It started with the rain. It had been raining all day, a steady drizzle that drummed on the roof of 221 Baker Street in a lulling rhythm. It made it hard to stay alert. Definitely a day to want to stay in and not do anything of importance. John was watching crap telly, sitting on the chesterfield. The fact that his flatmate was already lying on it was irrelevant; he'd simply walked up, lifted Sherlock's ankles, sat down, and let Sherlock's feet fall back onto his lap. Sherlock's eyes slitted open to give him a funny look, then slid closed again - not worth interrupting whatever he was thinking about. It wasn't a case, John knew that. And the crap telly wasn't bothering him, so it couldn't be that important.
Man, the crap telly was even more crap than usual.
Which was why, lulled by the drone of the rain and the escalating boredom of the telly, John found himself distracted by Sherlock's feet. Like the man himself, they were long, not a lot of flesh on them, and narrow, with high arches. There was a surprising number of scars, including one that ran around the base of a toe. Nearly tore it off, John thought. Without really thinking about it, he reached out a finger to trace the thick scar lightly, causing Sherlock's foot to twitch.
John smiled. Mindful of his friend's sensory sensitivities, he ran his fingers along the backs of his toes then around to the sole. Carefully gauging his touch, he ran his fingers up Sherlock's arch and grinned at the flinches and jerks. Sherlock's eyes slit open to give him a black look but John just grinned impishly. Sherlock snarled at him and scraped his feet against the chesterfield arm to stop the sensation. John propped his chin on his hand and went back to watching telly.
Yeah, right. After a few minutes, the fingers of his other hand were sneaking along, stalking their prey. He sneaked another tickle and grinned when Sherlock yanked his feet away and struggled to sit up. He scowled at John and huffed, then got up and stalked to the kitchen, scuffing his feet against the carpet. He came back a moment later and glared at John, who gazed back at him with such an innocent smile, he could imagine that a halo had suddenly appeared over his head. Sherlock sat back down on the chesterfield then lay down again. This time he lay the other way, laying his head in John's lap with a defiant expression that clearly meant Let's see how you like these apples. When John didn't react, he tented his fingers again and closed his eyes.
A few minutes later, he felt John's fingers sneak into his hair and start to stroke. Sherlock tensed. His scalp was so sensitive, his visits to the barber were sheer torture and he often wished he could get away with growing his hair out, but his unruly curls quickly became a tangled mess that set the standard for bad hair day. But John's fingers were light and carded carefully. The feeling was pleasant, soothing, and eventually Sherlock let himself relax back into deeper thinking.
John wasn't even watching the telly now; he was watching Sherlock. Watching the play of micro-expressions flitting across his face - the tension, the apprehension, the anticipation of discomfort, the relaxation, the pleasure, the concentration as his focus deepened. He smiled softly as he watched. His eyes scanned over Sherlock's hands, looking at the scars decorating them. He could distinguish his own contributions quite easily, healed to thread-thin lines that were barely visible. He found a scar that he had worked on fairly recently, and lightly touched Sherlock's hands, turning them slightly so he could get a better look to see how it was healing.
Again Sherlock's eyes slitted open with an ever so slightly annoyed look. Are you going to keep distracting me? the look seemed to ask. John just smiled a tender smile and stroked his fingertips over the healed scar. He slipped his fingers into Sherlock's steepled fingers and squeezed lightly. After a moment, Sherlock's fingers curled to link with John's, and the fingers of the other hand curled to cover them. I am devoted to my work, the gesture seemed to say,And you are part of my work.
John smiled and sighed contentedly. He watched as, after a moment, Sherlock's face smoothed and the corners of his lips indented ever so slightly in an inner smile.
They stayed that way until the end of John's show, then he extricated his hand and let Sherlock's fingers return to their usual position. The sweet little inner smile was still there. Enchanted, John traced his fingertips lightly along Sherlock's jaw. This time, the other man's eyes opened fully, giving John a quizzical look. John returned an affectionate smile as he continued his slow exploration. Sherlock's face was baffled for just an instant before a happier smile took up residence. He turned to settle his cheek against John's hip and closed his eyes, his face relaxing into a look of contentment.
The rain drummed down. John let his fingers steal along Sherlock's jaw, feeling the muscle, feeling the texture of the bone underneath. He could feel the distortion where it had dislocated once and been reset. He could feel the evidence of past bone bruises. He resolved never, ever, to punch Sherlock in the jaw, no matter how angry he was. He wished he had his camera to capture Sherlock's oh-so-rare content face, but his phone was across the room. Besides, he knew that any attempt to capture it would destroy it. So he tried to memorise the image to keep forever in a mind palace of his own. Sherlock's little smile was so sweet, John couldn't help but touch it, stroking a fingertip ever so lightly along his flatmate's lower lip.
Sherlock's eyes flew open and he tried to look up at John, but his angle meant that he got as far as John's navel. It was either close his eyes again or move. After an instant's hesitation, he opted against moving and closed his eyes again. Then his smile took on a mischevious hint and the next time John's fingertip stroked over his lips, he smooched it.
John froze. The mischevious smile got a little wider and Sherlock drew John's finger in to nibble it and lightly flick his tongue around it. The fingers are the most sensitive part of the body, packed with more nerve endings than the genitals, transmitting much more sensation. He heard John's breath catch and leaned back with a smug, challenging look that seemed to say Whaddya think of that?
John felt short of breath and slightly light-headed from the rush of blood that had left his brain for an abrupt vacation in the tropics. He hesitated, seeming torn for a moment. Then he touched Sherlock's lips again with an equally challenging smile that seemed to say Bring it on.
Sherlock couldn't help but grin. And in the back of John's mind, some tiny part of him was dancing about going 'Yay!' because there was no greater treasure than a genuine, happy, amused Sherlock grin. They were rare and, everyone told him, only John had been able to trigger them with any reliability. John traced that grin, noting the deep indents in Sherlock's cheeks, how it created dimples under his cheekbones, how it creased the corners of his eyes. Sherlock had narrow eyes and his grin forced them up almost into that anime squeezy-eyed look. John adored it and seeing it always made him feel that living with his aggravating flatmate was worthwhile after all.
He was so absorbed in adoring that he forgot what he was challenging, and he gasped when that grin abruptly closed over his fingertips and a tongue ran up the undersides. He choked back a moan as Sherlock drew his flatmate's fingers deeper into his mouth. Sherlock chuckled, that low, rich rumble deep in his throat, and John gasped again as the rest of his blood seemed to have caught a seat sale to the tropics and bailed out on his brain, leaving him unable to think straight.
Sherlock tongued around the quicks of John's fingernails and John started to giggle. He flexed an eyebrow.
"I can't think straight," John giggled.
Sherlock looked at the doctor like he'd just won the Captain Obvious Cup. "I believe that was the point," he started. Then he got it. "Puns, John? Really?"
"Sorry." John passed his free hand over his face and grinned, "You're such a brat."
"Yes I know," the smug smirk was back, "My brother used to say that all the time." There was a horrible pause. "OH GOD!" Sherlock's head slammed against John's thigh and he tried to claw the image out of his mind's eye while John howled with laughter. "Noooooooo did not mean it like that!"
"Way to kill the mood, Sherlock," John wiped his eyes and grinned down at his friend, "Just so you know, it is not medically possible to die of mortification."
"Unfair. It should be." He took his hands away from his pink face.
"You're so cute when you blush."
"Really?" Sherlock arched an eyebrow at his friend, "So are you."
"Oh really? And when was I blushing?"
"Just now," Sherlock replied and brought John's hand to his lips again, "When I was doing this." And he ran his tongue lightly up and down the sides of each finger. He continued to nibble and suck at each finger until John's breathing was rapid and shallow. Then he made a very pointed, deliberate stare and flicked his eyes up to meet John's, who felt his chin dip fractionally...
"Boys!! You've got another one!" Mrs. Hudson called, and then the flat shook with the stomping feet of Detective Inspector Lestrade and his team of hard-on murdering idiots as they climbed the stairs. John wondered if that could be grounds for justifiable homicide. Sherlock would help him, he was sure. And he'd con Mycroft into covering it up and Mycroft would be so surprised by the reason, he'd actually do it. Yes, that would work...
Sherlock was already up on his feet and stomping around in a storm of irritation that screamed You interrupted me while I was busy! John looked out the window and bit back his grin until he tasted blood. He never thought he'd see the day when Sherlock Holmes would be sulking about getting a case!