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It’s nearing midnight and the flat is very quiet. Not quiet like most nights, when Sherlock is present but soundless, staring into his microscope or hypothesizing viciously on the internal symmetry of the common American toad--it’s the other kind, the kind that settles. The still, sincere quiet that makes John fidget and double check his pistol.

It’s been quiet since he got back from the clinic. It had been nice, at first; a bout of stomach flu was circulating the local primary schools and he was relieved not to encounter a man-shaped rotteweiler with crazy eyes and a fractured horsehair bow demanding to know where John had hidden his bloody cigarettes this time en route to the shower. He’d assumed Sherlock was lurking somewhere in the building, perhaps checking his mold cultures in the basement or indulging in a rare sleep cycle (ninety minutes, never more, never less, except when The Woman’d pumped him with enough tranquilizer to drop a reindeer). Hours passed, and Sherlock never burst from his room, nor did John hear him scale the stairs with an armful of gunk-filled petri dishes. He’d even chanced a knock at his flatmate’s bedroom. The door had creaked open under his knuckles, empty.

That’d been about, oh, three hours ago. Now John is tapping his knee, imitating with poor rhythm a jingle on television. Sherlock would’ve let him know if he was on a case. Surely. He’d have texted. At least left a note. Unless he did leave a note, but it was hidden and unreasonably subtle--like the time Sherlock had been led at gunpoint from their living room and somehow expected John to extrapolate his whereabouts from a crooked area rug and a spot on the doorframe Sherlock had chipped with his thumbnail. Turned out he had--found the warehouse Sherlock was in, that is, as well as wrecked the everloving shit out the the pissant at the door--but John isn’t so sure his deductive abilities are up for repeated testing.

John sits back. His phone is balanced on his thigh. He tries to relax his shoulders.

He hasn’t texted Sherlock for a lot of reasons. Reason number one: he likes having a nice, relaxing evening without Sherlock borrowing his cell to make angry, glottal calls in some imprecise Slavic dialect (last time that happened he’d ended up signing for a package shaped upsettingly like a sniper rifle and Sherlock had snatched it happily from his hands). Reason number two: he’s confident Sherlock would let him know if he was in trouble. Reason number three: he’s too tired to worry about it, for chrissakes.

None of these reasons are true, but they are the ones John pretends are paramount. The fourth and most accurate reason is this: Sherlock is an inconsiderate prat but he’s also thirty, not thirteen, and John feels ridiculous worrying after him like some boarding school dorm-mother.

Then his phone vibrates and tumbles off his leg, but John catches it mid-fall. He accidentally turns the godawful fucking stupid block of crap off as he tries to open the text, so he waits for the thing to boot up again, back to the knee-tapping, then quickly (but carefully) navigates to his inbox.

 

Tokyo
SH

Oh, Christ. John types back:

 

If you’ve managed to get to Japan

since I saw you this morning, you’re

on your own.

He sets his phone down and wonders if the incoming headache is viral or Sherlock-induced. Before he has enough time to ponder if Sherlock himself can be classified as a virus (frightening, exhausting, chemically-resistant, cellularly alien, bloody impossible to kill [God, Sherlock is mononucleosis]), he gets another text.

 

Not unreasonable, roughly a twelve

hour flight from Heathrow. No. You

asked me once about going on

holiday. If I ever have. If I ever wanted

to

SH 

John frowns and attempts to remember asking as much. Ah, right, he had--more or less as a joke while he and Sherlock were stowed away in the boot of a human trafficker’s car before an ambush.

 

That was months ago.

You didn’t even acknowledge

me when I asked.

Sherlock responds with his characteristic rapidity.

 

Regardless. It’s a culture steeped

in repression. Bound to produce

some creative social deviants

SH

John is tempted to inform Sherlock that most people tend to avoid foreign radicals while on holiday, not actively seek them out. 

His phone buzzes again.

 

I’d also like to visit a Buddhist

monastery

SH

Didn’t think the whole “empty

mindedness” philosophy was

quite up your alley. I take it you

haven’t left the country, then?  

No, I’m at The Arms

SH

John blinks. Hard. He hears his eyelids meet.

 

Sorry, you’re at a pub?

With Lestrade

SH

John triple checks: yep, pistol in the compartment under the coffee table.

 

You have twenty seconds

to convince me that you’re

not some moron posing as

Sherlock, or I’m going

to find you and put your

coccyx in your throat.

Because so far, I’m not

buying it.

In a punctual eighteen seconds, John’s phone sings the arrival of two image files. One of them is a picture of Greg, who seems to be drinking heartily from a pitcher despite the full pint in his right hand. The other makes John laugh so suddenly that he nearly drops his phone a second time: it’s half of Sherlock’s face, tight with revulsion, and the bottom quarter of Lestrade’s chin is crammed into the corner. The photo is taken from such a sincerely unflattering angle that Sherlock looks to own four times the number of standard-issue human chins. His nostrils are enormous.

 

Alright, you’re the real deal.

You can’t blame me for

being suspicious, though.

You, voluntarily spending

time with another human?

At a pub, much less.

Lestrade thinks today

is my birthday and has

thought so for the past

four years. He insisted

on taking me out to

“celebrate”

SH

That’s startling for a different reason.

 

If insistence was the

only impetus you

needed to act like a

normal person, I’d

have had you buying

groceries ages ago.

There’s a pause in the communication. Much more at ease now, John leans back in his chair and feels his muscles begin to unfurl. He sips at his tea and grimaces; it’s gone cold. As he sets it in the microwaves, his phone goes off again.

 

He promised me a

cigarette for every

pint we drank

SH

John frowns. A bit unprofessional there, Greg.

 

And how many have

you had?

He has enough time to retrieve his tea before he gets the next message:

 

Four

SH

And immediately the next one:

 

Five

SH

And then another:

 

No just four, not

including the Irish

carbomb

SH

Again:

 

Which the detective inspector

claimed tastes “exactly” like

chocolate milk but on which

subject he is exactly wrong

SH

John marvels. Sherlock’s drunk. Then he feels a surge of indignation, because Sherlock’s drunk and he isn’t there to take the piss out of him. Greg is a lucky bastard. Still, he did just spend the whole day helping quite a few people not vomit their brains out, he doesn’t much want to do the same when a drunk sociopath blunders home in the middle of the night.

He suggests reasonably:

 

Maybe you’d better slow

down. It’s probably been

a while since you’ve had

any alcohol in your system.

To which Sherlock responds acidically:

 

I’m not an idiot John

I am completely aware

of the effects of

intoxicadnjts on my

body

SH

Intosicat

SH

Alcohol

SH

He’s never going to let Sherlock live this down.

 

I’m never going to

let you live this down.

He sets his phone aside. Best to let Sherlock’s evening unfold as it will; let Greg drag his six foot even arse back in from the pub. He prepares himself for the ritual of growing drowsy while watching terrible game shows. His phone vibrates again, but he doesn’t reach for it at first. It continues with the kind of ridiculous regularity that makes John think Sherlock isn’t being a very good drinking partner.

He turns up the volume on the telly.

 

*

 

He dozes for most of the show and a portion of the next one. He wakes suddenly to the sound of explosive applause because someone’s just won a car or a microwave or a trip to Dubai or something. He yawns as he turns off the power, then he hears his phone buzz again and--holy shit he has thirty-nine messages. 

 

John

SH

JOhn are you there

SH

You arent asleep yet

I know you aren’t

SH

You’re just watching that

game show that i knwow

all the answers to

SH

Stop ignoring me

SH

John

SH

You know I actually

quite like it when yuo

are contrite with me

SH

But also that you are

willing and cpalble of

breaking bones

SH

You shot a man for me

SH

It was, and is,

endering

SH

DId you know I want to

taste the acidity of

you r eyeballs

SH

For no reason

SH

No reason, JOhn

SH

Theere is no applicable

uese for that data

SH

I just want to know

SH

Coccyx in the throat, John

SH

God

SH

Youd do it

SH

sometimes I think

I cdoudl aks you to

leap off a waterfuall wit

h me and youd do it

sH

Youre such a soldier

and I want to cataloge

evruy kind of soudn you

cn make and also what

the backs of your knees

feel like when you

sweat

.SH 

John abruptly stops reading. He sets (doesn’t throw, sets, important difference) his phone face-down on the floor. He stares at it between his feet.

Shit. Shit.

He realizes that his hands are hovering strangely in his lap, not quite touching his thighs. He clenches them into fists, moves them to the arm rests, clears his throat. He’s still staring at his phone. He moves as if to grab it, then his whole arm stiffens and he shoves his hand between the armrest and his leg because--because he’s shaking.

“What in the actual hell,” John mutters.

His mind hasn’t quite caught up with his body, so his fingertips are hot and his mouth feels dry but his brain is curiously uncolored, like a fizzing white space, a chemical reaction before the foam cools. The words don’t seem connected to anything yet, they don’t seem to have originated from. From. Anything. Especially not Sherlock Holmes. He grabs his phone again before he realizes he’s done it, opens a random text--

 

I want you to split

my lip before I

s uck your cock

sh

--and there it goes, there goes the eruption of red behind his closed eyelids, red on Sherlock’s chin, red on his gums, the red taste all the way at the back of his mouth when John pulls him up and swims his tongue in as far as it will go--

Oh, shit.

John’s palm begins to sweat against his thigh.

For a long time he’s seen Sherlock as something stunning but sexless, like a pieta or a skillfully sewn wound. These things make him inhale and hum in approval, but they don’t linger. He doesn’t--he can’t get turned on by a good set of stitches, especially when those stitches are expressedly uninterested in sex but. He. He needs to stop, this metaphor isn’t working, but neither is his brain right now in all fairness, thanks.

Sherlock Holmes drunk texting him, actually taking the effort to purposefully jab his thumbs at the keys that spell “cock” (and he made sure that one was clear, didn’t he)--and John doesn’t know how to process that. John can’t remember the last time he’s had a successful night out (there was Joanne, but Sherlock had texted him while her hand was in his trousers; he’d extracted her apologetically and for some reason she’d never called), and he blames that for the heat under his collar. It might also be somewhat, partially, very slightly related to the number of times he’s caught himself watching Sherlock’s throat shift while he pacing the living room, muttering reverently about a clever serial kidnapper. John doesn’t pine, but he also isn’t picky and Sherlock has this horrible habit of looking fucking fantastic all the time, even in June in a stagnant flat mooding about on the couch.

This is. This is a lot to handle, John thinks, and he stands to get a glass of water. His stomach feels insane, it feels like he might throw up smoke, and he wonders if he might be overreacting but Sherlock Holmes wants to suck his cock, so. Maybe not. His phone vibrates twice on his way to the kitchen and he checks it with frightening speed. The messages read:

 

Im comig home

S

And:

 

H

John doesn’t run to his room so much as he notes wisely how unprepared he is to handle a conversation with his enormously inebriated flatmate (which may or may not include words like “do” and “you” and “want to have sex”) and jogs stiffly up the stairs. Strategic retreat is not cowardice.

He doesn’t even bother dressing for bed, just shucks his trousers and shirt and climbs in. He shivers--just once, but wholly--and tries not to think about anything. Tries not to think about Sherlock’s ridiculous hands, about how much he can touch at once. Tries not to think about red.

He hears the front door.

John swallows sorely. Something round and persistent pushes at his throat, and he tries to breathe around it. It’s fine, it’s all fine, he’s a grown man for god’s sake, he shouldn’t be nervously shifting his feet in the dark while a perfectly gorgeous and sexually willing man attempts to unlock the front door. He shouldn’t. He is.

When Sherlock gets inside, his feet are careful against the regularly cacophonous floorboards. John hears him shuffle past the coat rack, then carefully into the kitchen. Looking for him, maybe. He thinks if he hadn’t seen the last text, he’d be downstairs right now, rinsing out his water glass, Sherlock might have come up behind him, might have wound his arms around John’s torso, might have brought his mouth to the hard corner of John’s jaw, reeking of bar and ash but tongue hot on his throat. He wonders how hard he might make Sherlock breathe.

Belatedly John realizes he didn’t shut his door, wonders if he can risk creeping over and locking it before--nope, oh hell, Sherlock’s already climbing the stairs to his room, much too steady for a man who can’t spell “coming.” The prick probably metabolizes as quickly as he long-divides. With a few short, deep breaths John attempts to even his respiration, calm his frantic pulse. He turns his face into his pillow.

He feels Sherlock before he hears him, a cold awareness on the back of his neck. He hopes--god, he hopes Sherlock buys it, doesn’t call out to him in the dark. John listens as Sherlock watches, silently, obviously observing, obviously figuring him out, hell, he should just come clean, but then Sherlock takes two large steps and John realizes why he’s so quiet, realizes that he isn’t bloody Sherlock, and immediately throws his phone at the intruder’s face.

He hears it connect (coupled with a hoarse curse), then twists to dig in his bedside table for his gun--which he fucking left downstairs, bloody hell. Unarmed, visually impaired, essentially cornered, John does the only thing that comes to mind: before the intruder can fully recover, John leaps out of bed and bodily charges him.

They go down together, an angry knot of scrabbling limbs and muffled shouts tumbling down the stairs. Combat survival pulses in his limbs. John does whatever he can to keep the upper hand as they struggle painfully downward, doesn’t worry about playing dirty. His knee connects sharply with the wall, but through gritted teeth John sees the intruder’s head (masked, but likely a man judging by his voice and size) crack against the edge of a step, and he hears the distinct clatter of a firearm skidding across the floor. They pile in a tangle of limbs at the base of the stairs, John on top, but the man, fueled by rage and considerably larger, heaves him off and dives for his gun. John lets his body follow the motion until he can tuck himself behind his chair, and the armrest explodes in a shower of yellowy stuffing, a deep wound rent in the worn cushion. John gropes beneath the coffee table and pulls back his pistol just as another bullet tears through the chair, uncomfortably close to his shoulder.

He chances a look beneath the chair and sees boots rapidly approaching, so John plants his feet firmly against the ground and throws his back against the chair. It screeches backwards and connects, and John catches a pained wheeze rushing from his attacker’s throat. John sucks in a sharp breath, turns a quarter, shoves again, effectively overturns the wrecked chair on top of the intruder, and he hopes--yes, a rattling impact, the bastard’s dropped his gun again. John stands, side-steps swiftly, then finds the man’s forehead down the barrel of his gun.

“Who the hell are you,” John says, just as Sherlock opens the front door.

“John,” Sherlock says, but John doesn’t look at him, just sees the man spasm towards Sherlock in some kind of last-ditch effort, and then John shatters his wrist with a bullet.

 

*

 

John bandages the wound hastily to prevent the man from bleeding out on Mrs. Hudson’s floor while they wait for the police.

“I ought to shoot you again,” John grumbles. “That was my favorite chair.”

Sherlock doesn’t say anything, simply vanishes into his room, returns with rope and cuffs, and goes to work tying the man to the ruined chair. Either Sherlock really does have the proportionate metabolism of a hummingbird or finding a would-be assassin in one’s home is the new miracle insta-sobriety technique, because he gags, cuffs, and restrains the man without complete gravity. He adjusts the cuffs to a seemingly deliberate tightness. The man hisses, but remains otherwise subdued, stormy-eyed.

“Right,” John says. “Welcome back.”

Sherlock stares at him. In the moonlit living room, John thinks he sees Sherlock’s gaze falter downwards.

“Oh. I’ll, um, let me get dressed. I was in bed.” He feels suddenly ridiculous, enormously so, gripping a gun in their living room wearing nothing but his pants. He has an absolutely juvenile urge to rush back to his room, but forces himself to march steadily up the stairs. As he goes, he thinks he feels something warm and bodiless run down his back, like a lingering gaze, but he convinces himself it’s his own flushing skin.

Once he’s dressed, John finds Sherlock seated on the couch, fingers fanned together and tucked just under his chin. His eyes are closed in thought. John hears distant sirens.

“Sherlock,” John says. He’s slightly startled when his flatmate’s eyes snap open. Sherlock glances around wildly before catching John’s bloomingly amused gazed. “Sorry, were you just...were you sleeping?”

Sherlock stands abruptly. “I’ll be in my room,” he announces, the first time John’s heard his voice since he got home. He sounds sturdy enough, if a bit hoarse. “In no condition to speak with the authorities.” He stalks past the bound man. When Sherlock runs into a kitchen chair he doesn’t say anything, but John spots a mortified frown on his face just before he vanishes into his room.

“Goodnight, then,” John calls after him, an odd mixture of amused and irritated. “I’ll just sit here with the man who tried to kill me in my sleep. Maybe I’ll make him some tea--would you,” he suddenly lowers his voice and smiles dryly at his glowering captive, “like some tea? Don’t answer that.”

By the time the police finish questioning him and drag the intruder away, the sky is blushing lavender. John curls exhausted into his bed. He suddenly remembers his phone, hidden somewhere in his room, thinks about finding it and setting an alarm, but sleep takes him before he can muster the energy to complete the thought.

 

*

 

John wakes late in the day to Sherlock knocking on his door.

“John, get dressed. I’ve reason to believe there was more on our guest’s mind last night than poorly executed burglary.” There’s a pause. “I’ve put the kettle on.”

“Sure,” John yawns, quickly shuffling out of bed and into some fresh clothes. He stops by the toilet before coming downstairs to see Sherlock hovering by the front door.

“Sherlock,” John says flatly, “you look awful.”

Sherlock’s glare darkens. He looks more pale than usual, and the skin beneath his eyes is uncharacteristically bruised. “You did note,” he mutters, eventually, “that it had been a while since my last...evening out.”

“Did you take some paracetamol?” John asks, pouring a cup of tea. He notices an empty cup in the sink.

“I know how to treat a hangover, John,” Sherlock snaps. He looks absolutely furious, though John isn’t sure if it’s because he’s genuinely offended or if it’s because he has to use the word hangover in reference to himself. Either way it’s hilarious. “Hurry up. I’ve got a cab waiting.”

 

*

 

It’s not until they’re at the station that John’s realizes he’s forgotten his phone.

 

*

 

It’s not until they’re waiting in an oily alley behind a Greek grocery store for the head of an ivory-smuggling syndicate that John remembers what’s on his phone.

 

*

 

It’s not until Sherlock grabs hold of John’s wrist while they’re tearing after a man carrying an elephant tusk the size of Mrs. Hudson that John realizes other things.

 

*

 

All in all they’re gone for a total of about twenty six hours. It’s probably because his tact is levelled by exhaustion, but as soon as Sherlock sheds his coat at the front door and before either of them can say anything about the case, John blurts:

“I read them all.”

Sherlock’s hand freezes next to the coat rack. He isn’t facing John.

“I read your texts,” John says.

Sherlock lowers his hands to his sides, then walks quickly into the kitchen. John doesn’t call after him, because he doesn’t know what to say. He didn’t think about what to say. Sherlock saves him the trouble by coming back into the living room, hands held behind his back.

“I thought we did an admirable job neglecting to acknowledge those,” Sherlock clears his throat, “It was naive of me to think they’d never come up.”

John looks at Sherlock sort of dumbly, he’s sure, but Sherlock is looking somewhere over his shoulder with heroically forced composure.

“You can keep your things here, if you like, while you look for a new flat.”

“I--what.”

“Doubtless you no longer feel comfortable here.”

“I’m sor--”

“However, as I benefit greatly from your assistance, I hope you’ll consider at least maintaining a professional correspondence--”

“Prof--fuck’s sake, Sherlock.”

“What?” Sherlock snaps, and he looks so embarrassed and frustrated and rigid and sad that John loses whatever words he’s been gathering and just takes off his shirt.

“Now that I’ve got your attention, you bloody child,” John huffs.

Sherlock stares hard into John’s eyes and John can practically hear all that machinery in his head screeching to a stop. “...You don’t want to leave.”

John gives him a look that very clearly says well I’m not going to go running around London goddamn topless am I.

Sherlock looks down, looks at John’s exposed chest. He takes a very deliberate breath. When he looks back up he is somehow slanted, his gaze, his posture--like something very central to him is slowly giving way.

He asks, “You read them all?”

“Mostly,” John shrugs. There’s been a lot of him standing awkwardly underdressed in the living room lately. To reconcile that, he moves close to Sherlock. “You can remind me.”

He doesn’t usually feel notably shorter than Sherlock, but right now he’s pretty aware of the half-foot or so his flatmate has on him. Sherlock seems to arch over him just slightly, his eyes all pith and heat, and when he carefully wraps his fingers around John’s bicep John feels well and truly like he is being pulled into something dark and massive and hungry. It thrills him on several levels; he feels pleasantly wanted, energetically combative.

“You know I can’t do this like the others,” Sherlock says lowly. “I can’t. I have to know you down to your smallest pieces. I’ll cut you open and live inside you and I’ll write dissertations on your molars.”

John slides a finger across the jumping pulse in Sherlock’s throat, follows the movement until his hand is gently curled against Sherlock’s neck. “Never took you for a romantic.”

Sherlock closes his eyes and smiles in that small, genuine gesture John adores, has always adored, and he just has to kiss him, so he does.

Sherlock presses down on him immediately, so John doesn’t have to strain. His other arm wraps around John’s shoulders, pulling him closer, while the hand gripping his arm tightens. He kisses John like an immodest wave, his mouth curious at first and then suddenly open, suddenly wide, suddenly rolling over and inside. Sherlock makes a short noise into John’s mouth, but what makes John suddenly twist his fingers into Sherlock’s dark hair is the way it breaks at the end, unguarded, clean, a sound so desperately happy and relieved that John physically swallows against the hungry mouth pulling at his own--he hopes he can keep that noise inside him forever.

John meets Sherlock’s fervor with everything he’s got, kissing desperately, sloppily, and they’re already so deep in one another that John tastes the secret, tangy darkness in the slick corners of Sherlock’s mouth. Sherlock’s teeth drag against the lightly stubbled skin below John’s lip as they tilt urgently against one another, so John sucks Sherlock’s fat, perfect, beautiful been-asking-for-it-since-we-bloody-met lower lip between his teeth and keeps it there, passing his tongue wetly against it as he as he sucks it raw, Sherlock’s breath a ragged pattern passing between them. When John finally lets go (and chases a gentle kiss to the bruised flesh), Sherlock licks his mouth and then backs John against the wall, breath hot against his ear.

“Sherlock,” John gasps, feels a hot triangle burn then plummet in his stomach, his hips jerking against Sherlock’s thigh. Sherlock can’t--but he must have known, somehow, must have followed some subtle erogenous trail to the fairly mum conclusion that John’s cock goes rigid with a tongue tracing his ear. “God,” he sighs, pulling his caught arm from Sherlock’s hand and pushing it past the other man's coat to stroke at his chest. Sherlock bites lightly at his earlobe and John moans, can feel the fever of Sherlock’s skin through the material of his shirt, stiff with sweat from the chase, and John presses his thumb against the covered point of a nipple, desperate to feel that heat, to coax more sweat from Sherlock’s skin.

Then Sherlock suddenly tears away, cursing sharply. “Lestrade took my damn handcuffs,” he hisses.

John blinks at him. He attempts to gain control of his (incredibly audible, wow, not running a marathon John Hamish) breathing in Sherlock’s abrupt, distracted silence.

“...I’m not saying,” John pauses to clear his throat, straightens his posture a bit, “that I’m completely game for it, now, but surely you have more than one pair.”

Sherlock actually pouts, or maybe his lip is just notably swollen. John wants to put his teeth in it again. “They were my favorite.”

“Incredible. I’m jealous of handcuffs,” John sighs. Sherlock still looks mildly put-off. “We can get them back tomorrow.”

The sulk persists. John leans closer.

“Maybe by then I’ll have warmed up to the idea.”

And like that Sherlock’s back with the kind of ravenous linear focus that shreds crime-scene and conscience and John’s personal resolve alike. John kisses him towards the bedroom.

“You looked incredible yesterday,” Sherlock murmurs between kisses. He fits his hands to John’s hips, thumbs hooking into his belt loops. “You should bring your gun to bed.”

John laughs. Their mouths are lazier now--still deep and open, tongues dipping into wet creases, but they have to concentrate on getting to Sherlock’s bed without breaking anything. “And you should bring your riding crop.”

“John Watson,” Sherlock says after a sharp intake of breath. “You are perfect. Please may I fuck you.”

“You mean please-may-I-fuck-you-John-Watson-sir,” John mutters, smirking against Sherlock’s chin as they shut the door to the bedroom. Sherlock groans and briefly crushes their bodies together before hauling John towards the bed.

Sherlock shrugs out of his coat and drops it like a sack of rotten fish, then begins urgently unbuttoning his shirt as John patterns wet, noisy kisses along his long throat. John stokes his tongue firmly against  the ridges of Sherlock’s collar, then tugs the neckline of his undershirt lower to suck marks into the white skin he finds. Somehow their shoes come off. John’s belt jangles suggestively as they fall into bed together, Sherlock tugging him by the loosened strap. John throws a leg over Sherlock’s hip, tucking their groins together as Sherlock bites at John’s earlobe again; the pair of them gasp at the friction, at the perfect shifting of fabric against their clothed erections.

Sherlock sighs hotly against John’s ear as he rolls against him again, and with a hoarse moan John wedges his heel behind Sherlock’s thigh and hefts himself on top. He rips his belt out of its loops then begins working impatiently at his own trousers. Sherlock sits up, then, and snakes an arm around him, meets his chest open-mouthed. John’s head lolls slightly, his back arching, and Sherlock traces a nipple with his tongue, his breath dragging cool air over the sensitive nub, then he sucks powerfully, bites deliberately.

John moans and weaves his fingers tightly into Sherlock’s curls, his skin seeming to burn and tighten everywhere, his throat blocked with something aching, and he grinds down shamelessly, needfully. Sherlock slips sideways to give the other nipple similar treatment, one of his hands crawling up to rub unforgiving circles over John’s abused flesh, and John can feel him smirking as he catches his nipple between his teeth but he’s so bloody turned on he doesn’t even bother being irked about it.

“Sherlock, oh my God,” John gasps. Sherlock uses his free hand to palm John’s ridiculously hard cock through his pants, and John lets out a sound so desperately, whorishly inviting that he might have blushed if it hadn’t made Sherlock, in turn, sob with need. John presses his nose against the top of Sherlock’s head and kisses him there, smelling the dirty, tired scent of him, the distant cologne, he kisses him again and again and breathes in and out and when Sherlock leans up to kiss him on the mouth John wraps both of his arms around his glorious stupid head and almost cries.

Sherlock slips both hands down the back of John’s trousers, but John pushes him back, laughing softly. “This has all got to go,” he says, climbing off of Sherlock so they can shed their remaining clothing. Once he’s completely nude, John looks at Sherlock, feels an electric sort of pride in the bald eagerness of hungry gaze that meets him.

“John,” Sherlock mumbles lowly, his voice like the distant rumble of a heavily anticipated storm. John feels it in his very core. Sherlock reaches for him and smooths his hand along John’s inner thigh, squeezing at the hot, firm flesh, and John sighs. “Did you read what I said about your body? About your cock?”

John’s breathing jumps again when Sherlock ghosts a knuckle against his balls. “Must’ve skipped it,” he whispers.

Sherlock leans down to kiss John’s thigh, just below his thumb, then inhales slowly. His expression is the lightest, freest glimpse of contentment John has ever seen on Sherlock’s face; John flushes, feels his spread along his neck, feels his cock throb at the thought that just by...just his scent, his scent can bring Sherlock such serenity. “Good. My hypotheses were shameful. You are so much more beautiful than I had imagined.”

John barely has time to gulp before Sherlock climbs over him, wrapping a hand around his dick. “I wondered if you might scream.” Sherlock’s voice is like a geologic tremble. “If you don’t, how I might make you.” He strokes long and leisurely at John’s erection, nudging his own in tiny thrusts against John’s hip. John wets his lips, rolling his body in tandem with Sherlock.

“I want to do everything to you, John,” Sherlock whispers, words hot and flush against John’s ear (and he knows, he already knows Sherlock is going to use that ear-thing to get what he wants whenever he wants the absolute little prick). “And I want you to do everything to me.”

John reaches down between their bodies and drags his nails along the tight, soft skin of Sherlock’s pelvis. “I want to blow you in a cab,” he growls, and Sherlock huffs into his ear. “I want to spank you raw with my bare hands.”

Sherlock bites his way to John’s mouth, mutters into a kiss, “I want to count how many times you come before you cry.”

John says, “Jesus,” and quickly moves to fist Sherlock’s cock, but the other man moves away. He leans over John towards the nightstand, and while he searches and curses noisily John presses intermittently gentle and bruising kisses to his chest, his fingers dusting through the sparse hair there. When Sherlock comes back his fingers are already slick and inquisitive.

“Mmf,” John says against Sherlock’s mouth when the first finger’s in. Sherlock works it in and out slowly, just deliberate friction to release tension, and soon John’s ready for a second, and he says as much with his hips.

John eases his legs farther apart and slings one around Sherlock as he controls his breathing. Then Sherlock twists a slick hand around his dick and John feels himself spasm around those fingers, a startled moan leaping out of his throat. Sherlock eases another finger in, pumping them in time with his hand on John’s cock, and he doesn’t think he’s ever been this hard in his entire life, this breathless, this crazy for a single person to bite and lick and fuck and consume every sweating shred of his body and sanity.

“Fuck me,” John says, and Sherlock squeezes tighter, curves and presses with his fingers--John grabs convulsively at Sherlock’s shoulders. “God. Sherlock, fuck me.”

He hears he smirk. He hears it. “Sherlock Holmes, will you fuck me please sir,” Sherlock quips, and John stares him right in the eyes and reaches down with both hands to work the rigid heat of Sherlock’s cock and is surprised to find it damp, to find it already leaking between them, and he doesn’t let Sherlock say anything, just kisses him fiercely, and Sherlock’s hands, newly smeared with lube, join his, chastised, shaking.

Sherlock presses against him and hesitates, and John wraps both legs around his waist and urges him on with his heels--”I’m not going to break Sherlock fuck me,”--and then the rhythm starts, first slow and indulgent, every second an agonized awareness of the slow tight fullness. For all his talk of screaming it’s Sherlock who cries out first when John braces his hands on the wall over his head and pushes back, meeting with the deliciously solid sound of skin, and they sort of get it then, working between them, the crescendo building until Sherlock is breathing beast-like over him and John’s wrists ache from the force of pushing back. “Fuck,” John hisses, then again, “fuck,” when Sherlock starts fiercely jerking him off, hand still slick.

“Oh my god,” John whispers or sobs, he can’t tell, Sherlock’s hand on him stutteringly awkward and distracted, but then Sherlock scoops his other arm under John’s arching back and pulls him just so and the angle shifts and John throws his head back and throws all of his weight down, down, forcing Sherlock against that one spot--

--and he comes, explosively and so much, Sherlock’s name lost to the broken shout rattling in his throat. In the midst of it all, the throbs, the milking strokes, John reaches up and crushes Sherlock’s mouth to his own, biting until his tastes red, and then Sherlock almost chokes between them, pulsing tangibly inside John, a rush of warmth that makes John feel at once filthy, at once whole, sincere.

Sherlock lies on him but only briefly, then he shifts to the side, panting. John unwraps himself, winces at the ache in his muscles.

“Since you shot that cabbie,” Sherlock mutters, mostly into a pillow.

“Sorry?” John asks. He could use a glass of water, but he is completely unashamed in the knowledge that he doesn’t want to distance himself from Sherlock long enough to meet this need.

“I’ve,” Sherlock pauses, then rolls his head so he’s facing John. He doesn’t look at him. “I’ve wanted you since you shot that cabbie.”

John dusts his fingers along Sherlock’s damp forehead, shifting his curls out of the way. “Yeah?”

Sherlock clears his throat. “Since I knew...since I understood your strength. Your perfect predictability.” He smiles when John snorts. “And your entirely unique ability to surprise me.”

John smiles then, too. He knots his fingers with Sherlock’s, mess and all. “I am going to predictably fall asleep now.” He places a small kiss on Sherlock’s forehead, noticing the tired droop of his eyelids. “And then, after about eight hours, I am going to surprise you.”

“Mm,” Sherlock answers.

They sleep.

And then later John surprises Sherlock in the shower.