“Best Halloween I've ever had,” John said with a smile. “At least since I was a kid and I thought Halloween meant you could be anything you wanted to be.”
Sherlock perched on the toilet lid and regarded John crouching on the floor between his knees.
John sighed and the grin slid off his face.
“Let's finish this up, yeah?” he said, and reached for the steri-strips. He applied two to the small cut under Sherlock’s eye. “It's starting to bruise. If you get some ice on it, it won't be as bad.”
John shifted his feet and put a hand on the sink to help pull himself up.
Tonight couldn't end like this, Sherlock thought. It had been lovely, sparkling even: a simple case, catching a spy that even Mycroft didn’t know about, John in a fistfight, John taking care of him, John touching his face, John admitting he had loved him -- John loved him! -- John kissing him. And now John preparing to walk away.
“Wait!” Sherlock took hold of John's free wrist, pulling himself up to stand right in front of John, their chests almost touching. Sherlock brought both hands up to cradle John’s face and bent his head to kiss John again, softly, tenderly. “Don't go.”
John brought his hands to Sherlock's chest and pushed gently, taking a small step back and opening his eyes. “Please, Sherlock,” he said, his breath coming fast. “Don't do this.”
Sherlock tried to take a step back but couldn't in the narrow confines of the loo. “Don't do what?” he said. “Don't tell me you didn't like that. I know you did. Even if you’re not gay.”
A tinge of bitterness and hurt colored his voice, and Sherlock couldn't be arsed to care that John could hear it. John stood, hands still resting on Sherlock’s chest, looking as though he might cry and practically vibrating with the effort to stay where he was.
Sherlock knew John so well, could read his emotional state in a glance, but he couldn't tell why John wanted to escape. John loved him. John had liked kissing him. So why was he upset now?
John blew a breath out through his nose, trying to get control of his emotions
“No, Sherlock. Of course I liked it. I just told you that I was in love with you. But don't do this because you feel sorry for me, or because you think I'll leave if you don't, or just to experiment and see what will happen.”
John took a breath, looked down at his boots, looked back up at Sherlock.
“Because if we do this, it has to be real. It has to be because you want this, too, not just because you want to make me do what you want -- even if it's just because you want me to be happy. If we do this, and you're just playing at it, I won't be able to take it. We can be friends and flatmates and work together and you’ll always come first to me just like you always have, but don't make a fool of me -- don't let me make a fool of myself -- with this.”
John looked down again.
Did John expect to be dismissed? Sherlock didn't wait to figure it out. He wrapped his arms around John and pulled him close, almost mashing John’s face into his shoulder, kissing his hair above his ear, murmuring, “Of course I want you, you idiot. I have for years.”
Sherlock went back to kissing John’s hair, his temple. His heart lurched when he felt John's body shake with a sob, and Sherlock used his face to nudge at John’s, to bring it up so he could see John's tears. They tasted of salt and John when Sherlock kissed them from his eyelashes.
John looked at Sherlock, the blue of his eyes clear, as though washed in a summer rain. Sherlock thought he looked -- relieved? happy? -- despite the tears.
“Thank God,” John said, and reached up to kiss Sherlock's mouth again.
This kiss was entirely different. John’s hands were fisted in Sherlock's t-shirt, his lips were parted, and he licked at Sherlock's mouth until it opened.
But John didn't push deep, the way Sherlock remembered people doing to him. His tongue flicked inside Sherlock’s mouth and retreated, again and again, drawing Sherlock's tongue out almost involuntarily, until their mouths were engaged in a kind of dance. When Sherlock broke away to breathe, John softly kissed the corner of his mouth where it was cut before turning his attention to Sherlock’s jaw and then his throat. Sherlock vaguely registered that John's hands had moved. One was cradling the back of his head, its fingers in his hair. The other was stroking his flank gently..
“God, I've wanted to do this forever,” John said, kissing and licking -- and were those teeth nipping? -- down Sherlock’s neck. Sherlock bent his head to give John better access and let his own hands roam downward, sliding down the soft fabric of John's vest and onto the sturdy fatigue trousers.
Sherlock bent his knees slightly, reaching lower to cup John's arse, finally learning just what it felt like in his hands.
“Forever,” Sherlock groaned in agreement.
He pulled John up against him, feeling the bulge at John’s groin and the pressure of John's body against his own erection. John found his mouth again and this time the kiss was deep and sweet and filthy.
John broke away to breathe and said, “If you want to take this further, maybe the bedroom?”
“If?” Sherlock huffed and pulled John into his room.
“I just didn't know if you did this,” John said, evidently pleased. “I've never known you to show an interest. Married to your work, and all that.”
Sherlock, still holding John by the wrist, pulled him down to sit on the bed. “I haven’t been interested,” Sherlock said. “Until you. When I said that, the first night, I didn’t know how things would turn out. But then you insisted so often that you weren’t gay.”
“I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable,” John said. “I didn’t want you to pity me, or laugh at me. I guess I didn’t want you to know that I was falling in love with you if you didn’t feel the same, but I didn’t want to leave, either.”
Sherlock turned toward John and took his other hand as well.
“I wouldn’t have laughed at you,” he said earnestly. “Even if I didn’t feel like, like this, about you. I always cared about you.”
John scoffed, despite the smile crinkling his eyes. “Sure you wouldn’t have taken the piss. That’s why you killed yourself in front of me and left for two years.”
Sherlock dropped John’s hands and stood up, pacing.
John froze on the bed.
“I'm sorry, Sherlock,” he said. “I didn't mean that. I shouldn't have said it. Please come back.”
Sherlock stopped, facing the wardrobe.He had to say this right. He couldn't blame John for not trusting him to be careful of his feelings. He had come to terms with loving John while he was away, realized that he had been running away from that as much as going after Moriarty’s network. But John had to understand that it wasn’t because he didn’t understand John’s importance; it was because John was so important it scared him.
“When I left, I knew you were attracted to me, but you didn’t want to act on it, so I didn’t want you to know I was attracted to you as well,” he said. “I didn’t think anything good would come of it. So when Moriarty threatened you, faking my death seemed like the perfect solution. I couldn’t let you be hurt, but I didn’t know how to be -- how to do what I do -- and feel the way I did.”
John stayed on the bed, watching Sherlock pace, letting him finish. When he realized Sherlock was done speaking, he asked the one question he never had.
“Then why did you come back?” he said, knowing that what happened next depended on Sherlock’s answer.
Sherlock turned and faced him. “Because of you.”
John stood up and faced Sherlock, taking his hands the way Sherlock had taken his moments earlier.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I should have been here.”
“No,” Sherlock said. “It was my fault. I hurt you and made you believe I was dead, and there was no reason to think you’d wait. I thought I’d missed my chance, and I was so angry at myself.”
“And angry at me,” John said. “At least after the wedding. Please accept my apology. You keep brushing it off, like I haven’t had any part in this, and I’ve pushed you away over and over again. You say it all the time: I see, but I don’t observe.”
John reached up and kissed Sherlock again, and started drawing him toward the bed. When the backs of his knees bumped against the mattress, he flopped on his back and pulled Sherlock on top of him.
Sherlock pushed up on his arms, looking at John underneath him. His erection had flagged while he tried to explain to John, but seeing John on his bed, his hair mussed, his lips wet, his eyes wide, stirred it again.
He leaned down to kiss John, and John used his moment of distraction to flip them both over, never breaking contact with Sherlock’s mouth, ending up bracing himself on one arm, his other hand running up Sherlock’s torso, rucking up his soft shirt. John dotted Sherlock’s chest and abdomen with tiny kisses, licking at Sherlock’s nipples and smiling at the shivers that ran through Sherlock’s body.
John sat up and pushed at the t-shirt again. “Can you take this off?”
“Yours too,” Sherlock said, tugging at John’s belt.
John stood up, his fingers already at his buckle. He opened the belt and the button at his waist, pausing before his fingers found the zipper pull.
“Your shirt?” he reminded.
Sherlock blinked, gripped the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head. He looked at John expectantly.
John smiled, a slow, sexy smile. He liked this, Sherlock realized. He liked having Sherlock’s attention.
Instead of unzipping the trousers, John pulled the vest out of his waistband and off, exposing a compact torso with golden hair liberally sprinkled over his chest and that scar that Sherlock had always wanted to see and catalogue.
“You want to look?” John asked, and came back between Sherlock’s knees.
Sherlock raised his hand, running fingertips lightly over the roughened skin, learning the texture. He stood and leaned forward, his nose nearly touching the center of the starburst pattern, peering closely, then extended his tongue to taste it. It tasted like John, like the skin Sherlock had already kissed, but not quite as strongly, Sherlock concluded, ending his examination with a kiss to the gnarled flesh. There was more to learn, but John was waiting, and Sherlock hoped -- believed, at this point -- that he would have more opportunities to observe the scar later.
Sherlock straightened and John stepped close again, bringing his hands around Sherlock to rest on his lower back and then sliding them down under the waistband of his pyjama bottoms, caressing Sherlock’s arse and drawing Sherlock into John’s body.
Sherlock’s erection jutted out, tenting the front of his pyjamas until it encountered John, still in his trousers. The pressure, the rough texture of the fabric below the soft skin of John’s abdomen, provided a study in contrasts. Sherlock really wanted to think more about it, but he was distracted by John’s hands massaging his bottom, lifting and separating the two halves and making Sherlock very aware of what lay between them.
“Seen enough?” John asked.
How could he ask that? Of course Sherlock hadn’t seen enough. The only proper end to having a half-naked John Watson in his bedroom was having a fully naked John Watson in his bed.
John’s eyes flicked to his own shoulder. Yes, the scar. That was what John meant.
“For now,” Sherlock answered. “I’d like to see the rest of --”
He cut himself off with a gasp, as he felt one of John’s hands skim around his hip to slip between them and take hold of his penis, stroking it slowly, still under his pyjamas. At the same time, John kissed at the juncture of his shoulder and neck, peeking down at his hand on Sherlock through the gap his arm made in Sherlock’s waistband.
“Is it ok if I take these off?” John asked.
Sherlock made a high-pitched whine that must have sounded affirmative, because the next thing he knew, John was easing his bottoms over his erection and pushing them down past his hips. John followed them down, ending up crouched in front of Sherlock much the way he had been in the bathroom. He lifted first one of Sherlock’s feet and then the other off the floor to free them from the fabric and tossed the pyjama bottoms across the foot of Sherlock’s bed.
Then he leaned forward and buried his face in Sherlock's groin, inhaling deeply. He planted a firm kiss to the skin near his hip, just where Sherlock’s pubic hair ended. Then John ran his nose down the the length of Sherlock’s penis and ran his tongue back up, from root to tip, finishing by licking up the preseminal fluid that collected in the slit.
Sherlock wasn't even ashamed of his whimper.
John cocked an eyebrow at Sherlock and said, “Maybe you should sit.”
John's hands on his hips guided Sherlock to a seated position on the bed, and John shuffled closer on his knees. He ran his hands down Sherlock’s legs, even over his feet, and looked at Sherlock’s cock, so hard Sherlock thought he might burst, before raising his gaze to Sherlock’s face.
“You're gorgeous, you know,” he said. “You are so beautiful, and I am so glad I can tell you that now.”
Then he tongued around the head of Sherlock’s penis, licking and tasting, before pulling the whole head into his mouth and sucking gently. One hand gripped the base of Sherlock’s penis while he took more of the shaft in his mouth, keeping the suction light and exploring the taste and texture with his tongue.
Sherlock tried to keep his hips still and stifle his moans, but John raised his head and said, “It’s all right, Sherlock. I want to see and hear what I do to you. I want to know what feels good, and what's even better than that.”
John returned his attention -- and his mouth -- to Sherlock’s penis, but it wasn't long before Sherlock started rubbing the side of his face. “John. John! Stop, or I'm going to climax!”
John made a hum of approval and kept going.
“Stop, John. I want you up here.”
At that John pulled off and looked up. Sherlock nearly came at the sight of him, lips wet and rosy, his face and chest flushed with arousal, his hair standing up where Sherlock had raked his fingers through it.
“Take your trousers off, John, and come to bed with me,” Sherlock said, then wondered if he sounded too demanding. “Please.”
John just gave him a cheeky look, turned half away from Sherlock and bent down to untie his boots, putting his arse on display.
Sherlock just stared. It was such a perfect arse. He'd been sneaking looks at it since, well, since he met John. He never thought he'd be allowed to look like this.
John stood up, and still turned away, tucked his thumbs in his waistband and slid the trousers down, revealing snug boxer briefs.
“Pants, too,” Sherlock said.
“Why don't you help with those?” John asked, a playful tone in his voice.
Sherlock stood behind John and slid the pants down slowly, before dragging his hands back up John’s front, giving his cock a long, slow stroke on the way.
Sherlock stood closer, his still-wet penis nestled between the halves of John's arse and his hands reaching around, one on John’s penis and the other cradling his testicles, Sherlock bent his head for a better view, kissed the side of John's neck and said, “Tell me how you touch yourself.”
John turned his head to kiss the side of Sherlock's face, still aware enough to avoid the bruised area, and said, “Mmmmm. Mostly I think of you.”
He twisted in Sherlock's arms to kiss him again, tongue thrusting in Sherlock's mouth in the rhythm of Sherlock’s strokes on his cock until Sherlock caught his tongue and began to suck on it. A moment later John broke the kiss.
“Bed. Do you have lube?”
Sherlock nodded and looked a little scared at first, then very intrigued. “Do you want to have intercourse with me?”
“Not tonight,” John said. “I don't think I can wait that long.”
Seeing a look of disappointment flash across Sherlock's face, John continued, “But I do want to fuck you. And I want you to fuck me. As many ways as we can think to do it. We’ve got the rest of our lives.”
Sherlock retrieved the tube of lubricant from his bedside drawer and lay down on the bed. John crawled up next to him and pulled Sherlock face to face with him. He took the lube from Sherlock and flipped the cap open, letting some drip onto the fingers of his left hand.
“For now,’ John said, “I want to hold you, and touch you, and kiss you, and make you feel so good.”
As he was speaking, John coated both their cocks with the lube and lined their hips up so that when they moved, they slid together. John wrapped his left arm around Sherlock’s body, letting his slicked fingers dip into the cleft of his arse. When he finished speaking, he planted a line of kisses along Sherlock’s collarbone.
Sherlock wrapped a large hand around both of their cocks and slid it up and down slowly, trying to draw it out. His left arm was curled under John’s head and around his shoulders, with his fingers tracing the edges of John’s scar.
“John,” he said. “John. John.”
He repeated John’s name like an invocation, his breath and and the strokes of his fist speeding up in tandem. Soon even even John’s name became too much, with the frenetic movements of his hand, the slide of John’s cock with his, John’s fingers pressed firmly to his arsehole and pushing at the entrance every time his hips jerked back. John was panting onto his shoulder while Sherlock buried his face in John’s hair, inhaling John.
John’s whole body seemed coiled like a spring ready to snap, but he was quiet until he gasped “Sherlock --” and his body froze in an almighty clench. Semen spurted over Sherlock's cock and hand as John’s body shook, still clinging to Sherlock.
Sherlock fought to keep his eyes open as his own orgasm burst from low in his abdomen. His hand slowed as the semen gushed from his cock and he felt as though all the molecules in his body were rearranging themselves for a moment before he lost all awareness of everything but John.
When Sherlock could trouble himself to think again, he found himself curled into John’s arms. Most of the mess had been wiped from his skin with the pyjama bottoms that were now on the floor and John was stroking his hair gently and looking at Sherlock like he was a revelation.
“You’re lovely,” John said.
Sherlock hmmed. “Most people don't seem to think so,” he said. “But then, you love me.”
Sherlock waited a beat. John hadn't really said he still loved him, after all, although it seemed evident.
“True,” John agreed solemnly. “And you love me.”
Sherlock couldn't remember saying that -- not in so many words -- so he rectified that oversight.
“Yes, I love you, John. I have for so long, and I tried not to tell you, and now I can't figure out why I did that.”
John's face lit up with Sherlock's declaration. Then he giggled and said, “You’re an idiot. Me, too.”
John pulled the covers over them and settled more deeply into the pillow.
“I never did like Halloween much,” he said. “But I think I'm going to have to reevaluate. And I think the Feast of All Saints has become my favorite holiday.”