Sherlock doesn’t comment on them the first time John wears them, which is quite telling, actually.
It’s a Tuesday, 3:11 pm.
John next whips them out casually at a crime scene to take a look at the fine print on a pill bottle found empty next to the supposed overdose victim. “No,” he says thoughtfully. “Even a full bottle of these wouldn’t have been enough.”
“Explains the weird smell in the loo – killer must’ve tried to flush them,” Lestrade says as he walks up to John. “Nice specs – didn’t know you needed ‘em.”
John grins, a bit bashful, and says, “Only once in a while – eyestrain, fatigue, the like.”
“Find anything yet?” Lestrade asks, and Sherlock looks back down at the paint chips on floor, the picture of concentration, as if he hadn’t just been staring at John, as if he isn’t now trying to think up ways to tire John’s eyes a touch more frequently.
“Four ideas so far,” he murmurs, taking out his magnifying lens.
“What are you looking at?” John asks, lowering his menu. “Something on my face?”
Sherlock blinks and looks away, out the window, as John takes of his spectacles and huffs breath onto the lenses, polishes them with neat folds of clean napkin in front of him.
Sherlock’s own napkin is a crumpled mess in his lap where his hands are toying with it, systematically destroying it as a form of distraction to keep from simply staring at John.
Even now, without the glasses (steel rim, gleaming but not overly shiny, rectangle lenses a touch narrow, broadening the show of John’s cheekbones, calling attention, as if it were needed, to John’s stormy blue eyes), Sherlock is aware of John’s dimensions and proportions, how they change, dynamic in range, always so expressive –
John quirks an eyebrow at him, and Sherlock worries that his thoughts have been transparent, his musings scribed upon his features – but perhaps not, because John simply slots those damnable glasses back into place on his nose and goes back to regarding the small print of the menu, dim candle light falling softly on his features.
Sherlock silently commends himself on his choice of restaurant.
It’s not that he didn’t notice John’s aesthetic qualities before the glasses – it’s simply that the sudden, unexpected addition of them has called attention, no – forced attention, commanded it, really – and Sherlock finds himself caught on the hook of John’s gaze again and again and again.
In the mornings over newspapers, in the afternoons over medical journals, in the evening over corpses…
John’s passed out at the kitchen table, which is normally Sherlock’s domain (both for science and for succumbing to fatigue) and while he’d normally stake his claim and usher (more like hustle) John off to his own room upstairs, this time is different.
It’s different because John has fallen asleep, sprawled and rumpled, across the stack of papers he was reading at Sherlock’s insistence (specifically the classifieds – “Look for anything out of place, John!”).
It’s different because John has fallen deeply asleep, and no wonder after the strain of the last few days (this latest case is delightful), and probably wouldn’t wake even if Sherlock shook him by the shoulder, even if Sherlock then softened that grip and let fingers trail up and along the hairline at the nape of John’s neck.
It’s different because Sherlock planned it this way, down to the last detail.
John has fallen asleep (cheek pushed up against his right bicep, mouth just barely open, eyes still behind his eyelids) still wearing his glasses.
Sherlock observes light reflected and refracted by the presbyopia-corrective lenses, his own curious visage distorted by slightly curved glass – but mostly Sherlock only has eyes for John. In sleep his face is softer, a lovely contrast to the quietly masculine lines of the spectacle frames.
With steady fingers, Sherlock lifts the glasses from John’s face, spares a glance for the indentations they’ve left at the bridge of his nose, and then begins his inspection. The sensitive tips of his fingers reveal (revel in) texture – the smooth and glossy feel of the grey metal frames – their weight, tensile and malleable strength, tentatively testing the torque limits for the slim construct.
When he’s looked (and touched and even tasted) his fill, he settles them back onto John’s face taking care that they should sit loosely and not pinch the good doctor.
And then, because Mycroft never did succeed in curing him of mischief, Sherlock places a thumbprint square over the left lens, doesn’t bother hiding his sudden grin, and retires to his bedroom for some much deserved rest.
And One Time…
It takes Sherlock a while to realize John is wearing the glasses more than strictly necessary, which is, again, quite telling.
When he does realize, he storms into the living room, yanks that morning’s paper out of John’s surprised hands, plants his own on the armrests of John’s chair, and looms forward.
Above John’s shock-opened lips, above his flared nostrils, and just below raised eyebrows and frown creases, there – there –
The glasses are not there.
Sherlock blinks; his whole body twitches in accompaniment. He frowns fit to match John, who is obviously waiting for an explanation.
“Where are they?” the detective demands, conveniently forgetting he was about to grill the doctor about the near-constant presence of the now conspicuously absent glasses.
“Where’s who – what – oh!” John’s right hand lifts to his face. “Got enough shut-eye last night, finally,” John says, and he smiles, just a little, as if Sherlock isn’t still invading his space. “Why?” John asks, and Sherlock is taken aback, caught without a ready answer.
“Where are they?” Sherlock repeats instead.
John produces a case – it had been tucked behind a stack of journals – and hands it over. “Here. Don’t damage them.” His voice is stern but also somehow soft, indulgent but without that unctuous taint Mycroft’s voice normally carries when he’s pretending at permissiveness.
Sherlock takes the case and opens it, turning away from John to examine his prize – but something’s missing. In his hands, out of context, the glasses are only metal and polycarbonate, empty gleam and glare.
“I’ve been wondering when this would come up,” John says. The paper rustles in his hands, and Sherlock turns to look at him. John nods at the specs, clarifying: “You, taking a closer look.”
Sherlock frowns. “No,” he says. “Not wondering. Waiting.” The world falls away the way it does in moments like these, until only the truth remains, unclouded by the scatter and crowding of the mundane.
John goes quiet as his eyes meet Sherlock’s, and the detective wonders what he sees just then, that catches his words and breath and cages them inside his throat with a bob of his Adam’s apple. “Sherlock?” he asks, and that utterance is soft, unsure, curious and cautious at once.
Sherlock feels his face shift, unfamiliar, as he asks, “You’ve been waiting for me to say something? To notice?”
“John,” he says, and the tone is admonishing, but Sherlock’s not sure whether he means it for the doctor or himself. He’s back in John’s space then, between one blink and the next, pushing that newspaper aside once more. “John,” he says again, barely breathing it into the world. “May I?”
John stills, but his eyes follow Sherlock’s hands as they bring the glasses to settle on his face. Sherlock feels a clutch of some nameless ache in the region of his sternum when John’s eyes slip closed, trusting as the detective arranges the spectacles against the curves of his ears, the bridge of his nose.
John’s eyes remain closed, and Sherlock’s hands remain resting on either side of his face, not moving. If he moved now, the feather brush of his fingers would be a caress and –
“Much better,” Sherlock murmurs as he shifts back, and then his hand does move, and yes, it’s a caress that trails along the zygomatic arch of John’s face. Bone and muscle and skin – context. Significance in gleam and –
Sherlock frowns. John is glaring at him.
“What?” he asks, caught off guard and scowling.
“Didn’t know my face needed improving,” John quips drily, but there’s something lurking just underneath.
“If you truly believe that was what I meant,” Sherlock says, shivering from the twin urges inspired by both the glare and the subsequent quiver, “then you are more of an idiot than I give you credit for.”
The tilt of John’s jaw is obstinate, but the arch of his brows is considering. “That’s almost a compliment from you,” John says, as if he’s testing a theory, as if he’s not quite sure. Sherlock’s brows snap into a frown.
“Oh god, do I need to spell it out?” Sherlock huffs a sigh and leans in again. “I’ll have you know I noticed them the first time you wore them. It was a Tuesday. 3:11 PM.” Sherlock lets his eyes roam as they will across John’s face, taking in the subtle shift of his eyes, his brows, his lips. “And, I –” I didn’t say anything, because like you, they caught me off guard, and that almost never happens, so I never know what to say when it does happen, so I don’t say anything, and “– I wasn’t expecting them.”
It’s a poor finish, clumsy and edited, but Sherlock watches John take it in, can see the doctor hearing what wasn’t said, because where Sherlock lacks expression, John has always been able to see it, read it, regardless.
A twitch, just at the corner of John’s mouth, takes his thin press of lips from terse to smug. “So –” he begins, but Sherlock has used up what patience he has.
In the next breath he’s brought their mouths together, and thank god John is quick on the uptake, because every single one of Sherlock’s intentions and plans are derailed the moment John’s lips part against his. He shudders, feels his muscles relax, his body responding to John, following where his experience leads.
“Christ, finally,” John murmurs, smearing the syllables against Sherlock’s mouth with wet, open kisses.
“Finally?” Sherlock manages, and John grunts has he hoists them both up and over to the sofa.
“You’ve no idea,” John says, pressing words to skin with kisses, licks, bites, “how long I’ve waited for this. Wanted for this.”
“What?” Sherlock asks, or rather tries to, because in the next moment sure hands are peeling at his robe and shirt, divesting, discovering – and Sherlock can only gasp as skin meets skin. Warm palms slide up against the taught skin over ribs. A warm knee presses between his thighs. Warm breath huffs against his clavicle.
“Ages,” John replies. “Ages, ages,” he bites the words into Sherlock’s neck. “Ages.”
Sherlock arches as John sucks a bruise into his skin, quivers as fingers tease his nipples, as that leg between his legs exerts a tantalizing pressure. “Oh god John, I – I didn’t –”
“What?” John asks, unfairly coherent. “Didn’t expect this?”
His self-satisfaction is intolerable.
Sheer will and determination see to Sherlock’s hand arriving where it does, cupping and squeezing how it does, and John’s stuttering groan is well worth the expenditure of effort. His hips buck, just once, and quite suddenly Sherlock is more aroused than he’s been in a very long time. He aches for touch, trembling muscles covered in hungry skin, every twitch of his frame an expression of need.
“Oh god, Sherlock –” John seems dazed, lost in sensation, his head tipped forward, his lower lip caught between his teeth. His hips push against Sherlock’s lingering hand, again, again, and then John pitches forward to slot their bodies together. Somehow, his hand is inside Sherlock’s pajama bottoms, exquisitely warm as fingers wrap firmly and begin to stroke.
The noise that escapes Sherlock should be embarrassing, but it isn’t, because it coaxes a similar sound from John’s lips, a honeyed pour of desire that fills Sherlock with heat and longing of his own.
Sherlock’s fingers fumble past cotton and close around John’s length, and it’s firm and warm, and Sherlock holds still for a moment in order to process the fact that John Watson’s cock is twitching in his hand. The impatient hitch in John’s hips breaks the spell, and then all thought is lost to friction, to gasping and arching and clumsy kissing.
“Oh,” Sherlock manages, “oh –”
“Oh god yes,” John huffs, and then his wrist twists, his weight presses, his teeth mark, and Sherlock cries out as sensation cascades into climax. He feels himself pulse into John’s hand, slick now, soon to be sticky, and he wants – suddenly, desperately – to see and feel those things happen to John’s body, to John, who is pressing down against Sherlock, eyes bright and pupils blown wide behind the lenses of his glasses.
A plan forms, a desire plus strategy, and Sherlock rekindles the heat and rhythm of his hand against John. Within moments John’s body tightens with want even as his muscles turn pliant from touch – he no longer needs to focus on Sherlock; his eyes slip closed.
John’s hips twitch and buck, and then, just as he nears the edge, movement and breath stuttering, Sherlock surges up, tipping John onto his back, and John is helpless in that moment as his orgasm takes him, tightens all his muscles, curving his back into an exquisite arch.
With deft precision, Sherlock uncovers John’s cock as it pulses, twitching in his hand as the doctor writhes beneath Sherlock’s body.
When John opens his eyes at last, he blinks and blinks – and Sherlock cannot stop the smug grin as John’s eyes focus on the smear of come that obscures his vision. He gusts out a laugh after a moment of breathlessness. “Bloody hell,” he says.
A moment, and then again: “Bloody hell.” He reaches up a hand and tries to clear the lens – to no avail. With a strange smirk – rueful, pleased, sated, bemused – he removes the glasses and looks at them. He offers them to Sherlock, who accepts them and then licks the ejaculate from them. He keeps his eyes on John’s as he tongues the lens, cleaning bitter white away. Two licks does it, but Sherlock indulges in a few more, slower, savouring the smooth, almost frictionless surface against his tongue. It makes him think of other things he could be tasting, and that must show in his eyes, on his face, through the expansion of surface capillaries along his cheek bones, because he feels John inhale sharply.
“Jesus,” John says, and Sherlock knows their bodies are done right now, but those eyes and voice tack on a promise for more, for later.
Sherlock grins in answer, and John swats a hand at him, good-natured. It’s so unlooked-for, so welcome, somehow intimate and comfortable at once, that Sherlock huffs out a surprised laugh. His eyes are caught on John’s – they are clear now, sky-after-storm, and the very recent memory of that storm elicits a shiver from Sherlock.
“Well –” John clears his throat then grins lopsidedly. “If I’d known glasses did it for you –”
No. “John.” Unacceptable. “It’s not that. Well, it is, but – it – they –” Sherlock stops, starts again: “They made me see you. They made me look. They were unexpected. Like you. They reminded me you are unexpected.” Sherlock looks at John now, at the beginning of some pleased glow (surface blood flow increase post-coitus?) and lets a smile tug at the corners of his mouth. Then, sight growing sharper as the haze of heat and heavy breathing recedes, he tilts his head, draws his brows into a frown. “Molly Hooper.”
John tenses, and Sherlock knows he was right. He smirks. “She put you up to this.”
“How –?” John begins, but Sherlock answers before he can ask:
“You two have been rather chummy of late, it’s only natural you would discuss topics of shared interest.” Sherlock can’t quite keep his lips from twisting in wry humour. “That, and Molly tried the same tactic with me, once. She wore lipstick, then removed it. She wanted me to notice her, but the results were not exactly what she’d hoped for.” Sherlock pauses, remembering, surprised by the span of time between now, here on the sofa, with John, and that seemingly unremarkable day in the lab. “It was the day before the discovery of Jennifer Wilson’s body. January 29th.”
John is quiet for a long moment. “God Sherlock, that was years ago.”
“I remember everything about that day, actually,” Sherlock admits. “I kept it all.”
John’s body temperature doesn’t drop, and he doesn’t shrink away, but there’s a chill and a distance between them following those words, and for once, Sherlock hears what isn’t being said, what John won’t let himself ask.
Sherlock regards John for a moment, weighing his options. Recent events suggest physicality as an appropriate means of assurance, so he leans in to press a kiss against John’s lips as he says, a murmured confession: “That was the day we met.”
John’s eyes widen, and his lips part on a breath. “Oh.” He swallows. “Sherlock –”
The kiss that follows that gasp is deep and long, a rewriting of days before now. Ages, Sherlock kisses into John. Ages and ages and ages.
When it ends, Sherlock pulls back and simply cannot resist adding, “Honestly, if you saw something between Molly and me, perhaps it’s time to update your prescription.”
The Union Jack pillow hits him in the face, but John’s laughter hits him in the chest, and Sherlock falls back with the joyous weight of it, succumbs to it and to his own, and it feels like the world coming into focus at last.