John sits in his chair staring stonily off into the distance while Sherlock lies on the sofa, staring blankly at the ceiling with hands steepled beneath his chin.
The room crackles with a tension that has only grown thicker by the day in the weeks since John made his way back to Baker Street.
"Are we finally going to do this, then?" Sherlock asks quietly and John's eyes swing over, his icy blue gaze making a knot settle deep in the pit of the detective's stomach.
I may lose him all over again. Sherlock thinks to himself.
"You know what?" John says in a low, angry voice. "Yes. Yes we are. There's no sense in putting it off any longer." He spits.
Sherlock stares up at the ceiling trying to maintain his calm outer facade.
The room goes deadly silent.
"How could you?" John asks softly. "After everything we'd been through together Sherlock how could you just leave." He swallows thickly and clears his throat, then turns to face Sherlock fully.
"In all the time you've known me, when I have I ever done anything to make you feel as if you couldn't trust me? To make you feel like lying to me for two bloody years was a better alternative to just telling me what was happening? Me, Sherlock. Me, who killed a man for you the same day I met you. Me, who has always been happy to follow you blindly into whatever danger the world could conjure. When have I ever done anything to make you feel like I wouldn't happily give my life for the knowledge that you were alive?" John stops and takes a deep steadying breath before continuing.
"No. Instead of using the science of deduction" he sneers. "Instead of using everything you knew to be true about me, you fucked off into the bloody sunset to have your adventures and you left me here, an empty shell of a man." John wipes furiously at the tears flowing silently from his eyes.
"You gave me everything I needed to put myself back together and then you ripped it all away in the most painful fashion you could imagine, and you made me watch. Then you left me here to stew in it all while you ran around playing fucking hide and seek with Moriarty's minions. I knew you didn't let sentiment rule your actions, but not until you came back did I realize how little I must mean to you."
Sherlock jumps to his feet and begins unbuttoning his shirt.
"Should I have taken you with me John?" Sherlock asks in a voice John has never had aimed at him before. He looks up at Sherlock's face to see that he is almost vibrating with white hot anger.
Sherlock finishes with his front buttons and removes his cuff links with practiced ease.
"Would you have been able to sit silently while I took lash after lash across my back?" He snarls, as his shirt falls away and he turns, revealing the web of pale pink scars. He smiles grimly at the gasp that rings out in the quiet of the flat.
"If not you would have most certainly been killed instantly, and that's assuming you were even still alive by the time I got to this point. Was there a slightly selfish motive to my actions? Yes. But that motive was never to be without you, you absolute moron. It was always to save you. It was always me being completely unable to lead you into certain death if there were any way at all for me to keep you safe." Sherlock says turning back to John.
"When, John Watson, have I ever given you cause to believe that I didn't want you?" He snaps.
John opens his mouth to answer but Sherlock cuts him off.
"Do not quote to me some inane moment when I was too focused on my work to worry about exactly where you were. You, more than anyone know how my mind works, and that means you know that there was never anything malicious to it. No John, give me a real moment, anything you can recall that would explain this fantasy world you're living in where I haven't been giving everything of myself to you, up to and including my life if necessary." Sherlock takes a deep breath and tries to calm himself, but he can't stop now he's started and the words continue to spill from his lips, a flood of pain he's been holding inside himself since he first returned to see John just about to propose and very clearly over anything he and Sherlock may or may not have been working toward.
"I jumped from a building to save you, with no guarantee I would live through it. I spent two years of my life sleeping in gutters while playing the sound of your laughter over and over again inside my head, afraid that if I didn't, I'd one day forget the way you sound when you're happy. I planned your wedding, to that wretched woman, and even after she put a bullet in my chest I did everything I could to secure your contentment with her. I killed a man for you, many men in fact. I pulled you from a fire with my bare fucking hands and you can dare sit there, and accuse me of not caring for you?"
He's panting like he's just finished a marathon, his hands are shaking, and hot tears are sliding down his face and dripping from his chin, landing on the rug with the soft patter of muffled rainfall.
John looks stricken. He stands and looks up into Sherlock's eyes.
"I lost my mind without you here. I sat in that bloody chair and slipped slowly into madness wondering what I had done to deserve having you taken from me. Wondering what I could have done to save you if only I had seen the signs. I'm a sodding doctor! How could I not see?! I went to your grave and I begged you not to be dead." He chokes out.
"I thought of you while they tortured me." Sherlock whispers. "I spent my days talking to you. Listening to your voice inside my head nag at me to eat more, to run faster, to take better care not to get caught. I couldn't have you so I brought you with me in the only way possible, and your voice is the only reason I'm still alive. If you never believe another word I say, believe that I would have given anything, anything but your life, just to have been able to see your face."
He dashes at his tears with the back of his sleeve and the inelegant motion is what does it. John steps forward and takes both of Sherlock's hands in his, ignoring Sherlock's slight recoil and hanging on tight.
"I'm sorry." He breathes out. "Sherlock I am so sorry. I'm not sorry for being angry, but god I should have at least tried to understand. You've been hurting for so long, and it's all my fault and I don't know what else to do but beg your forgiveness." John drops his head into his hands, and begins to weep openly, body rocking harshly with the violence of his sobs.
And that picture of John, strong, courageous, steadfast John Watson, crying so hard his chest heaves is what drains the anger from Sherlock, leaving him tired and listless.
He wraps his arms around the one man he's never been able to hide from.
"It's alright." He whispers pressing John's face into his shoulder and hanging on tight. "I wasn't the only one hurting." He finishes, and John pulls away, looks up into his eyes and whispers words Sherlock never thought he'd hear.
"I love you."
Sherlock pulls him back into their embrace, and grips him tight as he can, as though afraid that John will be ripped away from him if he doesn't manage to take the man and press him into the hole that's been in his chest ever since he heard John Watson scream his name as he fell from St. Bart's.
"And I you. So much so that those words do a horribly inadequate job of even scratching the surface of everything I feel for you. Love." He scoffs. "Such a boring, common word. Tossed around casually by millions of people every single day who will never experience even the smallest iota of the burning, twisting, indescribable things I feel for you. There is no one for me, but you John Watson." And with those words he leans in, and presses his lips to John's. They're wet, and slightly chapped, and they taste of the salt of John's tears and Sherlock could not possibly care less because he is kissing John, and John is kissing him back the way he's been dreaming of since that first night when John made him laugh after shooting the cabbie.
The kiss breaks and Sherlock pulls back and begins to speak. There's one last thing he needs to make John understand.
"I'm never going to be sorry John." He murmurs and John stills in his arms. Sherlock hangs onto him tightly and finishes. "As much as I abhor how much it hurt you, and please believe me John I hate it, I hate it more than I know how to express with words. But I am never going be able to feel any regret for anything I've done that kept you alive."
He takes John's face in his hands, and looks down into those midnight blue eyes.
"Can you understand that?" He asks softly, and miracle of miracles John's shoulders relax and he nods.
"How could I not? How could I begrudge you this when I know that there is nothing I would not do to save your life." John says, and his voice is low, and thick with tears, but it's steady.
The next kiss is hungry. It's a harsh press of mouths and clacking teeth that leave their lips swollen and bruised. When Sherlock nearly breaks skin John jerks away.
"No." He pants, and Sherlock stills, praying to a god he doesn't believe in that John isn't going to choose now to deny his latent bisexuality.
"I want you Sherlock, I need you, but this can't be rushed and angry. I love you, and I need you to let me show you how much. No more pain Sherlock please. Please please I can't take any more pain and I suspect you can't either. Just ple-"
Sherlock puts a hand over his mouth, John Watson should never beg.
"You never need to beg me John, not for anything. You need only ever ask, and if it is within my power to give, it will be yours. And if it's not I will find a way. Nothing is too big or too small, ever. Never forget that."
John gives him a small but warm smile and cups Sherlock's face in his hands.
"Can I take you to bed?"
Sherlock nods his head, but John shakes his.
"Can you say the words Sherlock? I've dreamed of hearing those words from your lips more times than I can count. Will you please just say it? Out loud? For me?"
Sherlock bites the corner of his bottom lip, hesitant. As if, even now, he's worried that John will suddenly go flying out the door with his coat in hand and the flimsy excuse of needing air still ringing through the sitting room.
"Sherlock?" John asks softly and Sherlock looks down into obsidian eyes more familiar to him than his own. The tension bleeds from him and he releases his lip from the clutches of his teeth
"Yes. John yes. Please take me to bed."
John takes Sherlock's hand and tugs him along to Sherlock's bedroom.
"Can you sit down on the bed, you bloody giraffe?" John says in a faux petulant tone, trying to bring levity to a moment that's been so long in the making he's finding it hard to hold back the tears of unrestrained joy at finally having him this way.
Sherlock raises an eyebrow, smiles, and sits as John takes his face in his hands and presses a kiss to his lips so soft it makes his chest ache like there's a balloon swelling behind his ribs, cutting of his airways and leaving him gasping.
"I have wanted to do that for so so long." John whispers, and his lips brush Sherlock's as he talks, as if he can't bear to pull back far enough to speak. He presses his forehead against Sherlock's and takes a deep breath.
"I've never done this with a man before." He admits and Sherlock grips John's forearms where his hands are still cupping his face.
"I've never done this at all." Sherlock responds quietly.
"What a pair we are." John sighs. "You'll have to tell me what feels good for you Sherlock. If it's not good, if it's not great then I need you to say so. I want everything I do to you to make you feel amazing, okay?" Sherlock nods and John kisses him again.
This kiss is different. It's still slow and sweet, John meant it when he said no more pain, but it's also fiercely passionate. John swipes his tongue over Sherlock's lower lip and Sherlock gasps.
John sees his chance, and takes it.
He licks into the heat of that perfect heart shaped mouth, and he can taste over-sweet tea and chocolate biscuits and God he tastes amazing. It's slick and wet and delicious and John drinks from Sherlock's mouth like a man dying of thirst.
John's mind wonders idly, in some back corner not completely overwhelmed with the idea that he is kissing Sherlock, how long they've both waited for this moment, but then Sherlock's hands tighten around his arms and he moans and then John isn't thinking of anything other than the the press of plush lips against his, and the hand shaped bruises he's going to have. He can't help but be a little giddy at the thought of tangible proof that this actually happened.
John breaks the kiss before they get carried away and peers down at Sherlock who glances up at John.
"Shouldn't you be getting undressed?" He asks in a low tone gone rough with arousal, and a shiver races down John's spine at that voice.
"Now that I already knew." He leans forward to purr into John's ear and John has to grip his shoulders to stay upright, even as he curses the posh bastard for managing to be smug in the middle of such emotional upheaval.
John presses his hand to Sherlock's chest to feel his heart beat against his palm.
"You're so beautiful." John breathes out, and he says it so low that Sherlock is sure it wasn't meant for him. Just a side comment he couldn't help but make and a flush steals up the long pale column of Sherlock's throat.
Sherlock reaches out and tugs at the hem of John's jumper, trying to wrestle it up and over his head.
"Off. Take this off John. I need to touch your skin."
John steps back and reaches back behind his head, gripping the collar of his jumper and pulling it up and off.
Sherlock's agile hands come up almost immediately to begin work on the buttons of his shirt. When he undoes the first two and a vest is revealed, Sherlock groans in frustration.
"Why do you always have on so many layers John." He whines in a petulant tone.
"We live in London, not bloody Antarctica." He grumbles under his breath as his fingers fly over John's buttons. John chuckles while he tackles the buttons at his cuffs, and Sherlock looks up and is struck by how beautiful John is and how differently he expected this conversation to end.
John let's the shirt fall to the floor and tugs his vest off to join the rest of his discarded clothes.
Sherlock blows out a breath, wraps his arms around John's middle, and buries his face in John's belly.
"I thought you were going to leave." He confesses, words muffled by the soft expanse of John's skin.
John leans back to look down at Sherlock, opens his mouth like he's about to say something, then closes it, and leans in to take Sherlock's mouth in a deep, desperate kiss. Wordlessly pouring out everything he's ever thought and couldn't say.
He pulls back and kisses Sherlock's eyelids, his nose, and then places a soft, chaste kiss to his lips.
"I could never leave you Sherlock. I don't know how to live without you." He breathes against Sherlock's mouth, and Sherlock drags his hand down the firm muscles of John's back before gripping John's belt and working it open. John bends and pulls at the buckle of Sherlock's belt, and soon they're both in their pants.
Sherlock reaches up and cradles John's face in his hands, pulling him down for more kisses. Sherlock can't get enough of his kisses. He feels like he has to make up for the years of kisses they could, should, and likely would have had if he hadn't panicked and told John he was married to his work.
John leans into the kiss, and Sherlock leans back little by little until he tips over onto his back with his hands still clutching at John's face, as John climbs up over him, no more willing to break the kiss than his dark haired lover.
Long moments of slow drugging kisses pass, and soon they have to part to breathe, John pulls his mouth away and drags his mouth over Sherlock's jaw, then bends lower to kiss at that long, elegant neck. The shifting of his body causes their cocks to brush each other and they both gasp.
"Oh God Sherlock." John mumbles into the skin of Sherlock's neck.
"John!" Sherlock pants into John's hair.
John pulls back, and tugs his pants down, tossing them off the side of the bed.
"Sherlock." He says, trying to catch his breath and slow down, but Sherlock is having none of it.
He pushes his pants down his thighs, wriggling beneath John to get them off. When he gets them around his ankles he kicks himself free and looks up at John.
"Next time, John. Next time we can go as slow as you like, and I'll let you do every single thing that your eyes are asking me for. But right now, I don't think either of us is going to last all that much longer."
John groans and falls into Sherlock's arms, pressing their cocks together and rutting against Sherlock, pulling a raspy moan from the pale pink rose of Sherlock's mouth.
"Next time-" John pants, then breaks off as Sherlock rolls his hips, and more delightful friction and heat is pressed to the place that is burning to have as much of this man as is possible.
"Next time Sherlock, I am going to worship you the way you deserve." He gasps, as he watches Sherlock lick at his own palm, then slip it between them and wrap his hand around the both of them.
John hisses between his teeth, and his eyes snap closed, and Sherlock tosses his head back, neck arched and bared in the ultimate sign of trust.
"Oh God Sherlock next time, I am going to press my love into your skin. I'm going to brand you with it, until you can't move or blink or breathe without remembering all the ways in which I love you."
John snaps his hips again and again, pressing his cock through the tight glove of Sherlock's fist, their mingled precome keeping them just slick enough that the friction is perfect and all too Sherlock cries out. His eyes clench shut, his muscles lock up, and then he's coming, spurts of hot fluid pulsing from his cock and over his fingers to smear between him and his golden love.
John moans and ruts harder, dizzy with pleasure and emotion, and just as Sherlock gets to the point of overstimulation he freezes, and Sherlock forces his eyes open to watch the flex and play of skin over John's sweat slick body as the blond man above him pumps thick white streams of bitter liquid between their bellies.
John collapses against Sherlock, huffing and puffing in the space of Sherlock's neck, blinking away the black spots in his eyes, and trying to breathe so he doesn't pass out.
When they calm a bit, Sherlock turns his head toward John, and John happily gives him the kiss he is seeking. It's slow and sweet, devoid of the earlier fire but so so loving, and Sherlock wraps himself around John, clutching him tight to his chest.
John is right there with him. He knows he should get up, get a flannel and maybe even a glass of water, but he can't let go. He knows they'll be glued together by the morning, and it will be itchy and annoying, but he can't bring himself to tear his body away from Sherlock now he's finally got him.
He feels Sherlock's breathing slow, his heartbeat steady against John's chest, and just before Sherlock falls asleep, he grips John tight and whispers "Please don't let this be another dream." then promptly falls asleep.
John's heart breaks all over again. He strokes a hand gently through Sherlock's hair and promises himself that he will be here, every morning. That Sherlock will never again wake and have to deal with the pain of his subconscious having given him everything he wants, only for morning light and cold reality to snatch it all away again. Sherlock will wake every morning and see his face, and John Watson will tell him that he loves him every day of his life until strangers on the street will be able look at him and just know that someone, somewhere loves this man more than they love to breathe the air of this earth.
And with that thought in mind, he drifts off to sleep as well.