“John,” Sherlock paused in his forthcoming pronouncement to focus on lifting a particularly slippery slice of aubergine with his chopsticks. He looked up at me triumphantly, once he’d finally got it into his mouth and waggled his eyebrows almost smugly.
I grinned at him, “Yeah, very impressive. Might write that up on the blog, actually.”
“Droll, John. Very droll.”
I nudged him under the table with my knee, “Did you have something you wanted to tell me, or were you only making sure I was duly impressed by your chopsticking skills?”
“Oh, yes. Mm,” Sherlock sipped his beer and set it aside. “John, when if ever, do you imagine we might start having sex?”
Hadn’t been expecting that. I think my eyebrows met my hairline, “Is this a take me now sort of situation? I’ve got to say, I’m really not keen on being banned from another restaurant.”
Sherlock smiled indulgently, “Violet suggested you might be more comfortable with this conversation if it occurred in an obviously nonsexual context.”
“That seems like the sort of thing we might discuss in a couple’s session, since it involves me, yeah?”
Sherlock’s eyes slid away from my face for a moment, “I hadn’t planned on it coming up; it just came up. I’m not conspiring against you, John.”
“No, of course not.” Sherlock pressed his knee against mine, and I felt for it under the table and stroked it for a moment. “I think I’d rather talk about this at home, okay?”
“Of course.” Sherlock bumped his shoulder against mine, and resumed his endearing struggle with his veg. And I tried not to drift off into my head, but I think I must’ve done.
“Venus is bright tonight,” John remarks as he takes my hand in our stroll back to Baker Street.
Smile, “Is that code, John?”
John laughs, “Code? What for?”
“I haven’t cracked it yet, but I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time. Or if not code, you must be feeling especially romantic to be murmuring sweet nothings to me about the starlight.”
John beams and presses my hand, “Venus is a planet, actually.”
“Still romantic. I always knew you were, John.”
John half laughs, “Well, it feels good, doesn’t it? Making something with your feelings instead of only stewing in them.”
Starlight in his eyelashes (almost want to look away)(but also want to drink down every drop of him, even when it’s bright enough to burn), “Mmm, and what are you making, John?”
John shrugs, inclines his head toward me. He falls into a thoughtful silence long enough that I begin to suppose he won’t answer me, “Dnno that there’s a word for it exactly. Us-ness?”
John puts such huge things into such humble words (wraps divinity in such mortal parcels)(bright enough to burn), “Us-ness. You’d have made a fine poet, John.” John only ducks his head, presses my hand. “It’s not too late.”
His smile dazzles even with his chin down, “You always say that.”
“Venus is the second planet from the sun, Earth’s sister. Named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty.”
John looks at me in surprise, “I thought you didn’t-”
“You thought I should. I learnt it.”
“That’s poetry, too, you know. Learning it.”
I am not John. I have no words to answer that. I press his hand, and he presses back, and we understand each other.
Sherlock made for his violin as soon as he’d hung up our coats and shut the flat door behind him. He’s got an extra sort of sparkle when he plays these days. Maybe a touch of desperation as well. A longing to make up for lost time. His playing danced him about the room so that by the time he lowered his instrument in the crackling, resonant silence he’d left behind, he was standing at my chair, his knee bumping against mine.
“I’m getting better, aren’t I! How long was that?” Sherlock asked, wiping sweat from his forehead with his bow hand.
I checked my watch, “Bout twelve minutes. Was it all improvisation?”
Sherlock waved a hand, “You might say that. It may be a few pieces tangled in each other, looking for footing.”
I smiled up at him, “You make them sound alive.”
Sherlock wagged his bow at me, “Sometimes I’m only the vessel, John.”
“You’re the one that should have been a poet, lovely,” I told him as he went back to his music corner to put away his instrument.
“Who says I’m not one?” Sherlock said, twiddling the screw. He whirled back to me, “If you put that on the blog, I shall never forgive you, John!”
I laughed and crossed my heart with one finger, “Don’t worry, lovely. I’m mainly going to keep you to myself.”
“See that you do,” Sherlock came and perched delicately on my knee, flung an arm about my neck, nuzzled my hair, “keep me entirely to yourself, John.”
I laid my hand on Sherlock’s back to steady him and ran it up his spine. I felt Sherlock’s breath catch against my ear, “Mmm, like that, do we?”
Sherlock hummed into my hair, “I think I have been clear with regard to how I feel about you touching me, John.”
“Quite clear, yeah,” I pet him a bit harder, and he slumped against me briefly, then straightened up. He still gets uncomfortable when he slouches, so he can’t do it long. “Shall we go and lie down on the bed, lovely? We can stretch out a bit better there.”
“Just the thing, John,” Sherlock rose and offered me a hand up from my chair, “I was just going to say.”
It’s early still, but John and I clean our teeth and get into our pyjamas, and then he flops onto the bed, and I stretch out rather gingerly alongside him. Things are still ginger, these days. Difficult sometimes to remember what I used to be (or at least to feel as if I may some time be that again)(shouldn’t I know by now that people don’t go back, only on). Still I can’t feel totally extinguished when John looks at me just so. I am not so dwindled that John can’t see me.
John takes my hand, brings it to his chest, strokes it, “I think you wanted a chat, lovely?”
Am perhaps blushing, “Is that what the youth are calling it these days?”
John smiles rather seriously (am certainly blushing), “Am I affectionate enough with you?”
“Oh! Yes, it’s nothing to do with that. It wasn’t a criticism at all, John. Only I thought we should. Discuss it.”
John nods, “You’re right. We should discuss it.” Neither of us say anything (I didn’t think beyond ‘we should talk’)(typical of me, really). John draws a deep breath, “I think I’ve been a bit. I’m just getting my feet under me with this Sherlock’s boyfriend thing, and I suppose. I worried if we added anything, I’d cock it up. So to speak.”
Determinedly do not giggle, “I have trouble imagining you being bad at sex, John.”
“I don’t say bad at sex, I definitely didn’t say that. Only. It isn’t like. Draughts or something where once you know how, you know how. You sort of. Re-learn whenever you’re with someone new. Well if you’re any good anyway. I suppose people who are rubbish do it the same with everyone.”
Smile, “Then we’ll be novices together, so that’s all right.”
John considers that, “Have you erm. Before I met you? Or after I met you, I suppose you might have?”
Rather shocked at that ‘after I met you’ (perhaps a bit priggish of me), “Not nothing, but not. Everything. Considerably before I met you,” I add.
John smiles, “Were they nice to you?”
“He, John. No need to be that particular brand of coy.”
John snorts, “Right, well. Not all of us have always been so self-knowledgeable as you have.”
Feel a bit silly, “Oh. Yes, of course. Erm. I think he was as nice as he knew how. We were very young.”
“Hmm.” John presses my hand between both of his. “As nice as he knew how doesn’t sound all that nice.”
Shrug, “Can any of us be nicer than we know how to be?”
John makes a wistful little sigh, “You’re so generous.”
Lean my head against his shoulder, and we’re quiet for a time. “So, John.”
“What about your he’s? Nice fellows, I hope? Have you got he’s? Am I being er. Presumptuous?”
John grins, “Well you’re always presumptuous. But you’ve presumed correctly. There have been he’s.”
“Major Sholto, I suppose,” before I can stop myself.
John chuckles drily, “That was quick. But no, actually. Not that I wasn’t up for it, but you know. Commanding officer. He was too noble and responsible and that.”
“How disappointing for you.”
John laughs and nudges me with his elbow, “You do know one of my, ah, fellows, though. You’ll never guess.”
Goggle at him, “Do I?”
Goggle even harder, “My Mike Stamford? Who delivered you to me wrapped in a bow?”
John laughs, “Really quite flattering to me, isn’t it?”
Rub my eyes and gaze up at the ceiling, “I’m not entirely certain I’m awake. Am I dreaming? Did I fall asleep in the cab after the restaurant? That happens to me sometimes.”
John gives me a little pinch and giggles at my answering squirming. Try and pinch back, but he knocks my hand away. Sit up and then flop myself over John’s torso, pinning his arms to either side of him and pressing my hips against his.
John grins up at me, “I could get out of this in about two seconds, you know. Your grip on my arms is all wrong, and you’re doing nothing at all about my legs. I’ll have to teach you better some time.”
Rather shiver at that (mmm!), “But you’re remaining where you are because you’re actually quite enjoying yourself.”
John leans up to rub his nose against mine, “Right in one, genius.” He rocks up his hips against me, and I note with a little thrill that he’s hard.
“Really rather perverse of you to enjoy it quite so much, John,” give his bottom lip a quick nip and John sort of squeaks and relapses into giggles again.
“Mmm, maybe you’ll have to teach me a lesson, then. Dignity. Propriety. All those things you’re really an expert in.”
Bite him again, and he gasps under my teeth, “How dare you speak to me this way, John. Horrible manners, I’ve always said so.”
“Kiss me,” John is a little breathless, his lip shining with my saliva, his eyes wide and brilliant. Can only stare at him for a moment, arrested (so bright it could burn). “Kiss me?” I obey, and John jerks his free his hands from my grip to glide them along my back. Shiver under his touch and sit up, still straddling John.
We seem to have been struck simultaneously, because we hurry out of our pyjamas and fling them away, and then we are naked together. I have never been naked with John. Not like this. John pushes himself to sitting, clutching my hips to keep me in place, then cups my face and kisses me again. For all its heat, there is something reverent in the gentleness of John’s hands on me, and god! I want him! More of him, all of him, more more more more.
“I’ve got an idea,” John tells me between kisses. Can only grunt and nod in answer. John gently untangles himself from me and sits up again, slides back til his back is braced against the headboard and raises his knees, parting them. He pats his chest, “Put your back here and sit between my knees.” Get into place as John suggested. His cock is warm to the touch and smears dampness against my back. John hooks his chin over my shoulder, nuzzles my throat (shiver at the prick of his stubble on me), and then for a moment we are still and silent, but for the eager thudding of John’s heartbeat against my back.
John draws a deep breath, kisses my neck and my ear, smooths his hand over my chest, and rubs the other on my hip, “Is this good?”
Tip my head back against him, “Yes, John.”
John drags his hand through the hair on my chest, raking up gooseflesh in its wake. His hand sinks from my hip to stroke the crease between my groin and thigh. Squirm under his touch, and he hums against my jaw, “You want me to touch you, Sherlock?”
Nod avidly and lean back against him, opening my legs wider (he’s so hard against my back)(god, I want to look at him!), “Yes, John! Please!”
John fondles my scrotum, his fingers light, tantalising, “Like this?”
John hooks his ankle about one of mine to edge my thighs even wider apart, “Tell me what you want Sherlock, so I can give it to you.”
“Touch my cock, John!”
And he does. John takes my cock in his soft hand and dabs soothing kisses against my neck, though I can feel his hot breath grow uneven. He squeezes me, “Are you going to show me your orgasm, Sherlock? Are you, my lovely? Will you show me? I want to see you come, Sherlock. Will you show me?” Can only moan and squirm and gasp, but John knows an affirmative when he hears one, and he teases my foreskin between his fingertips til I’m shaking and groaning. John begins to stroke my cock in earnest, rolling the foreskin between his fingers on the downstroke. Unruly sounds are spilling out of me, and I have nothing to muffle them into (no matter, I want him to have this part of me also)(all of me, every bit I know how to offer).
John holds me against him with the hand on my chest and nips my neck and the sting of his teeth sends me over. I come over John’s fist, and in my ear, I can hear John’s gasp of delight and surprise and then his mouth is on my neck and shoulder, warm and sloppy and kissing me everywhere he can reach.
“That was beautiful, Sherlock. Brilliant, you’re so gorgeous, Sherlock, so lovely.” Flop onto my back, breathless and muzzy with euphoria. John bends over me for more kisses, his hand busy on his own cock, which is flushed and shining and irresistible. Watch him sort of mesmerised for a moment, then push up onto my elbows.
“John? Could I?” Not sure what exactly I’m offering, but John nods, his eyes shining, and sinks back onto the bed. Kiss him (good a start as any) kiss him all over his face, down his throat, his chest, down his belly. Linger over his navel to nuzzle into it, and John giggles (such a golden sound) and kicks against the mattress in ticklishness(!)(will certainly have to repeat this experiment!).
“All right, you! That isn’t an orifice.” That makes me laugh also, which only makes John laugh harder, and we laugh together until I bite down on John’s hipbone. His giggles are lost in a groan, and John rocks his hips. Bite him again and luxuriate in his answering moan. I want John in my mouth, though also want to see his lovely face, which will be tricky from that angle. No happy compromise suggests itself. Take him into my mouth (as much as I can)(nearly the whole thing), and he jolts and shudders.
“Christ, Sherlock! Are you going to eat me alive?”
Laugh around John’s cock (would actually eat him alive if I could)(or be eaten) and he shudders harder and grasps my hair. Grunt in surprise and pull off to mouth and lick at the head (I’m going to end it too soon or choke myself if I go on as I have).
John eases his hold on my hair, strokes the back of my head, “All right?”
Nod and kiss the head again. Try and echo his tenderness back to him. He sighs (can feel him reaching for restraint)(shall be merciful)(well it’s a matter of perspective!). Kiss the seam of his groin, stroke his hip, nuzzle his thigh, and John shivers, hums through his nose, pets my hair. Drop loose, soft-mouthed kisses on John’s cock, up the shaft and kiss, lick, suckle the head.
John lets his head fall back against the headboard with a thump, “Sherlock.” There’s a delicious note of pleading in his voice (might be getting hard again). Look up at him, and he seems to know, though his eyes are shut, “Sherlock, please.” Well!
Takes a bit to get my head and my hand working in rhythm (going to need so much more practise!) and as I do, John twitches and sighs and hums under me, and I think it must be the most delicious thing that’s ever been until with a sudden little shout and a delightfully unmannerly tug at my hair, John is not about to come but coming, groaning, squirming. Pull off to watch his face and shiver in a sort of sympathetic ecstasy when John’s come hits my chin.
Rest my head on his thigh and massage my jaw, and presently John opens his eyes and beckons to me, “Well that’s it, you’ve killed me. Come up and kiss me goodbye.”
Scrabble up to him for my reward, and John kisses first the little mess he’s left on my chin, then my swollen mouth, and I’m certainly getting hard again, and my chest aches, and I can’t believe he’s had all this inside him under those layers of wool and chambray and repression, and I can’t believe we left it this long to touch each other this way. With concerted effort, I push away the regret threatening to intrude and instead lay myself carefully along John’s body. He folds his arms about my shoulders, and we sigh in unison, and it’s too perfect. Shut my eyes.
“Don’t go to sleep,” can feel John’s voice in my own chest. Lovely (puts a tingly sort of idea in my head, feeling him humming through me like that)(mmm)(will have to propose it later, though; perhaps in the morning)(refractory periods and so forth).
“I’m not asleep.”
“If you go to sleep, I’ll go to sleep, and I mean to stay awake and tell you how perfect and beautiful you are. Or at least wash the spunk off before it dries.”
“Mmm, tell you what, John. You have my permission to praise me in the morning, as long as you never use the word spunk in my presence so long as we both shall live.”
“Deal.” John giggles into my hair, “So long as we both shall live, mm? Does that mean we’re married now?”
Consider that, “I do think that constitutes an exchange of vows.”
“Ahh, actually if we’re exchanging, then you’ve got to promise me something as well.” John prods my shoulder, “What do you promise me?”
Upturn my face for a kiss before I reply, “Mmm, I wasn’t expecting to vow just now, John, and you’ve turned my brain to soup with your. Attention. Let me think on it. I promise to promise. Will that do you for now?”
“Mmm,” John drops a kiss on the end of my nose. “For now.”
Nothing is so delicious as discovering things with John! It need not be solving. Well it is solving, after a fashion. Knowing the outcome in advance (mmm!) and finding my way there. John with me, above me, behind me, beneath me, beside me. Urging me on, as ever.
What a marvellous thing he’s given me. So long as I have John, there will always be new things to learn and see and do. And with him, and for him. Exquisite. Can scarcely even spare thought to abhor my past dullness. Too entangled (enchanted) in my present delights. Finally finally I have offered myself to him so that he knows how to take me. Sex makes me legible! The whole thing is so ironic I could burst out laughing!
“I’ve had a thought, John.”
“Have you?” I looked up from my coffee to find Sherlock watching me across the breakfast table.
“Mmm, Several. Shall I tell you one in particular?”
I chinned my hand, “Nothing could possibly delight me more.”
Sherlock pressed his lips together momentarily and swallowed a smile, “I was the one who chose what you promised. You ought to choose what I promise.”
I grinned, “Still thinking about that, are you?”
Sherlock tossed his head, “I’m asymmetrical, John! How could I possibly ignore that? Have you even met me?”
Under the table, I stretched my leg across the lino and pressed Sherlock’s socked foot with mine, “Actually, you made me a promise first. You remember. After my erm. It was the time we went to Bristol. Your last vow, you called it.”
Sherlock smiled rather seriously, “Ah, yes. Bristol. Dim recollections. My last vow. I said that, did I?”
“Well, John. I think I may have been. Hasty.”
“You think so?”
“Mmm,” Sherlock nodded. “In fact, I might take any vow you might suggest I take. I find I’m. Quite flexible on that point.”
“Flexible,” I was fairly sure my smile would join up with itself at the back of my head. “That’s. That’s good to know.” Sherlock held out his hand, and I took it, and we smiled at each other.
“I’d even be happy for the opportunity to amend the one I made at the time, John. That one was a bit. Restrained.”
“Nothing I like better than Sherlock unrestrained. I’m all ears.”
“Unrestrained here and now over the breakfast table, John?”
I laughed, “Is it going to be messy? Should I move the butter?”
Sherlock bounced an eyebrow, “I promise to laugh at your jokes.”
“Like you are now, you mean? Is this amending?”
“I promise not to growl at you for pointing out the obvious.”
“I promise not to make jokes during your romantic speeches.”
Sherlock laughed, “I haven’t even got to the romantic bit yet.”
“I promise not to argue at the breakfast table.”
I laughed, “Your delicate little ways of telling me I’m being a tit.”
“I’ve certainly never been accused of delicate little ways before-oh!” Sherlock squeezed my hand excitedly, “This is what you meant before, John isn’t it? Making something with a feeling instead of only stewing in it.”
“Yeah,” I squeezed back. “This exactly. Us-ness.”
“Us-ness!” Sherlock gave my hand a little shake, “That isn’t only lovely, John; it’s clever. You will keep doing that, won’t you? Saying things like that to me?”
I kissed his hand, “Of course I will, Sherlock. As long as we both shall live.”