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as many names as snow

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6 December 2012, 1:48 am
Los Angeles, CA

When Sherlock gets back, John is asleep, a compact lump under the blankets. He's left the light on in the bathroom, the door open a sliver to cast weak yellow-green fluorescent light out into the entryway. Sherlock sets his laptop bag in the chair by the door and peels off his jacket. He hangs it up. He hangs up his trousers, too, and balls up his shirt in the laundry bag and arranges his shoes side by side. He can sleep in his pants; the hotel room's windows are bolted shut, and even with the fan on, it's stuffy. He goes into the bathroom and cleans his teeth.

When Sherlock switches off the bathroom light, John stirs. Sherlock can't see him, but he can hear him: John's first great snuffling sort of breath as he wakes, the scrape of the sheets against his skin as he rolls over.

"Hi," John says, voice rough, and Sherlock scrambles over. John is already reaching for him, his blunt fingers pressed to Sherlock's belly and ribs and throat and face and face and face. Sherlock keeps trying to lick his fingers, but missing. Sherlock adores John. "You—have you been drinking?" John asks. He sounds amused.

"The mark drinks whiskey," Sherlock explains, and then sighs, and then tucks his face down in against John's neck, which smells lovely.

John rubs his back. "You all right?"

Sherlock waves a hand. "Not my thing," he reminds John.

"No, I know." John's hands feel nice.

"I'm not really drunk," Sherlock explains, settling in. "He's just—large, and sort of—he drinks whiskey. Dangerous, whiskey. Awfully strong for the volume."

"Yep." John's voice is already slowing down, drawing Sherlock under. "Sometimes I drink whiskey."

"You drink beer," Sherlock corrects. He feels like he's melting. John's hands are, really, just. Lovely. When John touches Sherlock's spine it gets wobblier. "American beer is ghastly."

"I drink whiskey when I want to get drunk," John clarifies. "And—yes."

"Oh, well." Sherlock closes his eyes. "Tina wants us in London on the 22nd." John's hands still, so Sherlock arches his back until they start up again. "I hate jobs when you're away," Sherlock explains.

"I'm not away," John murmurs.

"During the day," Sherlock clarifies. "I hate jobs when you're away during the day. You make me much more efficient."

John pets his hair back from his forehead. John smells nice.

After a minute, Sherlock says, "Whiskey."

"Whiskey?" John asks.

"Whiskey is efficient," Sherlock observes. "For getting drunk." He opens his mouth so John's neck is partly inside it. John is delicious.

"I see that." John's hands haven't stopped moving. "We should talk," he says, a moment later. His voice is very soft, his throat buzzing against Sherlock's mouth.

Sherlock pulls away from John's neck. "Life or death?" he asks, without opening his eyes. It isn't. If it were, John wouldn't be petting him like that.

John falls asleep for a minute, must be. Finally he says, "Not really." His voice is rough.

"In the morning," Sherlock tells him, and John nods, so Sherlock slots himself better in alongside John's body and opens his mouth and his nose and his throat and his lungs, so when he breathes in, he breathes in John's old cells. John doesn't need them anymore.

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