There’s a blinding pain searing through his bleeding cheek that is not allowed to lessen. Each time the pulsating burn begins to numb, his attacker strikes another blow on his vulnerable skin. Sherlock’s wrists are tied too tightly behind his back, and his legs are slowly falling asleep from sitting on an uncomfortable chair for too long. All that is happening is pain and torture, as his captors attempt to obtain information that he knows he doesn’t have, but no amount of deducing or arguing will make them relent. He knows Mycroft will have men on their way by now, so all that’s left to do is wait for help, and he loathes it. Sherlock found out the hard way that struggling or trying to escape is futile; these men aren’t afraid to kill him slowly, and that wasn’t allowed to become an option, because he wanted to go home. Home to John.
John. A glimpse of Red flashes behind his drooping eyelids. Red and White and happiness. A happiness that seems so far away; a happiness that doesn’t exist in this damp room.
Sherlock latches onto it like a child holding his mother’s hand on a busy street. He closes his eyes and let’s himself be consumed by this vibrant memory; it’s the only thing that has gotten him through those hellish few years of loneliness and pain. He grasps onto it so tightly so it can never leave like he had to do so cruelly to his John. The shocking blows and emptiness finally drift into the darkness which he longingly reaches out of, and he holds onto the vibrant Red and White hidden in the safe vaults of his mind.
The colours start to blend until there’s pleasant, tanned skin added to the mix, creating a whirlpool of colours and sensations. When the dizzying spinning comes to a stop, there is only the memory, ingrained so deep like words of love carved into wood.
He was in the flat the morning after he and John had had a nasty fight. They’d screamed words they didn’t mean into the air, left to linger and fester until it suffocated them both. John’s untrue words had stung in a way he never knew was possible; like the sting of a thousand needles with no high to follow. Only an empty sensation remained in his gut that left him trembling into pitiful shards of glass. John had not come home yet and Sherlock’s mind conjured up every terrible thing possible; he had never been so afraid of losing John since he’d come back from his hellish three year absence. He steepled his fingers under his chin, shaking in his armchair, wishing the world would bring him back so he could breathe. So engrained in his hurricane of thoughts, the sound of John’s soft footsteps did not startle him out of the shrinking prison building around them.
That’s when he saw the Red and White come into his periphery. Sherlock jolted in his spot, gazing with wonder up at the man before him. John wore a sheepish, guilty expression, underlined with something so much more. Something blood red and something heated that he could understand only too well between them.
Without wasting further time, his John climbed carefully into his lap, straddling his thighs; and there was so much skin. It was all so tanned and soft and strong, and wonderful. Sherlock let out an involuntary sigh as he breathed in his favourite scent. His fingers immediately went to the comforting fabric stretched around John’s skin; the Red and White pants he’d bought as a silly gift months ago. What had started out as something fun immediately turned into an irrational obsession for Sherlock. He didn’t understand it at all, but there was little he loved more than seeing John in those small red pants. They accentuated his arse, which he could fully appreciate, but there was something inexplicable about seeing John wearing nothing but an article of clothing he’d bought for him. It was almost like he’d branded the man as His and only his, even though no one else could see the underwear. Plus, John had once told him wearing the pants felt as if Sherlock was touching him always, which had resulted in an evening well spent in their bedroom.
Brought back to the present, John whispered heartfelt apologies as he kissed across Sherlock’s jaw, while running soothing fingers through his dark curls. Just like that, their anger and fighting were forgotten; so Sherlock gripped tighter onto the Red and White fabric, and rubbed the hem between his index finger and thumb, slowly kissing a compliant John Watson. He pressed deeper and deeper, and John eagerly let him. They drowned in the movement of their lips and tongues dancing in tandem, and each brush of skin sent electrical sparks down their shivering spines. They moved, and kissed, and gasped, and whispered apologies of love across buzzing skin. The wonderful burn and flush was maroon against pale White skin, as their need grew stronger and hotter; crimson and nearly unbearable.
John moved to slip off his underwear but Sherlock halted his movements with a meaningful grip, latching onto the passionate Red and White curved around his lovers’ limbs. He wanted the pants to stay, and John complied and let him; because John knew how much Sherlock loved those pants. He knew what they did to him, and he used it to his advantage.
Either slung low over his hips after a shower, or visible above the waist line during the day, Sherlock’s attention would never waver; those nights would be spent in the dark heat of their bed. Sometimes, like tonight, John would crawl into Sherlock’s lap and kiss him sensually, wearing nothing but the Red and White; usually after a fight to apologise, or when he knew the detective was unhappy. The way John could read his needs and moods, sometimes before Sherlock himself noticed, made his heart soar with Love, Passion, Happiness, and a blinding Red; the colour was always John.
He could always find the colours that belonged with the rippling memory to keep him grounded, no matter how long their separation had become.
Beautiful, wonderful, caring, John in his Red and White, slowly crawled off Sherlock’s lap with an outstretched hand. He pulled the detective to his wobbly feet and led him to their bedroom, locking the door behind them with a heated stare. Together they fell onto the bed, kissing and gripping at each other with need, lacing their spare hands beside them and holding on tight.
Sherlock traced his fingers along the smooth fabric with tightly shut eyes, focussing only on their kisses that shouted words of love and eternity that sang along with their sharp gasps and heavy breathing.
As they moved together, Sherlock’s unoccupied hand never strayed far from the snug underwear running gently over his finger tips. With each gasp of John’s name he spoke of forever, and each kiss and bite was of scarlet and Love. John spoke the symphony back to him as they brushed their noses together and stared into each other’s opened eyes, drinking in every moment of passion and connection, as if they melded into one perfect entity.
In one last moment of desperation John flung off the Red and White pants, but made sure they rested neatly at the end of the bed, in Sherlock’s vision. Even as they stared, nearly unblinking into each other’s eyes, the symbol of the Red and White was there; was a part of them. Love was between them in colours of pale White and carmine beating hearts, bursting vibrantly in a spinning black room, painting the air with clouds. There was only pale and tanned skin overlapping, fingers linked and palms pressed tightly together all afternoon.
Together they blended swirls of colour and brightness; words of passion and love. They created one whole being of Red and White, like the fabric that could be found secure around John Watson’s skin.
It is in this memory that Sherlock would steal away into, to ignore the fiery pain and anguish inflicted upon him as he fought to get back home.
And when he abruptly awoke in a panic, his dressing gown clinging to him from bouts of sweat, John appears as a solid angelic vision. Sherlock sees the wonderful burgundy and White and immediately feels calmed. Still, John gathers the detective into his arms and whispers soothing words; he lets Sherlock run the soft fabric of his pants between index and thumb. They share a soft, slow kiss, sending bursts of happiness, love, and Red and White behind their eyes and across their skin. With gentle arms and caresses, John, who is wearing only his underwear, lays them both back down onto the sofa. Whispering words of White and Red against Sherlock’s skin, it is always together that they follow the dark softness of sleep for another night.