When John was at school, he had only studied modern languages as far as the compulsory GCSE level. His teacher had been called Madame Poirrier, John remembered. A charming, grey-haired lady who would shake her head smilingly at her hapless pupil as he stumbled his way through the conjugations of ‘vouloir’ and ‘être’, and confused the past imperfect tense with the past perfect tense; even at that age John had already been much more interested in biology and chemistry than languages.
Sherlock, of course, spoke French fluently. Along with Italian and rudimentary German (and, bizarrely, a few words of Dzongkha) but it was the French that left John hypnotised. Sherlock spoke it like a native – all slurred elisions and dropped endings – and any thoughts John might have had of teasingly reciprocating in his schoolboy French died after a mere two minutes of listening to that deep, velvety voice shaping itself effortlessly around the French pronunciation.
It might, John reflected, have given Madame Poirrier some pleasure to know that, almost twenty years later, her worst pupil had at last discovered an enthusiasm for the study of French. But then again, considering the context, perhaps not.
‘Oh, Jean,’ Sherlock groaned, sounding out of his mind and more than happy to be there, his hands skating restlessly over John’s head and shoulders. ‘T’es incroyable… c’est si bon…’
Using his free hand, John pushed Sherlock’s inner thighs until they spread wider and made more room for him to lie between them, and rewarded him by letting all but the head of Sherlock’s cock slide out of his mouth. He brushed the sensitive tip with his tongue, wringing a gasp and a breathy ‘Oh, mon Dieu…’ from farther up the bed.
Sherlock, John had been rather surprised to find, was a fantastic lover. The man was so often abrasive in all his other dealings with the outside world that John had resigned himself, if he ever got the chance to find out, to perfunctory encounters, and the possibility of Sherlock losing interest partway through, and Sherlock needing half an hour’s persuasion before engaging in something so utterly mundane. Not to mention the fact that there was definitely an element of uncertainty in a sexual relationship with a man who flogged corpses and dealt daily with corrosive chemicals. John had waited, with considerable trepidation, for these items to make an appearance in the bedroom, or for Sherlock to start showing a marked interest in S&M.
He had never in his life been happier to be wrong.
It turned out that, underneath the aloof, slightly austere façade, Sherlock was no different from any other man and better than most, in John’s modest experience. John barely had to glance meaningfully at his new lover before Sherlock would be straddling his thighs, kissing him sensuously and slowly unbuttoning his shirt. Sherlock would happily spend ages stretched out in bed, exchanging kisses and gentle touches until they were both desperate for each other, but then on one memorable occasion (John felt himself flush at the memory) he had also bent John over the kitchen counter and taken him right there, when a late-night dash across London had left them both breathless and high on adrenaline.
In fact, John really had nothing to complain about. Even the impromptu French lessons, he supposed, were educational, and only an idiot would complain about hearing a personalised version of the Serge Gainsbourg song that he had listened to, with flaming cheeks and pounding heart, one heady afternoon when he was sixteen.
It turned out that Sherlock’s family had spent a large part of his later adolescence living in France and, given Sherlock’s vocabulary and the fact that he reverted to that language when in bed, John tried not to think too hard about what a long-limbed, coltish, eighteen-year-old Sherlock might have spent most of his time doing while out there.
He was abruptly jerked back to the here and now by Sherlock’s fingers stroking restlessly through his hair. Sherlock would never do something so crass as pushing his head down, but there was a certain desperation to his movements that John recognised. He wrapped his hand tightly around the base of Sherlock’s cock, feeling the coarse tickle of dark hair against the side of his hand, and pulled his cock back into his mouth.
Beneath him, Sherlock moaned softly, arching his head back and clutching at John’s shoulders. ‘Jean… j’adore ta bouche… c’est – ah! – c’est trop bon…’
The very first occasion that he had heard ‘Jean’ had come as a bit of a surprise. At the time, John had actually stopped what he was doing, slightly shocked at hearing the name of (he supposed) one of Sherlock’s former lovers coming from his lips. Instantly Sherlock had glared down at him from where he was straddling John’s hips, looking murderous.
‘N’arrête pas! Pourquoi as-tu arrêté?’ Seeing John’s confusion, Sherlock took a deep breath and repeated himself. ‘Why have you stopped?’
‘You… you said…’ John was torn between arousal and awkwardness.
‘Oh for God's sake, “Jean” is you. It’s French.’ Damn it, now Sherlock looked embarrassed, the expression sitting oddly on his usually self-assured face. ‘I’ll try to stop it.’
‘No!’ Relieved, John took a fresh grip on Sherlock’s lean hips and thrust upwards, making Sherlock moan and his eyes flutter closed. ‘Don’t stop, it’s fine.’
In reply Sherlock merely groaned, and it was several minutes later that John noticed that he was biting his lower lip, white teeth digging in hard as they rocked against each other. John pulled Sherlock’s head down and kissed him. It was brief, and the change in posture interrupted the slow, easy rhythm that was building between them, but it was worth it to murmur against Sherlock’s wet mouth, ‘I meant it… please don’t stop… it’s the sexiest thing I ever heard.’
When John released Sherlock, he sat up and shifted his thighs wider, sinking deeper onto John’s cock and growled, ‘J’adore quand tu m’encules… j’adore sentir ta bite en moi. T’es si gros… et si dur…’
John didn’t understand a word of it but found the sound of the throaty syllables rippling fluidly from Sherlock to be devastatingly sexy, although not as sexy as the incomprehensible noises he made when he finally doubled over, coming all over John’s stomach.
Now, Sherlock was twisting underneath John, sliding deeper into John’s mouth and forcing John to grip his hip warningly, as he stretched out to retrieve something from the nightstand. The next thing John knew, Sherlock was shoving a tube of lubricant at him and panting, ‘Tes doigts… je t’en prie… mets tes doigts en moi…’
John vaguely remembered from school that ‘doigts’ was fingers but the translation was more or less unnecessary. When a man getting a blowjob spread his legs and bent his knees like that and passed you a tube of lubricant, surely the next move was self-explanatory.
Sherlock let out a soft wail as John pushed two slick fingers inside him and curled them at just the right angle. ‘Oui! Oh oui, là… s’il te plaît… là, exactement… oh, mon Dieu…’
It was difficult to maintain a steady rhythm, when Sherlock was alternately grinding down against his hand and rocking up (the tiniest amount, John noted affectionately) into John’s mouth, but soon Sherlock was tightening around his fingers and stuttering urgently, ‘Baise-moi, Jean, s’il te plaît, je veux que tu me… que tu–’
Whatever request Sherlock had been making of him (because John could at least recognise ‘please’ when he heard it), it was too late, as Sherlock moaned loudly and came, coherent words in any language failing him entirely.
Almost before he had finished, Sherlock was tugging John up the bed and muttering, ‘Fuck me, John, please, fuck me’ and groping for the tube of lubricant that had rolled to the side. Gritting his teeth at the feeling of a warm, slick hand pulling on his erection, John nevertheless nudged forwards as Sherlock pulled his knees up to his chest and let himself sink inside in one slow, easy slide.
Sherlock, thanks to the previous experience that John was trying hard not to think about, just took a couple of deep breaths and shifted his legs so that his knees rested either side of John’s ribs, and John could lean down and kiss him.
‘Go on then,’ he murmured, when John just lay there, concentrating fiercely on Sherlock’s sensual, post-coital kisses rather than on the tight heat surrounding his cock that was making his nipples tighten and the hair stand up on his arms.
‘A minute,’ John gritted out, ‘give me a minute to… get used to it.’
Sherlock smirked at him and lazily slid his hand down his stomach, fingers and palm still slippery with lubricant. At the sight of Sherlock’s long fingers curling around his cock, John squeezed his eyes shut and groaned. Occasionally, if it had been a while since the last time they slept together (which in this case it had, a case having kept the pair of them on the run for days until it was resolved) Sherlock would come two or even three times before they finally passed out for the night. It was something that John loved to see, each and every time, almost as much as he loved to hold Sherlock close afterwards, when he was limp and trembling and entirely wrung out.
Drawing a deep breath through his nose and exhaling it through his mouth, John gradually started to rock forward, in gradual increments. Fortunately, he thought, this wasn’t going to take long – Sherlock hadn’t really lost his erection after the first round and he had already lapsed into breathy murmurs of broken French.
After a few minutes John was unable to resist and shoved forward once, hard, into Sherlock before getting a grip and resuming his previous slow, steady pace. But Sherlock was having none of it.
‘Oui!’ he growled. ‘Oh oui, comme ça, c’est parfait… plus fort, Jean, s’il te plaît… s’il te plaît… plus fort…’
As Sherlock gasped and squirmed and tried to rock his hips harder against John’s thrusts, John complied. ‘Plus fort’ was one command he was definitely getting the hang of, since he generally heard it moaned or gasped or snarled at him almost every time he was fucking Sherlock and, as if on cue, Sherlock’s head fell back against the pillow and his hands reached to grasp John’s buttocks, pulling him close.
‘Touche-moi, Jean,’ he pleaded, ‘je t’en prie… touche-moi… fais-moi jouir…’
Failing utterly to understand, it was only when Sherlock grabbed John’s hand and brought it down between his legs that John understood. He squeezed Sherlock’s erection and started stroking it in time with his thrusts as Sherlock bit his lip and his hand reached up to trace delicate, feverish patterns over John’s shoulder blade, digging in hard as John rubbed his thumb over the head of Sherlock’s cock.
A particularly urgent moan tore its way from Sherlock’s throat, his thighs gripping hard around John’s ribs, and the hand wasn’t dug into his back suddenly seized John’s flexing wrist in a death grip.
‘Putain, ça y est,’ Sherlock gasped. ‘Oh Jean… j’vais… j’vais jouir… encore–’
The rest of his words were lost in a helpless, incoherent cry as Sherlock finally lost the ability to speak any of his languages, and John bit his lip hard as he watched his lover coming apart beneath him for the second time, his pale skin flushed and his beautiful face contorting in such agonised ecstasy that John almost wouldn’t have been surprised to find that the sudden wet heat slicking his fingers was blood.
When Sherlock had stopped groaning in his ear and the hand on his wrist was signalling Let go now as tactfully as possible, John braced his wet hand on the sheets by Sherlock’s head and finally, finally let himself thrust forward. Encouraged by Sherlock’s soft sighs of ‘Ouais… ouais… vas-y, mon coeur… prends ton plaisir…’, John buried his face in Sherlock’s neck and let himself feel the tight, slick heat sliding around his cock, hear the deep rumbling moans that told him how pleasurable Sherlock was finding this, and (when he opened his mouth) taste the salt of his lover’s sweat as he pressed kisses blindly along the side of Sherlock’s face.
‘T’es magnifique,’ Sherlock whispered into his ear, the tickle of breath making John gasp and shove harder into him. ‘Je t’aime… je t’adore…’
‘Oh God.’ John could feel the familiar tension low in his belly, could feel his body coiling to come… Christ, he was so ready to come…
‘Crie pour moi,’ Sherlock murmured against his hair, his baritone voice not quite so smooth as usual. ‘Laisse-moi t’entendre crier lorsque tu jouis, mon chéri…’
With the last of his fleeing brainpower, John gasped, ‘Don’t… don’t understand…’
Sherlock switched back to English, unexpectedly, raking his short nails down John’s damp spine. ‘Let me hear you when you come… let me hear you scream…’
Jesus. Trust Sherlock to manage to be just as sexy speaking English as groaning endearments in French, and John bit his lip hard as instinct took over. In the last few thrusts before he came, John felt a hand cradling his face and a thumb gently but firmly pulling his lip free of his teeth, and he couldn’t stop himself crying out as he finished, his toes curling and his back arching as he buried himself as deeply as he could inside his lover.
Afterwards John found that his muscles were shivery, the sweat on his back cooling, and Sherlock’s hands gently coaxed him down and cradled him against his chest, brushing his hair back off his forehead. As John lay there, catching his breath and feeling Sherlock’s heart pounding in the chest beneath his cheek, he thought contentedly that while a skill with languages was a wonderful talent to have (Sherlock stopped stroking John’s hair long enough to draw the duvet over them both and switch off the bedside light), there were nevertheless some things that could be said best without words.
‘En art comme en amour, l'instinct suffit.’ Anatole France