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Bitter and So Sweet

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They’ve been living together for six months, and have had sex twice, when John first sees Sherlock fail to solve a case. Or, more accurately, fail to solve a case in time: he thinks too late to compare two blood samples, and when he realizes what’s happening, their client’s husband has already emptied their bank account and escaped to Turkey.

When they break the news to Lestrade and their client at Scotland Yard, Sherlock is practically trembling with frustration. Their client, on the other hand, explodes with rage, and slaps Sherlock hard across the face.

“What fucking good are you?! You can’t even track down one stupid man!” John, paralyzed with surprise, sees a flicker of shock cross Sherlock’s face as Lestrade lunges forward to grab the woman’s wrist before she can strike him again. She continues yelling, “All your pointless fucking deductions and you can’t actually solve anything! You’re as useless as the sodding police!”

“Oi, that’s enough,” Lestrade protests, and there is a tense moment where no one speaks, the woman glaring at Sherlock with sincere venom as Sherlock coolly lifts his hand to rub over his cheekbone where she slapped him, his face rearranged into an icy mask of detached hostility.

John breaks the silence by stepping forward and trying to pull Sherlock’s hand away. “Let me see,” he says.

But Sherlock shakes off his touch and snaps, “It’s fine.” Straightening up an intimidating few inches, he says in a voice dripping with disdain, “John and I will be going now, Lestrade,” and narrowing his eyes at the woman, he adds “Madame.” He spins around, coat flaring out dramatically, leaving John to stammer an apology and trot after him.

xxx

They pass the taxi ride home in almost complete silence, Sherlock glaring hard out his window and John glancing furtively over at him every few minutes. A bright pink handprint has bloomed over the right side of his face, the sight of which makes John feel both protective and, somewhere deep inside, guiltily amused. God knows he wants to slap his flatmate at least once daily. Sneaking another glance Sherlock’s way, an involuntary little smirk twists up one corner of John’s mouth.

Sherlock is in the grip of a royal pout, his face grimly serious as he stares, unseeing, at the passing city. Occasionally he mumbles “stupid” under his breath, and John wonders who exactly he’s talking about. It’s not usually like him to be self-deprecating, but this case had been particularly frustrating and failing to solve it in time, not to mention being humiliated in front of Lestrade and John, has obviously upset him.

John forces his mean-spirited grin down and immediately feels awful for his moment of spitefulness. Yes, Sherlock is a pain in the arse most of the time, but he’s also his best friend, a genius, a great shag, and, despite his posturing, an incredibly sensitive man. Sherlock’s sense of self-worth is so dependent on performing for others, on hearing himself praised, that this incident must feel much more serious to him than John even realises.

And John wonders what it says about himself that he could find Sherlock’s unhappiness so amusing, even for a moment. Both of them sit, frowning at themselves in silence for the rest of the ride home.

xxx

Back at 221B, Sherlock heads directly to his bedroom and emerges in his non-working uniform of pyjamas and a blue robe that he insists on calling a “dressing gown.” (“Honestly, Sherlock, it’s just a bathrobe.” “Oh, John, must you be so tiresome?”) As John sits down at his desk and opens his laptop, Sherlock splays out dramatically on the couch, one arm flung over his eyes. For the next hour, he moves only once, to roll fussily onto his side and face the back of the couch.

John, at a bit of a loss without a new case to type up – if he shared this story on his blog, he’s pretty sure Sherlock would burn the flat down – works through a backlog of emails and comments that have accumulated in his inbox. (One, from a fan in Wales, asks if Sherlock ever “loses.” John types out “Apparently,” then deletes it and decides to reply later.) When he runs out of emails, he leans back in his chair and stretches, exhaling loudly through his nose. Across the room, Sherlock squirms in irritation at the noise.

They’re both in black moods, Sherlock angry at himself for failing and at everyone who was at Scotland Yard for witnessing him fail, and John feeling guilty for momentarily enjoying Sherlock’s humiliation. And even though Sherlock couldn’t possibly know about John’s spiteful moment in the taxi, John still suddenly feels that he needs to atone, to make it up to Sherlock.

This urge to make amends for his private thoughts is totally irrational, but that’s what Sherlock does to him. At the sight of the fading handprint, just visible now as Sherlock flops onto his back, protectiveness surges up in John’s chest. He’s a doctor, and a military doctor; the urge to protect, to heal, to take care of, is a big part of his character. And right now, his private guilt and his need to take care of Sherlock are welling up so rapidly his chest actually aches.

“Stop staring at me,” Sherlock mutters. Immediately, John stands and walks over to the sofa, where he perches on the edge by Sherlock’s hip. “Ugh, no, this is even worse. Go away.”

“How’s your face?” John’s hand moves on its own, reaching up to cup Sherlock’s reddened cheek, his thumb running gently over the ridge of his cheekbone. For a moment neither of them speaks. Then Sherlock’s expression shifts from confused irritation to something painfully unreadable – sadness? Hurt?

“Oh,” he whispers, sounding almost awed, “you were happy! You were happy she slapped me, you enjoyed seeing me so humiliated.”

“No, no, I didn’t,” John murmurs, affection throbbing in his chest at the wounded amazement in Sherlock’s voice when he whispers, “Filthy liar.”

Before he can stop himself, John is leaning down to press his lips to Sherlock’s cheek, as softly as he can. Beneath him Sherlock tenses up, but John doesn’t move.

They’ve slept together twice, so it seems a little counterintuitive that a kiss on the cheek should make Sherlock so uncomfortable, but this is, in its own way, actually more intimate than they’ve ever been. When they had sex before, it had been aggressive and rough, each time prompted by a surge of adrenaline from a mad chase through London. They’d exchanged hard, bruising kisses that were more bites than caresses, and fucked frantically, still half-dressed, in the living room – once on the floor, once against the front door, Sherlock’s long legs wrapped around John’s waist. John still has yellowing bruises from where Sherlock’s sharp hipbones had dug into his thighs, and he vividly remembers Sherlock hissing in his ear, “Harder, John, fuck me like you hate me.”

That moment had played a starring role in John’s masturbatory fantasies over the last two weeks, but it’s the opposite of what he wants this time. Right now he wants to show Sherlock what John doesn’t think he really understands yet: that John does love him, that Sherlock’s pain is John’s pain, that even with all Sherlock’s flaws and imperfections John would kill to protect him. And he has.

He presses his lips, gently, gently, to Sherlock’s cheek and waits for him to relax.

After a few seconds, Sherlock sighs and eases down into the sofa a bit. “You’re ridiculous,” he murmurs.

“Yes,” John agrees against his skin. “Come to bed with me.”

John pulls up to look at Sherlock’s face. He looks back at John through eyes half-closed and uncertain.

“Please.” For a moment Sherlock doesn’t react and John’s heart flutters, but then Sherlock opens his mouth, closes it again, and nods. “Okay. Okay,” John says, not even aware he’s speaking, and stands to let Sherlock off the couch.

xxx

John feels like he’s watching himself from far away as he walks Sherlock through the kitchen to his own bedroom, like he’s slipped into autopilot. He’s not anxious or even especially turned on; instead he feels serene, affectionate, eager to please. Sherlock, in contrast, is a bundle of nerves, mouth held tight and hands jittery as he starts to take off his robe.

“Wait,” John says, closing and locking the bedroom door. “Just hold on.” Sherlock’s hands fall to his sides and he looks at John expectantly, almost impatiently.

This isn’t how John wants him. He wants Sherlock pliant and vulnerable and trusting, trusting John to take care of him, but John is more than prepared to gentle him through his nervousness.

I’m sorry for hurting you, for smiling when you were hurt, John thinks. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Sherlock shifts from side to side as John goes to the window and pulls the curtains tightly closed, then pauses to make sure they won’t flutter open again. The room is quite dark now, just enough sunlight filtering through the curtains for John to see Sherlock’s shoulders relax a little.

Someone – not Sherlock, certainly; probably Mrs. Hudson – has made Sherlock’s bed up neatly, and now John pulls back one corner of the duvet and sheets, folds them back, and lays the pillows down flat. If he had a candle, he might actually light it in complete sincerity, but instead he holds his hand out to Sherlock, still watching him apprehensively near the door.

John gives him a little smile to help him calm down and when Sherlock joins him by the bed, he cups his face in his hand and rises onto his toes to kiss him, softly and tenderly.

Sherlock’s eyes drop shut as John eases his lips open, painfully gradual, and then swells his tongue against Sherlock’s. John makes an encouraging little noise against Sherlock’s mouth and mutters, “you taste good.”

Sherlock smiles into the kiss and mumbles, “nonsense,” and John wraps his hand around Sherlock’s hip to steady himself. “Mmmm,” he hums, like he’s just tasted something delicious, and Sherlock huffs a breathless laugh against John’s lips.

Cupping his other hand around the back of Sherlock’s head, John drops down from his toes and leans back, using his weight to drag Sherlock down on to the bed. Without breaking the kiss, they shift around so that Sherlock is on his back, head on the pillows cradled by John’s hand. John is straddling low on elbows and knees above him, his other hand tucked under Sherlock’s shoulders, holding him sweetly against John’s chest.

When Sherlock’s legs wrap hesitantly around John’s shins, John breaks the kiss to nuzzle at Sherlock’s nose and murmur, “there you are.” To John’s surprise, Sherlock whimpers quietly and cranes upward, asking John to kiss him again. This naked request for affection makes John’s stomach clench, and he dips back down to press another open-mouthed kiss to Sherlock’s lips. When Sherlock makes a contented little noise, John thinks his heart might stop.

“Let’s get this off,” John whispers, pulling his left hand out from under Sherlock to push down the shoulder of his robe. Together they work Sherlock’s arms out of the sleeves, but John leaves the robe spread out under Sherlock, a little nest on which John can make love to him. This done, John drops back down to suck a slow, hot kiss onto the skin just beneath Sherlock’s jaw, and Sherlock’s legs tighten around his calves.

Before – and after, in fact – they’d slept together, John, when he’d allowed himself to think about it, had assumed Sherlock would be very rough and domineering in bed, and their first two times together had confirmed Sherlock’s appreciation for aggressive sex. But  as Sherlock cants his hips up to press his cock against John’s thigh and whimpers again, John knows that he’d been wrong to assume that’s all Sherlock wanted – all he needed.

Sometimes, Sherlock needs someone to take care of him. Me, John amends. He needs me to take care of him.

John is starting to get hard now; kissing Sherlock is always nice, and John’s never had him under him like this.

 He brushes his hips down to let him know how desirable, how wanted he is. John presses his lips to the delicate shell of Sherlock’s ear and whispers, “you’re so beautiful.” Sherlock strains upward at the compliment, murmuring little nonsense noises into John’s shoulder and pushing his hands up the back of John’s t-shirt.

“Here, let me…” John heaves himself back on to his knees and pulls his shirt off, tossing it aside as Sherlock’s eyes widen in appreciation. His hands reach up to run all over John’s stomach and chest, as though he can’t help but touch John’s naked skin.

Touch me all you like, whenever you want, John thinks as he drops back on to his elbows and kisses Sherlock again. Anything you want, you don’t have to ask.

John repeats this thought to himself – he shouldn’t have to ask – and resolves that tonight Sherlock won’t have to ask for anything, or to tell John what he wants. John’s going to take care of everything.

“So beautiful,” John repeats, and Sherlock writhes in pleasure the flattery, pressing his palms against John’s bare shoulder blades to force him to lie down more, to put more of his weight on him. John obliges and Sherlock makes a happy little pleasure noise into his mouth.

Sherlock’s neck is impossibly long and pale, inviting worshipful kisses and bites. Even before they’d slept together, John would often find himself distracted by it, especially when Sherlock reared his head back, peacock-style, in indignation.

Now free to indulge this impulse, John angles his head to lave hard, wet kisses to the side of Sherlock’s neck. “Oh, yes,” Sherlock groans, and John nips lightly at the milky skin, soothing away the hurt with a gentle, open-mouthed kiss.

John has the sudden urge to leave a mark on Sherlock’s throat, visible evidence that this happened, that John wants him, that they want each other. He wants Lestrade and Mycroft and Angelo and Donovan and Mrs. Hudson and everyone to see it and know that Sherlock has someone who loves him like thinks, who thinks he’s beautiful. But he doesn’t want to bite down as hard as it would take to leave a bruise.

Not for the first time today, John questions his certainty that Sherlock can’t read his thoughts when Sherlock arches his neck and pants “Leave a mark, John, I – oh – I want you to.”

Fuck. John picks a spot high on Sherlock’s throat, where it will show if Sherlock wants it to, and sucks hard, his teeth worrying and scraping. When Sherlock’s nails dig into his scarred shoulder, John bites down, hard enough that Sherlock gasps.

John drags the flat of his tongue across the red mark and whispers, “everyone will see.”

“Yes,” Sherlock breathes. He brings his hands around to pull at his own shirt, trapped in place beneath John.

“Here. Let me see you, you’re so beautiful…” John pushes back to pull Sherlock’s t-shirt off. His skin is pale and inviting in the dim, warm light.

“Oh, Sherlock…” John runs a hand up Sherlock’s stomach, curving around Sherlock’s back to cradle him up against John’s chest. The warmth of their bare skin pressing together makes Sherlock wriggle in contentment.

John presses his forehead to Sherlock’s and the words are out of his mouth before he can stop them. “I love you.”

Sherlock freezes. “No, you don’t.”

“Of course I do. Isn’t it obvious?” John still feels blessedly calm, unafraid of how Sherlock might react. “Don’t I tell you how amazing you are?” He kisses Sherlock’s forehead. “Haven’t I killed to protect you?” Kiss. “Don’t I want you all the time?” Kiss.

Sherlock doesn’t move as John trails more kisses down his face. When John actually looks at him, Sherlock’s face is so nakedly vulnerable – mouth panting open, eyes uncertain – that he surges down immediately to kiss him. “Look at you. Just relax, Sherlock, let me take care of you.”

Suddenly Sherlock is all over him, arms wrapping around him as Sherlock undulates, chest and hips pressing up in a lean wave. “John…” he pants into John’s neck. “Yes, I…” he keens and rocks up again.

Before, John had felt unhurried and affectionate. With Sherlock rubbing against him and groaning so desperately, practically begging John to pleasure him, John fights to maintain his presence of mind. “John, yes – “ Sherlock buries his face in John’s hair as John kisses a trail down the center of Sherlock’s neck and chest, pressing closed lips to pale skin.

Sherlock’s nipples are small and sensitive, as John knows from experience – and from observing the way they stand out from under his tight shirts when he’s cold or high on adrenaline. Now, John laps lightly at one, reveling in the way it makes Sherlock gasp and writhe. When he flicks it with the tip of his tongue, Sherlock jerks hard and lets out a desperate whimper. John smoothes his hand down Sherlock’s side.

“Shhh,” he whispers. “I’ve got you.” He kisses Sherlock’s nipple and moves lower, bumping wet kisses down his ribcage. He’s so thin, skeleton obvious under his skin and wiry muscles. Beneath John’s lips, his skinny chest is heaving, breath surging in and out. “Shhhh, it’s okay.”

He doesn’t want this to get too frantic and pass too quickly. He lingers on a soft spot on Sherlock’s stomach until Sherlock’s breathing slows, then delicately cups a hand over Sherlock’s cock.

It’s hard and heavy in the soft fabric of his pyjamas, and John presses the heel of his hand against the shaft, encouraging Sherlock to rub up into his touch. “You’re so hard,” he murmurs.

“Fuck,” Sherlock hisses, twisting his face into the pillow. “Don’t – ahh! – don’t tease, John, touch me.”

“I will, don’t worry.” John buries his face in the softness of Sherlock’s lower belly, inhaling his smell from the thin line of dark hair under his navel. “Lift,” he orders, and when Sherlock plants his feet and raises his arse, John slowly pulls off his pyjamas.

Sherlock falls back to the bed and groans. Now that he’s naked, some of his self-consciousness has returned, and he just lies still, breathing hard and waiting to see what John will do. He looks up at John, eyes half-closed, and needy and trusting, splayed out like an offering on his rumpled dressing gown.

Between his splayed-open legs, Sherlock’s cock is hard and straining, a first drop of wetness welling from the tip when John grasps him and slowly strokes up. “You’re so ready, aren’t you?” Sherlock whines his agreement. “Yes, so ready.”

John’s face is level with Sherlock’s throat, and he licks and kisses there while he strokes him, hand slow and tight on Sherlock’s prick. A purple mark is already visible where John had bit him earlier; he smiles at the thought of Sherlock leaving his coat collar down to show it off tomorrow.

Sherlock groans into John’s hair. “Hold on, baby, I’m going.” A hot breathless kiss to Sherlock’s mouth and John shuffles down the bed, until he’s breathing heavily over the thick curve of Sherlock’s cock.

When he sucks the head into his mouth, Sherlock flings an arm over his eyes and moans. John rubs his thumbs soothingly over Sherlock’s hipbones as he bobs down and up. He lets the head run over the roof of his mouth, and builds up a mouthful of spit to keep everything wet and soft.

“Fuck, your mouth…” Sherlock gasps with a grimace. His legs fall open further around John’s shoulders, and John presses his palms against his hips to pin him down. He sucks firmly, cheeks hollowing, and delights in Sherlock’s very vocal pleasure. “Jesus, John, just – oh, just like that.” He runs shaky fingers through John’s hair, holding him close without trying to force him down faster.

Sherlock’s cock is pleasantly shaped, thick enough that John has to concentrate to avoid scraping him with his teeth, curving up as though to meet John’s mouth. He tastes clean and warm, and John decides he wants to do this to him every day, every chance he gets.

Sherlock’s little whimpers are getting breathier, rising in pitch as John works him closer. John scoops his hands under Sherlock’s thighs and hoists them over John’s shoulders, tilting Sherlock’s arse up off the bed.

John pets the dry pad of his middle finger over the cleft of Sherlock’s arse, feeling him clench at the momentary pressure across his hole. Again, John has to wait for him to relax, and he circles his thumb on Sherlock’s perineum while running his middle finger up and down his arse.

He waits until Sherlock starts moaning again to press his fingertip against Sherlock’s opening and slowly – achingly slowly – push it in. He only gets up to the first knuckle before he withdraws a little, pulsing his finger shallowly.

“Christ,” Sherlock hisses through clenched teeth. “Jesus Christ, John.”

“Mmmm,” John hums. He presses his finger in further and lifts his head. “You’re so tight.”

Sherlock is sweating and gasping now, breath punching out of him frantically. As John works his finger in, Sherlock clenches his hand into a fist and bites down on his knuckles. The sight makes John’s heart pound. This is what he wants, to push Sherlock as far as he can go, to have him completely out of his mind, desperate and trusting himself to John. And when it’s over, when he’s tipped Sherlock over the edge, he wants to be there to catch him, hold him, put him back together.

Sherlock moans around his own knuckles and opens his eyes to stare wildly at John, eyes pleading. John is still fucking one finger in and out, and Sherlock has started to clench in time with his thrusts. They’ve both waited long enough, so John turns and presses a chaste kiss to Sherlock’s thigh. “Just a second.” He eases back, out from Sherlock’s legs, and unfolds off the bed.

He goes to Sherlock’s bathroom and discovers a tub of Vaseline under the sink. Not the most romantic thing in the world, but John forgot they’d need lube and doesn’t want to leave Sherlock alone to look for something less utilitarian. Before he returns to bed, John shucks off his trousers and pants, and Sherlock props himself up to watch.

John puts the Vaseline within reach on the bedside table and climbs back into bed, Sherlock’s arms encircling him as he does so.

“Hello,” John says, pecking Sherlock on the nose. Balanced on one elbow, he closes his other hand around the head of Sherlock’s prick and pumps it twice. In an instant, Sherlock rocks his hips up and wraps his legs around John’s waist.

“Like this, I want it like this,” he murmurs against John’s temple.

“I know you do, baby, just hang on.” John reaches over and scoops up some Vaseline, which he strokes over his own cock. His eyes close at the sensation, then peek open when he feels Sherlock’s hesitant fingers stroking at his thigh.

“I’m okay, Sherlock, just relax. Let me do everything.” Sherlock’s hands curl under John’s armpits to grip his back “Tilt up a bit, that’s it.” Held tight in Sherlock’s limbs, John lines up and just rocks there for a moment, the head of his cock just barely dipping into Sherlock’s body.

“God, Sherlock, I love you,” John says, pressing their foreheads together. As slowly as he can, John presses in, inch by inch, until he’s fully inside. They cling to each other, wrapped in each other’s arms, Sherlock’s head tucked sweetly under John’s chin.

John grinds his face into Sherlock’s hair, trying to adjust to the tight clench of Sherlock’s body. “You feel so good, Sherlock, Christ.” John carefully tilts his hips back and then cups them forward again, not thrusting but rocking gently.

Sherlock flings his head back and groans loudly. “John, John, John,” he chants, and squeezes his eyes shut. “Don’t stop.”

“Never.” John rocks a bit harder. “So perfect, so good.”

Between them Sherlock is still breathtakingly hard, and he rolls his hips to press himself into John’s stomach. And John lets him, knowing it feels good but isn’t enough to make him come before John’s ready.

One of John’s arms is wrapped beneath Sherlock and he raises the other to disentangle Sherlock’s fingers from the sheets and clasp their hands together. They’re as close as they can get now, pressed together from their faces to their hips, and Sherlock’s legs squeezing around John’s waist.

John adds a little kick to his gentle thrusts inward, but keeps the movement soft, unhurried, pleasurable without being intense. He feels warm and content, buried in the man he loves, and sighs happily.

Sherlock’s head collapses to the pillow and he rolls it back and forth.

“John,” he whines, “Jesus Christ.”

“Good?” John asks, though he already knows it is.

“Perfect.” Sherlock tilts his head back, exposing his throat, and repeats, “Perfect, oh God.”

John huffs out a breathless laugh, and says, “Yes, you feel so good.” Now he releases Sherlock’s hand and cups his hips enough that he can wrap his fingers around Sherlock’s cock.

Sherlock keens, “yes, John, fuck!” He drags his fingernails down John’s back and tucks his forehead into John’s shoulder to watch as John strokes him. He whimpers again.

“You have no idea how beautiful you are,” John says into Sherlock’s hair. “No idea…” He runs his thumb around the head of Sherlock’s prick and Sherlock jolts with a loud “nngh!”

“Shh, not yet, don’t come yet,” John murmurs. He stills his hand and nuzzles Sherlock’s hair. “Not yet, just hold on.”

Sherlock is panting hard, coming down from the edge, and he drops his head back to the pillows to stare wildly into John’s eyes. “Wha-what are you – ” he gasps.

“I want to make you come so hard, so hard you can’t even think.” John rocks his hips forward. “Just hold on for a little bit, okay?” Sherlock nods and swallows hard.

“I could keep you here all afternoon, just like this.” John takes hold of Sherlock’s prick again. “Stay inside you until it’s dark and then hold you while you sleep.” Sherlock is already squirming in pleasure. “Would you like that?” John brushes a kiss to his eyebrow.

“Nnngh, yes – John! – yes…” Sherlock grabs John’s bicep and clings. “Yes. Oh fuck, John, s-stop!” He twists his head away and bites his bottom lip. John freezes.

“You’re so close,” he whispers. Sherlock moans and nods weakly. “You need it, don’t you? And you trust me, you know I’ll take care of you.”

“Yes, yes, always,” Sherlock pants. John tilts Sherlock’s head back and brings their lips together for a deep, sweet kiss, Sherlock grinding his hips uncontrollably.

“You beautiful thing,” John says. He hitches Sherlock’s legs up higher, around his ribcage, to tilt Sherlock’s hips up at a better angle. “Come on, that’s it,” John babbles, his cock sinking deeper. “Oh god, that’s perfect.”

Until now, John’s own pleasure had been a far-away afterthought, a side-effect of pleasuring Sherlock. But now, as Sherlock’s eyes widen and he breathes “oh,” John’s stomach muscles clench. Suddenly, he knows he only had a few minutes before he’ll come, and he starts thrusting in earnest, not rough, but long and steady.

He’s keeping a careful balance; he can’t come before Sherlock, but he doesn’t want to take too long to come after Sherlock, eager as he is to just collapse and hold him as they come down. John speeds up, working the head of his cock against Sherlock’s insides.

John is trying to keep pace with Sherlock, who is coming totally undone now, head whipping around on the pillow, eyes unfocused. His nails dig into John’s biceps and his heart pounds against John’s chest. He’s whimpering a steady murmur of nonsense, too much of his self-awareness turned inward to stop himself. “Yes, yes, yes, John, don’t stop, don’t – oh, John.”

John watches him flail, so in love he can barely speak. For a final time, John takes hold of Sherlock’s cock and pumps him firmly, not teasing anymore. This time Sherlock needs to come, and John concentrates on getting them both there.

This is what he’s been waiting for, these last few moments, when Sherlock is writhing helplessly, and moaning with total abandon, needing John to pleasure him.

Almost, John thinks. Almost.

“I love you,” Sherlock gasps, and John’s rhythm falters or a moment. “John, fuck! Don’t – ”

“Sorry, oh, Jesus,” John is suddenly a lot closer than he was before, and words just start pouring out of him. “I love you too, oh God, Sherlock. I want you to come – fuck – oh fuck, come for me, baby. You’re right there…”

John twists his hand around Sherlock’s cockhead once, twice, and Sherlock freezes. “Oh,” he breathes. His body starts to arch up. “Oh!” His mouth works silently for a second and then he falls, neck and head jerking back as he bucks hard beneath John. Each contraction jolts through him, making his stomach muscles clench hard.

After the first few pulses, Sherlock wrenches his head up and buries it in John’s shoulder, crying out in pitiful little whines.

John closes his eyes and lets himself go, working his cock in short, desperate thrusts until he gasps, “Sherlock” and comes hard. Sherlock clings to him while they both shake, tremors shivering through him even once John has quieted and almost collapsed.

“Shhh, hey, I’ve got you, shhh.” John cups Sherlock’s feverish cheek and Sherlock reaches up to grab his hand. For a long moment they stay there, hand in hand. John catches his breath while Sherlock struggles through the last few tremors, then finally opens his eyes. To John’s surprise, they’re bright with tears.

“Hey,” John whispers, and kisses Sherlock’s panting mouth. “You’re okay, I’m right here.” John’s shoulder finally gives out and he rolls over to the side, drawing Sherlock with him so they’re lying face to face on their sides.

John squirms closer and gathers Sherlock into his arms, their foreheads pressed together. John closes his eyes and lets Sherlock get his breath back, one of his hands stroking over Sherlock’s back.

In a few minutes, Sherlock’s breathing slows and deepens, and John opens his eyes when he hears a shaky sigh. Sherlock opens his eyes at the same moment, and John sees that a few tears have fallen down his temple. As Sherlock watches with exhausted eyes, John rubs away the sweat and tears from his face. Then he snuggles in closer and tucks Sherlock’s head under his chin.

“You were happy earlier,” Sherlock murmurs, “when I got slapped.”

John drops a kiss to the crown of his head. “You didn’t deserve that, and I wasn’t really happy.”

“…But I’m an insufferable arse sometimes,” Sherlock fills in.

“Exactly.” John nuzzles at Sherlock’s curls. “But not right now.”

“No, I’m very charming right now.”

“You really are.” John feels a little kiss pecked into his Adam’s apple and smiles. “Get some sleep.” Sherlock snuffles into John’s neck and goes still. “We’ll go again when you wake up,” John whispers, and he feels Sherlock smile as they fall asleep.

xxx

The next day, Sherlock leaves his scarf at home and keeps his coat collar down. The bruise John bit into his neck stands out obscenely on his white skin, and John feels the weight of several curious stares as Sherlock paces dramatically in front of a group of wide-eyed Scotland Yarders. John pretends not to notice and sips his coffee, feigning innocence.

“It’s all just staggeringly obvious, if any of you would bother to look. How any of you ever managed without me…” Sherlock catches sight of Anderson, who is staring at him with unabashed disbelief. “Anderson, who said you could look at me?”

“What IS that?” Anderson squawks, pointing at Sherlock’s love-bite. Sherlock rolls his eyes.

“Honestly, Anderson, don’t be such a prude.” With that, Sherlock spins on his heel and swoops away, leaving John, as always, to follow close behind.