"Happy Valentine's Day, Sherlock," John said as he shuffled into the kitchen.
Sherlock didn't look up from his microscope, so John brushed the tip of his finger across the soft reddish-purple mark on the side of Sherlock's neck as he passed by on his way towards the kettle. He smiled to himself when Sherlock shivered, then got on with the business of making tea.
While his tea steeped, John sat at the kitchen table and let his eyes rest on the artful tumble of luscious curls that was the back of Sherlock's head.
"You don't have to worry, you know," he finally said as he plopped his spent tea bag on a little plate.
"About what?" Sherlock murmured to the microscope.
Sherlock lifted a hand to fiddle with one of the magnification knobs. "Mm. Good."
"I know you're not…romantic, okay? So we don't have to do…"
When John's pause lingered a bit too long, Sherlock finally looked over his shoulder. "Do what?"
"Any of that…you know…romantic stuff."
Sherlock regarded him steadily for a long moment. "If that's what you want." He turned away again.
John frowned a little. Was it his imagination that Sherlock's posture seemed a little stiffer, his voice a little cooler? "It's not what I—I thought that's what you'd want."
"You're the expert."
"You've romanced your way through loads of Valentine's Days by now, haven't you, John?"
John winced a little. "Well…"
"So. Nothing special for you. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just another day." Sherlock turned back around suddenly and favored John with a serene-faced, chilly-eyed smile. "Right?"
John blinked. "Sherlock…"
"And just like any other day, John, I have work to do." The smile fell away and Sherlock spun himself back towards his microscope.
"Do we have a case?" John asked. He hadn't heard any calls from Lestrade, but maybe something tempting had come in from the website. He glanced into the sitting room. Sherlock's laptop was shut and in the exact spot he had left it last night.
"I said I have work."
John took a sip of tea and pursed his lips as he swallowed. "Can I help?"
Sherlock switched out the slides on the magnifying tray with a sharp, glassy little snick.
"You can stop interrupting me."
John frowned at Sherlock's stiff back. It was true enough that John had romanced his way through many a Valentine's Day. Sherlock, on the other hand, had never been half of a real couple before in his life. And if there was one thing John was starting to learn about Sherlock now that they shared a bed, it was how very seriously Sherlock took his new role in John's life. Not only was this Sherlock's first Valentine's Day in a relationship—because that's what they were calling it now, right?—this was their first Valentine's Day. So perhaps John had made the wrong assumption about the day and what it might mean to Sherlock. So perhaps John was a prat.
John pushed his mug aside and his chair back. He walked around the table and slid his fingers into the cool, thick nest of curls at the nape of Sherlock's neck, squeezing a gentle handful. He leaned over and said quietly, "Listen, Sherlock. You just say the word and I will happily romance the fuck out of you today."
Sherlock pressed his lips together while he exhaled a heavy sigh through his nose, then looked up from his slide at John. "Wrong."
"That is one thing you will not be getting out of me today." Sherlock added a glittering, toothy smile to show his satisfaction with this pronouncement.
John drew back, raising his eyebrows. "Oh, really?"
If there was another thing John was starting to learn about Sherlock now that they shared a bed, it was that Sherlock really, really liked sex. When they were not on a case, Sherlock wanted sex all the time. He explored, he cataloged, he experimented, he discovered and delighted and tried it all again this time the other way round, John! Sherlock-not-on-a-case wore John out and came back for more. Sherlock was bloody exhausting.
Sherlock was fantastic.
"Just another day, John. No need for any romance. Or kissing. Or fucking."
John pursed his mouth. "You sure about that?"
"You think you're irresistible," Sherlock gave him an exaggerated, wondering stare, "just because we've fucked a few times?"
John smiled, because he knew god damned well he was. At least, he was to Sherlock. Because Sherlock, whether he realized it or not, loved John. He so very clearly, completely, utterly loved John. Which made Sherlock all the more fantastic, frankly. "And you don't?"
Sherlock made a pffff sound and waved a take-it-or-leave-it hand at John. "If one of us is irresistible, John, it is clearly me." He stood swiftly, gracefully, and stepped into John's space. He dropped his mouth to John's ear and his voice into a dark rumble of distant thunder. "I know how you respond to me."
John's cock responded immediately, like the well-trained performer it had become. Nonetheless, John stepped back and set his jaw in a provocative half-smile. "But I can resist you."
Alas, instead of swiftly and vigorously proving him wrong, Sherlock scrunched his face into a peevish glare, folding his arms across his chest. "I can resist you…more."
"I wouldn't bet on that." John raised an eyebrow and settled into a ready parade rest, hoping the loose drape of his dressing gown hid his half-erection well enough to maintain the dignity of the stance. "Military discipline."
"Which means you've mastered the ability to have a fast wank in the shower, yes? Meanwhile, I have mastered control of my mind and body." Sherlock flicked a glance towards John's groin and arranged his face in a parody of surprise. "Oh! And yours, apparently."
"All right." John's eyes narrowed. "You're on."
"I'm on what?"
"No sex today."
"I already said we weren't having sex today, John. Keep up. It's not important to me."
"Yeah, you say that now, but you'll be begging me to change my mind before the day is out."
"I don't beg."
John dropped his chin and smiled up at Sherlock knowingly through his lashes. "Yes, as a matter of fact, you do."
Sherlock glared indignation. "No romance. No kissing. And no sex."
"Yup." John smiled sunnily. "Those are the terms."
"Fine." Sherlock turned and stormed out of the room, sweeping his dressing gown to the side as he walked away so that John couldn't help but get a good look at how utterly chewable his arse looked in his thin cotton pyjama bottoms. Sherlock, well aware of John's gaze, tossed a triumphant smirk over his shoulder as he disappeared around the corner into the hallway.
John chuckled to himself. It would take far more than a chewable arse to bring down Captain John Watson. He had this. He so had this.
Fuck, John thought. I've lost this.
A case. Now they had a case, and John was going to twist Lestrade's bollocks into the shape of a swan for bolloxing up his tactical advantage in the Battle of the Pants.
Sherlock had spent the morning prowling the flat, randomly shoving things off shelf and table surfaces like a restless cat and casting dark looks at John. In return, John smiled at him, all serenity, as he turned the pages of his newspaper. Sherlock had clearly been expecting John to enter the fray with his guns…well, gun…blazing. John was enjoying making him wait for the first engagement.
Sherlock was just on the verge of Angry Violin when Lestrade's ringtone had chimed on his mobile.
Now Sherlock was bright-eyed and completely, cheerfully, disappointingly focused on things-that-were-not-John as he barreled out of 221B towards the new case.
John, of course, followed him. He couldn’t stay disappointed at the change in plans for long as he listened to Sherlock chatter happily away in the taxi about blood spatter and decomposition and maggots, running through the details of the crime scene Lestrade had related over the phone. Just as he always did these days when they shared a cab, John rested one hand on Sherlock's thigh, enjoying the sound of his voice and the warmth beneath the rough fabric of his coat.
This time, though, Sherlock stopped talking, looked down at John's hand and raised an eyebrow.
"It's not sex," John pointed out. "Or kissing."
Sherlock's forehead creased. "Is it romantic?" He sounded as though he truly wasn't certain.
"Is it?" John turned and looked out his window, smiling. Maybe the battle was still on after all. He took his hand away. "My mistake. I thought it was just a comfortable arm rest."
After a moment, Sherlock started talking about the case again.
"Amazing!" John stared at Sherlock in pure, unfeigned delight. He would never get tired of this, this energy, this radiant ball of hot air and arrogance and absolute fucking brilliance that was Sherlock Holmes. "Fantastic!" he breathed, beaming pride.
Sherlock lowered the axe he was brandishing. His eyes met John's and darkened visibly.
John curled a private, hungry smile at him in return.
Sally Donovan cautiously collected the axe from Sherlock while Lestrade finished scribbling the details of Sherlock's monologue into his little black notebook, barking orders at his uniformed officers as he wrote. With Scotland Yard's attention elsewhere, Sherlock was none too subtle about herding John back against the nearest wall. He raked John with a heated gaze.
"Case is over," he murmured.
John made a soft noise of agreement, suddenly breathless as he watched Sherlock touch the tip of his tongue to the corner of his open mouth, blatantly provocative.
"Pity," Sherlock sighed.
"It's a pity you won't be able to celebrate with me, John."
"Oh. Right. Yeah, it really is," John said. His voice came out rough.
Sherlock's suggestive smile turned smug.
"Because I would love to see that beautiful mouth wrapped around my cock."
"I'm getting hard, Sherlock. I only have to look at your mouth to get hard. So, yeah, I would love to celebrate." John leaned forward, tilting his face up towards Sherlock's. "I would love to pull your hair until your eyes water and come down your throat while your knees scrape against the floor. I would love to bend you over your desk and eat your arse out until your legs stopped working." He licked his lips. "You know I can do it."
Sherlock's mouth closed. His eyes were wide.
"Look down, Sherlock. See how hard you make me. Just from looking at your mouth. Just from that."
Sherlock looked down.
"They're all going to see, too." John nodded past Sherlock's shoulder. "Everyone will see how hard you make me."
Sherlock spun as Lestrade called his name, wrapping his coat hastily around himself and positioning himself directly in front of John.
"Pity," John murmured behind him. "Isn't it?"
"I'll…just be a moment," Sherlock called back weakly.
Sherlock rounded on him as soon as the door of the taxi closed. "What the hell was that?"
"221 Baker Street," John told the cabbie in a pleasant tone, then gave Sherlock his most innocent, blue-eyed-boy smile. "Something wrong?"
"You call that resisting?" Sherlock said incredulously.
"I didn't kiss you. Or fuck you. And I'm fairly certain the things I said weren't exactly romantic."
The cabbie's eyes flicked towards him in the rear view mirror.
John dropped his voice. "I never said I wouldn't want you, Sherlock. I will always want you."
Sherlock stared at him for a long time before turning to face front. His jaw was set.
John folded his hands in his lap.
John did a double take before his eyes fastened on a long, tautly-muscled stretch of alabaster-skinned perfection.
"Something wrong, John?" Sherlock asked innocently as his bedsheet slid from his hips to the sitting room floor.
"Er." John cleared his throat, blinked to unlock his gaze. "Is this what you're wearing tonight, then?"
Sherlock shrugged with a calculated little toss of his hair that did wonderful things to the line of his neck. "Why not?"
"Well. I've…ordered takeaway."
"Oh, good. I'll get the door, then, shall I?" Sherlock smiled and plucked his mobile from the desk, examining the screen with a look of mild interest. He shifted his weight to one leg, looking for all the world like Michelangelo's David brought to life. Or at least David's slightly leaner cousin.
"You sodding well will not go to the door like that."
Sherlock arched an eyebrow. "Problem?"
"That," he waved a hand up and down Sherlock's glorious nakedness, "is only for me now. As you know perfectly well."
"John!" Sherlock cocked his head again, coy, and added an inquisitive little pout to the display. "Is…jealousy not controlled by your military discipline?"
As seduction ploys went, nudity was a straightforward but extremely effective choice on Sherlock's part. His body was a beautiful thing. John had seen it paraded about the flat now and then before they were lovers, admired its aesthetic effect, been perhaps a bit envious, and firmly pushed away any lustful thoughts about it—at least until he was alone in his room. But now…now that he knew how that body worked…the squirm when he touched just there, serratus anterior, the sigh when he bit down, trapezius, and exhaled hot, humid breath over Sherlock's skin. The way Sherlock's nipples peaked under John's thumbs. The smell inside his thighs. Now Sherlock's body made John's mouth water and his palms itch and his cock thicken.
John squinted. Sherlock's skin was gleaming. Just a bit. As if he had worked up a sheen of sweat. Or…oil. Had he oiled his skin? The bastard.
John wriggled down into his chair and sat on his hands to keep from reaching out to touch.
Or…wait. Two could play at that game.
"I'll be right back," John said, and dove out of the room towards their bedroom.
"What are you doing?" Sherlock frowned.
John set the lubricant and a clean flannel on the table next to his chair. "Appreciating the view," he said as he sat down and let his dressing gown fall open. Yes, being naked was nice, wasn't it? He squeezed a drop of lubricant into his palm and wrapped his hand around his mostly-softened cock. His gaze slid up Sherlock's thigh, across his hips, up to the hollow of his throat. "Thanks," he breathed as he started to rub and squeeze himself.
Sherlock planted his hands on his hips and glared. "You're masturbating!"
"Well-spotted. Not against the rules to touch myself," John said, sighing as his cock started to swell. "You are gorgeous."
John's prick was not the only one in the room growing heavy, he noted with satisfaction.
"I'll…I'll go in the other room," Sherlock threatened, eyes locked on John's slowly moving hand.
"If you want." John let his eyes close as his hand slid up, a long, slow stroke. "I remember what you look like." He squeezed the head of his cock. "Feel like." He ran his thumb over the tip, and opened his eyes again as he raised it to his mouth and licked off the drop of pre-come. "Taste like."
"But you'd rather that were my mouth than your hand," Sherlock said in a voice like velvet gravel. Sherlock's sex talk was never particularly graphic, but with that voice it didn't need to be. He was fully erect now and he moved to stand directly in front of John's chair, his cock pointing towards John like an accusation.
John laughed through a groan and squeezed his cock a little more tightly. "Yeah. I really, really would."
Sherlock took a small step closer. "I want your mouth on me, too."
"Yeah," John breathed. Long, slow exhale. Long, slow strokes. Long, slow, squeeze. "I want that, too. I love your taste. I love your cock."
Sherlock's breath hitched. "All you have to do is lean forward," he coaxed. "And touch me."
"Jesus, Sherlock, you know what that voice does to me," John moaned. Fast, light, palm loose around the head, like a fluttering tongue.
"Lean forward and take me, John." Sherlock moved infinitesimally closer, thighs straining like he was just about to thrust his cock forward, his hand poised to push himself down and into John's mouth. "I'll say anything you want to hear."
"Anything you want," Sherlock said darkly.
John licked his mouth and looked up at Sherlock. "Roses are red. Violets are blue." This resisting lark was…fucking hard. God, he was hard. "I love your cock, but I won't suck you." He sprawled back in his chair, legs open wide, and gave Sherlock a lascivious leer as he slid his hand down to give his balls a little squeeze, the way Sherlock liked to do when he sucked John off. "Nice try. I'm really close now." It was nothing but the truth. John wanted to come so badly now he was almost in pain.
"You…you…" Sherlock gasped. "Give me that!" He reached past John's arm and grabbed the lubricant. He flung himself into his chair opposite John, bare arse to leather, and squeezed the lube directly onto his jutting cock. When he wrapped a large hand around himself, Sherlock groaned so loud John almost came on the spot.
"Fuck," John said, squeezing a hard circle around the base of his cock.
"Can't," Sherlock said through clenched teeth. The head of his prick disappeared and reappeared through the opening of his big fist. "Holiday. Wish you were here."
"Sherlock," John groaned, helplessly fucking up into his hand now as he watched Sherlock stroke himself. "This is…ridiculous. God, I want you."
"I want you, too," Sherlock gasped. "John."
They stared at each other, matching the rhythm of their strokes, breathing raggedly.
The door buzzer sounded, like a giant bee, and Sherlock shot out of his chair like he'd been stung and landed on his knees in front of John.
"Takeaway," John squeaked as Sherlock sucked his cock into his mouth. He curled forward around Sherlock's head, fingers clenched in curls, and thrust and thrust and three, four, five, and came with a sharp shout, heart pounding, cock pulsing like a fucking fire hose. Sherlock swallowed him down greedily, then licked him clean, humming pleasure around him as John's heartbeat began to return to normal and his thigh muscles relaxed. John fell back into his chair, still breathing hard. "Oh. My. God."
Sherlock swiped the back of his hand across his chin and frowned down at it. "One out of three."
Were words supposed to make sense? John took a few more deep breaths and sat up. "What?"
"Sex." Sherlock looked up at him. "But I haven't kissed you or done anything romantic. So…I only have one out of three. I'm still ahead."
John giggled. "I'm not sure it works that way." Whatever. He felt giddy.
"It's simple maths, John."
"Come to bed, Sherlock."
"I'm not kissing you."
"Come to bed."
Sherlock came in John's mouth, because fair was fair, and with two of John's fingers curled inside him, because John thought he deserved a bonus. He had oiled his skin (the bastard), and now there was a layer of sweat mixed in. John rubbed his face in it, the rough hint of beard on his jaw snagging the soft hairs on Sherlock's thigh. Then he slid up Sherlock's body and rubbed his face on his chest. Then into the side of his neck.
Sherlock rumbled approval beneath him, his body heavy and relaxed. His eyes were closed and the corners of his mouth curled in a little smile.
John wasn't quite finished with him, though. He rolled to one side of Sherlock and reached over to the bedside table.
The quick strike of a match brought the stubby candle he had found in one of the kitchen drawers alight, flickering gentle gold in the faint blue light of the bedroom. Sherlock opened his eyes halfway, curiously. John smiled at him and carefully placed three chocolate drops in a little row down the center of Sherlock’s chest. Sherlock lifted his head to stare down at them.
"Almost finished," John said, and pulled a slightly bedraggled rose from the bedside table drawer. It had been the last one left at Tesco when he had slipped out of the flat for milk. He frowned at it for a moment. He hadn't thought of a vase, so he decided to simply lay it on the pillow next to Sherlock. "There. Flowers. Chocolates. Candlelight."
"You're being romantic."
"Not very," John admitted wryly. "It's not very…you, I know. I'll do better next time."
Sherlock poked a finger at one of the little chocolate drops on his chest. "Next time?" he murmured sleepily, smiling.
John settled himself on his knees, straddling one of Sherlock's thighs, and took a deep breath.
"Yeah. Next time. I'll do better. Because I love you."
Sherlock stopped smiling. He stared at John with huge, dark eyes, and said in a small voice, "John?"
"You know. I know you know. But I want to say it out loud. I love you, Sherlock. And…and…happy Valentine's Day. I love you."
For another long moment, Sherlock just stared, and John could barely breathe for fear he'd done the wrong thing. Again. Maybe he shouldn't have said it yet. Maybe it was too soon. Maybe it just wasn't the sort of thing you said to Sherlock Holmes, ever. Maybe you just thought it. Felt it. Lived it. It would always be understood, but for God's sake he wasn't supposed to say it. Maybe—
Sherlock wrapped his arms around John and rolled over on top of him, kissing him hard, over and over, and there were words, too, low and fast and secret. Heart. Only. John. You. John. Mine.
And then: Bugger.
John blinked hazily. "Bugger?"
"You tricked me!" Sherlock pulled away and gave John an utterly scandalized look.
John wriggled into the pillow, smiling like a dreamy, besotted fool at a thick curl of Sherlock's hair that was sticking out at an odd angle. His beautiful, ridiculous man. "Hm? I did what?"
"Three out of three, John. Sex and kissing and…I'm saying…things…" He glared at the now-smashed rose on the pillow. "You tricked me!"
"Ha!" John propped himself up on one elbow and grinned. "I did, didn't I?"
"Well." Sherlock frowned, sniffed, and then scowled completely unconvincingly as his hand wandered down to stroke John's hip bone. "I suppose you win. I hope you're happy."
John reached up and ran his fingertips down Sherlock's chest, smiling at the three little smears of chocolate that remained in the aftermath of his declaration. "I really, really am," he said softly, and since he had won, he pulled Sherlock back down against him, claiming his prize.