John turns at the doorway to look at Sherlock, draped dramatically over the arms of his chair like a swooning maiden, if a maiden would be swathed in blue dressing gown and tatty pajamas that were, honestly, starting to smell a bit.
“You sure you don’t want to go,” John says. “It’s only a few hours on the train and the weather is going to be perfect.”
Sherlock huffs and inexplicably manages to drape himself even more dramatically by flinging an arm over his head, long fingers just brushing the fuzzy, unkempt, distractingly touchable curls. “No. Sand and ocean and ugh, masses of children. No thank you.”
John sighs, defeated. The room is still stifling, and smells like unwashed detective and two-day-old Chinese takeaway. It’s a wonder the place hasn’t been invaded by vermin. “Fine, then. Suit yourself. You want to wallow in misery and boredom, be my guest. But I’m going to Bornemouth, and lying on the beach, and enjoying myself. I thought we could go together, have a bit of fun. You want to marinate in your own stench, be my guest.” Sherlock looks affronted, but John ploughs on, finally fed up. “You’ve been lying about for days now. I’m not sure when you showered last. I know you’re bored but for fuck’s sake, Sherlock.”
Sherlock abruptly stops his dramatic draping and curls in on himself in the chair, brows drawn and eyes closed.
“Dammit, Sherlock. I know the end of a case is rough. I know the crash is hard. But, just, come with me to the beach. I promise you’ll find it somewhat stimulating.”
John waits a beat, and then two, and then three. Nothing.
He leaves without another backward glance.
The train trip isn’t completely terrible – only a couple bickering a few rows behind him to contend with, and everyone else seems in a decent state of mind. There’s only one delay and nothing breaks, so when John makes it to Bornemouth by 11AM, he’s rather pleased with himself. That’s most of the day Friday, all day Saturday, and a part of Sunday to wallow around in the sand and the surf, and do precisely nothing that has to do with crimes, criminals, weapons, doctoring, or Sherlock. Mostly Sherlock.
He can admit he’s secretly a little glad Sherlock didn’t come with him. He needs a break. Sherlock is a handful at the best of times, and the near-constant apologizing, fixing, dealing-with, and following up on is exhausting. The near-constant unrequited attraction is a bit exhausting, too, to be honest, and John could really use a tiny bit of rest from the relentless hammering on his brain and heart.
And as John settles himself more comfortably on his beach towel and tips his face to the sun, a cool shadow passes over his face, and a rustling makes him crack open his eyes.
It’s Sherlock, in swim shorts and tshirt, shaking out a tatty old towel over the sand. He drops down with a huff and stares at John from behind his expensive sunglasses.
“Fine, I’m here. I’m going to burn to death, I nearly tripped over a child screaming for something called a snow cone, but I’m here. Happy?”
John is speechless. Sherlock, in front of him, on the beach, with his blindingly pale, hairy legs sticking out from bright blue swim shorts and looking, if possible, even more disgruntled and beautiful than when John left him this morning in Baker Street.
He’s baffled, honestly. He’s frustrated and annoyed, but finds that happiness at Sherlock’s presence outweighs the rest. “A snow what?” he says.
“Snow cone. An American thing, I’m sure. They were tourists.” Sherlock sniffs and rummages through his bag for a moment before he brings out a bottle of sun cream. “I suppose this will have to do. Not nearly high enough SPF, honestly, but you tan.”
“Hey, stop going through my things! That was in my closet!”
Sherlock shrugs and starts smearing cream over his legs. “I had to find something. I didn’t have time to go to Boots before the train.”
“Did you at least shower before you left?” John asks, suspicious.
“Yes, nanny,” Sherlock sneers. “Now, do my back or you’re going to have to treat me for burns.” Sherlock strips off his shirt and flips over so he’s on his stomach. John sucks in a silent breath and holds it for a second, because he’s going to have to touch him. Sherlock. His skin. Spread his hands over that expanse of firmly muscled back and slide them slickly across his shoulders, and-
“Okay, okay, Jesus. Stop being so bossy.” The bottle is barely half full so John has an eternity of shaking and squeezing before he can get enough on his fingers to use. He glances down again at Sherlock’s back, takes a deep breath, and starts at the top of his spine.
Sherlock twitches. “Couldn’t you have warmed it up a bit first? God, that’s revoltingly cold.”
John doesn’t say anything, simply lets his hands smooth lotion from the top of Sherlock’s shoulders to the dip of his spine and wills any thoughts of erections out of his mind.
“You know, you’re right. This is rather nice,” Sherlock rumbles, the timbre of his voice pouring over like warm honey. “Perhaps you could just keep doing that.” He sighs, a big, gusty sigh that lifts his entire chest, then seems to sink into the sand like a warm, contented cat.
John pulls his hands back and throws the bottle into the bag. “I’m going for a swim,” he announces. Cold water sounds like a delightful idea. “Don’t stay too long like that or you’ll burn, regardless.” John climbs up from his position kneeling next to Sherlock’s side, turns precisely toward the water, and makes it there in four strides.
God, it is cold. Shockingly so, icy and sharp on his sun-warmed skin. God damn it, why does Sherlock have to be here, after all? Why can’t he stay home, just give John a single minute of peace from his freckle-dusted nose and warm, lush curls, from his brilliantly witty sarcasm and his unexpected, if rare, thoughtfulness.
John swims out a few strokes, until his feet can no longer touch bottom. Noone is near him; all he can see is the green-black of the sea where the clouds are starting to roll in, and a strip of sand dotted with people. Sound is strangely muffled, save the occasional shriek of a child.
He floats on the waves, and finds himself feeling strangely lonely.
Because really, having an occasional break from Sherlock is a good thing, truly it is, because John knows he could find himself lost in Sherlock’s all-consuming flame if he’s not careful. But Sherlock is right here, with him, and why would he want to isolate himself off alone when, for once, he has something rare and precious in his grasp? A Sherlock without work, without distractions, without stress.
John turns back to the shore, and halfway there finds Sherlock swimming out to meet him. His hair is slicked back from his forehead, and his cheeks are already turning a bit pink. John stops, and they tread water, considering each other.
“Why are you here?” John says, and despite the honesty of the question it comes out a bit harsher than intended.
Sherlock cocks his head, inquisitive, and yet still giving off that vibe that means John’s obviously missed something.
“To be where you are,” Sherlock says, simply.
John unlocks the door to the beach hut he’d hired for the day, drops his towel on the chair and tries to ignore the buzzing, humming awareness he feels every time Sherlock stands close. He rummages around his bag for his clothes for something to do with his hands. Sherlock brings his own bag in, and stands across in the tiny space shifting from foot to foot, a bit unsure.
“I’ve got a room at a B&B up the road a bit,” John says, pulling his tshirt on. “It’s a lovely place, big glassed in dining room and the breakfast looks amazing. It’ll be ready at four, but we can see if there’s an upgrade to the room with two beds, if you like.” God, he’s prattling on like an idiot.
Sherlock nods, then, as if he’s decided something, takes one stride across the floor, grasps John’s face in his hands, and kisses him soundly.
Not just soundly—deeply, thoroughly, with intent. Not an exploration of a kiss, a kiss from a man who is absolutely positive of his reception. John lets himself melt into it for just a moment.
“What—“John gets out between kisses. “Sherlock, wait.” John pulls back, but leaves his hands where they’d landed, on Sherlock’s waist. “What, precisely, is happening?”
Sherlock rolls his eyes. “I think that’s fairly obvious.”
“Well, sure, I get that. What I mean is why.” Or why now. That works, too. John can feel his heart beating in his fingertips.
“You left,” Sherlock starts, and his eyes cut away. “You left and all I could think was that I wanted to be where you were. It’s hateful, now, being alone. It used to be protective, you see, but now it’s…hateful.”
John’s stomach drops. “Are you just doing this because you’re lonely?”
“No! I want to be with you. Where you are, all the time. It’s maddening. I thought if you left, if I had some space from you, I could deal with it. But it just made it worse.”
John can’t help it. He laughs. Long, and probably too loudly, but honestly.
“It’s not funny!” Sherlock pouts, and John gives into temptation and kisses his sun-warmed nose.
“It is funny, because I was thinking the same thing. I wanted you to come, but I also wanted some space from you. Because this thing between us has become so overwhelmingly distracting I thought I was going to crack under the pressure. Plus, you were starting to smell a bit.”
“But I don’t now, do I?” Sherlock asks slyly, and cranes his neck a bit. John gets the hint and drags his nose up the column of Sherlock’s throat. He smells fresh, a bit like sea, with the lingering scent of suncream. John darts his tongue out and licks up Sherlock’s jugular vein. “Mmm. Salty.” Sherlock giggles. Honest-to-God giggles, and John smiles into the crook of his neck. “Should I lock us in, or would you rather wait for me to ravish you when we’re in a proper bed?”
Sherlock taps his chin and pretends to think it over a minute. “I believe both is an acceptable answer, don’t you?”
John laughs and dives for the lock, pulls the curtains closed and flicks on the small overhead light. There really isn’t much in the hut, just a couple of deck chairs and a small table with a gas ring. He drags a chair into the middle of the room and reclines back on it. When Sherlock cocks an eyebrow at him, John’s mouth goes dry, so he just crooks his finger and pats his lap.
He has lost his mind. He has. He’s inviting Sherlock to sit on his lap. In a beach hut. In Bornemouth.
And, miracle of miracles, he does. Straddles John’s lap in the chair and leans forward until they brush noses, lips, late afternoon stubble stinging their salt-tinged skin. John lets his hands drift around until they’re cupping Sherlock’s arse through his shorts, the wet fabric clinging to his frame like a second skin. His shorts are still wet, too, and he’s about to ask if they should go ahead and strip off when he’s distracted from Sherlock’s lips on his by the insistent nudging of Sherlock’s hand against the tie of his shorts.
“A little forward, aren’t we?” John teases, then pulls the tie loose. Sherlock gives him a lop sided smile and stands up just long enough for John to shuck his shorts and when he looks back up Sherlock has done the same, standing tall and proud and hungry, beautifully nude and less than a metre away. He’s absolutely breathtaking.
“Get over here,” John growls, and Sherlock does, resettles himself astride John’s thighs, their cocks brushing and bumping against each other.
“I have to say that anything I might have deduced about your penis is overwhelmed by the reality of it,” Sherlock says, and drifts fingertips over the shaft of John’s cock. The sensation zings through his veins, makes him twitch and yearn, and he pushes up into Sherlock’s hand. Sherlock chuckles and uses both hands to bring their cocks together, Sherlock’s longer, more curved; John’s wide and flared heavily. They look good together, complimentary, and John’s brought out of his momentary reverie when Sherlock strokes them together with one long pull.
“Oh fffffuck,” John moans. Sherlock has dropped his head back, arse shifting against John’s legs. “Do that again.”
“Need some lube, something—“
John hooks the strap of Sherlock’s bag with his foot and drags it over. “Sun cream. May be useful, for once.”
Sherlock grabs the bottle and upends it, manages to get a bit out and rubs it between his hands. John’s nerves ramp up, tingling with anticipation and the moment Sherlock’s hands return to his body he’s already halfway there. Sherlock strokes them slowly, deliberately, his grip tight and hot. John can feel the sweat beading on his hairline, Sherlock’s leg hair on the tops of his thighs, the epicenter of pleasure in his cock as Sherlock jerks them both. Sherlock sucks in air through his teeth and tries to spread his legs further, to get closer, rut harder. John wants too, wants to clamp down on Sherlock’s sweat-slick hips and fuck harder against Sherlock’s silky cock, into his hand, the coil of orgasm wrapping tightly in his groin as Sherlock groans against him, eyes bright and heated. Sherlock leans forward as he strokes and manages to reach John’s mouth and when John finally comes, it’s with Sherlock’s lips on his, breath mingling in the humid, heated air.
“We should clean up,” John says later, Sherlock crammed into the lounge chair with him, come still drying on their skin. “I think my time runs out in fifteen minutes or so.”
“Is the room ready?”
“Yes, should be, by the time we get there.”
“And it’s sharable, yes?”
John laughs, presses a kiss to the top of Sherlock’s head. “Yes, you prat. I did get a double bed. Subconsciously I must have realized I’d only need one, even when I booked a week ago.”
Sherlock lifts his head and looks at John with serious eyes. “Are you glad I came?” he asks.
John smiles. Maddening, annoying, lovely, brilliant. Too much work and never-ending joy.
“Of course I am. I only ever wanted to be where you are.”