This is nothing like Sherlock remembers from those few times Victor kissed him in an attempt to get a reaction. Up until now - if he’s ever had cause to think of kissing in relation to himself at all - he’s thought it pleasant enough in its way. If there was nothing better to do. Up to, and including, cataloguing the drying speed of different varieties of paints.
How had he not known it was possible for such sensations to be elicited just from the press of lip on lip? How can this simple slip and slide of gentle contact cause such magnification of his nerves? Does it matter that it’s sending tremors through his entire body? It is … he tries to focus, to analyse, to understand, but his lips are a blazing conflagration, sending liquid fire pulsing through his veins and powering the fireworks that are filling his head and preventing rational thought. And John’s tongue! Each caress, each gentle exploration of Sherlock’s mouth causing explosions in Sherlock’s gut and sending desire spiralling downward, pooling in his groin. He wants, no he needs, to map John’s mouth in return; needs to suck and lick and taste every millimetre of John’s skin yet he’s incapable of doing anything other than melting into John, into this kiss he can barely process, let alone control. It’s all he can do to stay upright on muscles that have somehow been turned to jelly by John’s skilful ministrations.
It could be seconds or minutes or hours before the kiss is broken; Sherlock can’t tell and doesn’t care. He just wants John’s mouth back on his own, wants to drown in the sensations that make him feel alive in a way only cases and cocaine have managed until now. But John stops Sherlock bringing their mouths back together with gentle fingertips over Sherlock’s parted lips. John’s eyes are huge and dark as his gaze roves over every inch of Sherlock’s face but there’s an element of consideration that makes apprehension prickle deep in Sherlock’s stomach.
‘Am I …’ Sherlock swallows the rest of that deeply pathetic sentence and tries again. ‘Is something wrong?’
John’s smile is vivid as he runs his thumb over Sherlock’s jaw. ‘Far from it. I just wanted to make sure you were … well, alright I suppose.’
Sherlock twists his head, capturing John’s thumb with his teeth and sucking, generating a hard edged inhalation from John that makes the hair stand up on Sherlock’s neck and arms.
‘I may not have your vast practical experience of this sort of thing.’ Sherlock speaks round John’s digit, words coming out muffled and more than a little ragged. ‘But I don’t need to be coddled. I want you to …’ He thinks fast, wanting to find the words that will dispel John’s apparent need to treat him like a blushing virgin and is unable to suppress a smirk when he remembers a throw away comment he once heard. ‘I want you to show me exactly how you earned your reputation across those three continents.’
‘Where did you … Mike?’ John’s face and neck turn a colour normally associated with severe sunburn and Sherlock finds it strangely enticing. So much so that he’s unable to stop himself curling his tongue round John’s still captive thumb as he nods his confirmation.
‘I’ll think about killing him later,’ John practically growls, pupils now completely blown as Sherlock’s tongue continues to dance and tease, ‘After I’ve complied with your request.’
Then the thumb is gone and Sherlock’s coat is being dragged from his shoulders even as John’s mouth attaches to the pulse point under his left ear. Once again Sherlock gives himself up to John, only mildly concerned that the sobbing moans echoing through the flat are coming from his own throat as his shirt goes the same way as the coat. Then John’s fingers brush over his bare chest, once, twice before John dips and his mouth is on Sherlock’s nipple and …
‘Oh God! … Jesus! … John!’ Sherlock’s hands scrabble for purchase, clutching at John’s shoulders, John’s arms, John’s back, as his whole body jerks and vibrates. If he thought the noises coming out of his mouth had been embarrassing before then now, if he had even one brain cell left available to care, now he would have to classify them as mortifying. Except they’re not because they appear to have generated a feedback loop, his shouts informing both John’s actions and his reactions. Every moan and cry Sherlock makes resulting in John doing something different, tongue either laving or flicking the now achingly hard nub of his nipple or teeth nipping at flushed skin around it. And then John’s still saliva damp thumb is on Sherlock’s other nipple, pressing and circling and …
‘John! I … I … Oh!’ Sherlock is subsumed by sensations; the wet heat of John’s mouth, the callused pads of his fingers, the drag of his breath and the press of his body. Each and every minute touch, flick or suck making his cock throb and balls tighten and he can feel the pressure beginning to build inside, coiling and flexing deep within. He’s shaking, and gasping, and … and he needs ….
He needs to touch, to taste, to give as well as to receive and he finds himself tugging somewhat haphazardly at John’s shirt; wanting John’s skin under his hands but unable to co-ordinate himself enough to even make an attempt on the buttons.
‘John! … please…. please …’ He’s not really sure what he’s asking for but knows he needs more than what John’s giving him. He tries to find some words. Any words. All he manages to say is, ‘I want … I can’t … there’s so much ….’
John licks a stripe from Sherlock’s nipple to his neck and finally Sherlock manages to get his hands to behave enough to grab John’s arse, pulling them flush against each other; grinding their erections together and making them both cry out.
‘God, Sherlock. You’re fantastic …wonderful … gorgeous,’ John murmurs into the hollow of Sherlock’s collarbone as Sherlock bucks, seeking more wonderful friction. ‘But I’m too old, too tired and too bruised to do any more of this out here.’
‘You’re not old,’ Sherlock slurs, sagging against the wall as John steps away, still fully clothed and staring with unabashed hunger at Sherlock’s half naked body. ‘You’re …’
His words fail again as John takes one step backward, then another, eyes sparking with mischief and delight as he begins to unbutton his shirt. ‘Come on, Sherlock.’ He’s moving faster now, towards the stairs, shirt hitting the floor as Sherlock has to turn to keep his eyes on him. ‘Come to bed with me.’
And then John’s gone from Sherlock’s sight and it’s as much as he can do to scramble round the corner in an attempt at pursuit, legs feeling like they did the first time he’d tried to walk after being in bed with pneumonia for a week.
‘John!’ He calls, but all he gets in response is a glorious peal of laughter from the top of the stairs. Laughter that makes his suit trousers feel even more viciously restrictive in the groin area than they already were. When he finally makes it to the top of the stairs and almost trips over John’s jeans he gives in and makes an attempt to strip his own trousers off.
It takes him three goes to get his fly button undone and his brain takes advantage of his fumblings to remind him just how foolish he’s being; that not only is he risking his current relationship with John but also his life as a whole. Because honestly, can this Sherlock, the Sherlock standing here now - so consumed with need, with want, with emotions he can’t even name that he can’t open his trousers - also continue to be the Sherlock Holmes who is emotionally and physically apart enough from the rest of the world to see what others miss, to analyse without sentiment and solve the unsolvable? Is he really willing to open those doors in his psyche that he’s spent the majority of his life keeping sealed shut and become the Sherlock that John so clearly sees behind the façade? Can he accept the consequences if he finds that he is unable to ever close them again, should the need arise?
He freezes, desire warring with an uneasy confusion that is pushing through the fog of pheromones and lust. He wants yet he doesn’t want, he needs but what he needs he cannot name, and - laced all through his muddled threads of consciousness - there are the scents. The scent of John on him, the scent of him on John, and the almost-scent, inside his head but no less real to him, of what they will both smell like when they complete the bond. It’s intoxicating and terrifying in equal measure and yet fading, the longer he stands here, undecided. Because they haven’t yet bonded and his indecision may be making the decision nonetheless; the minutes ticking by ominously. John will not wait forever. He will, at some point, lose patience, or assume Sherlock’s hesitance is from lack of interest. If he doesn’t move soon John’s going to think he’s changed his mind.
Can he really do this?
He’s struggling for breath, his heart is pounding and finds himself sliding back inside his head; back and down, into dark recesses long ago abandoned, looking at doors he shut in another age. Until …
A face appears in his mind, a face he hasn’t pictured for years, a face he’d almost convinced himself he’d purged completely; cobalt blue eyes, wild chestnut curls and a smile that could light up the depths of the ocean. A sob wells deep in his chest as the eyes soften, the mouth opens and he hears:
Yes, Lock, you can. You can do this. You can be both.
The words echo though his head and his lungs tightens with gratitude, long held and long unshared, that he thought he’d buried so deep he’d never feel again. But he is feeling it, and remembering all the joy, all the laughter, all the times when he thought his whole life would be a blur of happiness and, finally, he understands what he’s been running away from for all these years. For a split second he is tempted to run again, run hard and fast and never look back so that there can be no possibility that he will ever be hurt again. Except …
You’ve not been able to delete me, Lock. You won’t be able to delete him. Don’t waste the greatest gift you’ve ever been given. Try. Please, Lock. For me. Just try.
Sherlock blinks rapidly as the image fades and he finds his hands outstretched, reaching for a spectre he can never hold again.
‘For you, Ford, I will try,’ he whispers after he’s taken a breath so deep the constriction on his lungs is broken as if it were never there. ‘For you and for John.’
His hands are steady as he returns to himself and there are no more mishaps removing trousers, shoes and socks. He doesn’t really notice what he’s doing, instead focusing solely on locking down those memories, burying them as deep as he can in the pits of his mind palace and securing them with every mental bar and lock he has in his arsenal.
For there may be a time when he will be ready to face that event, the catalyst for all that he has become, but it is not this day. He has no time for sorrow or remembrance while John is waiting for him. As the final bar drops into place his face clears, mind once again free of the taint of hurt and loss, and he turns towards John’s room.
A surge of nerves and unaccustomed shyness results in him leaving his boxers on and having to take a few more breaths. Only once their mingling scents have soothed and bolstered him does he pad those few, yet hugely significant, steps across the hallway and pushes open John’s door.
Since he entered his room and positioned himself on the bed John has been pitching between joy and terror so swiftly and completely he’s wondering if he should put the lurching in his stomach down to seasickness; although he knows that the knock to this head, which is still aching dully, is probably a more likely cause. He briefly takes his mind off the continued absence of Sherlock by constructing a medically sound argument for what he’s been doing and hopes will continue when Sherlock appears, based on the functions of adrenaline, endorphins and pheromones as natural alternatives to painkillers, and remaining awake being vital given the high possibility that he has concussion.
It doesn’t work for long. He knows that he was right to give Sherlock space, to allow him to be the one to take the final step, to make it completely Sherlock’s choice to turn a bit of heavy petting into something much more meaningful. Mainly because it’s very obvious that Sherlock hadn’t realised he wanted any of this before tonight.
And John meant what he said earlier. He needs Sherlock to be sure. About everything.
Which is all very well and good but, John acknowledges ruefully, he significantly underestimated how difficult he’d find waiting. Especially with Sherlock loitering in the corridor and, judging by the harsh, rapid breathing and unintelligible muttering John can hear, working himself up to a full blown panic attack. John hadn’t actually considered that Sherlock might change his mind completely but now he’s starting to accept that it’s a viable possibility; upsetting as that is.
So he thinks he can be excused for grinning like the proverbial loon when Sherlock pushes open the door, his boxer clad form making it very obvious that his final decision has been made and that it’s everything John hoped it would be.
‘Sherlock,’ he breathes, raising himself up on his elbows and shifting so his whole body is turned towards the extraordinary man who is now stock still in the doorway, left hand griping the frame so hard his knuckles are white, right flexing and tensing at his hip. ‘Sherlock.’
Sherlock makes a small, indistinct noise in the back of his throat, snags his bottom lip between his teeth, takes a small step into the room but goes no further. His breathing is shallow, his expression is dazed and his eyes … his eyes are flying up and down John’s body in exactly the same way they move over a cadaver at a crime scene. John realises he’s being catalogued, reviewed, memorized and, Jesus, how ducked up is he that it’s officially the most erotic thing he’s ever been subjected to.
‘Sherlock,’ he says again, this time a little louder, extending his hand and crooking two fingers in invitation as his smile pushes the limits of his face. ‘Sherlock … come here.’
Sherlock starts forward but all his grace and athleticism has deserted him, replaced by a hesitant stumbling that John finds unexpectedly endearing.
‘John,’ he rumbles, halting almost at once, hand outstretched. ‘John, I …’
John is off the bed and in front of Sherlock in a second, reaching up and cradling his face between hands that, much to his surprise, are shaking slightly. ‘What do you want?’ He says as he strokes his thumbs over Sherlock’s cheekbones, willing himself to calm down. ‘What do you need?’
‘You.’ Is the instant response, Sherlock’s hands coming to rest on his waist and tightening almost to the point of pain. ‘Just you.’
‘You have me,’ he says firmly, pressing closer, lifting his mouth to Sherlock’s. ‘You’ll always have me.’
‘Show me, John ... please.’ Sherlock’s voice is quivering, as is his body, and for a moment John sees a much younger man looking out of Sherlock’s eyes.
And John understands.
Understands the dual meaning in Sherlock’s pleading words and knows exactly what Sherlock needs him to do now.
The kiss that follows starts with John’s murmur of assent, breathed into a mouth that is trembling with need and uncertainty. It morphs swiftly into a brush of lip on lip that is sublimely soft and achingly gentle, John trying to give Sherlock the kiss he wishes he had received the first time he was taken to bed by someone he hoped would be more than a just another one night stand. He’s never been more conscious of his own body, the thrumming of the blood in his veins and the warmth building over every tiny patch of his skin that is pressed to Sherlock’s. When John traces the plush swell of Sherlock’s lower lip with the tip of his tongue Sherlock groans, mouth and body yielding at once and John begins to move backwards, easing them both towards the bed as he dips in and out of Sherlock’s mouth, encouraging him to reciprocate.
By the time John’s got them onto the bed - a far smoother transition than he thinks he had any right to expect - Sherlock is whimpering brokenly while kissing John back with more passion than John has ever received from anyone.
‘Wonderful,’ John says into Sherlock’s mouth, when he once again has control of his tongue. ‘You are the most wonderful ...’
And the rest of the sentence is lost to a moan as Sherlock’s hands slide inside John’s boxers and begin kneading his arse at the same time as Sherlock’s mouth closes round John’s ear lobe and sucks. Hard.
‘I didn’t know,’ John pants when his nerve ending have stopped exploding, ‘that I liked that.’
‘Didn’t know I liked any of this,’ Sherlock mutters into the damp skin of John’s neck before he pulls back, biting his lower lip again before adding, in a barely audible whisper. ‘Will you ... my nipples ... like before?’
‘God, yes ...’ John shifts down so he’s straddling Sherlock’s upper thighs and then proceeds to kiss, lick, suck and nip until Sherlock is a writhing mess beneath him, the smooth expanse of his chest mottled pink and gleaming with sweat, hands clutching convulsively at John’s forearms as he curves upward and moans his pleasure to the ceiling. His uninhibited responsiveness, the way he’s giving himself up to the sensations, giving himself up to John, is beautiful and it ... it’s doing things deep inside John that he’s never experienced before, never even contemplated. This, he thinks as he lifts his head and reaches up to smooth a curl off Sherlock’s forehead, this is what is meant by making love.
‘I want to worship you,’ he finds himself saying as Sherlock’s eyes open at his touch, locking on John’s with a wanton wildness that pulses straight to John’s cock. ‘Want to kiss every inch of you, stroke every single centimetre, until you’ll never forget what my touch feels like. I want to taste you, learn you, find out exactly what noises you make when I’m holding you on the brink and exactly how you sound when you come.’
Sherlock’s gasping, eyelids flickering as his hands slide up John’s arms and he’s levering himself up, fitting their mouths back together.
This kiss is anything but gentle, a battle of teeth and tongues and hands and then it’s John’s turn to melt. Sherlock taking him apart one lick, one suck, one caress at a time.
‘Too many clothes,’ Sherlock growls several minutes later and John would laugh, given the only thing either of them still have on are their pants and that’s not impeding them much - he’s got his fingers curled round Sherlock’s cock and Sherlock is returning the favour with enthusiasm - but instead he’s disengaging and slipping off the bed; scrambling to comply as fast as he can as Sherlock adds, ‘Get them off. Now!’
It’s the timbre of Sherlock’s voice that does it, making him want to do more than just obey that single command. It’s gone straight to his hind brain, flicked the switch marked Omega, and suddenly his world has turned upside down.
He’s never wanted to be taken before, always needed to be the one in control, the one calling the shots – hence the string of beta lovers he’s had - but now he’s wrapping himself round Sherlock, babbling at him as he reverses their positions, lying back so Sherlock is the one on top. He’s not fully conscious of what he’s actually saying but he’s aware the general gist is that he wants Sherlock to take him, needs Sherlock’s fingers, Sherlock’s cock, anything Sherlock will give him. Something Sherlock would probably have deduced by the way John’s spreading his legs, lifting his hips and taking Sherlock’s hand and pressing it to his arse, but he can’t stop talking all the same.
And Sherlock - wonderful, beautiful, inexperienced Sherlock - is hushing him, feathering kisses across his face, neck and chest, and telling him it’s ok, that he’s there, that he’s going to take care of him.
‘Tell me what do, John,’ Sherlock demands, kneeling between John’s legs and running his hands up and down John’s thighs. ‘Tell me how you want me to do this …’