A breath in the darkness – he whispers my name and for a moment I believe I am dreaming. In disbelief, I raise my hand to his face, feeling the pale solidness of him. His eyes are as beautiful as ever, shifting their colours with the moonlight through my window.
“Sher –” I struggle to say, but he lifts a finger to my lips.
“You were dead.” I didn’t mean to breathe that. He laughs.
“No, I wasn’t.”
“Then how come you never told me?”
“I’m telling you now. Shush, John. We only have tonight.”
I frown. Isn’t he going to beg me to go back to Baker Street with him? Isn’t he going to insist we carry on as if nothing had ever happened, as if nothing changed that fateful morning when I realised that I couldn’t always catch Sherlock when he fell?
“Only tonight?” is all I ask instead.
“I’m not done with what I had to do. I’m so sorry.” Sherlock’s face moves back into the shadows. “I couldn’t resist. You can’t tell anyone I visited you. Pretend like this never happened tomorrow.”
Sherlock shakes his head. “I had to jump that day, John. He was going to kill you if I didn’t. And if his cronies know I’m still alive, well…” he trails off. “They’ll target you again,” he sighs.
I raise an eyebrow. “But you’re still here.”
“Because I can’t live without you.” The expression tumbles abruptly out of Sherlock’s mouth and he grimaces, claps a hand to his mouth as if he shouldn’t have said that, as if he’s not in control of his words for once. I think Sherlock punching me in the stomach would have winded me less.
Sherlock says he can’t live without me. Me. What does he see in – no, that’s – no. He must be drunk or tired or something. He can’t possibly be saying this to me with a straight face and those bright, beautiful eyes – no. I’m dreaming again, with eyes wide open. Aren’t I?
But this dream is so solid, so real. If that’s the case, then I never want to wake up.
After a moment I catch my breath. “You’ve got to be kidding me, Sherlock. That’s –”
“No. John. I mean that.” Sherlock cuts me off, grabs my face again and bringing me closer to him, our breaths mingling in the cold dark bedroom. “If I could live without you, I wouldn’t have returned so early. I had to see you.”
“Your limp returned.”
My face screws up in pain and remembrance, of the dim, recent memory of trudging up staircases with the cane once more, of staring hopelessly out the window of Ella’s parlour as the rain poured down and my heart beat painfully in my chest. Sherlock reaches for my hair, brushing a bit of my fringe out of my eyes.
“I am so sorry,” he whispers, and then before I know it he is kissing me. A thousand apologies are tucked into that kiss. I cannot help but respond; I cannot help but melt into his arms, against his lips. It’s a chaste gesture with very little pressure, but there is so much hidden underneath that I’m not sure if I uncovered everything at first contact.
“You’re a right bastard, Holmes,” I mutter against his lips, and we pause for air. He laughs shortly, tugging off his scarf.
“May I stay here for tonight?”
“In my room?”
“In your bed. With you.” Trust Sherlock not to beat around the bush. “I need you, John.”
Who am I to refuse?
I nod, but then Sherlock is kissing me again, much less chaste this time. This time I open my mouth for him, letting his tongue explore my mouth, letting our breaths mingle in the space between. My eyes close; I relish in every detail I can feel. The warmth of pleasure courses through me, threatening to become a heady tide.
Slowly I slip away, I let myself go. I cling onto Sherlock, needing and wanting him closer and closer until it aches within me. He, too, tugs me closer to his body, mashes our mouths together with bruising brutality, moans into my mouth as my hands slip past the small of his back to grasp his arse. He arches to me. I break the second kiss to move my lips to his aristocratic cheekbones, kissing a slow, wet trail down to his jawline.
Sherlock’s hands grip the hem of my nightshirt. I feel heat pulsing through my body; I feel my blood rushing southwards. Through half-lidded eyes I see his flushed expression, the desire clouding his eyes. It only makes me want him more, this beautiful, insane genius who apparently cannot live without plain old me. I feel powerful.
I kiss down Sherlock’s jawline, reaching his neck. He arches to me; I bite down slightly and lick where I’ve bitten. He moans; my tongue swirls and dances along his Adam’s apple and down to the hollow between his collarbones. There, I encounter his clothing, but that is quickly taken care of when he discards coat and shirt, exposing his chest.
He’s gotten skinnier. Life on the run may do that to someone, I suppose. I kiss along his collarbones; I kiss his shoulders; I bite at his neck hard enough to induce bruising. He moans again, hands slipping down to palm me through my pants. I groan, hips bucking into his touch. I need him even more now.
There’s a question mark between us, I’m sure. What does this mean? Will he still love me tomorrow? The questions chase me through my mind, but I know I can’t mull over things too much. Sherlock said only one night; I can’t let it go to waste.
“Hold back the sun,” Sherlock mutters against my shoulder as he continues to stroke me. I whimper, leaning away from Sherlock to take my shirt off. He, in turn, withdraws his hand to divest himself of his own clothing. There’s a distinct feeling of lack, of emptiness in the moments when our skin do not make contact.
And when they do once more, I am on fire. Now naked, Sherlock presses me down onto my bed, kissing me once more; his hands slip back down, pushing down my pants. I’m already half-hard; his fingers quickly take it all the way. I capture his gaze, refusing to tear mine from his as my hands stroke his face. His eyes are darkened with lust now, but still that befuddling quicksilver shade that changes with the light.
God, he’s beautiful.
“I passed by several times before,” Sherlock whispers into the shell of my ear as I press our bodies together; his hands stroke my cock languorously, almost teasingly – he must know how every touch sends frissions up and down my spine, how his fingertips set me aflame for him.
“Could’ve been dangerous.”
“And yet here I am.”
I smile and kiss him, flipping our positions so that I’m straddling him. I kiss his nose, his eyelashes, his cheeks, his forehead, his chin. I kiss down his neck once more, noting the slight off tint of what could be a bruise tomorrow morning. I kiss along his collarbone, down his chest, to his navel.
“You sat there on my doorstep last Saturday,” I mumble against the dark curls adorning his cock, remembering. “You were there. I thought I was seeing things, because you disappeared the moment I looked again.”
“You had a terrible limp that day,” agrees Sherlock. “I’m so sorry.”
The moment stretches, expands like a soap bubble that lasts much longer than it should have, colours fading into monochrome, temporary membrane thinning and dissolving. Time’s running out; I don’t want the sky to lighten.
I press a kiss to the tip of his erection. My tongue runs down the underside of his cock and back, and he whispers my name with a small groan. John. There’s so much tucked away in that, too.
Slowly I reach out to stroke him with my fingers as well; he sighs, one hand tugging lightly at my hair. “John,” he says again, voice straining. “Say you’ll wait.”
“For what?” I ask, tongue running a lazy trail along the underside of his glans. He gasps sharply. I grin and do it again, causing his hand to tug my head back slightly, to prevent me from undoing him again.
“My footsteps on the staircase in Baker Street. It’s only a matter of time.” Sherlock shifts, lets go of my hair, sits up a bit straighter. “Please.”
“Sherlock, I have a life outside of you, you know.” I lean up as well, taking his hand. “I can’t make promises like that.”
“It’s the only way I’ll know if it’s worth coming back at all, John. Say you’ll wait, and I’ll return.”
“What if they get you, then?” I ask. “What if I promise you that and you end up dead in a ditch tomorrow? What will I do then?”
“I…” he pauses, before leaning in and kissing me once, twice, thrice. “I… would have died trying to keep that last promise. Remember that, at least.” He looks down, biting his lip. I squeeze his fingers before leaning in to kiss him again, and he kisses back again; our tongues mingle as our fingers entwine and my eyes are closed in bliss; I can only imagine what he must be feeling.
“Closer, John,” Sherlock breathes against my lips, and I open my eyes to see him, eyes still closed but heart wide open, more open than I’ve ever seen him. This is the vulnerable Sherlock Holmes, and I want to wrap him in my arms and protect him forever and ever inside my heart.
I’m not sure how much of this he’d anticipated when he slipped into my flat tonight, but one look outside at the sky and at my clock tells me that we still have tonight, that we could still go anywhere we’d like with this. I pull him closer; I press our bodies together.
“Have you ever?” I ask.
“Couple of times, both genders,” he admits. “Curiosity.”
It only hurts slightly that I’m not his first, but it doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t matter. He’s here now, with me, and even if ‘us’ is still dangling in the air between us like some prized possession on the very top shelf of a high bookcase, I still want him badly and he’s not protesting. So I don’t protest, either.
“Keep your eyes open,” I suggest instead.
So it goes. So I kiss him, still learning his kissing quirks – and I’m sure he’s catalogued mine, shelved away all of my preferences and eccentricities on what little we’ve done so far. I push him back down and resume my position in between his legs before he broached the topic of waiting, and I kiss his cock once more as I take it in my hands. My tongue darts out, runs along the corona and down the shaft in a line; he sighs audibly and tangles his fingers in my hair once more.
We still have tonight, I remind myself.
I’ve a distinct lack of recent experience with this, so I doubt that I am half as skilled as he seems to think based on his verbal responses, but the very sound of his voice, that low baritone moaning my name and humming in pleasure, is enough to drive me to the brink as well. I pump his cock faster and lick around the tip, eyes flickering up to meet his as I do so, and as his fingers curl in my hair until it hurts I can’t help but smile at the utterly undone expression on his face – he’s close, I know, and I’m bringing him there with my touch.
One more kiss, one long languorous lick, and he comes with a strangled moan that sounded vaguely like my name. I lean up and kiss him again, gasping as I feel his fingers wrap around my own neglected cock.
“Returning the favour,” Sherlock replies, thumb stroking around the glans as he shifts and now I lie back, looking up at him. “Will you wait?”
“Wha?” I mumble; already the fog of pleasure creeps up in my mind at the very sight of Sherlock Holmes leaning over me, expression as tentative as the entire situation. There’s only promises left here, promises that could be easily broken. Nothing is ever definite.
“Will you wait for me?” Sherlock doesn’t repeat, normally, but this time he does and I’m not sure what to think. I would love to wait. Lord knows it’s all I ever do these days.
“Yes,” I tell Sherlock, and his fingers resume their magic; I feel sparks of pleasure flying before my eyes. I cry out as Sherlock’s teeth clamp onto one of my nipples as his hand continues to pump my cock, moving up and down faster and faster until the warmth of friction burns at my cheeks and all coherent thoughts run into each other like crashing trains.
He leans down and takes me in his mouth, sucking firmly yet gently, teeth scraping lightly at the underside once he draws away. My breath catches in my throat, flees from me in a sigh. My mind cannot be any more fogged over with bliss, because Sherlock is now running his tongue along my glans as he resumes sucking, fingers ghosting across the rest of my skin. I’m shivering and moaning, my eyes rolling back into my head as Sherlock picks up the pace.
We still have tonight, but Sherlock now bobs up and down along my cock frantically, as if our time is running out – and it is, in a way, but I try not to think of that. I try not to think at all; I focus instead on feeling. Just feeling him caressing and sucking and all over me, imprinting himself on my flesh, across my skin – the very thought sends frissions through me. He pulls back and smirks against my cock; I groan and curl my fingers tighter in his hair.
The friction increases with speed, and with that, white-hot pleasure. I feel my climax drawing closer and closer; Sherlock anticipates it, too, because he’s going faster and faster, hands cupping my scrotum and feeling the tension coiled inside – I feel like that soap bubble, floating on borrowed time and ready to burst. I arch into Sherlock’s mouth and my fingers curl tightly, almost painfully, in Sherlock’s hair. He doesn’t complain.
I reach the top and I fall over; I’m spiralling downwards on a wave of pleasure. Sherlock swallows with a grimace, but he kisses me nonetheless and I taste salty bitterness in his mouth instead of smoky nicotine. I’m not sure which one I’d prefer.
“Would you trust a promise?” Sherlock asks, hovering over me for a moment before pressing our bodies together. I lean up and kiss him again and again, as if my lips cannot get enough of his skin (they probably can’t). I nod, stroking his cheek, resting our foreheads. He sighs, letting loose all the tension coiled inside him in one long exhale.
“I’ll wait for your footsteps in Baker Street,” I mumble against the shell of his ear as he presses lazy kisses to my chest, to the scar on my left shoulder. There is reverence in his eyes.
“It’s going to be harder from here on out,” Sherlock replies, looking up at me from his position against my chest, “now that I know what I can lose.”
“But it’ll get better,” I reply quietly.
We can’t tiptoe around this question mark forever. We can’t exist only within shades of grey. Someday we’ll define some things between us, I’m sure, but that day isn’t here yet. We’ve still got tonight, these stolen moments, and there’s nothing I want more.
Sherlock is gone in the morning. He tried to leave quietly, without waking me, but I heard him tiptoeing through the flat and out the door, and I know that he is gone now, gone back once more into the breach.
I’m not sure when he’ll surface again, but he will – he promised me he will – and in the meantime this is all I have of him.