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The Left Hand of Summer

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Sherlock has one of her legs across her knees.

Wait. Too many female pronouns.

Sherlock has one of June's legs across Sherlock's knees.


Not really, but there you go.

June's laptop is open and her blog is up. The cursor is flashing in a highly unhelpful kind of way and she can't, for the life of her, remember what it was that she'd originally logged in to write about. Certainly, June hadn't planned on writing about the world's only consulting detective making a whiny noise and flinging herself down onto the sofa – onto the sofa, which June had clearly marked out as her sprawling territory for once, because it's hot, and she's feeling lazy, and bloody hell doesn't she get a turn at it now and then? – and pulling one of June's legs up onto her lap.

Still too many female pronouns there.

In so very many ways.

June keeps looking at the cursor. It blinks to itself with all the aimless contentment of a digital thingamabobby that doesn't, unsurprisingly, have to worry the slightest bit about summer, or Sherlock, or what to do when those two factors have collided in your personal space.

The curtains shiver at the edge of June's vision. The sunlight dips and sways against her face, and against the Union Jack cushion she'd brought over here to prop behind the small of her back, and against Sherlock, too. It's thick and oppressive, like honey more than air, and she wishes they had something more than their one battered fan. It's actually something worth texting Mycroft about, if only she could work out where, exactly, Sherlock has stashed either of their phones.

Sherlock rests back against the sofa, eyes closed, looking for all the world like she's on one of her nicotine highs. She isn't, though. The planes of her shirt are sticking to her with the same heat that's beleaguering June, but Sherlock's arms are entirely bare.

Track marks, from some time before June's arrival in Sherlock's life, ghost smokily against pale skin.

A slender hand closes around one of June's ankles.

Pale fingers trace slowly against June's shin.

June wonders, if she were to raise her eyes and look at Sherlock's face, what she might see there. June doesn't move. She stares at the screen instead, at the motion of the cursor, and feels the touch upon her skin; feels Sherlock's hand, just so.

Sherlock's thumbnail comes to rest against a patch June had missed when shaving – scratch, scratch, at the slight stubble. Sherlock makes a little sound, a half-huff, amused and something more. Sherlock, June doesn't doubt, is presumably a perfectionist when it comes to these things. Not that June has actually touched Sherlock's legs, the way that Sherlock is now touching hers. But June has eyes. June's seen plenty. June's seen far more than she'd ever meant to, since London had bowed beneath the heat of the summer. Seen so very much more, indeed, as Sherlock had taken to staying indoors during the day, whenever possible, and had hung up not only her coat, but also her stupidly expensive suits, and her dressing gown, too. Thanks to summer, Sherlock comes down the stairs even earlier than usual, all long legs, and light-weight shirts barely covering her arse.

This morning, specifically, all long legs and, above them, plum-coloured silk, sleeves rolled up to her elbows; carefully-stitched hem kissing at her slender thighs. Buttons mostly undone.

June had relinquished the last scrap of denial that she'd been clutching near her ribs.

Not gay, she'd informed herself, stubbornly, despite that. Because June is perfectly allowed to be irrational, if she so chooses, regardless of whether or not her flatmate has the brain of a small planet. It's all fine, yes, yes, but she can't stand the thought of the look on Harry's face, after all the years of—

June feels the skin of her foot twitch and tremble beneath Sherlock's hand.

June doesn't need to look up, either, to see the shape of Sherlock's breast, in her mind's eye; pale and small, like June had seen that morning, in the kitchen, through the gap of not-enough-buttons-being-used. Dug into her memory, the way the teaspoon she'd been holding had dug into her hand.

Sherlock's thighs are warm beneath June's leg. If June shifts, just a little, just a little, she can feel the silky-soft of the fine hair there. Perfectionist, then, with the milky skin beneath her knees, but not with the skin above. Pragmatic.

June wonders what it would feel like, that softness, beneath the tips of her fingers.

June is her own kind of perfectionist, but not with things like that. You can't be, in the desert. You can't be, in the military. You can't be, when you're June Watson, and you're simply not wired that way. There are too many other things to be worried about – understanding, helping, surviving, learning the steady weight of a gun. Only the advent of sunshine and shorts has made her even bother adding razors to the hand-basket, when she trudges off for milk and muesli. It's not as though there's been much chance of anyone knowing the difference, realistically; she's pretty much given up on trying to pull, at this point. She doesn't really have time for that kind of thing, does she? What with work, and batshit-crazies trying to kill them, and Sherlock, and the small, slightly dismal reality that, even when Sherlock isn't joining June on her dates, the detective still somehow manages to be present. The fact is, if June lets herself start talking about Sherlock, she won't stop; if she refuses to mention the woman, on the other hand, then she feels like she's kept some kind of dirty secret. Ergo, not much by way of dates. Or leg-overs. Or, logically following, legs being bothered with.

All June needs is a cat, instead of a dog, and she'll be well on her way to becoming an old spinster, to suit the early wrinkles at her eyes.

The dog, in the corner – Toby, the mongrel, who isn't even theirs, to be honest, but who, like June, apparently moved in one day and forgot to move out again – picks that moment to look up at her. He heavy-breathes in the heat, and his non-floppy ear perks with a decided level of interest. As though he can tell, with unerring canine accuracy, that she's thinking about him.

June Watson is surrounded by fucking psychics.

And nowhere near enough fucking.

Also, she kind of hates her subconscious for not being anywhere near sub enough, and far too conscious.

She mutters something that even she doesn't quite follow, and slides her laptop to the floor; giving up, but trying hard not to look too huffy about it. Sherlock, June figures, does enough huffy for the both of them. June runs her hands through her hair instead – she needs a cut, it's almost to her shoulders – and rolls onto her back. Sherlock doesn't let go of June, when June moves; simply loosens her grip, so that June can shift within her grasp.

June pulls the cushion up, beneath her head. It's damp from the sweat at the small of her back. She doesn't care. She settles, listens to London outside, slightly subdued beneath left hand of summer, and wonders when Sherlock is going to realise that they haven't had a case in days, and consequently start shooting things. Maybe it's too hot even for Sherlock. June listens to the sound of Sherlock breathing; listens, until her own lungs begin to keep time in a companionable way.

Sherlock draws her other leg up onto her lap.

Sherlock, that is. Sherlock's lap. June's other leg.

Too many women, too much her.

Tell me you've finally worked it out, Harry's voice says in June's brain. At the very least it's a bit bi, Ju. You know you always were. I don't know why you didn't just fess up and roll with it years ago. It's not like anyone could possibly have imagined you were copying me, for fuck's sake, if that's what was bothering you. Not like anyone ever compares us that way around, after all.

Sherlock's thumb is marking circles around June's shin.

June stretches her toes and wonders when, exactly, she stopped caring in any meaningful kind of way. When she stopped fighting it. Maybe she can blame the plum-coloured silk. Or the way Sherlock's hair curls even tighter in the heat. Perhaps it's simply her feet, in Sherlock's lap, and Sherlock's hands so gentle against them, as if June were a case, a corpse, a question in need of an answer. No, a question for which the answer has already being found, and now is being thoroughly considered from all angles.

God, it isn't as though June is even the one with the beautiful feet. Or the beautiful legs, come to that. Sherlock's go from heaven to eternity (coming down the stairs, all pale skin and knees; reaching for a jar in the kitchen, the silk moving upwards with her arms, the dark cotton of her surprisingly-sensible knickers making June's insides slide to the right) and are just – well – beautiful.

June's too short, too almost-dumpy. Her muscles are strong, yes, and growing stronger, the longer she's with Sherlock. But there's nothing slender, or pale, or providing a perception of delicacy. She's never even cared so much, in the past. The men she'd been with had never seemed to mind. But Sherlock. Sherlock is more than anyone June's ever been with.

June is almost sure that Sherlock must know it, too.

Certainly, it would seem that Sherlock knows at least part of what June's thinking, because the detective looks down at her own feet, almost lazily, then lifts them up and wriggles her toes. There's a whole universe of expression, right there alone.

"Really," says June, as though they've just had her entire internal conversation out loud, "they are nicer. Startlingly long, perhaps. But definitely nicer."

Sherlock makes a sound that seems to express disagreement. There's a wrinkle between her eyebrows, too, as if she's incredibly close to having figured something out, but hasn't quite arrived there yet.

June wriggles her own toes. "Are you," she asks, amused, "having fun there? Deduced anything? My feet need a wash, or something?"

"Hmm," is all Sherlock bothers answering to that. At least, with her mouth. Her hands seem more intent upon communication; she runs her thumb along the arch of June's foot, making June shiver; she slips her hand up past June's ankle, dragging it, softly, smoothly, all the way along the curve of June's lower leg, to rest upon June's knee. June tries not to react, but fails. Because she's ticklish. Because it's a natural human response. Because Sherlock's hands are surprisingly cool, in the heat of the room around them. Because June likes those hands far, far too much, far more than is good for her, and because Sherlock's attention, when focused upon her, is not dissimilar to one of the drugs that June usually so vehemently objects to.

June is wearing light summer shorts, rolled up above her knees.

Sherlock slides a hand beneath the rolled cuff and says, almost curious, "You actually were wounded in your leg, then."

Sherlock's thumb is soft against the scar.

June studies Sherlock. Studies Sherlock's face, so as to limit the effect that Sherlock's hand is having upon her (so as to limit the fact that June knows, knows with every inch of her, that she's the one who's rational, in this particular field of expertise; that she's the one who should be pulling away).

The air puffs hot against the curtains.

Toby shifts, whining with displeasure, and stretches his legs out behind him.

"Knife. No relation to the limp," June says.

"Not technically a war wound," Sherlock elaborates.

June shrugs, as though she doesn't really care. As though this isn't one of the things that lurks around her nightmares like a manky bastard. "Bar fight," she answers. Calmly. Takes a leaf out of Toby's book and shifts her own legs again. Feels the way that Sherlock's hand still hasn't moved, thereby pressing the contact closer. June licks at her lips. "It was one of those stupid things. People who couldn't keep their mouths shut, couldn't stop blowing off steam. It happens."

"You didn't save him."

June remembers the boy's face, just a lad, far too young to be there. She remembers, too, the parts of warfare that she hates so much. Not the adrenaline rush, not the danger, not the risk, no, but the fucking senselessness of it all, when you forget about those bits, and peer at the individuals who actually people it.

Toby lifts his head, looks at them, whines again, then gives up and rests his snout against his paws. As though petulance would actually work for anyone but Sherlock, around here.

"You have your hand," June observes, "up my shorts."

It's time to give Sherlock one of her Doctor Watson Looks.

She does so.

Then adds, despite herself, "People would never shut up, if they saw."

Sherlock gives June one of her own, delightfully Sherlock-y Looks right back, but she does pull her hand downwards – swipe of her palm steady against skin. "I think we've already established the people do little else, haven't we? Don't you ever just want to surprise them?"

With the cotton of June's shorts between them, now, Sherlock's hand continues its slow journey up the length of June's leg. Her fingers curve against the inside of June's thigh.

June wants to grumble. She really does. That hand is doing things to her stomach.

"I don't think there's much you could do that would surprise anyone, at this point, Sherlock."

Which is half a lie, and half not. June can't say she's been expecting this. But surprised...? No, somehow not. Perhaps it's that, too, that stops her from moving away.

Besides, that hand is doing things to her, and so is the curve of Sherlock's breast, the swell of it, slight and beautiful, and completely visible to June through the unfastened gaps in Sherlock's shirt, when Sherlock leans ever forwards, to ease the slide of her hand along June's shorts.

She has one of her knees between June's knees, now, and one against June's thigh.

One of Sherlock's fingers is pressed against top button of June's shorts. Sherlock's hand is angled in such a way that it isn't really touching anything at all, yet June can feel the weight of her, the weight of her against the fine curls beneath June's own knickers.

It's really too hot for this. Too much of summer, to try and deal with Sherlock as well. Too much of high temperature, for June to try and process the fact that her brain is melting into nothing but Sherlock's fingers, and the shape of Sherlock's breasts, and the sound of Harry's voice babbling obnoxiously about how she'd been right all along. June makes the executive decision not to try. She lets her head relax against the cushion, and closes her eyes. The sofa smells of sweat, and her own shampoo, and Toby, and Sherlock, and smoke from the horrible candles that Sherlock had been burning, the night before, for some experiment or other. June indulges in the act of not saying a single word; simply lets the weather roll around her, and Sherlock, and her own lungs breathing. Sherlock will let her know, when they reach some point where things make sense. Sherlock always does.

"I suspect you're the surprising one," June thinks she can hear Sherlock whisper; or maybe she dreamt it.

When she wakes, Sherlock has her hand on her belly.

Okay. Wait.

When June wakes, Sherlock has a hand upon June's belly.

It's just resting there. Softly. No pressure or push, apart from the quiet allure of skin against skin. June's t-shirt has rucked up in her sleep. June's shorts are too hot around her, and she decides, quite suddenly and quite seriously, that clothes are honestly overrated. Sweat is slippery beneath her breasts. Dark hair is sticking to her neck, too, somehow managing to tickle and crowd at the same time— Sherlock. Ah. Sherlock's hair, dark and curling.

Their legs are tangled together. Sherlock's knees are bony and her calves, yes, are smooth and soft. June runs the arch of her foot along them, without really thinking it through. Perhaps it's Sherlock's weight against her. Perhaps it's the wet patch where Sherlock has been dribbling in her sleep, against June's chest. Seems a bit ridiculous to be awkward about personal space, at this point. Not once boobs and saliva have been involved. At least, so long as Sherlock is still safely sleeping.

Sherlock's hand shifts against June's stomach, sliding around to curl against June's hip.

June has seen Sherlock use those hands to make grown men crumple to the ground.

Moving against her now, they make June wonder what else they're capable of.

It's all incredibly unfair, in the way that things to do with Sherlock so very often are.

June thinks that now would be a very good time to get up. To go have a shower. To get rid of the smell of sweat and sofa and Sherlock. Possibly even to tee up a date with someone. Saul, from the practice, perhaps. Hell, Gregory Lestrade, even; it's not as though the man isn't attractive enough, and she's seen him looking, in the rare moments when his attention hasn't being caught – with frustration or affection – by Sherlock. It's not as though the thought hasn't crossed June's mind, either, that Lestrade's body would probably feel very nice against hers.

Except, she already has a body against hers.

And she's wrong, anyway, probably. Now isn't the time for getting up. No, she'd already missed that particular window of opportunity.

Quite possibly a number of months ago.

The heat sways around the pair of them. Sherlock mumbles something. She's all limbs, but not impossibly heavy; most of her is pressed more against the sofa, rather than against June alone. It's reassuring, anyway, to feel enough softness, to stop worrying that she might have to start force-feeding her friend.

June hands have, at some point, come to rest against the small of Sherlock's back.

Sherlock feels safe, and dangerous, and alien, and incredibly familiar, June thinks. As though it's perfectly normal to go right ahead and blend those things together. As though she's cooking up some kind of emotional trifle. As though—

"Could you have your sexual identity crisis when I'm not in the room, please?" Sherlock grumbles. "It's distracting, and obvious, and I have no idea why it's taken you so long."

June laughs, fingers flexing against Sherlock's back, and suddenly feels as though she's allowed to touch, whether Sherlock is asleep or not. Knows that she's wanted to, for long enough, after all, and all of the labels in the world can go and shag themselves, because what does June care about them, or about the way Harry is going to glee, or about anything else beneath the sun that isn't, after all, the fact that June's practically wearing Sherlock Holmes as a blanket.

"Much better," Sherlock approves, before pushing herself up onto one of her elbows and placing her mouth against the skin of June's neck. Cool, surprisingly cool, in the heat of the room, and June breathes in at the touch.

"Sherlock," she says, first. Then nothing else, because none of the other things matter, really.

"It isn't as though I haven't been obvious myself," Sherlock adds, almost peevishly, and that makes June laugh even more because, no, she really hasn't. Not until now. Not by June's standards.

Sherlock huffs, and bites at the softness above June's collarbone. Touches her tongue to the underside of June's jaw.

June thinks she must taste of skin and salt and sweat.

Wonders, too, whether Sherlock would taste the same.

Finds out, when Sherlock moves a little higher still.

The heat threads in closer and June gives in, gives up, bows to its reasoning and sly insanity; thumbs at the damp silk of Sherlock's shirt and pushes it up, just a few inches, so that her hands can slip against bare skin. Just that. Just her palms pressed against Sherlock's back. Just her thumb, able to move sleepily against the bumps of Sherlock's spine; able to swoop lower, if she wants, and touch at dark cotton. Just her skin, and the promises it's breathing.

Sherlock's hand explores beneath June's t-shirt. Comes to rest, like a starfish, against June's right breast.

Steady and still, air moves through lungs, and blood through hearts, and together, like that, they fall back to sleep.