Jim had not told Sherlock where he was going, and the detective felt relief spill through him as after four days he heard the door click open. He stepped to the bedroom door to greet his lover only to find the other man already steps away, a not-unfamiliar darkness that was deeper than color seething in his eyes.
“Jim,” Sherlock began, with a mix of love and trepidation and barely contained grief.
Jim answered with flashing eyes and a half-shake of his head and then a bodily kiss that had Sherlock stumbling back against the bed, one hand reaching to the mattress to steady himself and the other grasping Jim to him, never able to resist. Jim, he wanted to say, we should talk, tell me what happened, tell me where you were, tell me where you are when you’re not where the rest of you is, but he didn’t. He felt the slick, desperate lips of the man he loved and groaned into the kiss and at himself and lay back all the way, pulling his lover with him. Jim’s knees came up around Sherlock’s hips, his deft fingers to the buttons of Sherlock’s shirt. In a last-ditch effort, Sherlock dragged his lips away enough to speak and breathed out “Jim, I-” before finding his sentence stifled by insistent lips, as though the other man were trying to snuff out the flame of words he did not want to be burned by. And then Sherlock let himself fall into the abyss of heat that their kisses always turned into when there was no going back, rising to shrug out of his shirt, helping Jim out of his.
Jim’s hardness was like a brand through Sherlock’s tightening trousers, his hands like rivulets of lava on Sherlock’s naked chest despite his having just come in from the cold. One of those hands slid over Sherlock’s confined cock and the detective groaned deep in his chest. Jim released Sherlock’s lips, knowing no more questions would leave them – only moans and nothings could find their way out now. He worked first Sherlock’s and then his own trousers down with a lightening mix of expertise and desperation, then fixed another searing kiss on Sherlock’s lips, their cocks bumping as he reached over to the bedside drawer for the lube, his tongue surging around Sherlock’s mouth like a lost thing. Despite himself - despite reason - Sherlock’s desire rose by the second, not subject to the gravity of the leaden weight in his chest.
Jim pulled away from the kiss again and Sherlock opened his eyes to find that humid night-black gaze hovering over his. For a moment, Sherlock was lost in Jim, and then he cried out, head jutting back and eyes slamming shut once more as he felt Jim’s slick fingers wrap around his cock, slathering it in lube. And then that hand was gone and Sherlock’s eyes snapped back open on a hitched exhale. Jim’s eyes were falling shut inches above Sherlock’s as he slipped the same fingers that had just slicked Sherlock’s cock into his own opening. And then he sat up to lower himself down onto Sherlock with a hiss, and the detective was gripping his lover’s hips and trembling, and Jim tipped his head back and began to rut against Sherlock, little breaths escaping his just-parted lips. Sherlock slid his hands up and down Jim’s sides, trying to make him be there, to pull him back from the far away he hadn’t returned from. He felt immense pleasure – incongruous with his despair – pooling black somewhere behind his eyes and red-hot in his gut and cock. And then Jim’s eyes were back on him and Sherlock saw that sheen in them that told him what Jim needed, and with a groan Sherlock rolled them over, settling his lover’s head into the pillow with one hand and gripping him around the back of a shoulder with the other before pounding into him. Jim cried out and Sherlock kissed him and kissed him again and then let his head dip into the hollow between Jim’s neck and shoulder as he drove into the grasping heat of him over and over, his abdomen rubbing Jim’s weeping cock with each thrust. Sherlock lifted his head to look down at Jim’s face and found his eyes shut, lips a well of constantly rising moans. Without slowing his pace, Sherlock laid a kiss on his forehead.
“I love you,” he murmured against the kiss he’d left, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
Jim brought his hands up to grip Sherlock’s sides, nails digging in, hands shaking. His moans had grown louder, his forehead trembling beneath Sherlock’s lips. Sherlock pulled up to look at him again. His head was beginning to list from side to side, and as Sherlock watched, Jim grew more and more wild, his head thrashing now, the occasional spasm spiking through him. Sherlock knew what this meant - knew what it all meant, deep down - and flipped them back over so Jim was again riding him, released skyward, starward, with all the intensity and radiance of a firework. They gripped hands, Sherlock’s top-down on the mattress, Jim’s tangled into his, and neither of them felt the burn of too tight, too sharp. Jim rose and fell, rose and fell, over and over, like something that was born to move that way, like a wave, or a flame, full of grace and beauty. Through his own shredded breaths, Sherlock watched Jim incandesce in his temporary forgetting and felt an undercurrent of something he didn’t want to investigate tugging at him even as his own pleasure coiled up tight and hot and relentless, and the only response he could give to all of these sensations was
“Jim! Jim! Jim” His love’s name tore itself from him like he wouldn’t have been able to say anything else if he'd tried.
Jim was driving down against Sherlock as though his life – or something essential – depended on it, and his cock was flushed and leaking, and every bit of him quivered as though he were in synch with some wavelength Sherlock could not feel, as though the music of some other realm were slamming through him, playing for him, setting him thrumming with its refrain. Sherlock sensed in Jim’s frequency, in the furrowing of his brow, in the way his keening ran ragged at the end of each breath that what he was getting wasn’t enough, and so he bucked his hips, thrusting upwards into Jim’s tight, slick heat, hitting that bud of sensation within him full on. Jim’s cry went celestial and his eyes exploded open, fixing Sherlock with a gaze filled not with the darkness the detective so feared but with the blaze and oblivion of sex. Sherlock thrust again, barely registering the tightening of Jim’s fingers in his, and then Jim’s face shattered in ecstasy as he came with a cry. Feeling Jim clench around him would have been enough for Sherlock, but seeing his expression (eyes squeezed shut, lips twisted around that cry, brows high and free – a different kind of far away from the one the detective dreaded, a beautiful kind of far away, all over his face) sent Sherlock over the edge, his hips slamming up one final time as he shot his release into his lover’s body, his deep groan coming around the both of them like an atmosphere of its own.
For a moment, their gazes met and all Sherlock could sense between them was awe and that thing that he spoke about as love but that he knew must be deeper than the love most people experienced, stronger than the love he had observed in others. And then he saw Jim coming down, a hint of that dark something settling back into his eyes, the set of his shoulders deflating. Jim collapsed onto him, his body warmer than should have been possible, little shudders racking him. Sherlock slipped out of him and Jim sighed and tugged at his lover’s shoulder with a soft insistency and Sherlock, knowing what this meant, too, turned them over so that he was the one lying atop Jim.
“The blankets,” Jim murmured, and Sherlock felt him shiver as the detective lifted himself away for a moment to reach down to the end of the bed. And then he laid himself over Jim once more and pulled the blankets up to cover them, and Jim slipped his fingers into Sherlock’s hair and whispered “thank you” against his cheek. Sherlock knew Jim was grateful not only for the blankets, and he slid his hands beneath his lover to grip his shoulders in a strong embrace and then put one leg on either side of his, slipping the tops of his feet beneath the bottoms of Jim’s, surrounding him. Sherlock wondered how long the comfort he’d given him would last; how long he could keep Jim here, safe against him; how long he could act as Jim’s protection from the cold and the darkness before they drew him back. He knew that he would try to protect him forever but knew also the despair of attempting to stand guard against something that was already inside; maybe all he could do for now was hold in the shiver that wanted out – hold it in for Jim. He gripped his love tighter and sighed against his neck, wondering if he was already gone again.
For moments, or perhaps minutes, there was nothing but that, that and them, and then Jim spoke low against Sherlock’s ear.
“I love you.”
And the weight that had grown within the detective, that pressed him down against Jim though it had no physical mass to speak of, shrank a little as something much stronger than relief spilled through him. All was not yet written. Their soles still held the footprints they would lay upon a path as yet unmade. He did not know what was coming. He found that he did know, though, that they had each other, and perhaps the thing that was trying to take them had not planned for that. Perhaps the darkness had not seen them coming, could not have predicted the flame they would spark together. The darkness had lodged itself inside Jim, and it cast its shadow in Sherlock, and it was certainly capable of making nights of some days and hell of some nights. But it was not all-powerful - it was not the only thing they carried within them. Sherlock suddenly understood that he knew that as well as he knew anything else. He slid his cheek across Jim’s, not willing to move an inch from him, and kissed him as Jim’s fingers kneaded softly in his hair.
“I love you, too,” Sherlock breathed against his lips. Jim gave a soft smile, the corners of his closed eyes crinkling. With a contented sigh, Sherlock settled back into the crook of Jim’s shoulder, breathing him in and out and in, always back in.
No matter where you are. No matter where you go. I am with you, always, and I love you – here and far away.