John might have liked Sherlock best like this, when they’re naked and wanting and Sherlock’s trying to press all the skin he’s got against him and straining, dying for release. It’s beautiful, to be sure.
But it’s too desperately tragic for John to love it without feeling guilty.
“Never?” he’d said, agog, after the first time they’d fallen into bed, groping desperately at each other until John had come with his mouth on Sherlock’s. He’d reached for Sherlock then, only to have his hand pushed away with a grimace and a muttered, “you needn’t bother.”
Sherlock runs his fingers up through his hair and sits back on his heels. He’s still hard. John’s mouth waters just looking at it, the drop of--
“No,” he says, looking irritated. “It’s...there’s too much.”
John’s eyes narrow, then relax as he understands. “In your head.”
“Everywhere.” He waves a hand vaguely around. “I can enjoy it, of course; orgasms are not the endgame. But it can be...frustrating, on occasion, when I would like to...finish. Not to mention the irritation it can have for a partner, the feelings of inadequacy.” He smiles, a little rueful. “John, you may rest assured that I have yet to find you significantly inadequate in any field in which I value your expertise.”
John grins and nods. His lips tighten at the corners, eyes crinkling in a sort of half-wince. He rubs a hand down Sherlock’s side and kisses him lightly.
“Mind if I try anyways? Some people can’t. On their own. I might...be able to help?”
Sherlock rolls his eyes and shrugs. “If you like.”
Forty-five minutes later, John is still working Sherlock’s cock with mouth and hands, while he’s halfway to coming a second time. He can practically taste Sherlock’s frustration, feel it in the jerking, angry movements of his hips and the crease between his eyebrows.
“Do you want me to stop?” he asks gently.
Sherlock grinds his teeth. “I--yes--no--I don’t--”
“Hey, hey, easy.” He lies down beside him and kisses him again, slow and reassuring. “It’s fine. We’ll figure it out.”
Sherlock bites his lip and smirks. His eyes flick down to John’s cock. “In the meantime...”
They don’t figure it out.
Sherlock was right: it doesn’t bother him all the time. He’s at least as willing to initiate as John is, and a quick study. But the whole time John can see his mind working, firing wildly in all directions. It’s there, in the pained twists at the edges of his mouth and the way he starts to writhe when he can tell anyone else would be coming now, so why isn’t he? He’s furious more than half the time, and it hurts John to watch.
It comes to a head one night when Sherlock slaps his hand into the end table in frustration, knocks a glass over and cuts his hand badly enough to need stitches.
“We’ve got to find a way to turn you off,” John says, guiding the needle through the flesh on the side of Sherlock’s hand with steady fingers.
“You can’t,” Sherlock snaps. “Haven’t we discussed this? This is me, this is how I am and if you don’t like it--”
“Oy,” John says sharply, “don’t. No, really. Let me put it this way, and perhaps then the information may penetrate that unbelievably thick skull of yours. You have a problem. I am a serial fixer of problems, particularly as they apply to people I care about. If Einstein could turn his bloody head off long enough to make some babies with the Mrs, so can you.”
Sherlock snorts at that, but does not argue.
The next day, John has a blindfold and a pair of leather cuffs. Sherlock’s eyes go dark as soon as he comes home from the shop with the bag in hand.
“John,” he breathes.
John’s eyebrow twitches. “Up against the wall then, you. Clothes off.”
He blindfolds him straight off, cuffs him and pins his hands up above his head with one hand while two fingers of the other sink in past the second knuckle. Sherlock’s head drops back in surprise.
“Got you there, did I?” John says into his ear, amused.
“Shut up and keep going,” Sherlock snarls.
John, grinning, dips his head and licks a stripe up the side of Sherlock’s neck, nips at the corner of his jaw. He arches his spine and gasps.
“You may be onto something, John.”
“Come on, I want you to fuck me, do it, I want you to--”
“Jesus fucking Christ.”
Sherlock slumps into the arm John wraps around his waist when he withdraws his fingers.
“Yeah, I know--”
He sees promise when he guides himself in, when Sherlock gasps and shudders and pants out “harder.” He sees it again when he sinks his teeth into the muscle of Sherlock’s right shoulder and he makes this sound like he’s dying, but by then John’s so far gone he can’t keep it going any longer.
“Don’t hold back,” Sherlock says, breathy and drugged-sounding, “if you--need--”
“Fuck. Oh, fucking everything--” John swears, forgetting himself and coming.
They sort of half-fall, half stumble to the couch after that, landing in a pile of limbs. John undoes the cuffs and the blindfold. Sherlock is exceptionally physical, winding his long, wiry arms around John’s torso and nuzzling his face into his neck.
“That was...good,” he says. “And I got close, very close. But I wanted to see...I wanted you. That’s...better. Sometimes.”
John smiles and plants a kiss in the nest of black curls tucked under his chin. “Yep. That’s why tomorrow I’m using the cock ring.”
Sherlock’s breath catches.
“John,” he says at last, “you are a singular man.”
He has a plan for the next day. Not that Sherlock is in any way allowed to know it.
It starts with a short, sweet blowjob after breakfast and before they shower. He stops before Sherlock gets to the point of frustration, leaving him as close to fuzzy and postcoital as he ever gets. In the shower, he works the shampoo through Sherlock’s hair. Sherlock has to bend over a bit so John can reach, but judging from the deep, satisfied sounds rumbling from his throat it’s worth it.
They spend the rest of the morning watching crime dramas, which John enjoys because they’re fun and Sherlock enjoys because he can criticize the poor science and shoddy policework. By late afternoon, Sherlock is getting restless. He doesn’t say anything, of course, but the thumb of the hand on John’s is stroking back and forth whereas the rest of him’s gone entirely still.
John switches the telly off. “Up for a go, are you?” he says mildly.
In answer, Sherlock smears a harsh kiss against his mouth. John grins against it.
“Upstairs, then. On the bed. Blindfold’s waiting. Go up, get naked and lie back. I’ll be right there.”
Sherlock’s frowning, clearly trying to work out what’s happening. John merely arches an eyebrow.
John gives it a few minutes, waits until he’s sure Sherlock will be ready, then takes his time going up the stairs. He sheds his clothes on the landing outside his door, then pushes it open with his elbow.
He’s half-hard, but he doesn’t want to touch himself just yet. Instead, he stills his body and retreats into his head.
Sheets stiff, starchy: recently laundered, new detergent; done at the launderette down the street rather than in Mrs. Hudson’s downstairs--
--the girl last week, the murder victim, she’d done the laundry the night before: not habitually neat, but her clothes were folded and put away, the way a messy person does when they’ve just arsed themselves to do a bit of tidying-up--
“Clean, the cleanest I’ve been...”
--grout coming in between the tiles in the shower--
--the murderer’s apartment had black mold all through the walls--
“I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and it stops my mind from wandering...”
There was something I needed to remember, something--
--stupid girl; always check how easily your key goes in--
“And when my mind is wandering...”
The door opens. Sherlock’s senses perk up.
“Bit of a wait,” says John. “Hope you didn’t get yourself too worked up.”
Weight settles onto the mattress. Sherlock rolls towards it, reaches out, but has his hands gently placed back at his sides.
Sherlock scowls. Under his skin there is a prickling like an approaching shiver, and he squirms.
“Cut that out.”
“I can’t feel you,” Sherlock hisses. “It’s not--”
“Hey,” John says sharply. “Do you want me to stop?”
The question is gentler than the command. Sherlock catches his lower lip in his teeth.
“I...” he says.
“Because if you want me to stop--”
“No,” Sherlock says, quite sure now, “don’t stop, but--come here.”
When John speaks again, Sherlock can hear the smile in his voice. “Twist my arm, why don't you.”
John’s thighs--that’s definitely his thighs--settle across Sherlock’s, and Sherlock sighs with relief. John lets out a little laugh.
“I think I can comfortably say I have never seen someone go from completely wound-up to practically boneless that quickly.”
“Your skills must be varied and prodigious indeed,” Sherlock says dryly.
John’s still grinning when he kisses him, and Sherlock takes advantage of this to hook his tongue between his lips.
Kissing John is almost as good as the sex, and never frustrating. When he’s kissing John he’s in a prime spot to feel the little huffs of breath and quiet sighs and soft half-moans that he earns with his fingers on John’s shoulders, back, hips. It’s enough to keep him in the moment for some time, but not forever.
The chemicals stimulated by arousal in the adult male--
His lips break around John’s in a half-wince. John pulls away and puts his hands on both sides of Sherlock’s head.
“Hey,” he says, voice steady. “Out of there.”
Sherlock’s lips part in surprise. John takes the opportunity to kiss them again, hands rubbing down the muscles of his torso to his hips.
“What am I thinking?” he asks.
Sherlock’s eyebrows twitch up, his mouth caught open in mild surprise. “I...I’m not telepathic, John.”
“True.” He brushes a kiss to the underside of Sherlock’s jaw, hands rubbing up and down over his ribcage. “Close as someone can get, though, and don’t say you haven’t thought it.”
Sherlock scowls. “I can’t see you. I can’t tell.”
“Fine. What am I feeling, then?” His slightly chapped lips are soft on Sherlock’s neck, almost paradoxically so. “What am I doing? How am I sitting?”
Sherlock closes his eyes behind the blindfold.
Consider John’s height relative to mine, palms not flattened to skin, fingers curled but no contact with fingernails, relative movement of right and left hands, placement of mouth on neck...
“Um,” Sherlock breathes, “You’re naked.”
“Good so far. Go on.”
“You’re sitting on my thighs, but you’ve got your knees to the side to take some of your body weight. Currently your left arm is pressed close, probably uncomfortably so, to your torso, but your right arm is more or less free.” He grins a little. “Your back’s going to get tired of that before long.”
“Full marks,” John says, trailing light half-bites down Sherlock’s throat. “Now, tell me what I’m doing next.”
John abruptly rolls up and off of Sherlock. He grimaces, the sudden lack of contact a shock, and in the time he’s doing so John does...something, and Sherlock misses it. There’s so much in his system, so much going on that he can’t--quite--
“You were on top of me,” he says, because he has to say something. “You don’t do that often. It’s...good.”
There is no reply, though Sherlock knows he’s still in the room. He would’ve heard the door, at least. His head’s still reeling, the wheels of his mind spinning out in the mud, so he keeps talking. Good for the process.
Not to mention that Sherlock has a few tricks to make John talk.
“The last time you did that, you let me finger you for ages, hours, it felt like, and then you skewered yourself on me and fucked yourself until you came shouting.”
Sure enough, there’s a sharp intake of breath to the left, at roughly nine o’clock. Grinning, Sherlock turns his head towards the source.
“And now you’ve opened my dresser drawer. Very quietly; you’re to be commended. I went into the dresser on the other side earlier; nothing unusual there, so you must be keeping the...oh.”
“There we are, putting that genius to good use,” says John, sinking back onto the bed. He taps the inside of Sherlock’s knee. “Spread ‘em.”
Sherlock follows the shifts in the distribution of weight on the mattress, John moving from his side to kneel between his legs, bend forward, take his hand, and guide it--oh.
“John,” he breathes, stroking along the length of him. When his fingers feel the thin band of silicone at the base of his cock, he feels like all the air’s being pressed from his lungs.
John kisses him on the forehead. It’s a little shy, and not at all what Sherlock was expecting, which is frankly the best thing in ages. “I want to make this yours,” he murmurs. “This, everything we’re doing.”
“I want to peel you open and look inside,” Sherlock blurts out. “And I want you to do the same to me.”
“God, yes. Anything.”
They don’t speak for a little while. They don’t need to. This isn’t where Sherlock loses himself. This is where he thrives, in fact, when he’s free to explore and feel and make fire in the beads of sweat along his lover’s hairline. He wades in the involuntary twitches in John’s extremities, swims through the full-body jerks and gasps of sudden shocks of pleasure, the hitches in his breath. They speak to him, these things, and he wants to hear them.
“I can tell you what you’re thinking,” he says, wrapping his hands around John’s hips and bucking up so they both gasp.
“Tell me,” says John. “Jesus, yes, tell me what I’m thinking.”
“You’re thinking I’m beautiful.”
John barks out a harsh laugh. “Safe guess.”
Sherlock bares his teeth. “You’re thinking of how badly you want to see me laid out. Undone.”
Their hips are moving in earnest, rhythm slow and steady, adagio ma non troppo. “Wrong,” John hisses.
Sherlock delivers a punishing bite to his collarbone.
“Would you like me to tell you what I’m thinking?”
“I’m thinking of how if I didn’t have this fucking thing on, I’d be coming like a rocket right now. You forget I’m selfish. Would you like me to go on?”
“Yes,” he says emphatically, before returning to running his teeth and lips and tongue down the shell of John’s ear.
“I was thinking of how beautiful you are now, and how much lovelier you’re going to be after you’ve come, all soft and glowing like a fucking--dark-haired Botticelli angel--”
“Then make me.”
“Jesus fucking Christ, soon, yes--and I was thinking about fingering you and you telling me what I’m doing, the whole time--and how long I can hold back from fucking you through the bloody mattress.”
Sherlock is already as aroused as he has ever been in his life. He grits his teeth and gestures vaguely with one hand. “Where’s the fucking--” He hears the click of the cap and his legs spread wider automatically.
John chuckles. “Will you look at that. Like Pavlov’s dogs.”
Sherlock’s got a retort on the tip of his tongue, but then there’s a cold, slick finger nudging just barely against him, not quite into, and he hasn’t the breath to say it anymore.
“Tell me,” says John, harsh and guttural.
“You’re--oh--teasing me. Cruel.”
“Teasing? Yes. Cruel? No.”
Now it’s into rather than just against, agonizingly slowly, and Sherlock grimaces and twitches his hips a little.
“Oh--one finger, slowly, approximately forty-four a minute, that’s--largo, very slow largo...” His face scrunches up. “Oh, just hurry it--”
“No,” John says patiently. There’s a catch in his breath. “What else am I doing?”
There is a light slap to the outside of his thigh. “Don’t be thick.”
He isn’t. His hand, when he--and before, and just now, the sounds--
“Oh,” Sherlock says softly. “You’re wanking yourself off.”
John makes a small, choked noise. Between Sherlock’s legs, he can feel a second finger edging--in--
“Oh, Jesus Christ, Jesus fucking Christ,” he gasps, and he’s not going so slowly anymore.
“Two fingers,” Sherlock says, “and your hand on your cock, moving at--God, moving at the same rate as your fingers, and you’re twisting--oh God--you’re curling your fingers in me, and it feels like I’m burning, like my nerve endings are on fire, and you’re twisting your hand on the upstroke--God, just do it now, now!”
The fingers are gone (he sighs) and there’s a tangle of limbs as John crowds closer and Sherlock is trying to get as much of his skin in contact with as much of John’s skin as he possibly can, and then he’s almost entirely still, because he can feel just the head of John’s cock edging against him.
He moans in spite of himself and fights to keep entirely still. There’s a trembling in his arms and legs, but there’s nothing to be done about that.
“Don’t stop talking,” John grinds out, and pushes in with one slow shocking glide.
Sherlock’s eyes go wide behind the blindfold. He fists his hands in the sheets. “Oh God, I--”
John kisses him softly on the head. “Shh, you’re fine, keep talking.”
The base of his spine arches up and he grimaces, but he does his best. “You’re--fucking me.”
“Slowly again, too bloody slowly--”
“Almost--almost the same as before. Largo.” His tongue rolls over the “r” sound with exquisite grace even as he’s writhing in the bedsheets.
John picks up the pace. “Tempo.”
Sherlock gasps. “Er--I--adagio,” he spits out at last. “Adagio. Seventy-two.”
Sherlock’s cock is achingly untouched.
He can hear John’s grin. Sherlock wants to bite it off his face.
But not as much as he wants to hear what he is going to say.
“I think I can improve on that, don’t you?”
“What’s a good tempo, d’you think? You’ll have to excuse me; marching band was years ago.”
“Oh my God.”
“Tell me, Sherlock.”
Sherlock is spinning off-balance with the possibilities. “I--one-sixty,” he breathes. “Allegro assai.”
Tempo I--John. 94.
Tempo II--my present heart rate. 110.
Tempo III--John’s heart rate. 116.
He puts his hands very deliberately on John’s hips. They still momentarily, which throws Sherlock’s internal tempo off only for a moment until he realizes he’s drumming the rhythm on the side of John’s leg.
“Yes,” he sighs.
John, marvelous John, must have been very good in marching band, because he’s fantastic at following direction.
“I know what the problem was,” John gasps, pounding home with a sharp kick of his hips. “What I forgot. I was only fucking your body. I forgot how badly I wanted to fuck your mind.”
Sherlock laughs, breathless and drunk.
“What’s--Christ--what’s in it? Now? In that--mad fucking head. Tell me.”
“Three--” This can’t be, it can’t, it’s--everything-- “three sonatas, a violin concerto and a symphony.”
“Oh my God,” John groans. “My fucking God, you are perfect, you are. Beautiful, every bit of you, all over and inside--”
Sherlock’s digging his fingernails into John’s back, just about past speech, though not sound. He’s half-shouting, in fact, broken cries of absolute delirium.
“The concerto,” John pants, “what--”
“Vivaldi’s Winter. First movement.”
“When it’s almost over, I want you to make me touch you.”
“Oh God,” Sherlock spits out, squeezing his eyes shut and twisting his head to the side.
He is the sounds of a snowstorm echoing inside his skull, and the feeling of the tide’s ebb and flow when John pulls halfway out before pounding hard back in. He is in his fingertips scrabbling for a handhold on John’s back, shoulders, anything, and in the skin and tendons of his neck as John sinks his teeth in hard. He is everywhere, everything, and it’s all so very good he can barely breathe.
Thirty-two bars to go. Close enough.
“Now,” Sherlock gasps, “now, now!”
With a moan of relief John rolls his weight to his left hand, pauses for a moment (Sherlock nearly sobs), snaps the ring off, flings it aside and reaches for Sherlock’s desperately weeping cock.
Sherlock is arching the curve of his spine, twisting, writhing in his effort to find someplace to put all this fucking sensation. It’s everywhere. How does anyone feel this much without sobbing, combusting, exploding? Because it’s definitely fire that’s sparking in his cheeks and cock and his fingers and toes, and it’s going to kill him soon, he’s sure, but then he’s sobbing and shouting and coming.
“Yes, oh my God, yes, come for me,” John growls in his ear. His rhythm goes unsteady, he thrusts in balls-deep, he takes a deep breath in, and then Sherlock can--oh my God, he can feel John coming too, feel it inside of him, at the same time, it’s all happening at once.
It feels like hours.
When the tingling’s gone out of his limbs, he sags onto the bed like he can’t be arsed to pretend he’s a vertebrate. John pulls out and flops down beside him, chest shaking with voiceless laughter.
“Jesus fucking Christ.” He rolls over and tucks his face into Sherlock’s shoulder, still laughing. “God, that was...yeah.”
“Not yet with the talking, then?”
John chuckles and kisses him on the jaw. “Good though?”
Sherlock frowns as if he’s considering the question.
“Oh, satisfactory. So you don’t think you could use those every once in a while?”
The corner of Sherlock’s mouth twitches up. “I could potentially--”
“--oh, ‘I could potentially--’”
“--enjoy a...repeated trial. The experimental method, you know.”’
“Oh, yes. Of course. The experimental method.”