One week before
First goal: Procure pictures to be assembled in a way that invokes maximum sentimental value. John likes things that hold sentiment for him.
Sherlock clicked through the pictures on his laptop, hoping to find something to his satisfaction. Of course, nothing seemed to please him.
“You are generally photogenic, John,” he said, frowning. “There is not a single flattering photo of you from the past year, at least no pictures with me present.”
The ridiculous (poorly developed, moderately hetero-normative) website found gathering pictures to be romantic. It also recommended scheduling a photo shoot to create new photographic memories (or some other sentimental phrasing.) Sherlock dismissed that part of the idea immediately, not wanting to have to force intimacy in front of a camera or have a stranger ogle John. (He was surprised to find that the second had a stronger impact on his decision than the first.)
“I like the one where we both have black left eyes,” John teased.
They were sitting on the couch, engaged in their between cases evening ritual of “attempting to do work until distracted by sleep, a case, or sex.” Lately the distraction was coming increasingly often by the first. John smiled and slid down closer to Sherlock, attempting to look at the pictures for himself.
“Christ, we really don’t have many pictures,” John commented. “Half of these are blackmail taken by Greg.”
“Yes, well, while I do rather like the picture of you covered in mud, it’s really of no use to me at the moment.”
“We’ll have to take more in the future.”
The photo shoot plan would have to happen, it seemed. Soon. And alone.
Next: take pictures with John that display the nature of our relationship. Don’t want anyone else seeing him in even the pantomime of our most emotionally and physically intimate moments. Thus, will improvise and do what we can by ourselves. Pictures of moments we were together are strong enough for this.
“Would you like to take some photos now?”
“Where?” John asked with a mixture of confusion and sarcasm in his voice.
“Your bedroom will do.”
“Head up now if you will, I need to find the camera.”
John waited in his room for five minutes. He knew this because he checked the time on his watch three times, each time letting out a dramatic sigh. Part of him, the very tired hardworking part, just wanted to curl up and fall asleep. The other part, the rather in love red-blooded male thrill seeking part, wanted to wait and see what exactly his partner intended when he asked to take pictures. (It wouldn’t be the oddest thing they’d done in bed, but sometimes Sherlock was so oblivious to the implications of things he suggested.) (Walking around in the flat handcuffed together for 12 hours, for example, did not work out how John wanted it at all.)
His eyes were closed and he was in the midst of sigh four as he heard the faint click of a digital camera in the doorway.
“Er-what exactly do you want to take pictures of?”
“As many inches of your body as you’ll allow me to. You can reciprocate of course.”
There were a few more light clicks.
“Give it here.” John held out his hand and Sherlock reluctantly handed over the camera. “I’m an absolutely shite photographer, but I’d like pictures of us- being us.” His voice grew husky. “Sit down here.”
Sherlock joined John on the bed, and John extended his arm, flipping the camera around to take a picture. He laughed at the result; a manic smile on his face and a deep frown on Sherlock’s.
“Teenage girls make this seem so easy,” John commented as he made another attempt. This one was better, the two with their heads leaning together naturally and soft, small smiles on their faces. “There.” He handed the camera back over to Sherlock.
John lowered himself slowly until he was prone on his back. Sherlock leaned over him, snapping a few quick photos before John had the time to compose himself artificially. Admittedly, Sherlock had intended this procedure to be less scientific and more about them than just John, but the opportunity was just too good. He could manage a few pictures that were appropriate, but the chance to have a tangible visual catalogue of John-ness was irresistible.
Despite his heavy breathing, John was laying in almost complete stillness, through Sherlock taking pictures of his socked feet, his hands, his clothed neck, close-up shots of his hair. Hands, partly intimate partly clinical, deftly unbuttoned the first few buttons of his shirt. A few more photos added to the collection before they continued their trek down the rest of his shirt; shots with his shirt undone, of the heather grey vest underneath, before the shirt was completely stripped off. Sherlock engaged then in a thorough inspection of arms, admiring the muscle tone; subtle but firm, and the masculine structure so often hidden by warm, shapeless clothing.
The next natural step, of course, was John’s shoulders and neck. Sherlock slipped the vest carefully over his head. As though wanting to tease, he started with the right shoulder, a few snapshots capturing it. He glared at the camera in dissatisfaction when the camera didn’t capture the light on John’s clavicle properly, but he returned to his joyful inspection when he could take in the glorious scar with its jagged edges and the soft, almost fading colours.
“You should have allowed me to photograph you like this from the day we met,” Sherlock said with a scowl. “I’ll never properly be able to catalogue the scar because I never saw it when it was a new addition.”
“If you’d have kissed me in the hallway that first night or told me you weren’t married to your work, I probably would have.”
“I didn’t mean precisely like this,” Sherlock replied. “Though it is far preferable.”
John was still confused about the whole situation, but rather than worry about it, he went along for the ride. The joyful ride of possessive hands sliding along his ribs, attempting to create various shifts in his body, to make his muscles relax. Then the feeling of adept hands working at his belt buckle, the swift pull of trousers in one deft motion, a few snapshots of his hips in nothing more than his pants before those were gone too, followed by a few very sly clicks of the camera.
“You’re not taking unfavourable pictures of my cock.”
“You’ll find that I am. Don’t look at me like that, John Watson. I love your flaccid state just as much as your aroused state. It is far more unguarded and intimate to be exposed to someone without the direct implication of sex.”
“Far less fun, though.”
Sherlock shook his head and continued his downward trek, taking pictures of John’s thighs and knees, and removed his socks to take as many angles as imaginable of his feet. The attention to the lower half of his body piqued John’s interest, and slowly his blood ran to his groin. Sherlock observed this, of course, taking discreet pictures of his cock; half hard, then fully erect. If Sherlock was not so busy scientifically exploring every inch of his partner, he would have discovered his own arousal, but in the moment he was too captivated by attempting to capture the pink flush on John’s chest and cheeks and the way his expressions seemed to shift. He determined to set aside a whole day to spend in bed, photographing each little change in John as he went from his regular state, to aroused, to in coitus, to post-coital. It would take at least a whole afternoon to get enough data.
He was too excited about what he had now, and found his energy propelling himself towards the door. John’s confusion at last resolved itself, leaving him more than a little upset with the other man.
“I’ll need to carry out a similar procedure another time – with you lying on your front,” Sherlock called out as he was already away from the room.
Sherlock uploaded the photographs at an alarming speed, emptying a completely full memory stick. A whole bunch of pure data on JohnJohnJohn. It could take him days; weeks even to glean everything he needed, every detail he couldn’t take in in his daily life.
But no, he realized. That was wrong. He meant the effort as a gift to John, and instead the other man got the upper-hand. Sherlock suggested the gift he would most want, and John gave it to him, throwing the original intent completely out the window. He returned to John’s room, as soon as this dawned on him, but he realized too late that he had completely lost track of time. There was a tightness in his chest at the sight of John curled up under the duvet, likely still nude. Sherlock stripped quietly and climbed in behind his partner.
When John woke up, he’d wake up too, and give himself to John as a form of apology. He would find good pictures, maybe the successful one from that evening, and give them to John. Items of sentiment, kept in frames, that was easy enough. He checked through the mental list as he drifted off to sleep. There was still a week.