Sherlock’s eyes didn’t leave John’s as he reached back to bunch up a pillow with one hand, then left it there, behind his head. The bedside lamp caught the sheen of perspiration on John’s forehead. There had been less when Moriarty had wrapped him in explosives.
“You have questions, blank spaces. Finish your examination,” Sherlock said and pushed his dressing gown away from the left side of his neck. “I know you want to start here.”
John glanced at Sherlock’s throat and back to his face. You don’t always like what you find when you search my eyes, John. Sherlock turned his head on the pillow, stretched his neck.
“You could just tell me,” John said, but he was already sliding closer, his hand raised.
“It’s better if you have your memories, not my words,” Sherlock replied and let his eyes nearly close. He heard John swallow, felt the mattress dip as John moved. His hand settled on the back of Sherlock’s, guided it to push the fabric further off Sherlock’s shoulder. John blocked the light as he leaned across, bringing the scent of shampoo and vaporised deodorant. Sherlock felt John’s breath along his neck, John’s fingers brushing through his hair. The warm breath stopped; John was holding it. John lifted the curls drying along Sherlock’s neck away from the fair, fair skin and stopped, let his breath out in a hot stream. He’d found the next mark, a little higher along the neck, totally hidden by the hair.
Sherlock had checked his neck in the bathroom mirror before he’d showered. After their set-to in Belgravia, Sherlock hadn’t been surprised by the intensity with which John had latched onto his skin. What had surprised him was how it felt.
John was probing the darker bruise gently with the tip of his finger. Sherlock could feel the tremor in John’s hand, his right hand. He could hear the change in tempo of John’s breathing.
Sherlock squeezed his eyelids tighter. He remembered the shimmer of lightning along his nerves, how it had radiated out from the point where John’s mouth had touched his skin.
John’s fingers were exploring again, higher up towards Sherlock’s ear he found the third bruise. John shifted his weight, leaned even closer and stilled.
Sherlock could feel John’s muscles tensing, knew John was remembering.
John’s grip on Sherlock’s arm had been almost painful, as had the pressure of John’s lips, fierce, as though he had waited too long, might only have one chance. Sherlock took a deep breath as the memories raised the temperature of his blood, bloomed in a flush on his skin.
John sighed. Sherlock heard it, felt it gusting over his shoulder and cheek. The mattress moved; John was leaning back. Sherlock waited. The next touch was sure. With both hands, John pushed the robe completely open, ran his fingers methodically down from Sherlock’s shoulders to his stomach as if seeking something he couldn’t see. Small flashes flickered behind Sherlock’s eyelids as John’s fingers skimmed downwards. They paused on either side of Sherlock’s hips. Sherlock kept his breathing as quiet as he could. He wanted to hear John. The fingers resumed their journey, one hand down either thigh. They paused again at the knees. John took a deep breath, curved his hands beneath Sherlock’s knees and drew the legs up and apart.
There was a murmur without words. The bed swayed as John resituated himself between Sherlock’s legs. The bedsprings quieted and Sherlock heard nothing, felt nothing. The temptation to turn his head to see what John was doing was strong, but Sherlock resisted. For John, he would be patient a little longer.
Sherlock felt John’s cheek against his knee, felt the brush of John’s eyelashes as he blinked. He heard John swallow. “I didn’t realise, Sherlock,” he said softly and was silent again. Two, three, four more times, John’s eyelashes swept down and up along Sherlock’s skin. Sherlock pictured them, blond and thick, lit by the morning sun as John ate his breakfast and seemed to forgive Sherlock for terrifying him. John turned his face slightly. His cheekbone ground against Sherlock’s knee. “I had been hiding,” he said quietly. Sherlock counted the downbeats of John’s lashes. John took a deep breath and lay his hand on Sherlock’s other knee. Sherlock felt John’s eyes close. John pushed Sherlock’s knee away. It fell at an angle against the coverlet. John breathed.
Sherlock listened and waited.
John lifted his head. Sherlock counted the seconds. He had reached twelve before John’s fingers settled on Sherlock’s exposed thigh. Five more passed before the fingers began to move. They stopped above the bruises at the top of the leg. John pressed lightly on each one.
Sherlock remembered how John had drawn the skin between his teeth and suckled. The lightning running along Sherlock’s nerves brightened.
John nudged Sherlock’s other knee down and stretched out between Sherlock’s legs, his cheek resting high on Sherlock’s thigh.
Sherlock felt the brush of John’s eyelashes against his skin again. He wasn’t sure how much more patience he could offer John with his breath gusting warmly over his groin. And then John began to catalogue the love bites on Sherlock’s other leg. Sounds were rising in Sherlock’s throat. He pressed his lips together, determined to wait a little longer.
John’s thumb was stroking along the crease of Sherlock’s thigh when John turned his head and placed a gentle kiss on the largest bruise.
Sherlock couldn’t stop the sharp breath he drew in at that.
John touched his lips softly to each bite in turn and then sat up. “My hound didn’t look like yours, Sherlock,” John whispered. “Mine was lean and strong, his coat shiny and dark, and his eyes glowed…with the pale light of the moon.”
Sherlock bit down on his tongue.
“And I was terrified of how much I wanted to feel his teeth in my flesh.” John’s hands were flexing just above Sherlock’s knees, gripping the muscular flesh and releasing it.
Sherlock moved his head slightly.
“Don’t look at me, Sherlock.”
Sherlock let his cheek settle back into the pillow, kept his eyes closed.
Sherlock listened to John trying to regulate his breathing. “My fear was different,” he finally said. John’s hands curved behind Sherlock’s thighs and lifted both legs towards Sherlock’s chest. “It wasn’t of you.” John kissed the side of Sherlock’s knee. Seconds passed. “But of what I feel for you.” John rubbed his face against Sherlock’s shin. “It’s fierce…and wild,” John said. “And it terrifies me.” The bed moved as John shifted, one arm pressing Sherlock’s thighs against his stomach.
Sherlock knew his waiting was almost over.
“Sherlock?” There was a quaver in John’s voice.
“Yes, John,” Sherlock answered softly. A cautious finger touched the pale pink orifice between his buttocks. Forks of lightning spread out from that delicate point of contact and Sherlock’s muscles contracted.
“Sherlock, I didn’t…?”
“No, John,” Sherlock replied.
John’s fingertip was stroking lightly back and forth. “What did I…?”
Sherlock was amazed that John still hadn’t remembered more. “You took another course of action,” Sherlock replied. It had not been easy to keep his voice steady.
John’s finger stilled. The mattress dipped and John’s lips pressed where his finger had been stroking.
The lightning sizzled along nerves and bone. Sherlock wondered if it were possible to die from such gentle ministrations.
John sat up, pulling his arm away from Sherlock’s thighs and pushing them apart. He crawled up Sherlock. “I, ah, something like this…” John said.
“Can I open my eyes yet?” Sherlock asked.
“Give me a moment more,” John replied. He rested his forehead against Sherlock’s collar bone. “You have no idea what your eyes do to me. Or perhaps you do.”
Sherlock heard the undercurrent of humour and decided the chemical must finally be fading from John’s system.
“Something more than what you’re doing to me?” Sherlock asked as he lifted his hips slightly against the full weight of John Watson draped over him. “Does that explain why you haven’t been able to analyse your own symptoms, Doctor?” Sherlock asked and opened his eyes.
John looked up and froze. The memory of sinking down on Sherlock ripped through him. The wild need to have Sherlock closer, deeper, took his breath away. He remembered Sherlock’s hands on his hips, fingers digging in to keep him from rearing up and slamming down again and again. Thrashing to free himself, he remembered his face hitting the back of the sofa. John pulled in his swollen lower lip.
Finally. “You didn’t forget the violence, just where it was directed. Interesting,” Sherlock said, studying John’s face. He found what John was doing with his lip intriguing.
John shook his head. “I think that bloody stuff may finally be out of my system.”
The crescent-shaped creases appeared on one side of Sherlock’s mouth. Sherlock saw John’s gaze flicker to his lips and back to his eyes. John moved his hips against Sherlock and watched the eyes get wider. “So now I’m going to show you what interesting really is,” John said.
Sherlock shifted his weight and rolled them over, his forearm across John’s wrists. He looked down at John and said, “Oh?”
John looked straight back. "Demon eyes," he murmured and rolled his hips.
Sherlock's eyelids drooped. “Ah,” he said. The streaks of lightning were blinding.
"But definitely a man," John observed. He rolled his hips again and smiled.