward, as though he’s trying on a new face, fresh out of the box, and isn’t sure if it fits right. But it breaks my heart, too, because I see the little boy inside, the one who is certain that everyone is laughing at him again. I hasten to explain my laugh, to ease the fears of that much younger, vulnerable Sherlock inside.

“Well, I guess I can stop saying, ‘I’m not gay’ to Angelo, Lestrade, and everyone else we know.”

Sherlock’s smile broadens into the real smile, the one that so few people ever see. My heart pounds with the realisation that he trusts me enough to share that smile with me. The smile is a magical thing, transforming Sherlock’s face from a perfect, unapproachable sculpture to a set of creases and laugh lines that mirror the amazing soul inside.

(Hey, I told you I’m smitten.)

Sherlock’s mouth quirks up even further, and he regards me with a raised eyebrow. “Are you no longer attracted to women, John?”

“At the moment, I’m only attracted to you. I can’t imagine anyone, male or female, ever attracting my interest again.”

“In the past, I have observed you noticing attractive individuals of both genders, John. My guess would be that you are not gay, but bisexual, or perhaps, pansexual.”

“Pansexual?”

“Attracted to particular individuals, rather than a general gender.” Sherlock clarifies. “A lot of people don’t appreciate the distinction between the two sexualities.”

“Hmmf. Dr. John Watson: Pansexual. You might be right.” I pause for a moment, then find myself giggling madly. “At first I thought pansexual might mean attracted to guys in green outfits who can fly.”

Sherlock’s eyes twinkle at me. “Actually, John, you might be proving my point. A woman has often played Peter Pan, both onstage and in movies, because the truss harness required for flying causes intense discomfort for male actors. Does Sandy Duncan get your motor running?”

“Tosser.” I tackle Sherlock back into the sofa cushions, zeroing in for another kiss. “I think you have ample evidence of who gets my motor running.”

He hooks his leg around mine, managing to flip us over so I’m on my back, with his long, lean body pressed above mine. I groan as intense heat pools in the base of my spine.

“Indeed.”

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

And Sherlock and I are kissing again. Kissing Sherlock is nothing like kissing anyone I’ve ever dated. He has that same precision and quest for perfection that he brings to every skill he has. He is simply amazing. How could I not have known that he was right for me until now?

Sherlock pulls away, lips swollen and reddened from the kisses (my kisses!), and smiles down into my eyes.

“All right?”

“All right, Sherlock.”

He nestles back down against my chest, cradled in my arms, and wraps his arms tightly around me. I feel his long, slim fingers making idle circles across my ribs. We lie that way for ages, but eventually my stomach betrays me, growling noisily in the quiet flat. Sherlock huffs with laughter against my chest.

“Chinese or Indian, John?”

I grin. “Chinese, I think.” Sherlock lifts his mobile from his pocket and swiftly texts in our favorites from the Chinese place at the end of Baker Street. Twenty minutes later, the bell chimes. I start to sit up. Sherlock growls and presses me back down.

“Let Mrs. Hudson get it.”

“Sherlock, I’m not making her pay for our meal. Let me go, and I’ll come back and feed you those prawn crackers you like.”

Sherlock grumbles, but lets me up.

I rush down, beating Mrs. Hudson to the door by a few steps. I pay the deliveryman, then turn to return upstairs – to find Mrs. Hudson before me, shrewdly regarding me with a twinkle in her eye.

“And about bloody time, too, John Watson.”

I gape at her, astonished. So often she’s so…dotty, absentminded. Then suddenly she’ll have moments where she’s almost as perceptive as Sherlock.

She grins, roguishly. “I thought you two would never sort things out. For goodness’ sake, boy – what took you so long?”

“I…I…” There are no adequate words. Her question is a valid one. What took me so long? “…I don’t know.”

“Silly gits, both of you. Too stubborn to see what everyone else saw, plain as day.”

Impulsively, I reach out and give her a quick hug, swamping her with bags of Chinese takeaway. She swats me on the arm, smiling fondly.

“Go on then. I’ll put some nice scones outside your door, so you have something tasty for breakfast in bed tomorrow.” She winks at me. “Now get back up there to your man.”

I rush back up the stairs to my…flatmate…friend…boyfriend?

Lover?

Maybe soon.

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

Much later in the evening, after much cuddling and giggling, plus plenty of snogging, we’ve settled down to lounge in each other’s arms on the sofa. I’m absolutely chuffed to see this side of Sherlock. He’s always been far more tactile with me than with anyone else. Most people aren’t allowed to touch him, other than a cool handshake. He allows me to touch him, even manhandle him at times, but there’s still always been a reserve there, a line I couldn’t cross.

Now here we are, twined together on the sofa, kissing and stroking, and he doesn’t seem to be having any reserve about being touched and stroked. In fact, he keeps pulling me closer, twining his arms tighter around me, his hands and mouth exploring, discovering new tastes and smells, as though he is cataloguing the unique details of every inch of my face and neck for future reference.

In no time he has me gasping, desperate for more, for closer contact. I pull away a bit, and raise trembling fingers to fumble with the buttons of that damn sexy plum-coloured shirt. Sherlock’s burning gaze never leaves mine (God, those eyes) as I work at his buttons, sliding the silky fabric back to expose uncharted skin.

I slip my hands into his shirt, peeling it back over his shoulders, dropping it to the floor beside the sofa. His torso is exquisite. I remember being stunned the first time I saw Sherlock without a shirt. I had been expecting to see ribs, perhaps a slightly sunken sternum, and jutting vertebrae. Instead, although he is very slender, Sherlock is corded with strong muscle, and his body is a work of art, all sleek muscle and alabaster. Sherlock is like a flesh-and-blood version of Vitruvian Man.

(Yes, yes, I know. Smitten, remember?)

I pause long enough to snatch off my own shirt, ignoring buttons to simply drag it over my head, then hurling it with force across the room. Later we will find it dangling from the horn of the cow skull on the wall, but at the moment, neither of us pay any attention – there are much more urgent matters at hand.

Now that I’m actually allowed to touch Sherlock’s perfect porcelain skin, I plan to take full advantage. I lean in and tongue along his clavicle to his suprasternal notch. At the sensation of my tongue stroking into that sensitive hollow, Sherlock groans and throws his head back, exposing his long, swanlike throat. His throat works convulsively as I kiss my way up to his jawline, then I capture his full lips with mine.

I gently nip his lower lip, and when he breathlessly parts his lips in a gasp, I seize the opportunity to deepen the kiss, sliding my tongue along the roof of his mouth. He plunges his hands into my hair, pulling me closer. Our bare chests are pressed together, and our still-clothed erections slide against each other with delicious friction.

I release Sherlock’s beautiful mouth and start to kiss my way down his smooth, whipcord-muscled chest, and flick my tongue across his rigid nipple. Sherlock gasps, “John!” and gives a convulsive jerk.

Nnnngg…he is so incredibly sensitive there. I raise my left hand to tease his right nipple as I continue to lave his left one with my tongue. Sherlock writhes and moans, lost in sensation.

I continue my exploratory mission down Sherlock’s belly, dipping my tongue into his navel, eliciting another groan, and Sherlock’s hands clutch spasmodically at my shoulders. I give his (unbelievably sexy) navel one more swirl of the tongue, then lift back up to kiss him once more, sliding a hand beneath him to grab a lush handful of his arse.

This is going too fast. All I want is to keep going, to discover the mysteries of Sherlock’s body, watch him unravel beneath my hands and mouth. Being with him is a miracle, and I never want this to end.

But I realise now that Sherlock is trembling, and gasping for breath. And…this is all so new, so sudden. These feelings that I have for Sherlock aren’t actually new, they’ve been growing for some time. Still, until yesterday I hadn’t really examined my feelings for Sherlock, and I had believed myself to be heterosexual. You could safely call it a rather momentous experience. Maybe slowing things down a bit might not be the worst idea.

I kiss Sherlock once more, then pull away and lean up on one elbow, stroking his neck in small circles with my free hand. Bloody hell, he’s more than trembling…he’s shaking like a leaf.

“Sherlock? Sherlock, what’s wrong?”

Sherlock’s eyes open but his gaze won’t meet mine. I pull away, moving to a sitting position, and gently take his hand to pull him up beside me. Carefully, I drape an arm around his shoulder, loosely, so that he doesn’t feel trapped. He sits, hunched, hands fisted into his soft curls, staring at the floor.

“Sherlock? Please talk to me. Please.”

No answer.

“Sherlock.” I get to my knees in front of him, and am horrified to realise that he’s rocking back and forth, ever so slightly, lost in his own head. “Sherlock!”

“I’m sorry, John,” he whispers. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…sorry…sorry…”

“Sherlock, you have nothing to be sorry for. Nothing!” I reach up and softly touch his hands, gently uncurling them from his tumbled locks and gripping them in my own. “Please, love, please tell me what’s wrong. What did I do?” My own hands are shaking now. How have I hurt him?

Sherlock’s fingers clutch convulsively around my own. He looks up to see the shock and worry in my face, and amazingly, seeing my distress seems to help. He sits back a bit, regaining some composure, and lifts my hands to his mouth, pressing a trembling kiss onto our clenched knuckles.

I rise from my position on the floor, and carefully sit beside him on the sofa. Gently disentangling our hands, I lean forward and gather him into a careful embrace. After a moment, he leans his head against my chest and sighs deeply.

“Sherlock, why…what happened there? Did I hurt you? Where did you go?”

Sherlock swallows hard and nuzzles against me, then murmurs, “No, you didn’t hurt me, John. I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…”

Stop it, Sherlock. I told you, nothing to be sorry about. Nothing. No. More. Apologies.” I put my hand under his chin, lift his face so his eyes can meet mine. “Got it?”

He swallows again and nods. The trembling has subsided entirely, and he’s almost as limp as a rag. I shift us around so that my back rests in the corner of the sofa, with my left leg straight out along the seat, then pull Sherlock up to lie back against my chest, and I bring my right leg up on the other side of him, so that he is entirely cradled against me, surrounded by a loose, safe embrace.

“Now. Tell me.”

For a moment, I think he is going to refuse. Then he sighs deeply, and whispers, “I’m sorr– I mean; I don’t know what happened, John. I guess I panicked.”

I hesitate, for a moment, but I have to ask, have to know. “Sherlock, didn’t you…did you not want me to kiss you? Have I misread the situation?”

“No!” He squirms around a bit to face me, so we can make eye contact, and the sincerity in his eyes is unmistakable. “I love kissing you, John. I just panicked for a moment. It’s been such a long time since I…since…and I had forgotten how…how…” His voice trails off, and I struggle not to jump in, to fill the empty space with reassuring words. He needs to find a way to say whatever he needs to say on his own.

Watching Sherlock struggle for words is excruciating. He’s always so quick, so witty, and Undisputed King of the Last Word. Seeing him so lost, so helpless – it’s breaking something inside of me.

“John, I’ve been desperately hoping that I’ve been reading you right, and you might…care...for me. And now I think it might be true, and it scares me to death.”

Oh. I lean forward, softly brushing the gentlest kiss across his lips. “Sherlock…I spent last night wandering Regent’s Park, thinking about you. I realised last night that I’ve come to…care…oh, bloody hell. This is so hard, and I don’t know why. I guess…I’m scared to tell you, scared I’ll frighten you off.”

Sherlock’s intense moonstone eyes bear down into mine, almost compelling me to keep going.

“Sherlock, I realised last night that I’m in love with you.” I can’t keep looking at him, that silver gaze is just too much. My stomach is jerking and roiling in a panic. It’s never easy to make the ‘I love you’ leap, and I’ve certainly never declared my heart to a man before. And Sherlock can be so distant, so clinical. Surely ‘I’m in love with you’ will be too much for him to tolerate?

Sherlock’s long, elegant fingers curve along my jawline, turning my face back up, forcing me to meet his gaze. His voice is slightly hoarse, shaky. “John…I’m in love with you, too.”

Oh.

Oh, God, yes.

 

oOoOo

 

 

Sherlock leans in and captures my lips with his own, for the sweetest kiss I’ve ever known. They are gentle, tender kisses this time, lightly stroking our tongues together, softly sliding our lips against each other.  I love him. And he loves me.

A miracle.

I don’t want to break the spell, so I try to keep things slow and soft. Sherlock’s hands are wandering across my chest, and I have both of my hands buried in his silky curls. I’ve never felt so lost in someone else – the rest of the world could fall away and I’d never notice, as long as I could stay right here, in his arms.

Practicality finally brings us back down to earth, however. I realise that the fire has burned out, and the room is getting quite cold against my bare chest and shoulders. Sherlock suddenly shivers, and I tighten my arms around him to warm him.

“Sherlock?”

“Yes, John?”

“What do you say we move this to the bedroom?”

The minute I say this, I wish to God I hadn’t. Sherlock – freezes. There’s no other word for it. His body goes absolutely rigid, and his skin actually seems to drop in temperature. Everything in his body language is screaming No.

“Sherlock…Sherlock! Don’t go away again. Please. Talk to me. Something is obviously wrong. Please talk to me, my love.”

He slowly raises haunted eyes to mine, but whispers, “It’s nothing – I’m fine. We can use my bedroom. I just put fresh sheets on this morning, and I promise that all experiments are cleared out.” He gives me a terrible ‘other people’ smile, the one that doesn’t reach his eyes. The smile that I’m coming to think of as his ‘just-for-John smile’ is nowhere to be seen.

“Sherlock…” but he’s already standing, tugging at my hand to encourage me to follow him. Bewildered, I trail him to the bedroom, worried sick about the turn this evening has suddenly taken.

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

In Sherlock’s bedroom, we stand, facing each other, for a long, silent moment. I reach out and stroke Sherlock’s cheek, longing to see the happiness that shone out of his eyes a short while ago. Where did that inner light go?

Sherlock reaches for my belt buckle, opens it, and efficiently peels off my jeans and pants in one swift movement. Startled, I reach to reciprocate, but he steps back, drops his trousers and pants, and moves onto the bed.

“Sherlock…”

He pulls back the duvet and top sheet, then to my shock, he drops onto his elbows and knees, presenting his perfectly-shaped arse toward me. I stand, dumbstruck, as he whispers, “I’m…I’m ready, John.”

Sweet Jesus. What the hell is this?

“Sherlock?” I take a cautious step toward him, unwilling to get too close until we sort out whatever is going on. “Sherlock…my love…what are you doing?”

“I’m ready for you to have sex with me, John.” His voice is rough and quavery, and it breaks my heart.

“Sherlock Holmes, turn around and talk to me. Right. Now.”

Sherlock turns, looking confused and terrified. Terrified! Of me?

“Is that not what you wanted, John? You said we should move to the bedroom. I assumed you were ready to have sex.”

“Sherlock…there are so many things to address in that statement…I hardly know where to start. First, though…” I turn and lift his blue silk dressing gown from the hook on the door, and wrap him in it. I can’t bear to see him so vulnerable. We’re going to get to the bottom of this, but I need him to keep his dignity while we do it. Then I seat myself beside him, on the edge of the bed, and pull the duvet over my lap. Can’t hurt to keep a little dignity of my own.

“My sweet, sweet love, first of all, unless both of us are ready for it, nobody’s having any sex here tonight. Somehow…I’m not getting the ‘ready’ vibe from you, despite your statement to the contrary.” I reach out and take his cold hand in my own. “Second of all, and most importantly, Sherlock, you are absolutely terrified. I’ve only seen you like this once before – when we were at Dartmoor, and you’d been drugged. Since I know there are no mad scientists releasing clouds of vaporised fear-stimulation chemicals in our flat, I can only conclude that you are scared of me.”

Sherlock hangs his head, refusing to meet my eyes. More than anything else, that shatters me. He has always been able to look me in the eye, has always been merciless with that quicksilver gaze. This obvious fear and shame that he’s projecting is crushing me.

“Sherlock, look at me. Please. Tonight you told me the most wonderful thing in the world, that you love me. I love you, so much. Please – look at me.”

Slowly, Sherlock lifts his head, and his red-rimmed eyes stare into mine. I reach out and cradle his face in my hands.

“Sherlock, I need to ask you some questions. I need to understand. Do you trust me?” He leans toward me, rests his forehead against mine, and sighs.

“Yes, John.”

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

I pause before speaking, trying to phrase my questions in my head. I need to tread so gently here…

“Sherlock, you know that I don’t really have much sexual experience with men. In fact, there’s only been one encounter with another man, back when I was at university.” I hesitate, deciding not to go into my experience with women, as I have the feeling that first, Sherlock has already deduced that information, and second, that he might feel intimidated by comparing our sum total of partners.

Sherlock shifts uncomfortably, probably reading me as clearly as he reads whatever slide is under his microscope at the moment, and I wonder why I ever bother trying to keep anything from him.

“Will you tell me, Sherlock, how much experience you have?” He doesn’t answer right away, and I hasten to add, “I’m not looking to compare a ‘score” or anything, love. I just want to see if my suspicions are correct.”

Sherlock’s mouth quirks up wryly. “I’m rubbing off on you, John. I think deducing the number of sexual partners that your potential partner has had would come under the heading of A Bit Not Good.”

I grin at him, relieved to see a flash of the old Sherlock – of my Sherlock. This timid stranger is terribly hard to cope with. It’s good to know that my Sherlock is still in there.

“I’m guessing that it’s one person, Sherlock. Am I right?”

He narrows his eyes at me. I return the stare, and he drops his eyes, nodding.

“Sherlock, was this man…cruel to you? Did he hurt you? Did he hit you?”

Another slow nod. My hands clench into fists in the duvet, and I can feel my blood pressure skyrocket.  Keep calm. I take a few deep breaths. Sherlock watches me in consternation.

“Is this,” I gesture toward the bed, toward where he had taken such a submissive position, “how your sexual relationship went? Did he expect you to just submit whenever he was ready? Did he not ever make love to you?” Sherlock’s eyebrows furrow, and I realise to my dismay that he really doesn’t understand what I’m asking.

“Sherlock…the way I was kissing you tonight, down your neck and chest, stroking and touching you – did he never touch you that way?”

He shakes his head, looking as though I’d asked if his former partner had juggled fiery batons before sex, or something else equally bizarre. My heart breaks again for that younger Sherlock, who never had the chance to be caressed and cherished by a lover.

“My love, I’m sorry to ask such invasive questions, but I need to know one more thing. When the two of you…had sex…did he take the time to prepare you first? Did he use lubrication? Did he go slowly?”

Another bewildered headshake. Son of a bitch. If I ever find out who hurt my Sherlock like this…

“Okay, Sherlock. No more questions. You can tell me anything you are comfortable telling me, but I’m not going to demand any more answers right now.” I reach down, finding Sherlock’s silk boxers in the heap of discarded clothing on the floor. “Here. Put these back on, and let’s just cuddle up and go to sleep, okay?”

Sherlock looks stunned. “You don’t want sex? You just want to sleep in here?”

“If you wouldn’t mind, my love. I want to hold you tonight, and to wake up beside you in the morning. But I think we should wait on sex until we’ve sorted some things out.” His little, confused half-smile is back, and it’s even more charming and heartbreaking than ever. I grab up my grey boxer briefs from the floor, and pull them on. Then I move to the other side of the bed, and climb under the duvet. “Come on, Sherlock. Let’s get some sleep.”

Sherlock joins me under the duvet, and moves hesitantly into my arms. I deliberately twine our bodies together like they were on the sofa earlier, and I can feel his body relax against mine at that already-familiar intimacy. He pillows his head on my good shoulder, and we lie quietly together, me stroking the back of his hand as it rests on my chest.

“John?” His voice is still so tentative, so not-Sherlock. This intense vulnerability might be heady stuff for me, if it’s weren’t coming from such a terrible source of pain. I tighten my arm around him, turn to kiss the curls that tickle my chin.

“Yes, love?” I feel him nuzzle against me, clearly pleased with the endearment.

“I’ll understand if you don’t want…if you would rather not…” he growls in frustration, in his obvious annoyance at being unable to articulate properly. Sherlock is never short of a word, this must be driving him mad. I squeeze him again, trying to wordlessly encourage him. “We can go back to the way things were, if you would prefer that. Just…please don’t leave.”

I reach down, grip his chin and tilt his face up so that he can see my eyes. “Sherlock. I’ve never wanted anything more in my life. This may be new, but it’s real, and it’s serious. I’m not going anywhere.”

His smile, the just-for-John smile, spreads slowly across his face. He leans up to kiss me softly, then snuggles back down into my shoulder. Almost too softly to be heard, he whispers, “I love you.”

Eventually he drifts off, and I watch his sweet, sleeping face, so much younger-looking when it is unguarded, relaxed. I can’t get enough of his exquisite beauty, and the thought that he is mine (Mine!) shakes me to the core. The idea that someone could have misused and abused such a precious creature is infuriating. What fool…what monster…could have violated and thrown away such a treasure?

I force my fists to unclench, try to even out my breathing. I will find out more about this tomorrow, I promise myself, and if possible, that the fucking bastard that hurt Sherlock (my Sherlock mine mine mine) will suffer greatly for the wrong he has done. I imagine the ways that I will make him pay.

It is a long time before I can get to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

oOoOo

Chapter 2

 “ My beloved spoke and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
 the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
 the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
 my beautiful one, come with me.’

Song of Solomon

oOoOo

 

Sunshine slanting in across the bed wakes me, throwing its warm stripes across my face. I start to shift and stretch, then all movement is arrested as I open my eyes to find a pair of cool, glaucous eyes studying me from a few centimeters away.

As I take in my surroundings (Sherlock’s room, Sherlock’s bed, Sherlock!), memories of the night before flood back, and my heart leaps in my chest. Sherlock is lying beside me, propped on one elbow, gazing down at me. He’s been watching me sleep.

That probably ought to be a bit disturbing, but it only produces a warm glow in the pit of my stomach. The expression in his eyes…he looks like he’s discovered a treasure. I know that I have.

“Good morning.” I smile sleepily at him, raise my hand to stroke the riot of tumbled curls back from his forehead.

“Good morning, John.” He has a crease imprinted across his cheek from the pillow, and it makes him look so endearingly innocent.  The just-for-John smile slowly spreads across his face, swallowing the sheet-crease up in a deep laugh line. God, he’s gorgeous.

“Watching me sleep, Sherlock?” I tease him. “Little bit stalkerish, don’t you think?”

His deep baritone chuckle sends shivers of pleasure through me. “You might say that I’m a bit obsessed with you, John. Watching you sleep, seeing you waking up – it’s all new data. Did you know that your top lip gets about thirty percent fuller than normal when you have been sleeping deeply?”

I burst out laughing, touching my upper lip. “Thanks. I needed something to feel self-conscious about this morning.” I reach up, threading my fingers through the luxurious curls at the back of his neck. I pull him down for a gentle kiss. His lips are so startlingly soft and plush. Suddenly mindful of my unbrushed teeth, I let go of his neck and shift up onto my elbow.

“So, did you sleep well?”

“ It’s funny. I’m not a fan of sleep, as you know well, John. But last night, I…enjoyed sleeping. I feel so energized this morning. And…I’m actually hungry.”

“Hungry!” I leap out of the bed, grinning madly. “Mrs. Hudson said she’d leave us some scones for breakfast. I know she baked cranberry-orange ones yesterday. They’re your favorite, right?”

Sherlock grins. “Shall we bring them back in here, have breakfast in bed?”

“You get the scones – she said she’d leave them outside the door. I’ll put the kettle on for tea.”

Meet you in the kitchen.”

 

oOoOo

 

When I’ve had time to boil the kettle and make two mugs of tea, Sherlock still hasn’t appeared in the kitchen. That’s when I realize that I hear low voices through the closed sliding doors that lead from the kitchen to the living room. Setting down the mugs, I reach out and slide the doors open.

Oh, fantastic. Mycroft.

Sherlock has wrapped himself in his blue dressing gown, and is hunched moodily on the sofa, plucking at his violin. Mycroft Holmes is seated primly in my armchair, plucking fastidiously at microscopic lint on his trouser leg.

I’m suddenly very conscious that I’m only wearing my pants.

“Ah, Doctor Watson. You’re looking…fit…this morning.” His eyebrows rise toward his receding hairline as he takes in my state of undress.

“Erm…yes. Good morning, Mycroft. I wasn’t expecting guests. Excuse me for a moment.” I turn to make a rush for my jeans, discarded in a heap in Sherlock’s bedroom, when Mycroft’s voice stops me.

“Then you’ll probably be needing this, Doctor Watson.” I turn back to see him use the tip of his umbrella to fastidiously retrieve my shirt from its precarious position, dangling from the horn of the cow skull. He extends it toward me. “Undressed in a bit of a rush last night, I see.” He regards me with a searching, steely gaze, and I remember suddenly that Sherlock is his little brother. I can almost hear the unspoken words in his glare.

Hurt my little brother, and I will make you disappear.

Flushing scarlet all the way to my ears, I seize the shirt, then force myself to calmly walk back to Sherlock’s room for my jeans.

When I return, clothing and dignity more or less restored, Mycroft is standing in the doorway, and Sherlock is sullenly sawing the bow across his violin strings.

“I’ll be talking to you soon, Sherlock.” Mycroft turns to me. “Doctor Watson. Walk me out, will you?”

Feeling like I’ve no choice, I follow Mycroft down the stairs. In the entryway, he turns to me.

“I suppose congratulations are in order. I can’t say I haven’t been expecting this. I wonder if you know what you are getting into, Doctor Watson?”

“For God’s sake, Mycroft. Call me John.”

“Certainly, John. My apologies.” Mycroft adjusts the perfect Windsor knot of his tie, then fixes me with that piercing gaze. “How much has Sherlock told you about his…romantic past?”

I can feel my spine stiffening. I will not talk about Sherlock’s sexual history behind his back, particularly with Mycroft. It would be a betrayal.

“Sherlock will tell me what he thinks I need to know, Mycroft. You need to stay out of our relationship. It’s between Sherlock and me, and is none of your business.”

Mycroft purses his mouth into a wintry little smile. “Quite right, John. Well, if you decide that you need further…information, you know how to reach me.” He turns, umbrella swinging,  and sweeps out to the sleek car waiting at the curb.

Closing the door behind him, I turn to head back upstairs. As I reach the top, I spot a plastic food bin filled with scones. Bless Mrs. Hudson. I scoop it up, and head back in to face Sherlock.

 

oOoOo

 

Sherlock isn’t in the living room or kitchen, so I drop the scones on the kitchen counter, then head for his bedroom. I discover a sulky hump under the duvet on the bed, and sit down beside it, stroking what appears most likely to be the curve of his back. He doesn’t move.

“Sherlock?” No response. “Sherlock, what did he say to you?”

A mumbled, “Nothing.”

“Then why the wobbly, Sherlock? Clearly, he must have said something to make you behave like a toddler who has dropped his ice lolly.”

The duvet flips back to reveal a thunderous brow, and a distinctly pouty lower lip. “It drives me mad when he spies on me, on us. I wanted to spend the morning with you, eating breakfast in bed, not looking at his poncy face.”

I laugh at him affectionately. “You can still spend the morning with me, having breakfast in bed. And his poncy face is gone. But you are pouting like a toddler.”

“I am not pouting!”

I lean over him, closing the distance between our faces. “Not pouting? What’s this, then?” I lean in and nip his bottom lip, laughing softly.

Sherlock lunges up and seizes me around the waist, flipping me over so that he’s straddling my hips. Grinning, he pins my hands above my head. “Tosser.” He leans down to kiss me again.

I’m startled at the sudden intense heat that pours through me, as though I’ve been doused in kerosene and set alight. I moan softly and lean into the kiss. Sherlock’s hold on my wrists relaxes as he intensifies the kiss, and I reach up to wrap my arms around his shoulders, drawing him down closer to me. Sherlock parts my lips with his tongue, and slides it softly against my own. For several minutes, there is nothing but our breathing, and the soft sounds of our tongues and lips meeting and parting.

I take Sherlock’s head in my hands, and gently raise his chin so that I can kiss his slender white throat. He shivers at the touch of my lips against his skin. I’m always a bit amazed at the heat radiating off of Sherlock. That endless expanse of alabaster skin makes him look like he’d be as cool as a marble statue. Instead, he’s shockingly warm.

I softly tongue my way along the underside of his jaw, feeling the extraordinary sensation of beard stubble rough under my tongue. Wow - that’s new. And hot.

Pushing softly against his shoulder, encouraging him to roll over so we are side by side, I continue to stroke along his neck and chest with my tongue. I press my open mouth to his neck, just above where it meets the clavicle, and suck hard at the skin, feeling the heat as blood rises toward the surface. Sherlock moans in pleasure, tossing his head. I back off and smile in satisfaction at the dark red mark I’ve left on his neck. Mine.

“So, I assume this means you’re okay with going public about our relationship, John?” Sherlock remarks sardonically. “I’m quite certain that lovebites make a certain – statement – about one’s sex life.”

“Hell, yes, I’m going public. I want the world to know that you’re mine, and I’m yours. Assuming you’re okay with that, of course.”

“Oh, I’m more than okay with going public, John.” Smiling broadly, Sherlock reaches out and seizes my head in his hands, his long, graceful fingers cradling the back of my neck. He leans forward and kisses a line from my right ear, down along the jaw, down to the suprasternal notch. I gasp at the feeling of those soft lips, that hot tongue, stroking and tasting their way down my neck.

Unable to restrain my desire, I roll Sherlock over so that I am lying on top of him, our scantily clad erections sliding against each other, and seize his face in my hands. I plunder his mouth with my tongue, reveling in the sensation of our bodies pressed together from chest to knee. Sherlock bucks up against me, and I have to pull back, fighting for control.

“Sherlock…” I have to swallow hard, trying to keep the shaking out of my voice. “We have to stop. We need to talk first.”

Sherlock’s eyes, so dilated that I can hardly see the irises, open to gaze into mine. He’s flushed, breathing heavily. There is no mistaking the desire he is feeling, the urge to keep going. But I remember last night, and I can see a ghost of that fear in his eyes as well. I am not going to go stumbling into a minefield without a map. I need to know what I’m up against.

So I kiss him once more, very softly, and back away.

“Breakfast in bed, I believe you said? How do cranberry-orange scones and tea sound?”

Sherlock sighs, a bit raggedly. “Perfect.”

 

oOoOo

 

Half an hour later, we’ve devoured all of the magnificent scones that Mrs. Hudson left for us, along with copious amounts of tea. I’m chuffed at the amount Sherlock has eaten. Perhaps I can encourage his appetite with strategically placed snogging sessions.

We are propped up together on pillows in Sherlock’s bed, cuddling and swapping kisses. I’m making a point of keeping things light, knowing that we really do need to sort things out before they get too heated again.

Finally, I decide I can’t put it off any more. “Sherlock? Are you ready to tell me about it?”

He freezes, all of the giddy relaxation of the morning gone in an instant.

“Sherlock, I know it’s hard. I know it’s horribly painful to dredge it all up. But I have no idea what I’m up against, and I need to know what sort of things might trigger those feelings in you. I don’t ever want you to feel like you felt last night, when you, well…when you went away, for lack of a better phrase.”

“John, it’s not necessary. I don’t need to give you all of the sordid details of my past. I’m absolutely fine.”

I take his chin in my hand and tilt his face up, meeting his eyes. “Sherlock, I’m not asking for a blow-by-blow description, although, if you feel a need to share every detail, I will certainly listen while you tell it. What I saw last night was an abuse victim reenacting a scenario from his past. That was not good, Sherlock.

“Sex can be something so beautiful, to be shared by two people who really love each other and want to express that love. That’s what I want with you. I don’t want you to suffer through sex with me. I don’t want to ‘fuck you.’ I want to make love to you, to worship your body with mine. I can’t do that if I’m afraid I’m going to trigger a reaction like last night’s. Do you understand?”

Sherlock stared at me, his eyes wider and bluer than I’d ever seen. I’d never seen him look so naked and vulnerable. For a moment, his mouth twitched, as though his lower lip was on the verge of trembling.  Then he whispered, “I can try to tell you. Can you…can you not look at me while I do that?”

“Of course, my love. Whatever makes it easier for you.” I drew him down to rest against me, spooning him so that his back rested snugly against my chest. Wrapping him securely in my arms, I whispered, “Whenever you’re ready.”

 

oOoOo

 

We are lying spooned together in the quiet, sunlit bedroom. His voice is husky, a shadow of his usual firm baritone.

“Until I went off to university, I was unaware of myself as a sexual being. I knew about sex, of course. I wasn’t naïve. But I thought of myself as being above it all. I focused on my studies, and in my spare time, I studied my peers. I learned to observe little details about them that indicated what their activities had been.

“One evening, a number of students from my dormitory had a party, and invited me along. That’s when I met Se– when I met him.”

Seth? Seldon? What name did he start to say?

“Somehow the subject of sex came up, and everyone began revealing their amount of experience. I pointed out the exaggerations and outright fabrications by some of the loudest participants. Se– he encouraged me, laughing loudly when I unmasked some of the most obvious liars. I found myself showing off for him.”

Serge? Selwyn?

“Of course, the ones who felt the sting of my words retaliated, and began to mock me for being a virgin, saying my obsession with their sex lives proved…proved what a pathetic little poofter I was. They all laughed at that.”     

Oh, Sherlock.

“I stormed out, and Se– he followed me. We walked back to the dormitory, and he invited me back to his room. He flattered me, told me how brilliant he thought I was. He kissed me. I’d never experienced anything like it. I thought I was in love.”

Selby? Septimus?

“He invited me to go home with him for the holidays. We went to his parents’ estate in Derbyshire. That first afternoon, he took me out for a walk around the grounds. We came to the old gatehouse. He took me inside, and he…”

Sherlock pauses, swallowing hard. He whispers, “He had sex with me. I didn’t know what I was doing, and he was angry and impatient. He forced me down, and…it…wasn’t pleasant. I had expected…everyone says sex is so wonderful, but it wasn’t. It was painful. I was afraid.

“Afterward, he was scornful, and when I tried to be affectionate, he mocked me. Finally he told me that I was ‘his bitch’ now, and he walked out.”

I cradle him more tightly against me, trying desperately to keep the tears back, to control the rage storming through me. I can’t bear to think of that young, lost Sherlock, being forced – being raped – by someone he trusted.

“He did it again, every day, sometimes twice a day, during those holidays. I learned how to move, how to position myself, so that it wouldn’t hurt as much. He liked that, and I was…I was grateful for the approval.” Sherlock spits the words out, so scornful of his younger self. “Having sex with him was always painful, but it got easier.”

“Sherlock, you know…you must know that…that’s not sex, right? He raped you. Sex takes place between two willing partners. That’s not what you’re describing here.”

Sherlock is silent for a long time. I keep carding my fingers through his inky curls, pressing soft kisses to the back of his head. Finally, he continues.

“If I could convince myself it was consensual, then that gave me back some feeling of control over what was happening to me. I knew it was…was…what it was, but it was easier if I believed I wanted it, too. Then I was still making my own decisions. Can you understand that, John?”

“Of course, Sherlock. That’s actually a pretty classic example of traumatic bonding syndrome. Developing a sense of rapport with an abuser gives one a sense of control.” I squeezed him tighter. “What happened when you returned to school?”

“When we got back to university, he told everyone that I was...his ‘bitch’ now. They all mocked me for giving them a hard time about their sex lives, while being perfectly willing to ‘take it up the arse’ from Seb–” He breaks off suddenly, going absolutely rigid.

Seb. Sebastian…Sebastian Wilkes?

A white-hot rage surges through me. I try to fight it down desperately, knowing that this is not the time or the place to indulge my need to explode. Sherlock needs me more than ever at this moment. He opened up, trusted me with his terrible story. I will not make this moment about my need for vengeance.

The time will come, though. Sebastian Wilkes will pay for what he did to Sherlock.

Later.

All of this flashes through me in a matter of seconds, and I press it ruthlessly back down inside. I raise my hand to stroke soothing fingers through Sherlock’s silky curls.  I whisper, “Go on, love. ”

Sherlock is still incredibly tense, but the stroking seems to soothe him, and after a moment of silence, he continues his story.

“He kept me as his…’bitch’…for most of the rest of the term. He would come to my room to have sex, and then sometimes, if I had pleased him, he’d stay and talk, laughing and joking like we were great friends. I allowed myself to believe that he cared for me, that this was a real relationship.

“What a little fool I was.”

“No. Not a fool, Sherlock. Just a lonely, inexperienced kid, who only wanted someone to love him.”

“Sounds like the very definition of a fool, John.” Sherlock’s lip curled bitterly. “Anyway, two weeks before the end of term, I decided to go see him in his dormitory. It was raining heavily. The way the common room in his dormitory was set up, there was a partition between the entryway and the main room. As I paused in the entryway to fold my umbrella and shake off the rain, I realised I heard Se– his voice…”

“Sherlock, I might not be a brilliant consulting detective, but I think we both know I’ve figured out his identity.”

He nods slowly, just once, and continues, “…I heard…Seb’s voice raised in laughing conversation. I wasn’t really trying to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help but hear it quite clearly.

“One of the others was asking him what he saw in me – ‘the freak,’ they called me, like Sally Donovan and Anderson – and Seb replied, ‘Are you kidding? I’ve got that little bitch well-trained. He’ll do anything I want him to do. Anything. Use your imagination, gentlemen. If you can imagine it, I can make him do it. Do any of you want to borrow him? I can make him do it. I can make him suck you off, Keeling, while Rodgers is balls-deep in his arse. Maybe he can give me a handjob while he’s at it. What do you say, gentlemen – care to come visit the freak with me this evening? I can promise you a good time.’ I turned and fled, racing back to my room. I was packing a bag to leave when a knock came at my door. His knock.”

My heart is pounding, dreading what comes next. I can’t bear that this has happened to Sherlock. My Sherlock. If I could reach back in time and change everything I would – even if it meant that we would never have met. I’d give anything to save him from such a terrible betrayal.

“Sebastian was alone at the door. I sagged against the doorframe in relief, thinking he must have been joking, and I just hadn’t understood. You know I don’t always get jokes, John. Then he pushed his way in, and…slapped me to the floor. He had been rough with me before, but he never started out like that.

“It was horrible, John. He shouted at me, said I had been spying on him at his dormitory, that I had forgotten my place. He kept slapping me, punching me. He punched me in the mouth, and his signet ring split my lip. This scar on my bottom lip is from that blow. He beat me until I was almost unconscious. Finally he said, ‘Clean yourself up. I’ll be back tonight with my friends, and you will service them as you are told.’ Then he walked out.

“I left that afternoon. I walked out on my university career. I found a place to stay in London, and soon after, I discovered cocaine. Not my best time of life, John.” He pauses, waiting for me to respond. “John?”

I can’t speak. I am sobbing silently, shaking with grief for my Sherlock. I gather him up against me, as tightly as I can, and press trembling kisses into his curls. Finally, I have myself under control, and whisper, “Thank you for telling me, Sherlock. Thank you. Now I know what I need to do for you.”

 

oOoOo

 

We spend the entire day in bed, holding each other, kissing and stroking, but never getting more intimate than that. Mostly we talk. Telling me that terrible story has been like opening a floodgate in Sherlock, and he pours out his heart to me. He tells me so many stories from his childhood, his teen years, his lonely time at university, and the dark times spent in drug use. Has he ever had anyone that he could fully trust? It seems unlikely.

He tells me about how Greg Lestrade saved his life five years ago, finding him overdosed on heroin and cocaine, and getting him into the hospital just in time. He tells me of how Lestrade forced him to clean up, accomplishing what Mycroft never could, with all of his detox centers and treatment programs. Lestrade’s method was simple – use, and you get no access to crime scenes.

I must remember to buy a really good bottle of Scotch for Greg this coming Christmas.

It’s not all Sherlock’s stories, this amazing day of secret-telling. I tell Sherlock about my reasons for joining the Army, about Afghanistan and the fact that I fell in love with that wild, alien country and its beautiful people, about the real reason that I kept my army-issue Browning when I was invalided home. Much of it he has already deduced, but he enjoys having his conclusions verified.

By the end of this amazing time together, we are both exhilarated and exhausted, and I’ve never felt so connected to another human being in my life. Never. Sherlock is the other half of my soul.

 

oOoOo

 

“Sherlock? Are you still awake?”

He rolls over to face me, his eyes dark in the moonlight from the window. “Yes, John.”

“Listen. I know you can’t ‘delete’ an experience like you had with…with Sebastian. But I’d like to try to ‘overwrite the data’ for you, if you’ll let me.”

“How would you do that?” Sherlock is intrigued with the notion. He gets that anticipatory look that always happens before what he considers to be a truly intriguing experiment.

“I’d like to give you the sort of ‘first time’ experience that you never knew. I’d like to make love to you, Sherlock. When you’re ready, really ready. Will you allow me to try?”

Sherlock shivers, but they don’t seem to be the triggered tremors from yesterday. I ease forward and kiss his lips softly, and he responds warmly. After a thorough snog, he sighs and whispers, “Okay.”

 

oOoOo

Chapter Text

 

 

oOoOo

Chapter 3

My beloved has gone down to his garden,

 to the beds of spices,

to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;

he browses among the lilies.

Song of Solomon

oOoOo

 

Morning light streams in across my face, and again I have that momentary confusion of not being in my own bed. I’m on my side, and curled around a warm body pressed against mine. Unruly black curls tickle my nose. Mmmmm…Sherlock.

I prop up on my elbow, look down at his sleeping face, and revel in seeing him give in to the demands of his body. He doesn’t sleep enough, doesn’t eat nearly enough, neglects himself shamefully.  So seeing his body relaxed in sleep, getting the rest that it truly needs, has always pleased me. Now that he is my…what? boyfriend? lover? partner?...the sight of him curled against me, unguarded and trusting, sends a surge of joy through me.

I can’t resist raising one finger to delicately trace the contours of his face, those extraordinary cheekbones, the exquisite cupid’s bow of his upper lip. In the bright light of the sunbeam falling across his face, I notice a light scattering of tiny freckles across his cheeks, realising that I never knew he had any unevenness to his skin tone. From even a meter away, any freckles are usually invisible. I lightly touch the little mole above his left eyebrow, and then the larger one on the right side of his neck, fighting the urge to taste that one. There’s something unbearably erotic to me about these marks on his alabaster skin, this proof of his ordinary humanity. I softly trace the curve of his full lower lip, and let my thumb stroke a small scar at its border.

He punched me in the mouth, and his signet ring split my lip. This scar on my bottom lip is from that blow.

He forced me down, and…it…wasn’t pleasant. I had expected…everyone says sex is so wonderful, but it wasn’t. It was painful. I was afraid. Afterward, he was scornful, and when I tried to be affectionate, he mocked me. Finally he told me that I was “his bitch” now, and he walked out.

Seb said, “Are you kidding? I’ve got that little bitch well-trained. He’ll do anything I want him to do. Anything. Use your imagination, gentlemen. If you can imagine it, I can make him do it.” 

He beat me until I was almost unconscious. Finally he said, “Clean yourself up. I’ll be back tonight with my friends, and you will service them as you are told.” 

Sebastian Wilkes.

All of my ease and lassitude evaporates in an instant. My fingers tighten involuntarily around Sherlock’s chin and lower jaw. His clear grey eyes fly open, startled awake.

“John?”

Army training has stood me in good stead many times with Sherlock. There are many times where one has to put aside emotions until one can examine them later. I’ve become quite good at squashing feelings and reactions down. I apply that skill now, and ruthlessly suppress the rage that has surged through me like an electric current. I force my hand to relax, cup Sherlock’s cheek and smile at him.

“Good morning, love.”

His eyes narrow, and he regards me warily. “John, you’re angry. Why?” He sits up, studying me closely. “What’s wrong?”

So maybe I’m not as good at disguising my feelings as I thought. To be fair, I’m trying to hide them from the World’s Most Observant Man TM. Damn it.

“I was just thinking about our conversation yesterday, and wishing that life had been a bit kinder to you, Sherlock. Nothing more sinister than that.”

It’s the truth, if not the whole truth, since I don’t mention that I’m imagining various ways to make Sebastian Wilkes sorry to be breathing air on the same planet as Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock sits back against the headboard, watches me thoughtfully. I need a distraction.

“Tea?” My go-to solution for every problem. “Or maybe we could go out for breakfast?”

“I ate yesterday, John. A lot, actually, between the scones and the curry you ordered last night. I don’t need to eat breakfast.”

My stomach chooses that moment to loudly announce its vote in favor of the topic of breakfast. Sherlock laughs. “But apparently, you do need to eat. How about Croque-Monsieur? It’s just down the street, and you love their sandwiches.”

“Will you split one with me?”

“I’ll think about it.”

That’s probably the most amenable he’s ever been to my suggesting breakfast out. And I do love a Croque-Monsieur sandwich.

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

Shortly after we return from breakfast (Sherlock eats about a third of my ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich, which is almost miraculous, really), Lestrade calls Sherlock to ask if he can come down to Scotland Yard to look over a couple of cold case files with him. I beg off, saying that I have a few errands to run. After a quick shower, Sherlock whisks out of the door in a dramatic swirl of coattails, and I’m alone.

For approximately 20 seconds. Suddenly Sherlock rushes back into the kitchen, where I’m washing up our teacups from this morning. As I turn to ask why he has come back, I find myself crowded against the sink by six feet of sexy detective. Sherlock wraps his arms tightly around me, crushes his lips down on mine, his long thigh nudging between my legs to press closer to me. I’m overwhelmed, drowning in the rush of his ardent embrace. His tongue twines with my own, and his hands rove across my back, curving down to cup my arse and grind me against him. When he breaks away, we’re both gasping.

“I forgot to kiss you goodbye.” He winks, then sweeps back out the door again, leaving me breathless in the kitchen.

I can’t wait for him to kiss me hello again.

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

I’ve spent the last several hours trying to distract myself, tidying up around the flat, getting a shower, doing a quick shop at Tesco. It’s not working. My thoughts keep coming back to Sebastian Wilkes, and his sadistic treatment of Sherlock. Each time, my blood pressure soars, my fists clench, and I find myself clenching my jaw and hyperventilating. It’s all I can do not to storm down to Shad Sanderson, barge into his office, and throw him through the window.

My mind fills with images of Wilkes smashing through the plate glass, momentarily obscuring the impressive view of the London skyline before plunging to the pavement below. I can almost see the condescending sneer wiped from his face forever.

Damn. How am I going to keep from murdering the man in cold blood? A lifetime is a long time to resist this impulse, this urge to revenge his cruelty to my Sherlock.

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

Case. Meet me at 1 East Arbour Street, Stepney. –SH

On my way. –JW

The cab driver scarcely lets me get the door closed before he guns the engine and races off, eager to get out of this decidedly dodgy neighborhood. I can hardly blame him – the address I had given him is an abandoned building, with most of the windows broken and graffiti everywhere. Wind whips litter across the street in ugly spirals. The squad cars, lights flashing, only add to the impression of squalor.

Turning up my collar against the strong wind, I hurry toward Sergeant Sally Donovan, who is chatting to a uniformed officer near the tapeline. She rolls her eyes when she sees me, but says nothing, merely lifting the tape to allow me to pass, nodding her head toward the open doorway.

Entering the building, I head for the boxes of protective gear, slipping into a crime scene suit before following the trail of clusters of uniformed officers toward the actual crime scene, an abandoned apartment in the back of the building.

Advancing into the apartment, I find Sherlock crouched over a prone figure sprawled on the floor before a shattered picture window. Greg Lestrade waits patiently nearby, watches Sherlock intently, ready to receive any clues that Sherlock might discover. With a quick nod to the Deputy Inspector, I step up beside Lestrade, and wait for Sherlock to notice my arrival. I’ve learned that interrupting Sherlock during his examination of a crime scene is a good way to get your head bitten off.

Sherlock, still wearing his coat and scarf (of course, he never puts on the crime scene suits), appears to be deeply engrossed in examining the neck of the victim. The heavyset, older man lies in a pool of blood, and more blood is splashed on the wall and window. I can see that the man’s throat appears to have been stabbed or slashed. Sherlock is using his pocket magnifier, closely studying the wound. Finally he glances up.

“Ah, John! You’re finally here.”

Git. Makes me sound like I’ve been ages getting here, when in fact I jumped up and rushed right out the door when he texted me.

“Something I can do for you, Sherlock?”

“Yes.” He’s clearly missed any sarcasm in my tone. “Can you take a look at the victim’s throat and right hand? I’d like to see if you can corroborate what I suspect happened to this man.”

Obviously, our new relationship isn’t going to bleed over into our professional association any more than our friendship did. He’s still brusque, thoughtless, singularly focused…and I still think he’s utterly fascinating like this. I always have. Watching his brilliant brain at work is always astonishing.

I kneel beside the body, careful of the blood and the shattered window glass covering the floor. Sherlock’s eyes meet mine as he extends his pocket magnifier toward me. As I reach out to take it, he turns his hand so that his fingers brush my palm when I take the magnifier. Just that little brush sends a spark shooting through me, despite hovering over a corpse. I guess if you crouch over enough bodies, they become part of the scenery.

I look at the deep laceration in the poor man’s neck, and then examine the similar cuts across his palm and the middle phalanx of all four fingers. I glance up at Sherlock.

“The knife must have been very sharp, and I’d say he grasped it in an attempt to defend himself, but…” I paused, frowning. “It looks like the entry wound angle would indicate him being stabbed from the side, or even the back. Also, defensive wounds are usually multiple lacerations, as the victim struggles with the assailant over the weapon. The cuts on his palm and fingers are single slices, rather than showing the trauma of that kind of struggle. The initial stab struck the carotid artery. He would have bled out incredibly quickly. Maybe he didn’t have time to struggle?”

Sherlock makes a pleased humming sound in his throat that sends a shiver through me. (I really have become incredibly desensitized to violence – it’s disturbing how much his little hum arouses me while crouching over a sodding body. Get it together, John.)

“You’re nearly there, John. Nearly there!” He leaps to his feet, steps to the shattered window, as the chill wind whips those gorgeous curls into further disarray. “This window was broken quite recently – see how there is no dust on the edges of the remaining fragments?”

“The victim is the owner of this dismal property. It’s obvious from his tool belt that he was here to do some manual work. From the state of the building, it was certainly not basic maintenance, so perhaps…yes! There!” He points to a box of nails and a sheet of plywood resting against the far wall. “He was here to cover the broken window, an attempt to keep out squatters or vandals.”

Sherlock turns back to the window, touches a shard of remaining glass with one gloved finger. The piece of glass shivers, then crashes to shatter against the frame below, narrowly missing Sherlock.

“Christ, Sherlock, have a care! I don’t fancy stitching you up again tonight.”

He whirls, grinning that maniacal grin that was so deeply disturbing when I first met him. “That’s it! No more to see here, John. This isn’t our area – it’s not a murder at all.”

Lestrade frowns. “Not a murder? How do you figure? We’ve got a victim with a stab wound in his throat!”

Sherlock rolls his eyes at Lestrade. “Really, Lestrade, don’t be so obtuse. It isn’t a stab wound.”

Now Lestrade and I are both staring at him in bewilderment. He sighs. “Fine. I’ll explain it in tiny words, for your tiny brains.”

“The victim examined the window before he started to nail up his plywood. As he leaned over, examining the frame, the wind shook a large shard of glass loose from the putty in the top of the frame, and it impaled him in the neck as it fell. He reached up and instinctively grasped the shard, pulling it out, then dropped it as he started to lose consciousness. It blended in with all of the other glass fragments on the floor, and was further camouflaged by the blood.”

“This was a simple mishap, Lestrade, nothing more. Hardly worth my time.”

“Brilliant!” It bursts out of me (as usual) before I’m even aware that I’m speaking. What isn’t usual is Sherlock’s response. He usually gives me a small, smug smile, pleased at the compliment. It’s very much a “public face” sort of smile.

This time he steps forward, beaming at me, the just-for-John smile lighting up his face like someone has turned on a switch inside of him. I grin back at him, delighted to see that smile, to know that he has let down his guard for me, right in front of the people from Scotland Yard.

We’re standing just a few inches apart, smiling into each other’s eyes, and I think he might be on the verge of kissing me (kissing at a crime scene!), when Lestrade clears his throat awkwardly.

“Well, thanks for coming in and taking a look anyway, Sherlock, John. If this isn’t a homicide, then I don’t really need to stick around. I’m supposed to be off-duty. Care to join me for a pint?”

I look at Sherlock, expecting him to refuse, as he always does when the Yarders ask him to join in their camaraderie. To my surprise, he’s still smiling, even if it has shifted to a public-face smile.

“That would be quite nice, Lestrade – if it’s all right with you, John?”

Blimey! Courtesy! He doesn’t usually give me a vote on what we do. I grin at him.

“That sounds lovely.”

 

 

oOoOo

 

 

Thirty minutes later, the three of us are sipping pints in The Feathers, a popular pub with the officers of the Met. We’re joined at our table by DIs Dimmock and Hopkins, both of whom have come to admire Sherlock immensely. Conversation is relaxed and friendly, and Sherlock is more laid-back than I’ve seen him in ages.

Then Donovan and Anderson walk in. After a moment’s hesitation when they notice Sherlock, they collect their pints and join our table. Conversation is a bit awkward at first, but gradually, everyone seems to relax.

It’s gotten incredibly warm in the pub, so I shrug out of my jacket and hang it over the back of my chair. After a moment, Sherlock follows suit and pulls off his greatcoat and then his scarf, draping them neatly over his own chair back. Turning back to the table, he realises that Sally Donovan is staring fixedly at him, then elbowing Anderson and whispering something in his ear. Sherlock frowns.

“Is there something that you’d care to share with the class, Miss Donovan?” he bites out, his good humor vanished in an instant.

“Is that a love bite on your neck, Freak?” Her expression looks more shocked than anything else, but Anderson, seated beside her, looks disgusted.

“How the hell did you manage to persuade anyone to let you get a leg over, Freak?” he cackles. “Soliciting a prostitute is illegal, you know.”

A wave of rage washes over me. You would think that I’d have developed Sherlock’s calm immunity against Anderson and Donovan’s cruel taunting by now. Instead, each taunt makes me angrier, and now that they are taunting my boyfriend, my patience is even thinner.

Just as I’m about to snap out a sharp retort, Sherlock levels a cool look across the table. “Jealous, Anderson? And yes, it is a lovebite. It seems you’re not the only one who can have a romance with a…coworker.”

Well, I did tell him that I was ready to go public.

Anderson has somehow misinterpreted Sherlock’s comment, though, and is looking at Sally, horrified. “You shagged the Freak?”

Sherlock chuckles as Sally splutters an indignant denial. “I’m sure Sergeant Donovan has her…charms, but women aren’t really my area, Anderson. However, don’t bother asking – I’m not on the market.”

Now Anderson is indignant as well, and I can’t help giggling. I turn to look at Sherlock, and he’s smiling at me, looking pleased with himself about the exchange.

Behind the smile, though, lurks anxiety. I suddenly realise that Sherlock is afraid that I’m angry about his comment. All of the times that I’ve denied being his date or his boyfriend come rushing back to haunt me. He has told me that he cared for me from the beginning, and I wince as I suddenly wonder how all of those denials must have felt to him.

Well, it’s easy enough to start making amends. I smile at him, and reach for his hand, lacing my fingers through his, and pointedly rest our entwined hands on the table. I shoot Anderson a playfully stern look, and say, “He’s definitely not ‘on the market’.”

The rest of the table sits in stunned silence, as they process this new information. I’m not looking at them, though. I only have eyes for one person, the one whose radiant just-for-John smile has lit up his face, the one who squeezes my hand in his own, causing a lump to rise in my throat.

My boyfriend, Sherlock Holmes.


 

oOoOo

 

 

Chapter Text

oOoOo

Chapter 4

The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city.

They beat me, they bruised me;

they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—

   if you find my beloved, what will you tell him?

   Tell him I am faint with love.

Song of Solomon

oOoOo


 

After our first public appearance as a couple, Sherlock and I say our goodbyes to a still-stunned Lestrade and company, and walk out to catch a cab back to Baker Street. As we’re riding down Marylebone Road, fingers companionably entwined, Sherlock suddenly speaks to the driver.

“Can you stop at York Bridge and Outer Circle, rather than Baker Street?”

“Sure thing, mate.” He pulls off to the side, and Sherlock springs lightly from the cab – leaving me to pay the cabbie, as usual. I pay the driver with a sigh. Guess that won’t be changing, either.

I can’t really complain, of course. Sherlock also regularly pickpockets me, slips a bit of cash into my wallet, and returns the wallet later. He thinks I haven’t noticed, but really, how many sources can there be for randomly appearing £50 notes? Yet another example of the secret gooey center inside Sherlock’s hard shell.

Sherlock stands on the walking path on York Bridge. As I catch up to him, he smiles and extends his gloved hand. I slip my hand into his, and he pulls it toward him, tucking both of our hands into his coat pocket for more warmth. The wind has died down, but there is still a significant chill to the air. We walk across York Bridge toward Regent’s College, then turn to walk along the footpath by the lake.

The setting sun streams through the trees, turning the edges of Sherlock’s riot of curls a fiery auburn.  Our conversation is easy and companionable, and Sherlock seems…almost playful. He has always had a whimsical, capricious sense of humor, but I’ve never seen him so relaxed and cheerful. I’m so chuffed to see him like this, and to think that I had a part in making him feel this way.

We reach the center of the deserted footbridge. Sherlock has stopped walking, and he turns to lean against the railing. I lean alongside him, still holding his hand, and look up at him enquiringly. He is silent for a moment, looking toward the rapidly fading sunset. Finally, he turns and meets my eyes.

“Do you remember stopping here a few weeks ago, John? We were talking about the Qing vase case?”

I nod my head, surprised that he has mentioned that particular afternoon. It was a pivotal moment for me, although I didn’t necessarily recognize it at the time. I had looked into his incredible eyes, and felt the most intense connection to him, but the moment had slipped away, and I hadn’t even recognized it for what it was until weeks later. Three nights ago, while wandering in Regent’s Park, I stopped at this same spot, remembering that afternoon and that was when I had my moment of epiphany. Can it only be three nights ago? The moment of realisation that I love Sherlock feels so long ago, as though I’d always known. Of course, on some level, I suppose I had.

“We were talking, and you were looking at me like I was the most amazing thing you’d ever seen. The way that you look at me sometimes, John, when you say I’m brilliant or amazing – I could never, ever get tired of that look. You make me feel about ten feet tall.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t do it so much then,” I joke weakly. “You’re already a bloody giraffe. If you get any taller I won’t be able to reach you to kiss you.”

Sherlock bumps me reproachfully with his shoulder. “I say something nice for once, and you insult me? I’m wounded, John.”

“I’m sorry…”

He turns to loom over me, closing the distance between us as I turn to face him. “Besides, even if I did get taller, I’d always find a way to kiss you.”

Grinning wickedly, he suddenly stoops, snaking arms around me, and picks me up to kiss me soundly. Furious, I splutter and struggle, and he’s forced to drop me to my feet again.

“Wanker!” I grab him around the neck, getting him into a headlock. “Don’t you ever pick me up again! I may be short, but I can still kick your arse!”

Sherlock laughs uproariously, his rich baritone laugh carrying across the water, echoing in the trees. Despite my indignation at being hoisted around like a bloody child, I find myself joining in, giggling even as I manage to get Sherlock’s arm locked behind his back, and push him against the rail.

“All right, all right!” he laughs. “All right, John! I’ll never pick you up again!” I release his arm, and he turns, leaning back against the rail, to face me. 

I realise that, because of his slouched position, our faces are almost level, and I find myself crowding into his space, insinuating myself between his open legs, and pressing him back against the rail. We’re still laughing, but something else is unfolding between us, something smoldering and rich. I take his face in my hands, stroking with my thumbs along the stubble on his jawline, and I slowly move in for a kiss. Sherlock’s arms slip around my waist, curving down to cup my arse and pull me closer to him. I deepen the kiss, stroking my tongue along his full lower lip, then into his mouth. Our tongues slip softly against each other, and Sherlock hums with pleasure.

I pull away a bit, turning my attention to Sherlock’s long, gorgeous throat. Chuckling, I tongue softly over the purple mark that gave the Yarders such a turn. “Sorry about outing you with the lovebite,” I murmur against his neck. “ I didn’t mean to push you into going public before you were ready.”

Sherlock groans at the vibration of my voice against his skin. “It’s all fine, John. I don’t have any interest in keeping this a secret.”

The amazing thing is, neither do I. Less than a week ago, I was firmly convinced that I was straight. Tonight I “came out” in front of a large number of people that we work with on a regular basis. You would think I’d be going through more of a sexual identity crisis. Maybe it’s all part and parcel of being around Sherlock Holmes – things always move so fast around him that I regularly feel as though I have whiplash. Why should this situation be any different?

Sherlock starts nibbling his way along my jawline, and when he reaches my ear, he teases his tongue just below it, and then murmurs softly against it. “A few weeks ago, John, when we stood here – what was going through your mind?”

God. That deep, velvety baritone against my ear sends shudders through me. Desire pools at the base of my spine. I struggle to keep my brain on-line enough to answer the question coherently.

“I was…nnnnggh…thinking how incredible you are. Guhh,” I gasp, as he presses his mouth to my neck and sucks hard, returning the lovebite with interest. “I remember this one moment, where the sun reflected off of the water and lit up your eyes. I couldn’t even breathe, you were so beautiful.”

He pulls back, studying me. “I thought you only realised your feelings for me a few nights ago.”

I laugh softly. “It’s funny, Sherlock, that you stopped here tonight. This is the exact spot where I stood three nights ago, when I finally realised that I’m in love with you.” I reach out to stroke his face and he turns, catlike, to press his cheek into my palm. “I thought back to that afternoon, and admitted to myself that what I feel for you is anything but platonic.”

Sherlock grins at me and pulls me close for another lingering kiss. Then he draws back, and teasingly whispers, “Care to take this somewhere less public, Dr. Watson?”

Oh, yes…

“Oi! Arse bandits!”

I whirl to see where the insult is coming from, as Sherlock instantly straightens to his full height.

Approaching us are two heavily tattooed young men, both wearing red caps. How did we not notice them until they were this close? They are less than 10 meters away. The one who first shouted at us speaks again.

“Are you deaf? I’m talkin’ to you, poofters!”

I automatically reach for my gun, then realise that I have left it at home, since it’s never a good idea to carry an illegal firearm when meeting with Scotland Yard. Bugger. I risk a quick glance at Sherlock.

He has stepped away from the rail, and has taken a stance that I’ve seen too many times for comfort. His hands are loose at his sides, and he looks casual, almost defenseless – but there’s a tension in the set of his shoulders that I know, from past confrontations with criminals, can turn into lightning-fast defensive moves. I have taken a wider fighting stance as well, and once again, I’m thankful to the army for hand-to-hand combat training.

“Of course we heard you,” drawls Sherlock in that scornful voice that he uses on Anderson so often. “It’s astonishing how often tiny minds seem to directly correlate to loud mouths.”

“Hand over your wallets, you fuckin’ queers, and maybe we’ll just black your eyes for ya,” bites out our charming new pal. A glittering switchblade knife catches the light from the newly-lit streetlights. “Watches, and phones, too.”

I immediately slip my wallet from my pocket, and start unfastening my wristwatch. Sherlock isn’t moving. “Sherlock!” I hiss. “Give him your bloody wallet!” Sherlock ignores me.

“Don’t be ridiculous, gentlemen. There are two of us, and two of you. Why should I give you anything?”

The other thug speaks up now. “Listen, pansy, we could mop the floor with a couple of limp-wristed shirt-lifters like you. Now hand over your wallet, or maybe we’ll have a go at your little boyfriend here.”

Sherlock steps forward menacingly, suddenly seeming almost twice his size. The taller hood starts to close the distance between them. Sherlock closes with the thug, grapples with him briefly, then grabs the knife-wielding wrist. He twists it up, grabs the knife, then twists the wrist even harder, breaking it. With a cry, the assailant drops to his knees, cradling his hand.

Meanwhile, the other guy closes on me. I block a wild swing from his fist, ducking under his arm to deliver a sharp blow to his midsection.  His next swing catches me across the ear, knocking me sideways. As I lunge toward him again, he swings toward me once more, and I feel a sudden searing pain as if a red-hot iron has been pressed to my lower thigh. I press my hand to my thigh, and am shocked to pull away fingers covered with blood.

Gasping, I reel back in time to see Sherlock grab my assailant by the neck and throw him bodily to the ground. He seizes his foe by the hair and slams his head into the pavement, knocking him unconscious.

I drop to my knees, clutching at my thigh, trying not to panic at the rapidly spreading bloodstain on my jeans. Frightened for Sherlock, I look up in time to see him turn swiftly back to the first assailant, who is still kneeling, rocking in pain from his injured hand.

“Sit down!” he barks. The thug whimpers and flops awkwardly down into a seated position. Pulling a handful of zip ties from his pocket, Sherlock ruthlessly yanks both injured and healthy hand behind the guy’s back, and ties him securely. This accomplished, he pats him down for weapons, then turns to the unconscious assailant and does the same. Discovering the bloody knife, he whirls around to me in shock.

 “You’re not hurt, John?” His arms are around me, supporting me as I start to slump over.  “For God’s sake, say that you’re all right!”

It is worth a wound – it is worth many wounds – to know the depth of loyalty and love that lies behind that cool exterior. The clear, silver eyes are dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips are shaking. Once again, I’m seeing a glimpse of the great heart that lurks behind the great brain. I’m overwhelmed.

His lips tremble as he dials 999, informs the dispatcher of our location, and rings off. He gathers me closer to him, pressing the heel of his hand against the wound. He hurriedly works his belt off with the other hand, and cinches it around my thigh. We listen for sirens.

“John, talk to me. Please say you’re all right.”

I feel extremely dizzy, and my vision is fading to an odd, sparkling grey around the edges, tightening down to a tunnel. He’s the only thing I can see now, and I manage a smile for him. “It’s nothing, Sherlock. ‘Tis a mere scratch – a flesh wound.’” He looks at me, bewildered. I can’t help but huff out a little laugh. “Don’t tell me you deleted ‘The Holy Grail’ after all the effort I went through to persuade you to watch it.”

“Ridiculous movie,” he grouses, but he smiles a bit. He strokes my face, kisses me softly.

Sirens wail in the distance, getting closer. The conscious assailant scuffles about, as though he might attempt a getaway. Sherlock leans forward, fixing him with a deadly glare. “I’d hold still and count myself lucky, if I were you. If you had killed John, your life would be short, and your death very long and painful.” The thug subsides at once, and Sherlock turns back to me, stroking his fingers through my hair and watching me intently.

I can feel my eyes getting heavy. “Sherlock…these past few days…”

“Don’t.” He shakes his head violently. “Don’t, John. You’re going to be fine, and we’re going to be amazing. Don’t you try to say goodbye to me.”

I force another weak smile. “Bossy wanker…”

The last thing I hear is the approaching sirens, and then the sounds of running feet.

 

oOoOo

 

When I open my eyes again, I’m looking up at a hideous green ceiling. Heart monitor…IV line…oooh, blood bag, not good…coarse white sheets…long, graceful fingers twined in my own. Sherlock!

I turn my head to the side, and find myself looking into worried eyes that are almost the colour of verdigris in this light.

“John.” A wealth of relief is in his voice.

“How bad?”

“You lost a lot of blood. The knife just nicked your femoral artery, but we got the tourniquet on quickly. They might let you go home tomorrow.” He sighs, stroking the back of my hand against his stubbly cheek. “You’re not allowed to do this to me any more, John. I…I don’t know what I would do if…if…”

“Don’t, Sherlock.” I repeat his words from earlier. “I’m going to be fine, remember? And we’re going to be amazing.” I’m rewarded with a watery grin, and he leans in to cup my face in both hands, kissing me softly.

“Budge over a bit.”

I slide over, rolling slightly onto my left side, a throbbing pain in my right leg. (Great – now I have a real reason for pain in that leg.) Sherlock eases himself into the bed beside me, slides an arm around me, and pulls me against him to rest against his chest.

He smells of the expensive soap he prefers, plus a hint of chemicals (no doubt from his experiments or the morgue), and a subtle, tangy scent that is just Sherlock. It’s a smell that I’ve come to think of as home. I nuzzle into his neck, breathing deep, and close my eyes with a sigh. I drift off to sleep, feeling safe, feeling loved.

 

oOoOo

Chapter Text

oOoOo

Chapter 5

Who is this coming up from the wilderness

like a column of smoke,

perfumed with myrrh and incense

made from all the spices of the merchant?

Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,

escorted by sixty warriors,

the noblest of Israel,

all of them wearing the sword,

all experienced in battle,

each with his sword at his side,

prepared for the terrors of the night.

Song of Solomon

oOoOo


 

The next week is a bit of a trial, to be honest. Sherlock is doting, caring…smothering. I am so moved by his love, his tenderness, and how willing he is to show that side of himself to me now. But honestly? He’s driving me round the twist.

The hospital lets me go home the day after the attack with strict instructions to stay off the leg as much as possible for a few days. Sherlock, who never leaves my side at the hospital, nods vigorously at these injunctions from Dr. Sorenson. He then proceeds to follow them with gusto.

When we arrive home at 221B, Mrs. Hudson opens the door for us, fussing over me. I try to be gently reassuring, but Sherlock fills her ears with the list of restrictions as we approach the stairs. I grit my teeth at the discomfort in my thigh as I raise my foot to take the first step upstairs…and find myself swooped up in Sherlock’s arms.

“Oi! Put me down, damn it!” Sherlock ignores me, totes me on upstairs like a sodding bride, and gently deposits me on the sofa. I furiously swat him on the shoulder. “I told you not to ever do that again, you daft git!”

“Special circumstances, John. I couldn’t let you strain your sutures.”

I growl at him, and he laughs in my face. Bastard.

And that sets the pace for the next few days. Sherlock hovers, making tea, playing my favorites on his violin, cooking – I had no idea he could cook. (“It’s just chemistry, John!”) We spend a lot of time cuddling on the sofa, or in the bed, but that’s frustrating, too – Sherlock is being ruthless about restraining all physical activity. I’m lucky to get a lingering kiss. I must remember to punch Dr. Sorenson at my recheck appointment.

 

oOoOo

 

Five days later, Lestrade finally, finally, arrives in the late evening with a distraction for Sherlock, a locked-door triple homicide in Covent Garden. He seems rather startled to find us curled up together on the sofa, my head resting in Sherlock’s lap as he plays with my hair, but he manages to act nonchalant after a moment. Sherlock languidly agrees to follow him to the crime scene, then leaps about as soon as Lestrade leaves.

“Locked-door murders are just delicious, John. Lovely! I’ll go get a cab, you should…” he trails off with a dismayed expression, all frenetic activity ceased. “Oh. I should stay with you, and make sure you’re taken care of. I’ll just ring Lestrade and…”

“For heaven’s sake, Sherlock, stop hovering! I’m a grown man, I can certainly make myself a cup of tea or fetch my laptop on my own! My recheck appointment is tomorrow morning, and you know Dr. Sorenson is going to give me the all-clear.”

I hold up a hand to stop the protest I see forming on Sherlock’s lips. “And lest we forget, Sherlock – I’m a bloody doctor. Don’t you think I know the limits of my own body?”

He looks so crestfallen that I feel hideously guilty. “Look, love, I appreciate what you’ve been doing for me. No one could ask for more thoughtful care. But you are getting so restless and fidgety, and here’s a chance to get out and do what you do best. So, go – I’ll be fine on my own.”

His “the Game is on” smile spreads across his face, and he lunges across the room to seize my face in both hands. A fierce kiss, much more passionate than anything we’ve had since the stabbing, a glorious rush of lips and tongues, and then he is out the door in a swirl of coattails. I sit, breathless, on the sofa, trying to recover from the kiss.

Bloody hell. I think I need to start doing some research. Once I’ve received the all-clear from Dr. Sorenson, I have a feeling I’m going to need to know something about gay sex.

 

oOoOo

 

After grabbing a lager from the fridge, I stretch out on the sofa with my laptop. I want to make sure that Sherlock’s first sexual encounters with me are as pleasurable and safe as possible. Being a doctor helps of course, knowing anatomy and the limits of the male body, but they certainly didn’t train us in the sexual aspects of anatomy at St. Bart’s. So the internet seems the obvious place to start – at times it seems the net is all about sex.

Bracing myself for graphic images, I google the words, “getting started gay sex.”  I’m actually surprised at the results – not nearly as many links to porn sites as I would have expected. Instead, there are a number of advice columns, blogs, and quite a few companies that sell sexual aids and books. This might not be as horrifying an experience as I had feared.

Two hours later, I’ve discovered a lot of really useful information. Thank God for the internet – I would have dropped down dead in the floor if I’d had to try to research this by going to a sex shop and ask questions. I’ll still need to do some shopping, but nothing major that would require a trip to Soho.

After making a couple of notes in my diary on brand recommendations, I wipe my browser history. I realise that Sherlock can get around that with ease, but there’s no point in making it easy for him, is there?

 

oOoOo

 

The sky is just beginning to lighten in the east when Sherlock slips into the bed beside me, curling around me so that my back spoons into his warm chest. His hands and feet, however, are not warm, and I gasp as his cold fingers stroke my belly.

“Jesus, Sherlock! Your hands are freezing!” I tuck his fingers in between my palms, cocooning them in warmth. I press the soles of my feet down against the tops of his feet, trying to warm them, too. Sherlock purrs like a cat and snuggles closer, nuzzling against my neck.

“How was the case?”

“Solved it.”

“Mmmm…that was fast.”

We’re silent for a few minutes, and I’m starting to drift back off when he speaks again.

“John.”

“Yes, love?”

“It wasn’t the same without you there.”

I smile to myself, pull his arm tighter around me. “I missed you, too.”

We sleep until nearly 10.00.

After a quick breakfast of tea and toast, eaten companionably together in the kitchen, Sherlock leaves for Scotland Yard to give his statement about last night’s case. My appointment with Dr. Sorenson is at 11.30, and then I’m supposed to meet Harry for lunch at 1.00. When she found out about the stabbing, she insisted that we get together, and so I reluctantly scheduled this lunch to keep her from coming to the flat. I love my sister, but our relationship works much better if I can control when our meetings start and end. If she comes to the flat, she might overstay her welcome, try to goad me into an argument, even (God forbid) pick yet another row with Sherlock. The two of them are like oil and water, and Sherlock always…

Hell. I haven’t told Harry about Sherlock yet.

This is going to be an interesting lunch.

 

oOoOo

 

Dr. Sorenson confirms what I already knew, that I’m healing nicely and can resume all activities. I stop at the chemist afterward, and pick up a couple of items from my research last night. Then I head to the restaurant to meet Harry, now running a few minutes late.

I realise when I arrive at the restaurant that I’ve made an error in judgment. I chose this particular Japanese restaurant, thinking that they only sell beer and wine, so there would be a limit to how drunk Harry can get. When I arrive, I remember sake, and sigh. While yes, it’s wine, it can be potent. I brace myself for a sloshed Harry.

To my surprise, Harry appears to be sober, and drinking a bottled water. Amazing. She jumps up and hugs me when I arrive at our table, looking me over carefully.

“Well, Johnny, you don’t look like a man who’s been in a knife fight.”

I grin at her as we sit down. “I’ve been very well cared for this week.”

She cocks her blonde head at me, bright-eyed and interested. “Oh? Been seeing someone new? Tell us all about her, then.”

The timely arrival of the waiter saves me for the moment, and we place our orders (grilled fish for me, sashimi for Harry). Once he’s gone, her alert gaze is back on me.

“Johnny? Something you want to tell me?”

Here goes.

“Yes, I’m seeing someone. It’s quite serious, actually. I’m really happy about it.”

She lets out an excited squeal, causing heads to turn all over the restaurant. Thank God she’s sober, otherwise it would have been ever so much louder.

“So, tell me! Who is this mystery woman? Spill it, Johnny!”

“Ummm…well, it’s not actually a woman.” She goes still for a moment, then lets out another squeal.

“You dog! Mum’s going to go spare. There goes her last chance at grandchildren. When did you switch to my side of the fence?”

I roll my eyes at her. “Why does there have to be a ‘fence’, Harry? Why does everyone feel the need to say, ‘indicate your sexual preference here – tick only one box, please’? Why can’t we simply love the people that we love, without labels?”

Harry regards me, shaking her head. “I wish it worked like that, Johnny, but you know how people are. Still, I won’t tease you about it – for now.” She grins roguishly. “I just want to hear more about the amazing man that brought you over to the dark side.”

“It’s Sherlock.”

The grin falls from Harry’s face so fast that it would be comical, if I didn’t know what was coming. Thunderclouds form across her brow as she leans across the table at me.

Sherlock! Sherlock Holmes? You’re shagging Sherlock Bloody Holmes?!?”

“Look, Harry, I know you two don’t get on…”

“Don’t get on!” Harry’s mouth is turned down in an ugly frown. “Sherlock Holmes is an arrogant, self-involved, patronizing, rude arsehole, Johnny. You can’t possibly think that a relationship with Sherlock can work! He’s not capable of that kind of caring. He’s only going to hurt you!”

I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose with my thumb and forefinger, pursing my lips to hold back the angry retorts that come to mind. Keeping calm is important in dealing with Harry.

“Harry, I know you mean well. And yes, Sherlock can be all of those things at times – particularly when he’s around someone that he sees as a threat to my well-being.”

Harry glares at me, snapping out, “Are you saying that Sherlock thinks I’m ‘a threat to your well-being,’ Johnny? Oh, that’s rich, coming from the man that got you stabbed last week!”

I hold up a placating hand, trying to still her invective, trying to make her understand.

“Harry, Sherlock sees how frustrated I get when you and I…don’t get on. He sees how much it bothers me, and that bothers him. Is it any wonder that he would feel some hostility toward the person that makes me feel that way?”

Harry is still frowning mightily, but she doesn’t snatch up her bag and storm out, so maybe we have a chance at working through this.

“Look, I need to go wash my hands before the food arrives – I just left the doctor’s office to come here. Can we agree to discuss this rationally when I get back?”

I smile at her, using my sweet baby brother smile that I haven’t trotted out in years. It works. She lets out a huffy little laugh, and nods. I excuse myself and go to find the loo.

 

oOoOo

 

I am standing at the washbasin, reaching for a towel to dry my hands, when I hear the plummy voice.

“Hello again! John…Wilson, isn’t it? Sherlock Holmes’…‘friend’?”

Sebastian Sodding Wilkes.

I reach for every ounce of self-control within me, willing myself to think before acting. I turn, slowly, feeling my spine lock rigidly into a military bearing.

“It’s Watson, actually.”

“Watson, yes, of course.” The pompous sod looks at himself in the mirror, making sure his appearance is still sleek and polished, that of a successful banker. “Well, well, well. How are you? Things going well in the consulting detective business?”

I give him a cool nod, clenching my jaw. I can’t quite bring myself to speak to him again – I’m struggling too hard against horrible mental images of Sherlock being assaulted by this soulless monster.

He tries again. “How is our mutual friend?”

Is he insane? I am not imagining his emphasis on mutual – this bastard wants me to know that he shagged my boyfriend. I don’t know what game he thinks he’s playing, but he has no idea how close I am at this moment to murder.

“My boyfriend is in excellent health, thank you.” I step closer to him, putting as much menace into my stance as I can. “And Wilkes – if you know what’s good for you, you will never, ever contact Sherlock again.”

 “What’s your problem, Watson?” He smirks, eyebrows arching, at my hostile tone. “Oh, dear, did the freak tell you about how he liked it rough, back when he was with me? Is that where the attitude is coming from? He told you how I used to ride him hard, and make him beg for mercy?”

That’s it. I have no idea what possessed the fool to open his mouth, but I intend to close it.

Stepping forward, I seize Wilkes by his ridiculous, affected cravat and whirl him around to slam him back against the washbasins. Hooking a foot behind his ankle, I knock him off-balance so that he winds up falling backward against the countertop. He struggles not to slide to the floor, unable to remain standing, thanks to the steep angle of his legs. Still gripping his neckwear, I bend him backward even harder over the basin, and thrust my face next to his, staring him down. Despite our fairly substantial size difference, he is wheezing in fear, cringing under my attack.

‘Liked it rough’? You are actually going to try to tell me that Sherlock wanted to be raped?”

“Raped? He wanted it! The little whore loves rough sex – ” I slam the back of his head back against the taps. Bright red blood swirls into the basin, but I’m not remotely sorry to see it.

“Listen to me well, Sebastian Wilkes. You raped Sherlock, repeatedly, and bragged about it to a roomful of witnesses on at least one occasion, even offering them the chance to rape him, as well. There is no time limit on bringing a rape charge against you.”

He is nearly purple in the face now, struggling to gain a foothold, and unable to breathe freely, because of the tight grip I have on his cravat and throat.

“You won’t be able to prove anything,” he chokes out. “It’s his word against mine, and everyone knows what he’s like. No one would believe a freak like him over me.”

The rage surges higher in me. I fight to maintain my control, and if in the process he just happens to bang his head hard against the tap again…well, it could be a lot worse, right?

I manage to keep my voice level. “I think you are aware of the Holmes family’s influence – any charges filed will stick. Sherlock works very closely with many of the detectives at Scotland Yard, and I’m certain that, if the story comes out, they’d be very interested to make your acquaintance.” I tighten my grip on his throat still further for a moment, and see the fear in his eyes as he fights to breathe. There’s a reason that I keep this side of me under firm control. The urge to continue choking him is almost irresistible.

I resist it. I loosen my grip slightly, then push my face down even closer, so my nose is pressed hard against his own. I can smell the stench of wasabi on his breath. I speak very softly, making my voice as cold and ruthless as possible.

“One other thing you should remember, Wilkes. Before I met Sherlock, I was in the army. I’m a crack shot, and picked up a few other skills as well, including learning quite a few ways to kill a man. I’ve killed soldiers before – it would be no effort for me to kill a toff like you. Do you understand me?”

He nods dumbly. I release the cravat, shoving him back harder, so that he slides to the floor. After staring at me for a moment, he scrambles to his feet.

“You’ll regret this – ”

He gets no further. Swinging harder than I ever have in my life, I punch him across the right cheekbone, feeling the bone crunch satisfyingly under my knuckles. The blow propels him violently back against the mirror. He slumps over the washbasins again, slides to the floor, and lies in a dazed heap on the tiled floor.

I loom over him, and meet his eyes one more time.

“For the last time, stay the hell away from my boyfriend.”

I turn, check my appearance in the mirror, smooth my hair, and walk out to rejoin my sister for lunch.

 

oOoOo

 

Harry has quite a few arguments against trying to make a go of a relationship with Sherlock. It is hard work to convince her of my sincerity, of my love for this impossible man. How do I explain the quicksilver charm and beauty of Sherlock Holmes? How do I convey what a beautiful heart he has, buried deep under that prickly armour?

Amazingly, the thing that seems to tip the balance in my favour is Sebastian Wilkes, of all people. As Harry and I are finishing our lunch, he passes our table, sporting a rapidly purpling bruise that covers the right side of his face. The eye that isn’t swollen shut meets mine, and a visible shudder passes through his whole frame. He averts his gaze, and swiftly makes his limping way past us. Unblinking, I watch him until he’s out of the restaurant, then turn back to find Harry regarding me shrewdly.

“I wondered about the abrasions on your knuckles, Johnny. Aren’t you a little old to be fighting in the washroom?” She smirks, enjoying the look of surprise on my face. “What – Sherlock’s the only one who can deduce things about people? That bloke was cringing like a whipped dog, and you looked like…like…an action hero or something. Completely badarse, my little brother.”

I grin at her, then say ruefully, “D’you think there’s any chance Sherlock won’t notice my knuckles?”

She laughs. “No chance at all. Was that…” she gestures vaguely after Wilkes, “because of Sherlock? Is he the reason that you got into a dust-up in the loo?”

I nod, and say, “Harry, that arsehole back there is part of the reason Sherlock has so many issues. He’s damn lucky to be alive right now. I haven’t been that close to killing someone in ages.”

Harry studies me for a moment. “I hope Sherlock knows how lucky he is to have you, Johnny. Next time I see him, I’m going to tell him so. How does next weekend sound?”

“For what?”

“Dinner? You and Sherlock, having dinner with me?”

I know it will be a challenge, and the evening will almost certainly be a disaster, but Harry is trying to be supportive, and that means a lot to me.

I grin at her. “Sounds great.”

 

oOoOo

 

The cab halts outside 221B Baker Street. I climb out and pay the fare, then turn to stare at the front door for a moment. Behind that door is the man I love, the man I spent a good part of the afternoon fighting for, with Harry and Sebastian Wilkes.

Now, to face the genius himself, and hope he doesn’t figure out what I did this afternoon. I let myself in, and head up the stairs to the flat.

As I walk in the door to the empty sitting room, I peel off my jacket and scarf, drape them over the coat rack. Sherlock’s coat and scarf are already hanging there. The sliding doors to the kitchen are closed again, so I walk over and knock softly on the glass, then slide the doors open.

Ohhhhhh.

I’m not even sure I’m in the right kitchen for a moment. Every surface is clean and shining, there are no chemistry experiments in evidence, and the (clean!) table is set for two. Votive candles in glass cups glow on every available surface, and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons plays softly from an ipod dock in the corner by the bedroom door. I stand in the doorway, overwhelmed.

Sherlock steps out of his (our?) bedroom. He’s wearing a pair of dark, tight-fitting jeans (dear God, those jeans!), and the purple shirt that shows off his gorgeous neck. The candlelight makes his ivory skin glow, somehow putting me in mind of paintings by Botticelli. He smiles softly at me.

“Welcome home, John.”

 

oOoOo

 

Chapter Text

oOoOo

Chapter 6


My beloved is radiant and ruddy,

outstanding among ten thousand.

 His head is purest gold;

   his hair is wavy and black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves by the water streams,

washed in milk, mounted like jewels.

His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume.

His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.

His arms are rods of gold set with topaz.

His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli.

His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.

This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.

 

Song of Solomon

oOoOo

 

I’m speechless, gazing around a spotless kitchen filled with candles. Sherlock smiles, obviously enjoying my dumbfounded expression. As I stand there, floundering for adequate words, the doorbell chimes. Sherlock leaps for the door.

“That’s Angelo’s. Hold that thought – I’ll be right back.”

He charges down the stairs, and I hear him talking to Billy at the door. Then he is galloping back up the stairs, two at a time.

“I got you the lasagna. I know you like the way Angelo makes it. Is that all right?”

“Lasagna’s fine, it’s perfect. Everything’s perfect, Sherlock. I can’t believe you did all of this…for me.”

“Who better to do it for, John? I’d say you’ve earned it, after the week you’ve had.” He pulls out a chair at the table, gesturing toward it. As I sit down in the offered chair, he picks up a bottle of red wine, already opened, and pours some into the wineglass in front of me, then pours another glass for himself.

“So, how was lunch with Harry? How much sake did she drink?”

“None at all, actually.”  I start to reach for the glass of wine with my left hand, remember my knuckles, and use my right hand, instead. Hoping he hasn’t noticed, I continue, “We’re having dinner with her next weekend. Is that all right?”

“So you told her about us, then?” Sherlock looks dubious as he sits down in the other chair. “I’m surprised she’s willing to spend any time with me – she’s certainly not my biggest fan.”

I set down my wine, reach out to rest my right hand on his. “She had a few…comments…about your personality, but she came around later. She’s trying to be supportive. She remembers what coming out was like.”

And she was impressed by my pounding your ex into the bathroom floor.

Sherlock nods, looking thoughtful. “All right – I’ll try to ‘keep my opinions to myself,’ as you have so often phrased it.”

“That would be appreciated.”

He stands up, and goes to open the bags from Angelo’s. As he deftly transfers the food to plates, he asks, “How was the follow-up visit with Dr. Sorenson?” He pauses a moment, then adds, “Are you fine to resume all…physical activities?”

How does a perfectly innocent phrase like “resume all physical activities” make butterflies start flapping wildly around in my belly? Maybe it has something to do with it being spoken by a voice that sounds like melted chocolate.

“Yes, he agreed with what I already told you, Sherlock – I’m healing very well, and should be able to do anything that doesn’t cause discomfort.”

Sherlock sets the plates on the table, and sits back down. Lifting his wineglass, he tilts it toward me in a toast.

“To your very good health then, John Hamish Watson.” His eyes twinkle at me above the edge of his glass.

I lift my own glass in a return toast. “And to my fabulous boyfriend, who took such good care of me this week, Sherlock Sherrinford Holmes.” I grin at him.

Sherlock sets down his glass so quickly that wine splashes onto the table, spluttering, “Bloody Mycroft! I can’t believe he told you that. How long have you known my middle name?”

I’m laughing too hard to answer him. He glares at me for a moment, then his expression changes to a comical mix of irritation and pleasure.

“Is that what I am? Your boyfriend?”

I manage to swallow down the rest of my giggles, and reach out to take his hand again. “Well, I’d say you’re more than just a friend, wouldn’t you?”

He smiles, lifts my hand to kiss it…and goes completely still.

“John, what happened to your hand?!?”

Bugger. I forgot to use my right hand.

Sherlock is studying my knuckles, then looking over my face, with that laser-like focus that he has on a case. I am silent, well aware that anything I say now will only provide more clues. I really don’t want to tell him about the confrontation with Sebastian Wilkes. I was hoping for a romantic evening, a chance to work on taking our physical relationship forward a bit. Telling Sherlock I assaulted his monstrous ex is hardly likely to further that goal. Oh, well.

“John, I asked you a question. Obviously, this isn’t from your time with Dr. Sorenson, and, given that you plan on having dinner with her, plus the fact that you aren’t the sort of man who would punch his sister, I doubt it’s from Harry. So, how did this happen?”

I sigh, stand up, and gently pull my hand free. I move my hand to rest on his cheek for a moment, to reassure him that I’m not walking out. Picking up our plates, I set them in the oven, turn it on low, and then reach for Sherlock’s hand again, leading him into the sitting room to sit together on the sofa.

“Sherlock, I have to tell you about something that happened today. I’m sorry – this is probably going to upset you, which is why I didn’t say anything about it before.”

Sherlock’s face is so still, his eyes intently focused on my face. He still holds my left hand in both of his, and his fingers trace carefully over the knuckles, as if examining evidence by braille.

“When I was at lunch today with Harry, I…ran into someone.”

I look down for a moment, needing to escape the intensity of those moonstone eyes.

John.” His voice is so deep, so commanding, that I’m startled. I look back up, and meet his piercing gaze.

Right. Here goes.

“I saw Sebastian Wilkes.”

Sherlock is one of the palest people I’ve ever known. His skin is like milk or porcelain, it’s so smooth and fair. So, I’m startled to see colour drain from his face – I didn’t know it was possible for him to be paler. His lips become pinched and white.

What happened?

“Sherlock, it’s all right. Don’t look like that!” I raise my free hand to stroke curls back from his face, trying to stroke that look off of his face. He tilts his head and sets his jaw in the way that tells me that I need to come clean right now.

“He spoke to me, and made some rather nasty remarks about you. I told him to stay away from you, and…well, I may have used some physical force to drive my point home.”

Sherlock looks stunned.

“How much ‘physical force’ did your point…require, exactly?”

I bite my lip, looking down. “Errmm…I feel fairly certain that I broke his cheekbone. And he almost certainly needed some stitches to his scalp. His back probably isn’t doing him any favors, either. And he probably will have a bit of a tender throat for a day or two–”

My words are abruptly cut off as warm lips crush down on mine.  I find myself on my back, being flattened into the sofa cushions by a thoroughly aroused consulting detective. His hands are everywhere, stroking my face, running down my ribs, clutching at my hip, reaching around to grip my arse. His seeking tongue plunders my mouth, tangling with my own. Then he breaks away to kiss his way along my jaw to my ear, leaving me gasping.

His voice in my ear is deep and rough, and it sends a thrilling shiver down my spine. “John. You are amazing. No one has ever been on my side, fought battles for me, the way that you do.”

He licks and bites his way down the side of my neck, stopping to give me a new lovebite. Then he pulls back, gazing into my eyes.

“May I take you to bed?”

All of the breath explodes out of me in a rush. I cup his face in my hands, kiss him softly, and ask, “Are you sure?”

His just-for-John smile is heartbreakingly beautiful.

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

oOoOo

When we step into Sherlock’s (our?) bedroom, I’m astonished. The kitchen was nothing compared to this.

At least four dozen more of the little votive candles are glowing softly, and the neatly turned-back bed has honest-to-God rose petals scattered over it. Vivaldi still plays softly. It is like a scene from a romance novel.

I turn to look at Sherlock, and find him smiling at me with a touch of smugness in his expression.

“According to Angelo, candles make things more romantic.”

I laugh. “Seems to me that Angelo knew the truth about us long before I did.”

“So you like it, then?”

Like it? It’s amazing, you incredible man.”

I draw him to me, reaching up to pull his face down for a kiss. His warm arms circle around my waist, pulling me closer to him. My lips part beneath his, and his tongue slips smoothly across my own. I press up into the kiss, eagerly responding, my hands roving over his long, slim back. I slide both hands down to his luscious buttocks, gripping firmly. Sherlock chuckles into my mouth.

“Pardon me, sir, but you seem to be grabbing my arse.”

I laugh. “Can you blame me? You have the most gorgeous arse I’ve ever seen, ever. It’s been driving me mad this week – every time you turn around, or bend over to pick something up, there it is.” I give the arse in question a firm squeeze. “Now I can finally get my hands on it. I think you should probably get used to me being a bit handsy for a while.”

Sherlock chuckles, then sighs, tightening his hold on me. He pulls me into a tight hug, and I wrap my arms around his waist, simply enjoying being close to him.

“I love you, John,” he whispers into my hair. “This thing with you – I never knew it was possible to feel like this. I’ve kept myself apart from people for so long, and I’m not at all sure I’m going to be much good for you.” He laughs ruefully. “We’ve been together for eight days, and I’ve already managed to get you stabbed.”

I clutch him tighter for a moment, then pull back to look into his eyes. They are a stunning cerulean blue in the candlelight. God, he’s so beautiful.

“Sherlock, don’t you know that you’re the best thing that ever happened to me?” I run a hand over his smooth-shaven cheek, pull him down for a soft, lingering kiss. “I was so alone before I met you, only half-alive. You changed all of that, brought light and colour back into my life. I owe you everything.”

John.” His voice is hoarse, breaking. He wraps his arms even tighter around me, then pulls back, to seize my mouth in a bruising kiss.

My body’s response is immediate and fierce. Desire pools along the base of my spine, and I insinuate my knee between Sherlock’s, pressing against his groin. I can feel a hot, hard pressure rising there, and I groan into his mouth.

Sherlock’s hands are between us now, working at the buttons of my shirt. I reciprocate with trembling fingers, and we push the shirts from each other’s shoulders. I break the kiss, both of us gasping, and stroke my tongue along his jaw to the shell of his ear.

Sherlock’s fingers are sliding over my chest, then he pauses as he reaches the starburst of scar tissue on my left shoulder. His attention diverted, he continues to stroke the scar with his left hand, while winding his right hand around to find the much larger, Y-shaped scar just above my scapula.

 Sherlock’s fingers tentatively trace my scars, feeling the texture, mapping the uneven terrain. He studies the one below my clavicle closely, with the same razor-sharp focus that he has at a crime scene. His head dips forward, and he kisses it softly, almost reverently. I draw in a shuddering gasp, deeply moved by the tenderness of the gesture.

He whispers, “How did it happen?”

“Our unit was pinned down in a firefight. One of the marines, Danny Foley, was shot in the thigh. I ran to him, and saw that he was hit in the femoral artery, and was bleeding out. I was applying a tourniquet when it happened.”

I swallow, closing my eyes against the remembered pain. We’re quiet for a moment. Finally, I blurt it out, wanting nothing more than to finish this sodding story and get back to being happy, being lost in Sherlock, who always helps me to put that day behind me.

“It felt like…I’d been hit by a truck. Everything went white for a minute, and all I could think about was the pain. Then my vision cleared, and I realised I was face to face with Danny. He was barely breathing, and the ground around him was soaked with his blood. I hadn’t gotten the tourniquet on in time. By the time the medics got to us, it was too late. I lay there, useless, and watched a man in my care bleed to death.”

I feel Sherlock’s hand in my hair, stroking and soothing. He says nothing, just pulls me into his arms and holds me. For a man who claims to have no social skills, no feelings, he certainly knows exactly what I need. And he’s the only person, ever, to have gotten it right.

 Every therapist, every doctor, everyone, feels the need to reassure me when they hear this story. They all tell me that I wasn’t being useless, that I was injured, and couldn’t have possibly done any more.

I already know this. It doesn’t make any difference to know, intellectually, that I saved dozens of lives in Afghanistan. It doesn’t make a difference to know that I was only shot because I was trying to save another life. I still feel the pain of having failed Danny Foley. I always will.

Sherlock is the first person to understand the futility of those “reassuring” words. He’s the first person who really understands who I am, how I think.

He’s a bloody miracle.

 

oOoOo

 

Sherlock is gently kissing me again, pulling me back from Afghanistan, back to London, back to Baker Street, back to him. When did Sherlock become the center of the universe? Somehow, I was sucked into his gravitational field, and now my entire existence revolves around this marvelous, brilliant, fantastic madman. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The madman in question is breathing into my ear now, murmuring, “John,” in a voice like warm honey, and suddenly my libido is back in business.

I seize his face in my hands and kiss him hard, tongues circling and tangling. Then I release his mouth, move to his neck, and suck hard at the sensitive point where neck becomes shoulder, and Sherlock gasps as I suck warmth to the surface. I continue licking and nibbling along Sherlock’s clavicle as, my hands on his hips, I draw him over to the bed.

I unfasten his belt, then his trousers. He moans as I slip my hands into the back of his trousers and grab two handfuls of his lush arse. When I raise my hands again to stroke them up the smooth skin of his back, the opened trousers start to slip from his slim hips, and I ease them down to pool around his ankles. Now I gently push him back to sit on the bed, and I tug off his shoes, socks and trousers, leaving him wearing only a pair of midnight blue silk boxers.

Sherlock’s hands are on my belt now, and he swiftly strips me of my jeans, shoes and socks. His hands hesitate on the waistband of my dark green boxer briefs, and he swallows hard, looking up at me with those incredible eyes.

“John? I…I don’t really know…that is, I haven’t done this in so long, and…I…I…”

“Sssshhhhh.” I cup his face in my hands, and kiss him softly, then I gently press my hands against his shoulders, pushing him back to lie flat on the bed. I take the waistband of his pants and slide them down, and Sherlock lifts his hips so I can pull them off.

Ohhhh. Sherlock’s body is exquisite. He is all planes and angles, smooth muscle and alabaster. Feeling rather self-conscious about my slightly softening waistline, I shuck off my pants and move onto the bed. Sherlock’s eyes follow me, and the desire and love in his eyes tells me that he likes what he sees, too.

I climb over to straddle his waist, and rest my hands on either side of his head as I lean down to kiss him. As his arms come up to circle my waist, I stretch my legs out full-length, so that our bodies are pressed together, from chest to knee. He feels amazing against me, his warm skin so at odds with its cool appearance.

Damn. He’s trembling again. It’s the same trembling I saw that first night, where he wound up retreating into his mind when things got too intense. I have to do something to stop that from happening.

I roll us over so that we are both lying on our sides, kissing him the whole time. He groans and tries to pull me back on top of him, but I gently resist, and pull away, trying to break the kiss.

“Sherlock…mmmf…wait a minute. There’s something I want to tell you.”

Sherlock loosens his grip on me. I pull back, prop up on one elbow, and stroke my hand down his side from shoulder to hip. He hums with pleasure at the touch.

“I’ve been doing a lot of…well, I guess you could say, research, on…on gay sex. On what that even means.” He arches an eyebrow at me, but says nothing, and I continue, “It seems to me that neither of us has any meaningful experience in this area.”

Sherlock rolls his eyes at me. “John, I’m not exactly an innocent.”

“That’s precisely what you are, Sherlock. An innocent. The sum total of your sexual experience has been with a violent, abusive man. You have never been in a romantic, consensual relationship.”

Sherlock’s eyes drop, unable to meet mine. I gently take his chin and tilt it so that he can’t avoid my gaze, looking deep into those incredible pools of blue-grey.

“Never feel like you can’t look at me, Sherlock. You have nothing – nothing – to be ashamed of.”

He nods, and the look in his eyes…God, I would die for this man. I lean forward and kiss him softly, chastely.

I draw a shaky breath, and continue, “So, it turns out that ‘gay sex’ is hardly just one act. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I got the impression that you assumed that…that anal sex was the de facto sex act. Am I wrong?”

Sherlock blushes all over, from his hairline to his toes, which is really rather charming. And diverting. And arousing.

(Keep it together, John.)        

“I’ve also performed oral sex, John.”

“Okay. Right. So…any other kinds of sexual experience?”

He shakes his head. I’m not surprised.

“And…you haven’t been on the receiving end of either of those two…acts, correct?”

“You really, really know how to set a mood, John.” Sherlock laughs. I can’t help but laugh with him, but I really am trying to be serious, so I get my giggling under control.

“Sorry to be approaching this like I would a patient exam, but I just wanted all of the facts before we got started.”

“Sherlock, there are plenty of gay men out there who never engage in anal sex. At all. Ever. And there are others who only do it occasionally, those who only ‘top’ or ‘bottom’, and those who are versatile in that regard. There are many who only engage in frottage. And of course, there’s oral sex, as well.”

“In other words, love, we don’t need to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable – there are lots of options. And we can always work up to things you’re unsure about.”

Sherlock’s opalescent eyes are wide, and slightly amused.

“Well, John, you’ve certainly been thorough in your research.”

I reach out to stroke his cheek, and let my hand continue on a downward path, stroking his neck, continuing down his chest.

“Well, let’s see how good I am at putting research into practical application, shall we?”

I keep caressing Sherlock’s body, with long, teasing touches. He tentatively mirrors my actions, running his hands over my chest, my hip, my thigh. We are kissing again, soft, languorous kisses, and allowing our hands to wander over each other’s bodies. I love the feel of his string-calloused fingertips mapping their way across my skin, exploring each inch of me as though he’s trying to memorize me.

I lightly trace the fine line of dark hair that starts at his navel, thickening as it goes lower. Sherlock sucks in a sharp breath as I allow my fingertips to barely graze his half-hard cock. I’m astonished at the jolt that surges through me as I touch that silky skin.

Very slowly, I reach out and wrap a hand around Sherlock’s erection. He gasps and thrusts against my hand. I swallow hard to quell the responsive surge in my own groin.

Remembering what sensations I enjoy, I grip him more firmly, stroking him with his silken foreskin. I rub my thumb over the bead of precome at the tip, and Sherlock moans, rolling onto his back and throwing his head back. I can’t resist leaning in to suck and bite at that long, swanlike neck as I continue to stroke him. The volume of the resulting moan makes me devoutly hope that Mrs. Hudson is out.

I move on from his neck, kissing and nibbling my way down his chest. When I lave my tongue across his nipple, Sherlock gasps and starts up from the bed, then subsides with a low moan. I move further south, savoring the salty tang of the skin on his gorgeously flat belly. As I move lower, my tongue making soft circles along his hip, then down his inguinal crease, his gasping moans grow even louder. It’s time.

I’m trying so hard not to feel weird about doing this. It’s so hard to stay focused on what I’m doing, when my brain won’t quit screaming Sherlock’s cock oh my God you’re actually going to suck Sherlock’s cock.

Jesus, John. Get a grip. This is no time for a sexual crisis. This is Sherlock.

Right. Leaning down, I tease my tongue along the exposed glans, tasting the salt of the precome as I tongue his slit. That’s different. But…it’s nice, too.

As I take the swollen head in my mouth, stroking my tongue along the frenulum, I hear Sherlock gasp out, “John! John!

I look up at Sherlock – and it’s a wonder that I don’t come right then and there.

He is so fucking gorgeous. His curly, dark head is thrown back against the pillow, his fists clench in the sheets above his head, and his skin is flushed pink with arousal. His eyes are closed, the black lashes throwing dark shadows on his unearthly cheekbones.

I’m suddenly reminded of a poster of William Rimmer’s Evening: Fall of Day* that my university dorm mate had on his wall, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see huge, feathery wings sprouting from Sherlock’s shoulders. He does look like a fallen angel, debauched and brought down to earth.

Of course, William Rimmer’s angel didn’t have a (hot, gorgeous) cock.

I try to take more of Sherlock in my mouth, working my tongue in swirls around the head. I cup his bollocks in my other hand, rolling them gently, and Sherlock moans in pleasure. Then I firmly press a knuckle against his perineum, and Sherlock lets out a howl, arching up off the bed. Encouraged, I try to take him even further into my mouth.

Gah. Gag reflex. Not good.

I back off a bit, blinking reflexive tears back from my eyes, and wrap my hand around his shaft, working it in time with the movement of my mouth. I’m no deep-throat, and this may not be the world’s best blowjob (oh, God, I’m giving Sherlock a blowjob – shut up, John!), but Sherlock seems to be enjoying it.

I look up at him.

Ohhhh. He’s watching me. The pupils of his wide eyes are blown, dark with arousal, and his sinfully sexy mouth is forming a perfect O. I meet his eyes, looking up at him through my lashes without stopping my movements, and when our eyes meet, we both groan.

John!” His hands spasmodically clench in the sheets. “I want…I need…something…”

I hum around him, and tighten my grip a bit, stroking faster.

And he comes undone. “John! Joohhnnn!

Well, this is certainly a new sensation. I don’t quite know what to do with this sudden warm mouthful, and finally just swallow it down. I keep stroking Sherlock through the aftershocks, until he gasps and seizes my hand to hold it still. Clearly this is a skill that I’ll need to work on perfecting.

Then he pulls me up to kiss me, holding me tight in his arms, and he’s crying. Oh my God, I made him cry.

“Sherlock? Are you all right?” I cup his face in my hands, kissing the tears away from his tightly closed eyes, stroking his cheeks with my thumbs. “Sherlock, love, did I hurt you?”

“No, no!” He gulps back a sob. “No, John, you didn’t hurt me. I’m sorry – I don’t know what’s happening to me. My breathing has gone all funny.”

“You’re crying, Sherlock. Why?”

“I’m crying?” He raises a hand, touches the moisture on his face. “I’m crying.”

I smile at the look of astonishment on his face.

“How odd,” he murmurs. Then he groans and pulls me closer to him, kissing me thoroughly. His hands rove over my back, sliding down to cup my arse and pull me hard against him.

My own erection, rather diminished by the distress of seeing Sherlock cry, makes a new bid for attention. I find myself grinding against Sherlock’s hip as we kiss, and the friction feels amazing. Sherlock’s tongue plunders my mouth, and I rock harder against him, moaning in pleasure.

Sherlock feels the urgency of my movements, and he grips my arse harder, increasing the friction on my cock. I move faster still, and then suddenly I’m there, groaning into Sherlock’s mouth as I spill across Sherlock’s hip in rhythmic pulses.

oOoOo

We lie quietly together in bed (our bed!), Sherlock’s head pillowed on my chest, arms and legs entwined. My fingers are carding absently through his silky curls, feeling his sweat dampened-hair gradually drying under my caresses.

One of the things that has been surprising about this whole experience is how cuddly Sherlock is. If I had given it any thought before, I would have assumed he would be the type to leap out of bed for a shower, then charge headlong into the next activity, whatever that might be. It’s been a delightful discovery to find that postcoital Sherlock is so tactile, almost clingy.

I hate to break the spell, but I’m ravenous, and I can smell our food still warming in the oven.

“Sherlock?”

“Hmmm?” He nuzzles into my neck, clings tighter.

“As much as I’d like to lie here forever, I really need to visit the loo, and I’m starving. Can we eat the lovely dinner you arranged for us?”

Sherlock shifts, and sits up, smiling down at me. “Should I bring it back to bed, and we’ll eat off trays?”

“No, let’s eat in the kitchen, then come back to bed…for dessert.”

Sherlock grins wickedly.

“Excellent plan, John – I want to explore every inch of you.”

“We’d better eat fast, then.”

oOoOo

 

 

 

 

* This is the painting John likens to Sherlock.

 

Chapter Text

oOoOo

Chapter 7

My head is drenched with dew,

my hair with the dampness of the night.

I have taken off my robe — must I put it on again?

I have washed my feet — must I soil them again?

4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;

   my heart began to pound for him.

I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh,

my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the bolt.

Song of Solomon

oOoOo

 

Fortunately, lasagna keeps warm quite nicely, so Sherlock and I sit down to a delicious meal in our sparkling clean kitchen. I look around in admiration.

“Who knew our kitchen cleaned up this nice? We should really try to keep it like this all of the time. It’s nice to sit at the table like civilised people, instead of having to work around chemistry experiments and body parts.”

Sherlock snorts at me. “You’d probably eat off a tray, watching crap telly, even if the kitchen was always this pristine, and you know it.”

I kick him under the table. “At least I eat.”

Sherlock takes a gargantuan bite of his lasagna and chews exaggeratedly. “So do I.”

“Not nearly often enough.”

“I’ve told you a thousand times, John – it’s just transport.”

“And I’ve told you a thousand times, you have to maintain any form of transport. Cars, aeroplanes, trains…and bodies. Besides,” and I lean back to leer deliberately at him, “I quite like the ‘vehicle’ you’re riding around in, and want to keep it in top condition.”

Sherlock is blushing again, and I find myself remembering the all-over blush from earlier. Heat pools in my groin as I think about it happening again, right now, under that blue dressing gown.

I put down my fork, lick my lips, and add, “Speaking of the vehicle, after dinner…maybe you could give me a ride.”

Sherlock’s mouth falls open, and he’s gaping at me, stunned.

“John, I…I’m not…not really sure I’m ready for…for you to do…that…to me.” He’s practically scarlet now, and the bloody fear is back in his eyes.

No! Sherlock, I didn’t mean… I was teasing…I only meant… Oh, hell, this shouldn’t feel so bloody awkward. We should feel comfortable talking about all of this.” I sigh, reaching for his hand.

“Sherlock, the reason that you found sex painful is that you had no preparation, no lube, nothing to make it easier. There are certain steps that should be taken before penetration takes place, and plenty of lube should be used.”

I stroke the back of his hand softly, and continue, “I don’t want to do anything that you aren’t ready to do. Ever. Ever, Sherlock. All I meant was, maybe this time, we could try…well, I find myself wondering…wanting to know what…you’d feel like inside of me.” Now I’m the one who’s blushing furiously.

Sherlock’s eyes are wide, and his pupils have dilated to the point that I can hardly see any grey at all. He swallows hard, and whispers, “I’ve…never done that.”

“I know – neither have I,” I grin at him. “But, two blokes who enjoy chasing serial killers across London can surely try something new?”

There’s that little half-smile again, the one that looks so awkward and charming.

“I’m always up for a new adventure with you, John.”

 

oOoOo

 

After we eat, we do the washing-up, Sherlock issuing his usual complaint about drying the dishes. (“It’s busywork, John! They’ll dry on the draining board!”) I pour us both another glass of wine, and Sherlock reaches for me, pulling me against him for a deep, searching kiss.

“John, about earlier…” Sherlock pauses, obviously searching for words. It’s fascinating to watch – Sherlock always, always has a witty, often acerbic, remark on the tip of his tongue. Seeing him struggle to phrase things is as rare as rocking-horse shite.

“…I had no idea, John. I never knew that sex could be like that. Now I understand why everyone is so obsessed with it, and people spend so much time going out of their way to obtain it. I want to thank you. It has been…most enlightening.”

“You’re welcome.” I smile at him, then start to giggle a bit.

“Of course, that was my whole plan, Sherlock, leading you to enlightenment,” I laugh up at him. “That was the driving force behind the whole scheme. I think I’ll write it up for my next blog entry. What should I title it?  ‘Broadening the Horizons of Sherlock Holmes: A Blogger’s Self-Sacrifice?’ ‘The Road to Enlightenment: The Sexual Awakening of a Consulting Detective?’ What do you think?”

Sherlock lets go of me, picks up the discarded tea towel, and snaps it sharply to pop me on my bicep. “Wanker.”

“Don’t start something you can’t finish,” I warn him, snatching up another tea towel and giving him a reciprocating snap.

Being in a rugby league at university, with years of dressing out in changing rooms with other players, you learn to snap a towel like a bullwhip. Grinning, I use this long-held skill now, popping Sherlock sharply on his arse.

“Ow! John!

“Oh, you can dish it, but you can’t take it, eh, Sherlock? Only you should have thought of that before you started popping a former rugby hooker.” I give him another pop, this time on the thigh.

Suddenly, tea towels are flying everywhere, punctuated by cries of “Ow!”, “Bastard!” and “Wanker!” as well as gales of maniacal laughter. We rampage through the sitting room, back into the kitchen, and then out onto the stairs. As I make a tactical retreat down the stairs, then whirl and attack Sherlock in the entryway when he catches up to me, we are shouting with laughter.

“Boys! Boys!

We turn to find Mrs. Hudson standing in her doorway, hands on her hips. She’s wearing her dressing gown, and looks decidedly cross.

“I am so glad – absolutely delighted, in fact – that the two of you are together at last. And I’m certainly willing to play my radio at night, as my bedroom is directly below yours, dears. However,” she draws herself up taller, folding her arms as she glares at us, “I rather draw the line at stampeding like elephants up and down the stairs after midnight, shouting like a pair of hooligans.”

Sherlock and I both hang our heads, feeling sheepish.

“Sorry, Mrs. Hudson,” we chorus, like two truant schoolboys.

She looks mollified – and then we make the mistake of glancing at each other.

Sherlock’s hair is standing out wildly around his head like dandelion fluff, his shoulders are slightly slumped, with a faintly mutinous pout on his face. I can just see Sherlock at 10 years old, as clearly as if he’d just stepped out of a Tardis from a quarter-century earlier.

I can’t help it. I start to giggle. Sherlock’s expression is priceless, a guilty smile creeping across his face, and then he’s laughing, too. That’s it – we both lose it, and we’re roaring with laughter, clinging onto each other to keep from falling down.

Mrs. Hudson stands over us, shaking her head, trying to keep an exasperated look on her face – and failing. She joins in, laughing fondly, then reaches out suddenly to pull us both in for a fierce combined hug.

“You’re so good for each other,” she says, and she pats us both with a fond smile. “It took entirely too long, but I’m so happy that you finally caught up to what the rest of us have known for quite some time. Now, why don’t you go back upstairs and find something quiet to do?”

Sherlock and I are still giggling a bit.

“Yes, Mrs. Hudson.”

“We’re sorry, Mrs. Hudson.”

She turns to head back to her flat, then looks back over her shoulder with a wink.

“I’ll go ahead and turn my bedroom radio on straightaway, dears. Have a good night.”

Blushing a bit, Sherlock and I smile at each other, and chorus, “Goodnight, Mrs. Hudson.”

 

oOoOo

 

Sherlock and I are back in our bedroom, back in our bed (our bed!). We have now had a somewhat embarrassing talk about preparation methods and positions, and we’ve gone through the supplies I bought at the chemist. It took a while to get past the nervous giggling and shyness that this conversation brought on, but eventually lust took over.

Now we’re tangled in each other’s arms and legs, breathless and gasping, enjoying the friction and slide of skin against skin, and it’s amazing. The idea that I ever struggled with accepting this seems so ridiculous now. I’ve never felt so right with another person. It’s never even been close.

Sherlock’s hand slips down to lazily cup and caress my bollocks. My hips buck up against him. His fingers graze my perineum, then slip further back to ghost across my anus. I’m startled at the jolt that shoots through my groin. I flex my knee to give him better access, and bite my lip as he lightly circles his finger around my opening, then softly applies a bit of pressure.

Kissing me once more, he pulls away and sits up. Reaching for the supplies we placed on the bedside table, he picks up a small bottle of lube and a condom.  He lies back down beside me.

“I hope I can do this right.”

“You’ll be fine.” I smile at him, willing him to see the love and trust that I feel for him. “And we’ll be amazing, remember?”

His just-for-John smile lights up the room. “Yes, we will.”

I pull him in for a serious, heavy-duty snog, with plenty of tongue. Then he gently pushes me onto my back, coats his slim, elegant fingers with a liberal amount of lube, and strokes my cock twice, from root to tip. I groan and clench my fists in the sheets, and I feel his slick fingers slide into my cleft and stroke softly around my entrance. He circles, teases, and I find myself pressing up against his hand, seeking more pressure. Sherlock slips the tip of one finger inside.

I feel my body clench around his finger, and try to force it to relax. Sherlock kisses me deeply, and begins to gently move the finger in and out, careful to take it slowly.

I’m startled at how erotic this is starting to feel. I had no idea that this part of my body was so sensitive. How have I made it to almost 40 without knowing this about myself?

Sherlock slips a second finger inside, and it’s uncomfortable for a moment, but it feels good, too, somehow more satisfying. He’s pushing them a bit further in now, working them back and forth in a gentle, scissoring motion, slowly stretching me, as he occasionally strokes my cock with his free hand.

Suddenly his fingertip barely brushes a spot inside that sends a thrilling sensation through me, and I cry out from the shocking pleasure of it. He has found my prostate. The effect is extraordinary, almost as though he has somehow managed to find a way to massage inside my cock, behind my frenulum. He slips in a third finger, ghosting a finger across my prostate again, and I am gasping and writhing and good God this is amazing. My erection has suddenly gone rock-hard, harder than I’ve ever been in my life. How did I not know about this?

Then Sherlock gently slips his fingers out of me, and I groan from the sudden sensation of loss.

“Sherlock, please!

He fumbles with the condom, and I assist him with rolling it on, desperate to feel more, needing that sensation inside of me again. I apply lube to my fingers, and stroke it over his sheathed shaft, causing him to gasp and jerk up into my hand.

Sherlock kneels above me, and rather awkwardly hitches my left leg up over his right hip, lining his cock up with my opening. And then he gently, carefully pushes against me, the slightly soft tip pushing in, then the much harder girth of him stretching me out. I let out a guttural moan, and he freezes for a moment, starts to withdraw. I grab at his arse, holding him still.

“Don’t…don’t go, just give me a second,” I gasp. He nods wordlessly, and waits for me to speak. After a moment, I whisper, “Okay.”

Slowly, slowly, Sherlock eases forward, sliding deeper, until finally, he is as deep as he can go.

Ohhhhhhhhhh. That’s…different.

Sherlock’s wide eyes meet mine, and we are frozen for a moment. The significance of this moment has hit us both, and we are silent, gazing into each other’s eyes, each checking to make sure the other is all right. Finally, I nod to him, and tighten my grip on his arse.

Sherlock begins to rock, slowly at first, and an obscenely loud moan escapes my lips. The sensation is overwhelming. I feel so vulnerable, so naked – and yet at the same time, I’ve never felt so hot before, so primal. Every thrust makes me groan, or moan, or shout, and I have no control over it at all.

Sherlock leans down to kiss me, to nip at my neck, and tries to slip a hand between us, trying to stroke my cock, but the angle is too difficult. I hook my leg through his and shift my weight to roll us over, managing to do it without disengaging, and then I’m straddling his lap. I sit back a bit, he brings his knees up behind me to gain leverage, and begins slowly thrusting up into me, wrapping his hand about my erection to stroke it firmly.

Christ, this angle is incredible. His cock is grazing across my prostate with every stroke, and he is stroking me, and I’m not going to last….

With a hoarse shout, I’m undone, unspooling in ribbons of white across Sherlock’s belly and chest and oh dear God, his cheek and it’s the most amazing sensation of my life I love you I love you I love you so much Sherlock I love you…

Sherlock is snapping his hips hard now, driving deeply upward into me, and then he cries out, “John! Jooohhhnnn!” and throws his head back, shuddering as he comes inside of me.

I collapse onto him and we lie still for a moment, the only sound the softly playing Vivaldi on the ipod dock, punctuated by our harsh breathing. At last I shift, rolling off of him, and he slips out of me.

Sherlock rolls away for a moment, fumbling with the condom, then he is back, pressing up against me, and I gather him up in my arms, holding him tightly. We kiss softly, reverently, savoring this new intimacy. Then Sherlock shifts, pressing in more closely still, pillowing his curly head on my right shoulder. I wrap my arms around him and card my fingers through his tousled locks, pressing kisses to his forehead.

 “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

 

oOoOo

 

After a few minutes of lying wrapped in each other’s arms, not talking, just savoring the afterglow and breathing each other in, Sherlock pulls back, cupping my face in his hands. Those astonishing, silvery sloe eyes gaze deeply into my own, and I feel as though he can see into my soul.

“I don’t do this very well, but you need to know something,” he whispers.

“John Watson, you are the most amazing, beautiful man I’ve ever known. I don’t know what I did to deserve you…actually, I really don’t deserve you…but, I’m grateful to whatever fates are responsible that you survived being shot. I’m grateful that you trained at St. Bart’s with Mike Stamford. I’m grateful that I was feeling tolerant of his idiocy that morning, and let him blather on at me about the cost of living and the advantage of flatsharing in London. I’m grateful that you agreed to live with me in Baker Street. I’m grateful for your friendship, your loyalty, your willingness to follow me into danger. And I’m so deeply, incredibly grateful that you were willing to take a leap of faith and let our friendship develop into something more. I love you so much, John.”

Wow. I’m speechless. Who knew Sherlock Holmes, of all people, could say something like that?

I reach up and curl my fingers into his silky hair, pulling him closer, and kiss him deeply.

“Sherlock Holmes, you are incredible. A miracle. My miracle.”

And we drift off to sleep, wrapped in each other’s arms.

 

oOoOo

 

Epilogue:

The bed is shaking. I open my eyes, blinking in the bright morning sunlight, to discover Sherlock sitting propped against the headboard, wrapped in his blue dressing gown, shaking the entire mattress with his silent laughter. Beside him are two cups of hot tea, and in his lap is a large food storage container of muffins, along with a note. I scoot up against the headboard to sit beside him, and reach over to pluck the note from his slender fingers.

Boys,
I thought you might need a nice breakfast after all of the energy you expended last night. (Sherlock, I expect you to eat, too – these aren’t all for John.) I’d love it if you’d join me in my flat this afternoon for a cup of tea. Have a pleasant morning.
Love,
Mrs. Hudson

PS. I’ve run out to the shop for a bit to buy some earplugs.

Sherlock’s twinkling grey eyes meet mine, and we burst out laughing. His warm, rich laugh makes my heart leap with joy, and I lunge over to pounce on my lover, looking forward to a long, lovely morning.

 

~~~
FIN.
~~~