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The Symposium

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"What are we doing," Sherlock whispers, fingers clutching into the soft cashmere cardigan, "John?"

John exhales roughly through his nose, "I don't know," he curls his forehead into Sherlock's shoulder, ash blonde hair grinding against the blue silk dressing gown, "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know." Strong hands bracket against the soft pits of Sherlock's elbows.  He closes his eyes and allows John to pin him against the bench.  Typically unanswered questions are the bane of Sherlock's very existence, but there doesn't seem to be any room for annoyance in the space between John's body, Sherlock's, and the ledge he's slowly being anchored against.  

"How do you do this to me," John pushes in at the joint, hard, the brief cut in circulation burns down into Sherlock's fingertips.  


Do what, exactly?  Sherlock was nearly asleep on the sofa when he heard the give of the bolt and John's footfalls on the stairs.  Mrs. Hudson is the only other person with keys to the flat, and it had never occurred to Sherlock to take John's keys back. Despite the incessant coldness left in his absence, 221B is still as much his home as it is Sherlock's.


Sherlock had met him at the door to their landing, John's expression a mix of weariness and defeat, anger and frustration reticulated into something that made Sherlock's breath stopper in his chest. It's always alarming to see the breaks in John's careful, and constant stoicism, as if the man is a sponge absorbing the entropy of everyone else around him, only to become full to capacity and dripping with it. John's inherent goodness, a persistent siren call beckoning the ambiguity of others.


“Mary?” Sherlock had asked after they stood staring at one another for what felt like ages. The tension of an argument still held in John's shoulders, his fingers fluttering and clenching by his sides, plucking at the air in a futile effort to grasp onto it like a life raft. Obviously John still continued struggling through forgiveness months after her betrayal.

John had only huffed some sort of bitter laugh, and broke eye contact to clench his jaw and look at the wall. Sherlock had no idea what to do with that. Mrs. Hudson always scurries about with tea and biscuits whenever he's in strops, or avoids Sherlock completely. Between the two, tea seemed the better option, it meant John would stay a little while longer.


John followed him into the kitchen, watched as Sherlock moved to twist on the tap, “I'll put on the kett--” he had only just begun to say whenever John lunged for Sherlock. Grabbed him by the lapel of his dressing gown. John's solid weight pushing Sherlock, twisting him around, and then up against the bench with a bump. Half empty bowls clattering into the sink, one simply turned over to drip milk from this morning's cereal.  It splattered lukewarm onto Sherlock's feet.

Surprise, the rasp of two men panting from exertion, and somehow John pressing their mouths together.  Up on his toes, and falling back to flat feet, Sherlock following him down blindly.   A hard kiss, answering to a million different things carried deep inside of Sherlock, and none of them unable to register past the shock of having John's lips over his. Sherlock sunk down into the wet pull of John's mouth, uncomprehending of consequences, dimly aware of the existence of, and wanting anyway.

John pulled away, a sound choking out from his throat. Sherlock had never heard him make that sound before, helpless and overcome. “I'm not--,” John managed to rasp out against Sherlock's neck. “I can't, you, this, oh God,” John babbled.  He wasn't making sense, it was frightening to hear John be broken.  Usually that's Sherlock's job.  


John's tangles his fingers in the hair at the nape of Sherlock's neck and brings their mouths together again.  He kisses him and kisses him, presses his teeth softly into the slick skin of Sherlock's bottom lip, and Sherlock makes embarrassing whimpering noises into John's mouth.  Noises he feels sure he's had bottled up behind his teeth for ages and finally he can be rid of them.  

Sherlock can only tug out the tails of John's shirt and slip his fingertips against the jut of John's hips, heart racing, blood pooling and settling and making Sherlock feel heavy everywhere.


John nudges his nose against Sherlock's so he can whisper against his lips, "Christ, that feels even better than I thought."  He says it like he's disappointed.  Perhaps expected to kiss Sherlock and find his lips to be as abrasive and unyielding as his personality.  John's mouth, on the other hand, is everything Sherlock had imagined, extensively, in the privacy of his room (shower, sofa, John's empty bed) and more.  Faintly chapped lips, the burn of stubble rubbing against Sherlock's sensitive skin, a self-assured technique hinting at John's air of quiet competence, and the dexterous tongue Sherlock is drawn to watching peek from his lips throughout the day.  Sherlock should like to stick his fingers in John's mouth, he doesn't understand the compulsion, and thinks perhaps that would be an unwelcome gesture at the moment.  He still isn't sure what he's allowed to do, here, with John.  Just how much is John offering?  Anything, Sherlock would take anything.  He'd settle for sitting in the same room as John, if that's all he could have.  

Kissing is so much better.  John tastes faintly like single malt scotch and the spearmint gum he chewed afterward, Sherlock's skin practically leaps into John's hands without hesitation.  


And, damn it, what of Mary?  He married her, kept her regardless of her deceit (call it what it is).  It was a clear decision.  Sherlock was there, saw it happen. He'd understood.  Mary is warm, and clever, and when she isn't being a rogue assassin, she's kind.  Made only worse by the fact that Sherlock actually likes her.

She's also the owner of female genitalia, which seems important to John.  


Sherlock doesn't even want to think about it, about her.  He isn't a selfless person by nature.  John kissing him in the kitchen in the middle of the night, how was he expected to resist?  He'd have better luck turning down an endless supply of twisted crime scenes, syringes of premium cocaine, oxygen itself.


John usually instructs him on these matters, boundaries, but seeing as how John doesn't seem sure right now himself, Sherlock just keeps sliding his fingers around John's waist.  Tries to bring his mouth closer for more kissing, shivers when John cups his shoulder blades, grips the dressing gown and tugs it away from Sherlock's back.  John shrugs away Sherlock's hands and pushes the offending clothing from his arms.  Silk flutters to ground with a whisper and Sherlock resumes his tentative petting.

John dips his fingers into the carve of Sherlock's spine and runs them all the way down to trace over his sacrum.   Sherlock can feel the blunt edges of John's nails scraping against him through the cotton barrier of his night shirt.


"You're going to regret this," Sherlock manages while John sucks on his neck, "Whatever you're doing, I'm not going to stop you, and you'll regret it."  He doesn't want to be that, some guilty secret John carries about.  Sherlock might not have much in the way of qualms in general, but he does have some standards.

"I'll just add it to the list then, shall I?" John's voice is rueful, bitter.  


Sherlock sighs, frustrated and suddenly conflicted, "This isn't my fault," he tries to find John's eyes but John won't look at him, "You chose her."  Instead of me.  Sherlock had never offered himself to John out loud, but only an idiot would be oblivious to the fact that the offer was on the table nonetheless.  

John shakes his head, pulls Sherlock into himself by the hips.

"You did," Sherlock's head falls back, tries to control the way he breathes when John presses up to inhale along the line of his neck, "John."  He's never felt necessarily angry about it before, but now with John's body moulding against his, he suddenly is.  He wants apologies and admissions and why did John have to be so selfish, why did John have to go away and leave him all alone?  Why, all of a sudden, does Sherlock have to be the one pointing out the facts of John's moral compunctions?  He loved John first.  Sherlock has spent over a year conceding, he didn't even put up a fight.  He sat in silence and accepted it, even though the jealousy and grief made him sick.  


"I want it," John tells him, uses his entire body to  push Sherlock back against the bench.  He's hard against Sherlock's hip. 

Sherlock wants it too.  Whatever it is.  Wants to know every sensation, nothing untouched.  

He doesn't want John to pull away once he's found it.


John begins reaching under the band of Sherlock's pyjama bottoms, begins pushing them off of his hips, swallows audibly.  "I've not done this before.  Not with.."  the sentence trails off.  A man, Sherlock mentally fills in the blank space.

"I haven't at all," Sherlock says as a way of placating, but it seems to have the opposite effect and John's fingers freeze along the swell of his bottom.  He can practically hear the misguided moral objections firing off in John's brain, so he ducks and kisses and licks his consent into John's mouth until John's hands begin moving again.  Sherlock's join in the dance as well, elbows tangle and forearms brush as he reaches for John's belt.  The metal jingles and the angle is awkward because John is pressing so firmly against him, but the loops give and Sherlock thumbs open the button to his trousers just as John's open palm rubs over the length of Sherlock's cock.  He'd been so concentrated on getting access to John's skin that the sudden hot touch is somehow surprising and he shuts his eyes and moans, his own hand falling limp against the zip of John's jeans.  


"Fuck," John hisses, pulling Sherlock inexorably closer and stroking him again until Sherlock has to reach his other hand fumbling backward to grip the bench.  A mug is knocked sideways and gravity brings it smashing onto the kitchen floor where no one can be bothered to notice.  Sherlock's entire body feels alight, throbbing, John isn't necessarily touching him in a way that Sherlock hasn't touched himself, but God, it feels different.  Better.  And Sherlock wants to curl into John and settle underneath his skin.  


It reminds Sherlock of the first biology textbook he'd ever read.  The pictures of organs, all flushed and waiting-- waiting for nourishment, for a seed to grow.  That's where the hunger is.

Sherlock is here, and the hunger is there.  His flesh puckers where it touches John's fingers, why does it do that?


John's collar still smells faintly of Mary's perfume, and Sherlock wants to smear his entire body across John's.  Blot out the memories triggered by the scent until there's only Sherlock left.


He finally takes the tongue of the zip, lowers it against the scratching metal teeth.  Sherlock reaches his fingers inside of John's pants, feels John strain into his touch, trembling a little when Sherlock circles the damp tip of his penis with his thumb, sliding his middle and index finger in a V all the way to the base.  The touch familiar, but exhilarating all at once.


"Sherlock," John calls out quietly, "Oh my god, oh god," more air than voice, shoulders rising and falling as his hand around Sherlock tightens and picks up speed.  It makes Sherlock pant urgent sounds into John's mouth.

It makes Sherlock spread his legs wider to press closer to John.

It makes John moan and swear and shove his jeans and pants down, their cocks line up and touch. Sherlock nearly doubles over.

Their fingers knit together and close around where they press and writhe against each other.  John thrusts up against him like he's about to fuck Sherlock through the bench.  All Sherlock can do is cup his free hand around the nape of John's neck, drop his forehead into John's.   Eyes flicking up to meet a darker hue of bluegray flecked with navy, and tremble and moan about how good everything feels right now.  

He can feel it approaching, his hips pushing up into the friction where John's hand is doing most of the work now that Sherlock hovers so precariously on the edge.  John's frantic jerking of their cocks, more fingers gripping around and digging into the muscle of Sherlock's arse.

"John," Sherlock breathes the name.  John licks into his mouth, eager and wanting.

"Yes, come on Sherlock," his voice shaking against Sherlock's lips, "Come on, shit."


Sherlock's eyes slam closed, his body spasms, the rush of reward-system triggered hormones coursing through him like wildfire.  The neurochemistry of pair bonding taking precedence over everything else.  He's coming and seeing white, huffing out air and and crying out and biting down on John's shoulder to mute himself.  Only vaguely aware of John's own higher pitched keen, as he thrusts against where Sherlock is still leaking and just now beginning to verge on oversensitivity.  

"God yes, Sherlock Sherlock Sherlock," or something like that, Sherlock can barely hear over the ringing of blood in his ears as his body tries to settle.  John breathes in sharply and Sherlock can feel the abrupt splash of warm fluid against his stomach as John comes, he exhales harshly.  

Watching John twitch, his mouth fall loose and open in pleasure, it spikes something desperate and needing inside of Sherlock.


How could he be expected to let John go?


Sherlock twines his arms around John's neck, pulls him close, hooks his calf around John who shuffles closer and squirms to get his arms around Sherlock as well.  His belt jingles where it's loose around his hips.  They cling to one another, Sherlock nearly smothering himself in the crook of John's neck and shaking and shaking and he can't stop.


"I'm sorry," John murmurs, sniffs, "I don't know what to do."  He brushes his fingers against Sherlock's curls, down his back.  


Sherlock read Plato's The Symposium, once during a flight to Hamburg.  He preferred Aristophanes explanation the best.  

"...After each division each desiring his other half, they came together and throwing their arms about one another, intertwined in mutual embrace, longing to grow into one, on the point of dying of hunger."


Sometimes he feels like that.  Hungry.  The constant hollowness of it flowing into him, into his mouth. The wake of rediscovering his aloneness.

He hadn't even realised he had felt that way.  Latent emotions poking and prodding at it like some phantom limb, and it, in turn, never reaching inward or out.  Nothing more than a faraway concept.  

He'd never recognized loneliness for what it was, before John came and filled it in.  


"Sorry for the difficulties," is all Sherlock can manage to say.  Meaning:  How come you don't leave?


John hugs him tighter, and Sherlock chokes on something indefinable settling in the vicinity of his throat.


Sherlock looks at the wall.  


John looks out the window because he needs to be somewhere.