Objectively speaking, it’s not so different from coaxing John as he always has, from pulling him in and demanding more. Come along, John; Don’t you see, John?; Faster, John, he’s getting away!; Just here, John, what can you tell from the angle of the laceration? Objectively, it’s the very same principle.
It’s been a very long time since Sherlock’s been objective, though, in matters such as this.
“Chr-chr-Christ, Sherlock,” John pants, writhes—the trill of his voice, of the words a complement, the perfect resonation of that eager, fearless beat; the tremolo to meet the vibrato that Sherlock’s tonguing, sucking, urging, tempting to the brink. It’s heady, it’s perfection and torment, and Sherlock’s chest burns with the heat, the pulse of his own heart that hard, that fast. It’s too quick and inefficient, too invested and blinded with need to take in enough air, to keep pace for the finish, and it’s too sweet, it’s too effortlessly immaculate to back down, to let anything but sheer destruction loom before him—to stare it down with anything but firm resolve and a willing mouth to greet what comes.
The femoral pulse: so close to John’s naked, straining cock—the glans slick, the head flushed with colour, veins taut; and Sherlock thinks, is nearly certain he could press the tip of his tongue to any one of the distended lines, the deoxygenated blue and follow the path of momentum, feel the rush against his papillae and know from the cadence and the subtle shift what the blood knew, where it had been and where it was going; he’s sure that if he could taste it, he’d know how long exactly it had been since that blood had filled the heart and fled.
So it’s coaxing, yes, but it’s anything but, just the same; because it’s John’s sweat against his mouth, and the stray curl at his pubis against the lines of Sherlock’s lips, it’s tracing idle promises that Sherlock means with his own heart into the fierce, proud pounding of John’s. It’s intention marked in saliva and the scrape of teeth and the shivering John responds with when Sherlock mouths wet at him, against his skin, next to John’s arousal, the unmistakable scent of John’s body, of his very being: so strong, so intoxicating as Sherlock flicks his tongue against the skin, the protrusion of force with each valvular contraction, each electrical impulse taking the muscle in John’s chest and squeezing, unforgiving and rabbit-quick and radiant and decadent and full when Sherlock fits his bottom lip to that rhythmic pulse and lets it shudder, lets it ransack the line of his gums, the base of his teeth.
Sherlock’s lips are tingling as he moves around the vibration, the constant careen of pressure at the divot just above the groin: so large, so full of life and Sherlock wants to devour it, desires ever-so-strongly to bite and rip and pierce the sensitive skin so that he can have John in his mouth without a barrier, but he adores the flesh too much, reveres the heart beneath the flesh and wants it safe, wants nothing more than for it to be safe. So he sucks, uses the rough flat of his tongue and the sides and the point to lave, caress at the jump, the unabashed throb until it sings, leaps willingly, eagerly up into the embrace of Sherlock’s warm, wet lips, until it teases and taunts and guides and soothes the unease in Sherlock’s stomach even as it feeds it, breeds it anew; until his mouth begins to numb with the motion and exertion, with the unparalleled feel of John’s thrumming blood beneath sweat-slick skin, so warm that Sherlock can trace it, can know every drop of it as it seeps into him through the points of contact at his mouth, his fingertips, his forehead—the tip of his nose.
Sherlock lets out a shaky sigh as he breaks away for an instant, meeting with a sharp keen from John and a tightening of the thighs under his palms as his jaw drops, makes contact with John’s hardness: his straining length swollen, twitching with oncoming release, impatient, impertinent. Sherlock feels a certain pause, a sense of fulfilment and promise and taunting, wilful want building in the pit of his stomach at the brush, the accidental contact with John’s manhood, with his pulsing need.
And Sherlock: he needs to feel, he needs to taste and touch—his mouth is empty, his tongue is forgetting the subtle undertones of John’s savoury flavour already; the only rhythm with which he can harmonise is the one forcing weight around his lungs and surging hard at the centre of his bottom lip. All he has left of the contact, the presence now is the hollow resonance, a saved copy on the disc, a facsimile of those chambers immortalised, safe in the Palace, that can echo the sound but can’t move, can’t pump strong and true and Sherlock realises: it’s not enough. The experiment is not complete, his knowledge is partial at best.
It’s not enough.
Sherlock gasps, the exhale catching in the damp dusting of curls at John’s groin and sending a shiver through John that doesn’t so much fade, really, but is perpetuated, amplified: caught once and refracted, loved twice and held close. Sherlock’s breath escapes him, runs rampant and leaves him bereft, but he welcomes it, revels in the empty space, the capacity he acquires to be filled, to become drenched and decimated and positively overrun by the reality of John on his skin, against his tongue. He grins against John’s flesh and John’s hands clench in his hair, scramble desperately at his scalp as Sherlock ducks his head and moulds the malleable purse of his lips to the singular shape of John’s femoral pulse.
As though he could devour John by the force of will and desire alone, he sucks John’s skin from the bone and laps, tongues, massages and nips until it’s red, until the blood is close and the pulse is stronger than before, than ever before—and Sherlock can count it, he can tease out the exact tang of arousal, of desperation, of desire and despair and loss of control and need: he can taste them in turn and he can feel the tremor of John’s arteries and veins, the quivering of his ventricles and the switch-flick of his valves and Sherlock’s washed in it, bathed in it—he tastes it, savours it, contemplates and consumes, and it’s all he needs to sustain him, to make him, to keep him, to form him, to be.
Just to be.
Sherlock sucks warm air through the gaps, the small spaces between clenched teeth: all salt-thick and trembling with the build, the press and scrape of fingernails on tender flesh, the lines of red from suction and friction and bounding, blazing blood, the flush of life and want and the best of broken things, the apex of the heart and of being and feeling and existence between them: red, and Sherlock’s livid with it, coated in the shade and the significance and his bones are brittle, binding. He can feel the shudder, the currents of the marrow, he swears that he can and his chest is heaving, trembling against John’s thighs, just below the heavy swell of John’s scrotum, and Sherlock is overcome with a want more base, more visceral than intellect, more exhilarating even than curiosity, than pure discovery because it is John, this is John and Sherlock needs.
More than anything, Christ, he needs.
His tongue only manages to tease, just along the dorsal vein, his lower lip catching, just wetting the raphe before John cries out, before his fingertips grasp and pull, violent at the roots of Sherlock’s hair, eager at the follicles and Sherlock marvels, watches as John spills, his cock pulsing out of time, discordant with the frantic beat that Sherlock’s nestled against, pressed into at the cheek.
John moans and sighs and Sherlock finds himself surprised, taken aback by how much he wants to know those, too; to catalogue John’s sounds from the inside and out, to know him in every way, in the moment and over time, to exact all of the information he can give and to categorise it in every possible way, according to every schema imaginable and those not yet known. Sherlock wants this for the sake of science, for the sake of exactitude and knowledge and the life of the mind, and yet; and yet—
Sherlock wants to know every audible pitch, and the inaudible ones too—he wants to know their taste so he can relish it. He wants to feel John’s heart in slumber and sickness, in rage and arousal, in all moments so that he’ll know John’s rhythms and be able to match them, to synchronise to a singular frequency and meld their ions, their atoms at a nucleic level, all fission and heat. He wants John’s pulse at all moments, in all places, at all times in all paces because then he can be sure, then he can know that John is there, that loss is far, and Sherlock can navigate the world as it stands, can steer a course through the end of all things, so long as there’s John.
It’s more than just knowing.
He’s shaking, he can feel it; he stretches, his chin parallel to John’s navel and he licks milky ejaculate from John’s skin, lets his tongue play in the short, coarse hairs on his stomach, and he sighs, dropping boneless into John’s firm lines and soft angles as he lets himself settle, the bridge of his nose dug low into the fifth left intercostal space, luxuriating, decomposing and disintegrating at the beat, the beat, the beat.
“Alright?” John exhales the word, shivers and Sherlock feels, hears the gasp, the strangled tendrils of a sob slip from his own throat as John shifts, moves, breaks contact and Sherlock feels something in his gut unravel, feels it reach out and grasp, aching for John’s warmth and his skin and his breath and the beat of him, the heart of him, all of him.
“Sherlock?” His name is breathless, an incantation, a prayer, and Sherlock’s breathless himself just to hear it, just to know it can exist in such a way, in such a state; that he can be encompassed, can be referenced with such abiding adoration; he can be touched with reverence and affection and need; care and concern and perfect balance, subtle, overwhelming, decimating, realigning, rebuilding, remaking.
His chest feels full with the universal tides: with all the brilliance and the folly: all things, the whole of it, and for once he doesn’t wish for separation, for one above the other but instead for closeness, for inseparability and a balance that keeps everything close; an immortality of matter and form that guarantees this moment in the cosmic scheme of being, that affirms that it will always be and never be again, that it is unique and undying all at once.
Sherlock finds it strangely difficult to draw air down into his lungs; the oxygen is there, but he can’t fit it in.
“Alright,” Sherlock speaks the word, marvelling at its sheer impropriety, its unutterable failure to describe this, to express the smallest modicum of what they have been, what they are becoming, what they will be when this place, this moment of fathering fragile feeling between them solidifies and becomes unshakeable, when the only uncertainty is physical inevitability: the shaking of their sternums up against one another, their fluttering hearts pressed at counterpoints, chest to chest until they match and mate and hold, inextricable.
“This is,” Sherlock moves up, flattens himself against John’s body. He speaks obliquely against John’s ear, lets his lips drag against the temporal pulse as he breathes the beat, the being: has room in him for that, always.
“This,” he whispers; “you,” and John’s arm slides along his back, pulls him tighter, closer: his heart could touch John’s, could feel the slick-drag of arteries, the caress of auriculae and Sherlock would gladly tear his chest open to know it, to have skin and bone diminished and to beat unbound against that open, fervent, fearless heart.
Jesus; Jesus—he’d do it here and now.
“Alright is not, it doesn’t even,” Sherlock exhales, lets the salt of John’s sweat, the musty-earthy-luscious taste of him linger on his lips before he licks it off, bites down on a moan for the way it sends fire through his blood.
“Fuck,” Sherlock curses, because language will forever fail him, and he cannot, there are no ways to convey the depth of this, the expansiveness that he holds between his ribs and in his mind and in every essential macromolecule written into his genetic code.
“John,” he breathes it, lets his chest heave into John’s chest hard. Painful, desperate: he lets them collide a few times, sharp, to seal the point; he allows for his heart to thrust vibrant into John’s slowing pulse at its source so as to make clear the magnitude, the inexplicability of what this is, what it means.
“Never, John,” Sherlock wrenches out, so useless, so paltry—everything he is and wants to be and yet, still lacking; “never just alright.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” John huffs out, the laugh a titillating thrill against Sherlock’s jawline as it shudders through John’s body, as it makes Sherlock’s nerves spark and his veins strain with a fever, a sweet-sore kind of life.
And yes, John should take it as a compliment; take it as reverence and essentialness and terror and indignation, as codependence unsought and the palpitations of a heart unavoidable; of a warmth that Sherlock can’t fight, doesn’t want to lose—the presence of John and his life in the world as the air in lungs and the blood in veins and the electrical impulse making life possible at its roots, let alone worth living. John should take it as all of these things, and he should know that to take it as anything, as any one this, is horrifically, unforgivably incomplete.
Sherlock calculates the risk for half a frigid, flailing second where doubt settles in and there’s impossible emptiness in his bones, in his breath: he hesitates for that unthinkable moment before the fullness is back, ushered in and welcomed, clutched like the lover that it is, that it comes from when John’s eyes capture Sherlock’s gaze, inviting him for the drowning, promising to pull him back and push life back into him with lips and words and lungs and hands against a stalling heart.
The fullness returns with a vengeance—perfection—and Sherlock leans in to take John’s lips, to seek the soft knead of a heartbeat in a full lower lip, to find the pulse tied up, cycling vivid along John’s tastebuds, down the soft underside of his tongue, and Sherlock licks at it, keeps it, memorises the exact flavour because this is eternity in seconds and the sighs that John breathes out, this is fear writ in atrioventricular motion and the sting that builds behind eyes. This is John in his arms and under his body and around him, circulating through him, setting the pace of him and tracing his purpose.
This is the end of the world, and beginning of something wider, warmer, better.
And Sherlock, for all that it breaks him, doesn’t believe that anything less will ever again suffice.