He could do this. Sherlock pulled in a deep breath as he took himself in hand. Anyone could do this. It was just a response. Find the right stimuli and it was easy. Biological and chemical reaction. Nothing mysterious about it.
He’d woken up harder than he'd been in quite a while, flashes of dream images still clinging to the darkness behind his eyes. His cock actually throbbed as he shifted in bed, biting his lower lip as he began to stroke himself. Focus. It felt good, his hand moving over his length, sliding up to twist around the head. Oh, yes. He could do this. It was a simple, human reaction. And Sherlock was human, despite what Donovan and Anderson might—No, much better if he didn’t think of them right now.
Instead he thought of hands on his body. Touching his skin, moving over his chest, fingers brushing his nipple—Oh, yes. Good stimuli.—and down to stroke along his hips and thighs. They didn’t belong to anyone, they were just hands. Strong, slightly callused—just there and there. Masculine. Sherlock stopped noting the details, instead focusing on the imagined feel as they gripped his hips, pulled him backward. In his imagination, an erection pressed against his arse. Vague. Dream image. A low moan slid from his throat and he froze for a heartbeat until he remembered the John had gone to work by now.
John. The hands he’d been visualizing popped into clearer focus, but Sherlock ignored them and forged ahead. Gripping himself tighter, Sherlock let his legs fall open, his hips settling into a rhythm with his hand. Slowly. Best to build up to it. Trying to force it would only result in frustration.
Brushing his free hand over his stomach, up to his nipple, Sherlock pinched it lightly. He sucked in a gasp at the added sensation, his eyes closing. In his mind, it was someone else’s hands which stroked his cock, toyed with his nipple, rubbed against his skin. Well-trimmed nails scraped along his stomach, pre-cum slicking callused fingers as the grip tightened. Stroking faster now.
Another dream image pushed itself forward. Lips rubbing along his shoulder, a tongue darting out to taste his skin. A nose buried in the junction of his neck and teeth lightly grazing—
“Woo-hoo! Are you boys in?” Mrs. Hudson’s voice filled the flat.
And it was gone, both the image and his erection. That quickly. As if someone had poured ice water over him. The desire remained, but there was no way his mind and body would cooperate now. Growling his frustration, Sherlock reached for his dressing gown.
The first thing Sherlock did was lock all the doors.
It shouldn’t have been necessary. Mrs. Hudson had gone to visit her sister and John was out having a drink with Mike Stamford. They were, John had informed him, going to watch some sort of sport and Sherlock was fairly certain that would give him plenty of time.
The frustration was becoming unbearable. Normally, after a failed attempt at masturbation, the desire would have faded as well and he’d have gone on with his life. This time, for unknown reasons, it kept nagging at him. There, in the back of his mind. At the oddest moments it would shove its way forward and he would suddenly realize that he very much wanted to get off.
And if it had been that simple, just the knowledge that his body needed a release, it wouldn’t have been so daunting. Instead, the knowledge was accompanied by the imagined feel of hands on his skin—calloused, gentle at first and then rough with desperation—or an indistinct voice in his ear, the impression so strong that Sherlock would tilt his head, or let his eyes drop closed to better imagine it. It was interfering with his work. The day before, Sherlock had actually lost his focus while working at Bart’s. Unacceptable.
Now, he stripped down to his pajama bottoms and settled onto the sofa, shifting until he was comfortable. Since his last attempt had been in his bed, and he didn’t want to be reminded of that failure, he’d decided a new location might prove advantageous. He breathed in and out, letting his body relax. Masturbation didn’t always come easily to him. Though he was well aware of the body’s needs, his mind often wandered off topic. He had trouble relaxing long enough to reach a satisfying conclusion. That wasn’t a problem, per se. Whatever had sidetracked him usually provided enough mental stimulation that he forgot about masturbation entirely.
He couldn’t this time, however. Inconvenient. Not to be tolerated. His current hypothesis was that something new, some unidentified stimulus, was prodding his subconscious, sending little jolts through it until they built up and forced their way into his conscious mind. That meant, of course, that he’d have to identify the stimulus and get rid of it, but he had another problem to deal with first. One which made it hard to think rationally.
Half-hard already—too often the case as of late—Sherlock brushed his fingers over the growing bulge in his pajama bottoms. The cotton was soft—well-worn—adding to the sensation. He stroked himself with light touches, teasing himself to full hardness. Biting his lip to hold in any sounds, he let himself arch upward, pressing his cock into his palm. He curled his fingers around his erection, letting his eyes close.
The images were back. A strong, masculine body pressing against his own, front to front this time, with that mouth nipping at his throat. Yes. Yes. Like that. Hands moved over his back, stroking down to his arse and squeezing lightly. Sherlock’s hand tightened around his cock, and he groaned as he turned his head to the side.
Something soft brushed his nose, redolent with a familiar scent. A spike of desire made his cock twitch in his hand and Sherlock’s breath hitched. Oh. Perfect. He let his fingers twist around the head of his cock. He refused to be distracted by whatever he’d buried his face in, refused to think too much when he was finally—finally—getting somewhere with his body.
He pushed his hand into his pajama bottoms, moaning at the feel of skin-on-skin contact. He let his free hand drag down his bare chest, scraping a fingernail lightly over first one nipple and then the other. They were teeth, in his mind. That imaginary body, pressed so wonderfully against his own, sliding lower. Teeth now nipping at his chest.
Yes. Yes. Oh, that’s good. So good.
There was a beep and buzz from the coffee table. Sherlock froze.
Ignore it. Ignore it.
But his brain was already off and running. What if it was Lestrade? There might be a case. It could be important. What if it’s John? What if something had happened? A flash of John wearing a Semtex vest did away with the last vestiges of Sherlock’s arousal. He sighed, banging his head back against the arm of the sofa before he sat up and reached for his phone.
It was Lestrade, and there was a case. Should be happier about that. After he’d texted a request for the address, Sherlock leaned back on the sofa. There was something soft forming an uncomfortable lump behind his back. He had a brief memory of something brushing against his face. He reached back and pulled out one of John’s jumpers, his eyes narrowing at it as a thought tried to form. Then his phone beeped again and Sherlock tossed the jumper aside.
John dropped his keys on the little table by the door. His date had been a total disaster, but John wasn’t as upset by that as he knew he probably should be. He had other things on his mind, things that had led him to zone out in the middle of the conversation with Jill. And, worse, had led him to forget about her allergy to peanuts and to offer her a bite of peanut sauce-drenched chicken. The glare she’d leveled at him had been entirely deserved. If he couldn’t even remember his date’s life-threatening allergy, he certainly shouldn’t be out with her. So their date had ended very early indeed.
The flat was quiet, although he wasn’t sure if that was because Sherlock was out or because Sherlock had, once again, locked himself in his bedroom. The man had been particularly moody lately. John wasn’t sure what was bothering Sherlock, but it was getting to the point where he knew he was going to have to ask.
He generally left Sherlock to his brooding, but lately there’d been more muttered curses under his breath, more cat-in-heat sounds from his violin, and more frustration even when they had a good case. That last was the part that worried John the most. Sherlock seemed distracted from his work, and that couldn’t be good. Now John just had to come up with a way to broach the topic.
He’d already searched the flat for illicit substances—just in case—but he hadn’t found anything, and when Sherlock had returned he’d taken one look and given John a ‘you-really-aren’t-that-bright’ glare before rolling his eyes and stomping off to his room.
As he waited for the kettle to boil, John considered several different openings, but couldn’t think of one that wouldn’t end in his being called an idiot, being told he was unobservant, or being ignored entirely.
A loud moan came from Sherlock’s bedroom, the voice instantly recognizable as Sherlock’s baritone. John froze with the hot kettle in his hand, his forehead furrowing. It didn’t sound like a moan of distress, which was somehow more worrying. It sounded… aroused.
Oh, God, has he got someone in there? A sharp jolt of jealousy took John by surprise. Which was ridiculous, of course. If Sherlock had found someone who actually caught his interest, John should be happy for him. But the thought of someone in their flat, someone in Sherlock’s bed… He told you from the beginning he wasn’t interested in you, Watson. Suck it up.
No, answered back a little voice John generally tried not to listen to, he said he wasn’t interested in anyone. Married to his work. But now he’s distracted at work…
Oh, God. He really has found someone.
The kettle slipped from John’s fingers, clattering against the counter, into the sink, sending hot water out over John’s hand.
“Christ!” he shouted, jumping back too late to spare his fingers.
A shout of “Oh, for crying out loud!” came from Sherlock’s bedroom, and it was definitely more angry than aroused.
John stood, his burned fingers stuck in his mouth, staring at the door as it whipped open to reveal a very frustrated looking Sherlock. His hair was a mess, stuck up in all directions, his expression a mix of startlement and anger. John was pretty sure he wasn’t wearing anything under that dressing gown, although it was hard to tell. Especially since John whipped his eyes back up to Sherlock’s face as quickly as he could.
“Sorry,” John managed around his own fingers, wondering if he was going to get a glimpse of this new companion over Sherlock’s shoulder. “I dropped the kettle.” Realizing he was still trying to talk around his own hand, John pulled his fingers from his mouth. “Burned my fingers.” He held them out as proof.
Sherlock’s eyes flicked from John’s fingers, to his mouth, and back before he again met John’s gaze. “Are you trying to drive me mad?”
John blinked. “What?”
Instead of answering, Sherlock huffed, storming off toward the bathroom. He was muttering, but John couldn’t make out the words. The bathroom door slammed shut. It was several stunned moments later before John registered that he’d been able to see Sherlock’s calves as he marched off, more of them than usual. He’d been wearing John’s dressing gown.
His eyebrows drawing together, John couldn’t help but take the few steps to Sherlock’s room, popping his head in. Empty. He felt guilty about the surge of relief that rushed through him. Then his eyes landed on the bottle of lubricant lying forgotten on Sherlock’s bed, almost hidden by a fold of the sheets.
Oh. The images that one little bottle produced had John beating a hasty retreat. He hurried back into the sitting room, but by then the throbbing of his fingers reminded him about the burn. It wasn’t that bad. There’d be no blisters, but he would have liked to put some burn cream on it, nonetheless. He glanced toward the bathroom, where the first aid kit was, and where he could hear the building’s clapped out pipes as Sherlock started the shower running.
He certainly didn’t want to interrupt Sherlock while he was… And maybe it would relieve some of the man’s tension. Sherlock’s bad mood had already spun past worrisome, after all. John got some ice instead.
Sherlock was considering re-evaluating a belief in God. Well, no. Not ‘God,’ as such. But he was starting to think that the events of the last few weeks pointed pretty clearly toward some similar—but clearly malevolent—entity whose sole task was to create interruptions and distractions designed to keep him from achieving orgasm.
He’d have blamed Mycroft, except the presence of his brother and orgasm in the same thought would probably put him off for days. Besides, he doubted even Mycroft could engineer the discovery of a triple murder just as Sherlock was about to climax. At least, he couldn’t see any way to get the timing that spot on.
Sitting on the sofa, his head clasped between his hands, Sherlock admitted to himself that he was at the end of his rope. This has to stop. Apparently worried by his behavior, John had barely left him alone for days. One would have thought that this would have doused Sherlock’s desire, but it seemed to have only made it worse. Despite the locked door of his bedroom, or the bathroom, Sherlock had been reluctant to have a go while John was in the flat. Sherlock knew from experience that he tended to be, well, somewhat loud. There was simply too much potential for embarrassment. Or worse, another interruption.
A few days of John not leaving for more than five minutes had cured Sherlock of that worry, but then Lestrade had texted about the triple murder. Having learned from past mistakes, Sherlock had left his phone in the kitchen, where he wouldn’t hear it over the running water of his shower. Unfortunately, John had heard it.
Sherlock had been so close that time. Teetering right on the edge. Almost there. Standing under the steaming spray, imagining a strong body pressing slippery and pliant and warm against his own. To keep himself quiet, he’d bit his lip so hard that it had bled, but he hadn’t cared. The pain had added to the sensations, heightening them and pushing him close—so very close—to the frustratingly elusive moment. His balls had been tight, drawing up with the tingle of impending release.
And then John had pounded on the bathroom door, his voice laced with worry. “Sherlock! Triple murder! Lestrade wants us to come right away!”
The phrasing had left Sherlock smacking his forehead against the tiled wall.
How do ‘normal’ people find this so easy? It was a depressing thought, but one Sherlock had been having more and more recently. Of course, he had to admit that it had never been quite this difficult before. Hence his theory concerning the orgasm demon.
Orgasm demon. Right. Lovely. Do you see what this is doing to your brain?
Sherlock heard John pad in from the kitchen. He looked up, aware that he probably looked about as wrung out and ragged as he felt. That conclusion was only supported by the soft, worried expression on John’s face.
“So, Doctor, can one actually die from sexual frustration? What is the worst that can happen? Insomnia? Hallucinations?” He said the last while flinging his hands out, fixing John with a hard stare.
John blinked at him, licked his lips—which Sherlock found himself incapable of looking away from for a moment after—and then shook his head.
“What are you on about, Sherlock? Are you all right?”
Oh, yes. Peachy The laugh Sherlock gave had no humor in it at all.
“It’s just…” John moved to sit down on the coffee table, concerned. “You’re not using again, are you?”
Sherlock huffed, shaking his head. “I am completely clean. I’m doing well.” He sighed. “Or at least I would be.” That part was muttered as Sherlock dropped his face into his hands.
“You’ve been off lately. More irritable than usual, jittery and snappish… Even when working a case.”
It was a measure of just how little rope Sherlock had left that he raised his head, looked John squarely in the eye, and said, “It’s the orgasm demon.”
John’s eyes widened, the concern becoming full blown worry. Probably for my sanity. That look on John’s face was just too much. Sherlock started laughing. And it felt good. He’d been so tense and frustrated for so long that he couldn’t seem to stop now that his body had found at least a temporary, partial release for it all. John’s worry faded a little. He seemed to get caught up in the humor of the moment as well, and soon they were laughing together, so hard that Sherlock thought he saw tears in John’s eyes.
When the laughter faded, John shook his head.
“All right,” he said, his stern tone ruined by the way he had to wipe his eyes. “Out with it. What’s really got you in such a foul mood?”
“It’s nothing.” Sherlock felt better for having laughed about it. Bad luck and frustration were commonplace, and there really was no orgasm demon. Whatever strange contortions his mind had worked itself into, they wouldn’t last forever. What he needed was to hunt down that stimulus, get rid of it, and then have a nice, long wank. Oh, God, yes. And, if he could convince John that he really was all right, he might even be able to send him out of the flat in order to get on with it.
John shifted closer, still worried. “It’s been a couple weeks, Sherlock. That doesn’t sound like ‘nothing.’ What is it?” He reached out a hand, laying it on Sherlock’s shoulder in a gesture of concern. His jumper smelled of him. It was the one Sherlock had found on the sofa not a week ago, during one of his failed attempts.
Connections formed in Sherlock’s brain, the pieces all fitting together at lightning speed. His head snapped up, his eyes fixing on John’s lips before skimming down his torso, adjusting for the extra bulk of his clothing in order to imagine a more accurate picture of the body beneath. Oh. Oh! His eyes landed on John’s hand. John’s callused hands.
“It’s you,” he said.
John flinched, a hurt look on his face.
Sherlock replayed John’s last words and then rushed to clarify. “No, John. You’re not what’s wrong. Well, you are what’s wrong, but not in the way you think.”
John still looked wary and Sherlock wasn’t sure how to explain the last few weeks. His brain had clearly been trying, rather desperately, to get a message through to him and Sherlock had just been too dense to listen. It wasn’t the first time. Although, granted, it had been a while since his brain had had to deliver this particular message. Too long. Clearly.
Sherlock decided the straightforward approach would serve him best. It would certainly be less confusing. He reached out, grabbed two handfuls of John’s jumper, pulled him forward, and kissed him soundly.
John was still beneath his lips for a heartbeat, two, and then he buried his fingers in Sherlock’s hair, kissing back with fervor. Sherlock nipped at John’s lower lip, drawing a moan from the man. As soon as John’s lips parted, Sherlock licked his way inside, rubbing his tongue along John’s. John’s fingers tightened in his hair, trying to pull Sherlock closer. He released John’s jumper, hands sliding up to rest against the warm skin of John’s neck.
It was messy, the rough rub of lips against lips sending jolts of arousal straight to Sherlock’s cock. The burn of stubble against fingers and mouth lighting up his nervous system. John’s teeth grazed his bottom lip. Perfect. So, perfect. Both of them were making noises, and Sherlock was rather surprised to find that he was the one making those needy whimpers in the back of his throat.
The kiss ended and Sherlock rested his forehead against John’s. The only sound in the flat—in the world, for all Sherlock knew—was that of their ragged breathing. John’s hands were still in his hair, and his own still rested against John’s neck. He could feel the man’s pulse beating wildly against his fingers. Aroused.
“Oh,” John said, voice husky. They were both panting. “I see.”
“Yes.” Sherlock rubbed his fingers against the skin of John’s neck. He loved the soft humming sound John made as he tilted his head, giving Sherlock more room.
“Uh, not to ruin the mood, but… Why are we doing this?” John’s eyes remained closed, his forehead still pressed to Sherlock’s. Sherlock’s eyes were focused on John’s neck. What would it taste like? Feel like beneath my tongue?
“Because,” Sherlock said, leaning in to lick the spot just above his finger—salt, sweat, skin, John—reveling in the groan he got when he bit down. He pulled back minutely, his lips still brushing skin as he said, “I have finally found the perfect stimulus to produce the desired response.”
“Right.” One of John’s hands pulled free of Sherlock’s hair, his fingers brushing along Sherlock’s cheek and down over his chest. They slid over one of Sherlock’s nipples. Sherlock’s cock twitched and he moaned into John’s neck. “And that response would be?”
“Orgasm, John.” Sherlock lifted his head, nipping at John’s earlobe. John gasped, pushing Sherlock back onto the sofa, his thighs coming to rest on either side of Sherlock’s.
“Thank God.” John’s hands moved to his shirt, undoing buttons and caressing each bit of skin he revealed. Sherlock shoved his hands up under John’s jumper, humming approval at the feel of so much warm skin. He got John to stop unbuttoning just long enough to pull jumper and t-shirt together over John’s head. Then John was working his buttons again, their mouths colliding, hot and wet with just a hint of teeth. Will have to adjust. Dangerously distracting.
Sherlock had kissed others, but it had never felt like this. His cock was already hard, had been so since that first brush of lips, and he was positively aching to be touched. Their positions, with John up on his knees over Sherlock, didn’t give him any friction and Sherlock kept arching up in a useless attempt to get more.
“We can go slow later,” Sherlock found himself saying, “but for the moment could you just touch me?”
Apparently startled by that, John sent the last button on Sherlock’s shirt flying. He regained his composure quickly enough, however, because he smiled down at Sherlock with a truly wicked look on his face. His hands pushed open Sherlock’s shirt, fingers making teasing circles around his nipples.
“Isn’t that what I’m doing?”
Sherlock moaned, partly in frustration and partly because John’s hands were perfect. Just as he’d imagined, although he hadn’t realized he’d been imagining John. One callused finger rasped over his nipple and Sherlock threw his head back, biting his lip to keep quiet.
“Oh, no you don’t,” John murmured against Sherlock’s lips, licking at the closed-up bite wound from Sherlock’s failed attempt in the shower. “I want to hear you.”
“Oh, God,” Sherlock said, his hands clutching at John’s hips, trying to pull him down to get some contact. “John. Please.”
John nipped at Sherlock’s jaw, kissing his way toward an ear. His voice sounded ragged when he spoke. “I’ve wanted you like this for too long to rush it.” His low, dark chuckle sent a pang of desire through Sherlock.
John bit at his collarbone, briefly distracting him from the button of John’s jeans, but only briefly. Determined, Sherlock got it and John’s zip undone. He pressed his hand inside and around so that he could squeeze John’s arse and get better leverage for pushing the garment off John’s hips. John hummed against his neck, nipping at Sherlock’s collarbone, his hands sliding down to Sherlock’s hips.
Sherlock wriggled around, managing to get one of John’s hands to land on his aching cock. He moaned loudly, pressing himself harder against John’s hand.
“Fuck, you’re hard,” John breathed again his chest, licking at first one nipple and then the other.
“Yes. Very. Please.” It was pretty much all Sherlock could manage. Two weeks of getting so close, of thinking about this, had left him desperate. John’s fingers curled around his fabric-clad cock and Sherlock would have been embarrassed by the whimpering sounds he made, if he hadn’t been too turned on to care.
“What’s got you so worked up?” John asked against his belly, his teeth scraping lightly just above Sherlock’s navel. It said a lot about Sherlock’s state of mind that he’d been too caught up in the feel of John’s mouth to realize that John had been steadily working his way down.
“Later,” Sherlock promised. He would have promised John anything just then. John’s fingers, working at the button and zip of Sherlock’s trousers, felt like a tease. Sherlock didn’t make the process easier, bucking his hips to get more contact, more friction. John got the job done, however, and then he was pulling them down, along with Sherlock’s boxers, freeing Sherlock's cock.
John made an approving sound and, before Sherlock could comment at all, he lowered his head, licking along the shaft.
"Fuck. John!" Sherlock's hands flew up to cradle John's head, one combing through the short hair and the other resting against John's neck. John took the head of Sherlock’s cock between his lips, humming, and Sherlock knew he wasn't going to last long under this kind of onslaught. "Yes. God, yes."
He bent nearly double over John, his whole body growing tight and tense. He could feel his orgasm building, a tight heat in his belly, growing steadily as every bit of him pulled in toward it. John sucked him hard, his tongue flicking along the underside, winding Sherlock tighter and tighter.
"God, John, I'm... I'm right there..." It was difficult to get the words out between his panted breaths. John's mouth pulled off his cock, and Sherlock whimpered at the loss, but John’s hand, slick with saliva and pre-cum, kept stroking. His grip was perfect, the callus on the side of his thumb adding a rasp of sensation as John flicked it up over the head. Sherlock clung to him, gasping and moaning, his whole body trembling with the force of his building release.
"Fuck, look at you," John said, voice low in Sherlock's ear. "Want to watch you, Sherlock. Want to see you break apart."
Sherlock's brain had deserted him. All he could manage was a litany consisting of 'Yes' and ‘John.'
"That's it. You must be so close. Come for me, Sherlock. Let me see you."
It hit him like a tidal wave, washing over him. His ears buzzed and he squeezed his eyes shut, his fingers digging into John's arms as he gasped and came. It seemed to go on forever, pushing him higher and higher. His body filled with heat and pleasure, his muscles spasming. John anchored him, stroking him through it, his voice a soothing sound above the buzzing in Sherlock's ears. Then he slammed back into himself, sprawled on the sofa with his trousers around his ankles and John looking at him like he'd just done something brilliant.
"That was..." John licked his lips, swallowing hard. "That looked intense."
Sherlock felt as if all his bones had turned to jelly. His arms and legs trembled. John's erection poked him in the side, harder than before.
Dropping his voice low, Sherlock asked, "Did you find my climax arousing, John?" He couldn't hide a grin when John shuddered against him and swallowed again.
Sherlock slid his hand along John's stomach, watching his eyes drift shut. His lips parted when Sherlock's finger brushed against his cock, his breath coming in uneven pants as Sherlock stroked him, reveling in the warmth and weight of John in his hand. Well-shaped. I want to taste him.
"Yes," John murmured, little more than an exhalation. “Fuck, yes. Perfect. So fucking perfect.”
Sherlock kept his grip loose, watching every flicker of John’s face as he learned him. A little tighter. A flick of the thumb, pressed tight to the sulcus and glans, tugging on the foreskin just so.
“Fuck.” It was louder this time, John’s hips working, thrusting his flushed cock harder into Sherlock’s grasp. Sherlock tightened his grip a little more, twisting on the upstroke as John’s breathing grew ever more ragged. God, look at him. Eyes squeezed shut. So close. John buried his face in Sherlock’s neck, left arm flung around Sherlock midsection, holding their bodies together.
“Sherlock. Sherlock. Sherlock.”
The sound of his name, falling from John’s lips in such a desperate tone, made Sherlock catch his breath. He stroked faster, turning his head to brush his lips along John’s forehead.
“It’s you that’s had me worked up,” he said. “I dreamed of you, like this, but I… didn’t realize. Wanted you so badly.”
John let out a low groan, his hips jerking forward as he spent himself, a hot flood over Sherlock’s fingers. Sherlock loosened his grip, but kept stroking as John’s hips stuttered him through his orgasm.
They lay like that for long moment, Sherlock’s lips against John’s forehead. He wiped his hand on John’s trousers and then let it rest against the man’s hip. They were both panting, and Sherlock felt far too comfortable to consider moving. John’s face was still pressed against his neck, and he realized John was gathering himself when John’s mouth pressed the spot just below his ear.
“All that was about me?”
Sherlock’s lips twitched and he chuckled. “Who else?”
“Thought maybe you’d found somebody.” John pulled away just enough to look him in the eye. Sherlock reached out, brushing his fingers along John’s cheek.
“I have,” he said, trying to hold onto the relaxation of afterglow, despite the uncertainty saying those words produced.
“Oh.” John looked thoughtful for a moment, and each second of that look made Sherlock’s stomach clench a little tighter. “I didn’t think you...”
Complicated. “I have, but generally I don’t.” Sherlock raised his shoulder in a shrug and his shirt slid down his arm. John’s eyes followed it for a moment before snapping back to Sherlock’s.
Not the question he wanted to ask.
“Stimulus and response.” Sherlock waited, wondering if John would understand.
John’s lips twitched. “Are you saying that I… er, stimulate you?”
Sherlock pulled back a little, just enough to properly see John’s face. “Problem?”
“No. It’s really not.” John smiled. “Take away?”
Sherlock grinned back. “Starved. But shower first.”
“Obviously.” John laughed, but it was a while longer before either of them could bring themselves to move.