Afghanistan was both the best and the worst thing to have happened to John. On one hand, if he'd never been shot, he never would have ended up slinking from his depressing bedsit in the dark of the night to hide from the Tower in the squalor of London's underbelly. On the other, the desert had taught him to gracefully accept a grime-covered body that felt like it'd never be clean again; how to rest in the most uncomfortable of places and positions while still maintaining an awareness for threats; how to savour and ration water and eat scraps of food that seemed otherwise unsavoury; how to stay warm when it froze and how to stay cool when it burned. Even if it hadn't, anything was preferable to caving to the Tower's will to have him bonded and mated to some Sentinel alpha they'd chosen for him.
Still, his body wasn't as young as it had been when he'd first gone to the desert, and it was significantly less spry than when he'd left it, and the omega groaned as he got to his feet, body creaking in protest at having slept sitting up against a stone wall in such cold weather. A steaming to-go cup of tea was shoved under his nose and he gripped it with a hand that, over a year later, still refused to release its tremor.
"Lookin' good today, doc. Heat about to start?" Raz asked, bouncing on the balls of his feet, a bit of familiar alpha hunger glittering in his eyes.
"None of that now," John chided, slinging his backpack on and hoisting up the med bag that was, against all reasoning, getting heavier the longer he lived on the streets. "I'm forty, not blind. I've seen that Scent-Partial who's been lingering about these parts. Lizzie, yeah? You've been sweet on her."
"Come off it, Doc," the teenager scoffed, even though his cheeks nearly glowed in the dim lighting of the tunnel John had taken refuge in for the night. "Lizzie's an alpha."
"So?" the omega replied. "My sister and her mate were both alphas. It's a new world, Raz. Take advantage of it," he advised. He didn't bother waiting for a reply before marching off; he had regulars to see and he knew the young man would follow him.
When he'd first taken to the streets, though he'd packed his med bag in anticipation of it being in high demand from those too poor or too stubborn to visit an actual hospital, no one had accepted his offered help. It hadn't been hard to understand why: he wouldn't have accepted help from some strange omega either. Anyone good enough to offer help should be able to find themselves a job and keep themselves off the street. He didn't both to explain that he was a Guide hiding from the Tower, because what Guide in their right mind would give up all the protection that was offered to their kind?
It wasn't until a young alpha had limped in with four broken fingers and a sprained ankle, all courtesy of the coppers that had caught him tagging their car, that John was able to display his skills, though a display was the last thing on his mind. He'd had to wade in through the arguments of whether or not the boy should risk a hospital in order to splinter the digits with ice lolly sticks and strips from his own shirt, and to wrap the swollen joint with his own threadbare scarf. By the time he was done, his patient was looking at him with sparkling eyes and was offering his eternal assistance. The doctor had laughed at first, but Raz had been invaluable, especially when speed was of the essence and the ex-soldier's limp was acting up.
Word had gotten out that there was a skilled doctor amongst the ranks of the homeless, and most days out of the week he found himself occupied with aches and ails. It kept him busy and active, and most importantly, it kept him fed and warm and his medical supplies stocked as people traded in his services for the fires and blankets or food they had. The day he'd been brought an unconscious little girl who'd turned out to be a newly-presented and zoned Hearing-Partial, and he'd guided her back out of her mind, was the last day he ever had to provide for himself.
Those he frequently helped always had oddly fresh food for him or oddly clean replenishments of the medical supplies he'd used on them- all of which he suspected was stolen but found he didn't quite mind the way he might've used to- and he was welcome at most fires and under most blankets. And if agents from the Tower came looking for a doctor Guide omega they'd lost, then they were misdirected and mislead until they stumbled back where they came from with their heads spinning.
It wasn't the excitement of war, but it kept him busy and fairly happy and surprisingingly safe, and that was more than he had ever expected when he turned to the lifestyle.
"Hey, Yasha!" Raz shouted suddenly, surprising John from his thoughts as the young alpha broke into a run towards the bundle of disturbingly loud blankets that the old Russian Mute beta typically took shelter under. "Doc and Nurse Raz, at your service!" he continued to shout, skipping forward with far too much energy.
"Quiet down, sonny!" a woman barked from down the way, and John suppressed a smile.
The sudden tremor in Raz's now-quiet voice put the ex-soldier instantly on edge and on guard. His hand strayed to the Browning he always kept at his lower back as he approached, repressing the need to crawl forward like he used to. Besides, the alpha was standing just in front of Yasha's blankets, face pale, but no signs of fear or danger. John eased forward carefully.
"Raz, what is it?"
"It's Yasha, he- What happened to him?" his volunteer assistant asked, voice shaking. One last step brought him to face the sleeping man and he got to see what had got Raz so rattled: Yasha was undeniably dead, dried blood creating trails from the Mute's eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. "He was fine though! He was on the mend! You said so yourself, he-"
"Shut up, Raz," John whispered, getting down to his knees in front of the cold corpse. The rambling from behind him silenced immediately. "This wasn't natural."
"It… It wasn't?" Raz stammered. John shook his head and resisted the urge to fix the blankets to make the older man more comfortable. "Then what was it?"
John forced Raz to first call the police and then stay with the body and to talk to them as the omega continued his rounds for the day. The boy caught up with him as night fell and John was settling in for the coldest hours, and the doctor could only stare in disbelief as Raz recounted the one detective, coroner, and minimal forensics that had showed up, and the even more sparse questions they'd asked him.
"They called it uh… 'unfortunate'. And they said theee… crime scene and uhhh-"
"For fuck's sake, spit it out!" John growled.
"The body! The crime scene and the body is too contaminated, they said!" Raz finally spit out.
"So they're not going to do anything?" he asked, feeling a bit in shock as the other man shook his head.
"Not a damn thing, Doc."
Yasha's murder continued to bother him over the next several weeks, and John found himself wary of any and every homeless he'd never seen before. His instincts had always served him well though, and no one he saw made them go live. Eventually, the spark that kept him paranoid fizzled out and he relaxed back into life as he knew it. That was when he stumbled on Gene, just over five weeks later, dried blood below his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
"Fuck," he whispered, drawing his hand over his face and scratching at his beard.
Raz wasn't with him today- he'd been spending more and more time with Lizzie lately, but John couldn't talk to the police. There was too high of a chance that there would be an experienced Guide or Sentinel among them who would feel him despite his shields, and there was no way they wouldn't report him to the Tower. Luckily, there were always youngsters around, and it was the work of a moment to ask them to fetch Raz.
The young alpha was there in under an hour, panting from exertion, and trailing his new friend. He took one look at John, and then where John nodded, and blanched.
"I hate to ask this of you again, Raz, but I can't call…" the Guide trailed off, apologetic.
There was a brief pause before the other man's shoulders went back and his chin rose. "No problem, Doc. You get on out of here and I'll call it in. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it."
Despite the gravity of the situation, and the fact that there was a second victim of a murder that shouldn't have happened, much less happened again, John smiled when Lizzie glared at Raz and then socked the other alpha in the arm.
When Raz found him that night, expression downcast, John knew exactly what had happened.
"They said they couldn't do anything again, didn't they." He didn't even bother adding a questioning inflection and the younger man shook his head.
The ex-soldier cursed colourfully and stormed off.
"I have fucking had it!" John snarled when he tripped over a leg in the dark of a tunnel, turned to check that whoever it was was okay, and found a third victim. It had only been three weeks since the last one- the time between attacks was getting shorter. He didn't know who this man was, but the fact remained: there was a serial killer that was, for some reason, coming after the homeless. "There's no connection!" he growled into the tunnel. "Three victims, different areas of the city, different genders, different ethnicities, different backgrounds. It. Makes. No. Sense!" He barely resisted the urge to stamp his feet like a child.
"You're right. It doesn't."
The voice startled him so suddenly that his gun was in his hand and he was spinning in place before he could blink. His leg twinged angrily at him, so hard that it hurt, but he fought to keep the pain from his face and his weapon steady on the Sentinel alpha standing a surprisingly comfortable distance away from him. A strange awareness skittered down John's spine as he met a bright grey gaze, but the harder he focused on it, the faster it slipped away. Still, every instinct was on guard: this Sentinel was strong, and John's shields had never been built around a need to disguise what he was, which meant he knew exactly what John was and was required by law to report him to the Tower.
"And you are?" the captain asked, voice hard and hand steady.
The stranger stayed silent, too long for John's taste, his eyes travelling down then back up the omega's body. He became electrically aware for the first time since he'd started his suppressants of the heat just under two weeks away.
"You don't recognise me?" The stranger's deep voice sent shivers down his spine at the same time a spike of hurt in the man's calm emotions made him cock his head.
"Should I?" he asked back, that strange sensation returning and sending shivers down the whole of his back this time.
"Yes, you should. I'm yours."
Sherlock Holmes, as the stranger had introduced himself, had called the police, eyes never leaving John's, and then the Sentinel had directed him out of the tunnel 'exactly three hundred and twenty-three steps' to take him out of range of whoever was going to show up. The soldier had watched the show of flashing lights from a nook in the side of a building, bathed in darkness and trying to wrap his mind around the fact that he'd just met his Match.
He was forty. Forty year olds didn't find their Matches, much less summon them with angry tirades to the slums. Except apparently they do, because he just did. Their meeting couldn't have come at a worse time though. John hadn't bathed in well over a year; his heat was coming and, though it was suppressed, the customary need that whispered through his veins had the potential to affect a new relationship, and not necessarily for the better; and worse, they had met at a crime scene. What kind of alpha wanted an omega that didn't run screaming at the sight of blood or corpses?
"We'll take the case."
He was startled from his thoughts by said alpha striding swiftly towards him over the gravel, steps sure and confident despite the gaze directed to the mobile in his hand.
"Who will take what case?" he asked, voice quiet. He was sure his scent was already as offensive it could get; no reason to make his voice the same.
"You and I will take this case," Sherlock replied, walking right up to John and stopping just a little too close. The omega resisted the urge to take a step back and raised his gaze to meet the other man's.
"What, right now? Sorry, but I don't really think I'm fit company for you at the moment," he joked as if that was their only concern, tugging at the hem of a jumper that was more dirt than cloth.
"Of course you're not," the Sentinel said without looking at him, still engaged in whatever was on his mobile, something the doctor was glad for when the harsh words made his face fall and his heart plummet. Until the other man spoke again. "You'll come home with me. You can take a proper shower, eat a proper meal, sleep in a proper bed, and dress in clean clothes."
John raised an eyebrow. "A little presumptuous, aren't you?"
"Hm? Oh." Sherlock finally up him. "There's a second bedroom in my flat that you can use until you're ready to mate and bond."
His other eyebrow rose to join the first, the pair of them almost disappearing into his hairline in his incredulity. "You're that sure you want to join with me already?"
"Yes," the alpha replied simply. That was it. It was apparently as simple as that. No begging, no pleading, no domineering-alpha bullshit. Just simple fact.
"And what if we're not actually compatible?" John asked, unable to keep his greatest feat bottled up any more. "They say Perfect Matches are, well, perfect for one another but… What if we aren't."
Finally, the other man looked away. "That's what concerns me."
His Match was in his toilet. His Guide. His omega. His everything. Just a few feet from him. So close that he could almost taste the other man on his tongue. Which wasn't quite pleasant right now, with a year's worth of street grime and the copious soap scrubbing it away overriding the minimal scent his suppressants had left. He didn't care. The human he'd been waiting his entire life for, the one he'd given up on believing existed, was right here.
"Picking up strays again, Sherlock?" Mycroft asked from the doorway, his umbrella tapping against the hardwood. He tilted his head towards the sound of the shower shutting off, and Sherlock knew his brother could hear the subsequent sound of terry cloth over flesh followed by the sound of lather and a straight razor.
"Wrong, as always, Mycroft," he replied, fingers still around the neck of his violin and voice suspiciously absent of its usual bite. He couldn't bring it in himself to speak any louder or move in any way that would create noise, noise that would distract from his ability to hear John's heart, his breath, the sound of his skin rubbing over itself, every action he took. Nothing had ever been more important. The only thing stopping him from pinning John to the bathroom floor and scenting him until there was no part of him Sherlock didn't know was that John didn't know him like he knew John.
He could read John's life in his posture and his colouring and the marks on his skin, and he could smell everywhere he'd been in the last week. He fancied that, if he could just press his tongue to John's, he would be able to taste his last four meals. But John knew nothing about him except what he'd told him so far: Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective. And of course, that he was a Sentinel alpha. John's Sentinel alpha. Now that he had his Match in his home, he just had to figure out how to keep him.
"I thought we'd agreed that you would remain clean in exchange for Gregory providing you cases," the other Sentinel said, voice soft in its disappointment as he tapped his umbrella once. Once, when he was young, that sound would have filled him with shame. Now it just filled him with annoyance, and in this case, smugness at how utterly wrong his brother was. "If you're back to inviting dealers back to your accommodations, I will be putting you back in rehabilitation."
"I don't care if he is a junkie," a rough voice growled from the toilet door, freshly opened, billowing smoke, and revealing a freshly cleaned and shaved John Watson clad in nothing more than a towel wrapped around his waist. "If you threaten Sherlock again, I will forcibly eject you from this flat."
Mycroft turned comically slow in his seat to face John, and the widening of his brother's eyes when he laid them on Sherlock's Match was as good as a shout of surprise.
The ex-soldier had clearly lost some muscle mass in the year he'd been homeless, but he was still surprisingly fit, and his posture was faultless. There was a gnarled knot of poorly-healed scarring at his left shoulder, just under his collar bone, where it was clear a bullet had exploded out. Even more of his Match's personality unfolded before the detective's eyes: the man had been kneeling, facing away from the enemy and, judging by the old and clearly well used by well taken care of medical bag, he had been in the process of treating a comrade at the time of the attack. However, the additional scarring scattered over his flesh wasn't all from being attacked while in the field, some were clearly offensive wounds; not just a military doctor, but a doctor who was a soldier. Sherlock hadn't known the man could get any more perfect than he'd already deduced, but it seemed as if John was full of surprises, even for him.
John crossed his arms over his chest, the dog tags hanging from around his neck jangling with the motion, as he narrowed his eyes and appeared to wait for an answer.
It took his brother a full, and very satisfying, eleven seconds to answer. "You're very loyal very quickly," he said.
It was the wrong thing to say. John didn't move, his expression didn't change, but suddenly, every line in his body screamed 'danger'.
"That tends to happen when you're defending what's yours," the soldier replied firmly. Sherlock turned his head to hide his smile and crossed his legs to hide his erection.
Mycroft cleared his throat, and in the reflection of the window, the detective watched the other Sentinel alpha turned to look at him, and then back to John.
"Yes, well… Pleasure to meet you, Guide..." Mycroft trailed off, apparently at a loss on how to address Sherlock's Match, and the younger man smirked viciously at having pulled one so spectacularly over the British government. "Sherlock," his brother finally sniffed when no name was forthcoming, and then finally turned and walked out the door. Sherlock spent the entire time Mycroft took walking down the stairs to the street door trying to will his erection back to flaccidity.
"Who was that?" John asked after the door downstairs closed, posture finally relaxing and turning to Sherlock with a questioning expression. It took the alpha a moment to realise that the ex-soldier's posture had relaxed, but he was far from trusting; his eyes were darting between the door and the window, and over the flat's occupants, plotting exit paths and points. The detective made sure to stay out of his way, give the man just a little bit more reason to trust him by not obstructing one of the few pathways.
"That was my arch nemesis and not our concern right now."
He was finding it incredibly difficult to keep his eyes from John's bare torso. Impossible, in fact. He had emerged from the toilet with his hair still wet, droplets from the greying-gold hair rolling along the metal chain and off the small metal discs, and other droplets trailing through the sparse hair on the man's chest and gathering on his nipples before falling to the hardwood below his feet. Sherlock found himself tracking every drop of water back to its source, one at a time, as he fought an utterly primal urge to lick up every last one.
The Sentinel's vision focused on a droplet of water that pooled into the little hollow above John's left collarbone, only a few inches from his scar. He could see every tiny hair, every pore in that little divot. There was the trace of veins just below the faded tan and he focused even harder,filled with an uncontrollable determination to make out every last tributary, determined to see through his omega's skin to the very heart of him, but the harder he focused, the blurrier the flesh before his eyes got. So he tried harder, willing himself to not lose sight of what was most important. All he had to do was focus, and he could see into his Match. Focus, focus, focus, fo-
The entirety of 221B's contents became suddenly clear to him, every last object thrown into sharp relief. Despite knowing the name, history, use, and location of every object within his own territory, he couldn't shift his concentration to any individual object, somehow couldn't make any of them out. The image of every one of his possessions became like a blade, cutting into his eyes, carving an eternal impression into his retinas. It hurt, it hurt, it hurt, but he couldn't stop, couldn't stop looking, couldn't stop seeing.
A warmth spread through his mind and body and across his eyes, smoothing over the ache of his own vision. The blade of his sight slowly dulled, the objects within his view fuzzing along the outlines. A lone item came into focus, slow and easy, painless.
'Skull,' a gentle voice whispered. 'This is a skull.'
The recognition came back slowly, like drudging a corpse from a bog, the names of the bones shimmering to life in the air and attaching to their appropriate locations. The words faded away but his focus on the skull didn't as another item came into focus.
'Blade. Knife,' the voice whispered again.
The words appeared a little quicker this time, and disappeared a little faster as another item was brought into focus.
One by one, objects in the flat were slowly brought into focus, each time that voice whispering an identification, and the text of item's parts appearing then disappearing quicker and quicker. Suddenly, everything in the flat came into focus at once, his other four senses snapping-to along with, and he realised there were fingertips pressed to his temples.
"Steady now," John murmured, thumbs stroking over Sherlock's forehead. "That's some mind you have. I could get lost in it. A real beauty you are."
"You're still here," the Sentinel said, his voice croaking in his throat. He felt suddenly exhausted, and he sunk back into his chair, eyes sliding closed. The fingers against his skin, freshly cleaned with his own Sentinel-friendly soap, followed, the thumbs not ceasing or slowing.
"I'm not some newly presented pup who panics at a zone," the Guide scoffed, tone a mixture of amused and offended. "I could hardly leave you like that. Especially since I have a feeling that I was the cause."
Sherlock shook his head and the movement dislodged the other man's hands. When they didn't immediately return, he reached out blindly and caught John's fingers in his own, interlacing them and holding tight. "I did not anticipate you leaving if I zoned. I anticipated you swooning if you guided me."
"Why would I swoon during a guiding?" John asked with a warm chuckle, his thumb resuming its stroking against the back of Sherlock's hand. Contrary to the typical, the repeated motion wasn't abrasive or aggravating, but comforting; it had been so long since he'd zoned that he forgot how exhausting it could be. "Is that what usually happens?"
"Yes," the detective replied simply, and the chuckle ceased immediately.
"Yes," he said again. "My mind is not typical, John. The Tower teaches a very particular type of mental organisation for Sentinels and Partials, and a very biased method of Guiding to accommodate. I have elected to ignore their idiocy and build a mind palace that would help me effectively receive, organise, and retrieve the data available to me. Tower trained Guides are unable to adapt to this, and as such, they swoon. It took two Guides swooning when I first presented to determine what what the issue was."
"Well, considering I was made for you, it would be silly if I couldn't handle your mind," John laughed, and fingers slid into Sherlock's hair; he couldn't help but lean into the touch.
It was ridiculous. He had met his omega only hours ago, and yet, it felt as they had been together since they presented.
"Do you really intend to defend my honour against strangers you've never met on nothing more than the basis that I am yours?" he asked, somehow unable to keep the query and that small measure of sentiment it displayed contained. The hand in his hair paused for a moment, and he prepared for the man to pull away. He may have survived guiding Sherlock, but that didn't mean that he'd be accepting of the murders and experiments that littered his mind.
"Of course I do, you idiot," John laughed, a fully-bellied thing that breezed across Sherlock's face, as the hand in his hair ruffled his curls. He dared to think it felt fond. "Until you give me reason not to. And it would have to be a very good reason."
A week and a fourth body later, Sherlock had somehow not given John reason to leave him, something displayed in spectacular colour in the form of watching John kill a man who was trying to kill the Sentinel. They had located the killer, a teenaged Guide alpha practising, on the homeless, turning his empathy into a weapon, and when he'd attempted to use his growing abilities on Sherlock, the detective's own Guide had swooped into the murderer's unprotected mind and ripped it to shreds. Minutes later, standing over the body of a young alpha still dripping blood from his orifices, Sherlock couldn't take his eyes from his omega, whose smile seemed set his entire face aglow.
"I want to bond," the Sentinel said abruptly. "When is your next heat?"
John laughed. "Next week. Aren't you going to ask me first?"
"You just killed a man for me," Sherlock pointed out.
"Yes, yes I did," the doctor agreed, lips quirking as he gestured down at the body. "We should probably let Lestrade know about this. Or should we just call Mycroft?"
John Watson really was made for him.
"I will put my teeth into your neck and bridge the connection between us. I will bind our bodies, our minds, and our souls. I will crawl inside of you and never leave. I will take until there's nothing left, and then I will keep taking."
"Oh God," John groaned into the pillow his face had been pressed into since Sherlock had mounted him half an hour ago. His body was shaking in the circle of the alpha's arms, trembling below the blanket of his body, and the sensation was everything Sherlock had never knew he was missing. "Just… keep doing that and you can do whatever you want with me."
"Promises, promises," Sherlock whispered against the back of his omega's sweaty neck as he pulled out of the slick, burning heat of John's arse, and inched slowly back in. Despite John's heat having just started, the alpha's knot was already distended from the flood of pheromones in the room, and from the sensation of being inside his Match for the first time.
He could hardly believe that they were here. That his doctor had anticipated this outcome from that first day and had stopped his suppressants immediately, that he had planned on sharing this most intimate and vulnerable of moments with Sherlock since the day he'd moved in. People didn't put trust like that into Sherlock. They trusted him to solve the unsolvable, to filch body parts from Barts, to conduct experiments that fill the flat with noxious smokes, to be the Freak. But to be trusted with a heat, with a mind... That was a gift that could never be trumped.
"Sherlock," the omega growled, trembling and rolling his hips back into Sherlock's pelvis, taking the alpha's cock as deep inside him as he could. "Fuck, you feel good. Fuck, you feel too good. And you're taking too fucking long."
"Humour me, John," the Sentinel asked even as he drew back and thrust sharply back in. He grinned, all teeth, at the sharp cry his Match let out at the successful strike to a tender prostate. "I've never had sex before. I'd like to savour this first round, as I've heard later rounds will rob me of my thought. Problem?"
"With how much I need your knot right now, yeah, sorry, it's a bit of a problem," John panted as he rolled his head to the side. Sherlock could just barely glimpse the peak of a dazed blue eye from between fluttering lashes over the curve of a shaking shoulder as he continued to rock his hips back and forth. "You're the one who insisted on waiting for my heat for us to fuck for the first time."
For several long minutes, instead of responding, the alpha occupied his mouth with suckling a dark mark into the side of his new lover's neck. Only when he was satisfied with the area of skin to which blood had been pulled to the surface did he finally release the flesh in his mouth, pulling back and eyeing the fresh mark with possessive eyes. "I explained my reasoning, quite explicitly. The first time I put my cock in you, it wasn't going to come out until after you were mine."
A sob shook John's body, a hand flinging out and arching backwards to wrap around the back of Sherlock's neck. "Oh God, I love you. I fucking love you. But if you don't knot me right fucking now, I'm going to give all your science equipment to Anderson."
Sherlock snarled at the mention of another alpha by his omega during his omega's heat and snapped his hips forward angrily, driving his growing knot into his Guide with minimal resistance. The sliver of blue over John's shoulder disappeared when his eyes fluttered shut from the force of the alpha's thrusts.
The pheromones in the room rose sharply, as did the sound of skin slapping against skin and the squelch of Sherlock's cock driving mercilessly into the dripping hole of his lover. His knot responded in kind, swelling so quickly that it stopped fitting into John between one thrust and the next. He almost growled at the loss of the quivering wet muscles around the lower half of his cock, but the pleas falling from his Match's mouth were growing less and less coherent. An unfamiliar instinct was gnawing at his mind, whispering that the time was near, that he could knot his lover soon, but he knew something was missing: their mating was incomplete without a bond.
Despite never having needed to extend his shields over another person, he found he knew exactly what to do. The feel of wrapping his Guide in his protection was indescribable, and almost enough to disrupt the rhythm of his hips. Thankfully, his biology knew exactly what to do, just like his mind, and his body didn't stop. Within the safety of his shields, John's own fell away, and he swept into the man's mind, just as he could feel the warmth of his Guide seeping into his.
There was something about looking at the core of John, and knowing that John was looking at the core of him, that made him feel more vulnerable than being naked, or being tied to a serial torturer's chair high on nonconsensual sedatives. John positively glowed with the kindness that made him who he was, and the thought that his Match may not be faced with the same brightness looking at what made Sherlock who he was filled him with something akin to shame.
Sherlock pulled the thread of his core into John's mind and wrapped it around the thread of his Guide's core, willing the two strands to fuse, willing his Match to not reject him. With a feeling of amusement that was definitely not his own, the bond flared to life, their cores melting into a single thick rope. He pulled enough attention from its formation to sink his teeth into the back of his omega's neck and his knot into his omega's arse. John choked out cry after cry shaped like Sherlock's name, convulsing under him as he came, semen spattering Sherlock's forearms where they were still wrapped around his mate's waist.
The way John's muscles massaged his knot, milked it as if his body couldn't get enough, made the alpha dig his teeth in harder, deeper. His hips strained forward hard enough that he imagined his bones were pressing bruises into John's arse, marking his Match from head to toe with lasting evidence of their coupling. The bond pulsed between their wide-open minds as the subtle change in his omega's scent began to take shape, the sharp tang of gun-powder and the softer notes of tea soaking up the musk and chemicals of Sherlock's own scent. It made the primal side of himself purr in satisfaction.
When the first wave of his orgasm finished, Sherlock pulled his teeth free as gently as he was able, but still, John hissed in pain, his body curling in on itself, and clenching around the alpha's cock so hard it almost pulled the second wave from him early. The Sentinel grimaced sympathetically and drew his tongue over the bleeding punctures.
"I don't think you were supposed to bite that hard," John whispered, the tension in his body loosening a little at a time. He still kept his head bowed low and the back of his neck exposed to his alpha's apologetic attentions.
"I wanted to make sure my mark would never fade," Sherlock whispered back between rasps of his tongue over flesh, his lips keeping close enough to brush the rapidly bruising skin with every word.
"You mark isn't going to fade before my next heat, you tosser," the omega groused in return.
"How is being inside my mind in a non-guiding aspect?" the Sentinel asked, unashamedly and blatantly switching topics.
John sighed and the genius could easily envision him rolling his eyes, but he answered nonetheless. "It's like jumping out of an aeroplane, like the rush of a free fall, all that information flying by. It's… fantastic. Heady…" The man's voice dropped down to a whisper. "Addictive." Sherlock groaned and trembled and came again at the husky tone, curling tight around his Guide. "And you… You keep me grounded in a way I've never felt. I feel like I can feel all the emotions and hear all of the thoughts outside our flat, but I'm not even afraid that they'll overwhelm me. All of the focus I usually devote to maintaining my own protection I can use for my empathy because I know you're keeping them out."
Though John couldn't see him, Sherlock nodded his head in understanding. Without effort, he was able to expand the range of his hearing thirty-seven percent further than he ever had before, grounded by the Guide lingering in his mind, and he had no doubt that, with time and practice, that number could easily double. He had no desire at present to test the new capacities of the rest of his senses, but he had no doubt that their strengths were equally improved.
"Sherlock Holmes, you make me a better man, and if I can do the same for you, then I can't regret anything I've done in life." Tears pricked at the alpha's eyes at the sentiment, and he shook anew when he came for a third time. When his knot finally softened, Sherlock only curled around John tighter, unwilling in the moment to part from his everything for even a second.