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Sherlock blinks and attempts to focus. There is a little too much vodka in his veins at the moment and it’s having an unfortunate effect on his brain and retinas both. There are two Johns sitting across from him, and both of them are frowning at him.

“You’re drunk,” the Johns tell him.

Sherlock blinks some more. “Says the man with Mrs Hudson’s doily on his head.”

“Oh, bugger.” John becomes singular again and claws it off his head. “You put that there,” he says accusingly, but he isn’t angry.

Sherlock shrugs and attempts to hide his smile in his glass, but it doesn’t seem to work. Also he’s just gone and sloshed vodka and tonic onto his fingers. Again. No matter, he thinks, setting the glass down and making a second attempt at corralling his thoughts. This was the goal, wasn’t it? Get John drunk and see what happens. What appears to be happening so far is that he’s gone and drunk rather too much, himself. Couldn’t be helped, he argues with himself. Had to keep up with John, or he’d have suspected. They’re celebrating… something, aren’t they? Sherlock feels himself frowning as he struggles to recall what it was. Ah, yes: the successful conclusion of another case. Every case should feature some reason for John to have to go chasing down a darkened alley, righteous anger streaming from his every pore like flame, the wake of his pheromones so heady it was just about making Sherlock’s legs give way, collapsing him in a sodden heap of drooling lust. This cannot be helped, either, he thinks again. John in all of his glorious anger and determination is not a spectacle for the weak of heart. He’d been rendered nearly speechless with aching arousal as he’d caught up to John, kneeling over their art thief with a knee in the hapless twit’s back, a grim smirk of satisfaction written all over his face, then grinning up at Sherlock in undisguised pride with his accomplishment.

He’d managed to keep his own state hidden from John, as usual. He’s very good at that and John isn’t particularly observant when it comes to that. Nor is he particularly good at hiding his own attraction when he’s had a few, which is why Sherlock has made certain that he’s had more than a few. Sober, John Watson is righteously heterosexual, an upright citizen with a less acknowledged thirst for adrenaline, particularly of the semi-legal variety, but despite that he is in general a responsible, considerate person who does what he deems he should. None of this latter includes any of the things Sherlock wishes they would where he himself is concerned. Sober John Watson does not engage in sexual activity with other males, though Sherlock has some doubts as to whether or not John’s record is entirely spotless in this area, because tipsy John Watson is another creature altogether.

Sherlock still remembers the stag night vividly, wonders what would have happened if Mrs Hudson hadn’t come in with the client then. He was certain he’d read invitation on John’s face, come-hither in those half-lidded eyes, the sly smile rather more lascivious than merely playful. The splayed knees hanging open in – laziness, or something considerably more explicit? He’d known then what he wanted, but had danced around it, skirted the issue, uncertain as to what John was actually asking. He’s noticed it other times, too, though never as strongly as on that night. John is far more physical with him under the influence than he ever is otherwise, which is suggestive of repression, of behaviours suppressed under the veneers of should and ought to and most importantly, ought not to. Under the surface façade of I’m not gay and we’re not a couple. (“Yes, you are,” Irene Adler smirks in response in Sherlock’s memory, John unable to answer. He’s never forgotten that.)

So here they are, leaning in and frowning blearily at each other and Sherlock wonders if the line between ‘fun drunk’ and ‘going to vomit soon’ has been crossed. Apparently drinking takes practise, he thinks again. He didn’t calculate this time. The goal had been to get John back to the level just beyond shouting at people in pubs and a good step before falling asleep in his chair, snoring loudly enough to wake the entire block. In between comes a level of lazy, playful flirtation and often features a lot of John’s hands on Sherlock’s body. So far it’s always been restricted to safe areas, but Sherlock feels instinctively that with a very small push – a nudge, even – in the right direction, John’s defences against the ought not to’s could be unravelled rather easily.

“What are we playing again?” John wants to know, still frowning. “I forgot.”

“That’s because you have the memory of a flea,” Sherlock says, and taps John’s forehead as it to check for an echo, just to annoy him. Also for any excuse to touch him.

John swats at his hand. “Don’t.”

Sherlock dodges him and pokes him in the forehead again. John grabs for his finger and catches it this time, hanging on, and Sherlock goes in with his other hand and pokes John in the belly. It’s a bit soft, but there’s firm muscle just below and in the brief contact he decides he likes the contrast. Soft/hard: just like John. Does (most of) the cooking/catches thieves in back alleys. Doctor/soldier. Gentle/impatient. It’s the contrast in particular that Sherlock enjoys, the enigma of the paradigm that John’s very being presents.

Said enigma is cursing at him, still holding onto his finger. “Don’t,” he repeats. “Twat!”

Sherlock struggles to free his finger, but not all that hard. “Or what?”

“Or I’ll – punch you in the face,” John says.

He could say dull, he could say how uncreative; that’s your standard response to situations you find annoying, but instead Sherlock lifts an eyebrow and says, “Anytime.”

John’s brows furrow together even more. “What’s that supposed to mean, anyway? ‘Anytime’. You always say that. ‘Anytime.’ What’s that?”

Actually, he’s only said it that one other time, during the stag night. He hadn’t realised John had heard it, mostly mumbled under his breath, but clearly he did. “It means,” Sherlock says in clarification, “just that: go ahead. If you want to.”

John is staring at him and suddenly an odd sort of silence has fallen. Sherlock realises he has just reiterated the invitation, rather more clearly than he had perhaps intended. This was meant to lead, not… state, as such.

He pulls his finger out of John’s fist, which has relaxed, but instead of pulling his hand away, he turns it palm upward under John’s hand to compare sizes. “You have tiny hands,” he says. He sees John’s face, about to retort and cuts in quickly, not wanting to be misunderstood. “I like them.” He says it firmly, then lifts his eyes and meets John’s gaze directly, hoping that the unspoken message will be read plainly. He could hardly be any more obvious.

John’s expression shifts again, and then somehow it happens: one moment they’re holding hands, then the next instant John is pulling him closer and Sherlock is clambering awkwardly into his lap, legs astride John’s. He leans in and plants his mouth messily on John’s, not having entirely intended to do it but somehow that just sort of happens, too. (His impulses have left his control: dangerous/interesting.) John doesn’t object – rather, his other hand ends up on Sherlock’s arse, pulling him closer and his mouth is kissing back. It’s good. Better than even anticipated. Sherlock gets the hang of kissing within seconds, sucking at John’s mouth and revelling in the sensation of John’s tongue rubbing against his own. He is aware that his entire body is singing with arousal, that said arousal is straining against the zip of his trousers and that John’s tiny, utterly perfect hands are gripping and massaging his arse so hard it should be painful, but it isn’t – it’s only serving to fuel his desire.

Neither of them is speaking; the sitting room is filled instead with the sounds of what they're doing, of wet kissing and heavy breath, slips of moan bleeding in, and four hands sliding, touching, caressing, rubbing at anything they can reach. John’s left arm is between them now, the flat of his palm pressing up against the hardness in Sherlock’s trousers. Sherlock groans, his mouth slipping off John’s and biting at his chin instead, his heart pounding. John makes encouraging sounds and works open the zip, reaching directly into Sherlock’s underwear and he groans again when John’s hand closes around him. He fights his way into John’s trousers at the same time, struggling to concentrate around the blindingly pleasurable sensation of John’s hand tugging at his erection, the obvious familiarity and knowledge of his touch either instinctive or experienced (the latter notion striking a chord of jealousy even right now, while this is happening at last). He succeeds at last, his mouth filling with saliva at the feel of John’s hot flesh pulsing and twitching in his hand. They both look up from it, their eyes locking. Sherlock lifts his brows in brief question and John says it directly, out loud. “Yeah.”

It’s a bit quiet but very definite and Sherlock leans forward and kisses him again, to the very best of his ability, wedging his right knee between John’s thigh and the chair and draping the left leg over the other side in his efforts to get closer. (His legs are far too long to do this in a chair. He’ll plan better next time, if there is a next time.) He clumsily mimics John’s motions, pulling and rubbing, twisting his wrist a little, and John is panting into his mouth and moaning, hips pushing up from the chair in obvious approval. As for himself, Sherlock is awash in sensation and wishing he were less inebriated to be able to enjoy it even more thoroughly, to be able to pay attention properly to every minute detail of the pleasure John is wringing manually from his body, his fist flying up and down the shaft of Sherlock’s penis, thumb rubbing over the liquid oozing from the head. Sherlock cannot speak, so intense is the pleasure. He turns his face into John’s neck, his back concave as he tries desperately to make John feel as good in turn, panting damply into the hard line of John’s jaw. (Is it too soon to come?) The answer is about to become irrelevant, Sherlock has the wit to realise: his orgasm is upon him and he lacks the ability to exercise any form of control over the fact whatsoever. A word garbles itself from his mouth. “John – ” And then his breath is strangling in his throat as his body is wracked in spasms of liquid heat, spilling into John’s hand in embarrassing profusion, almost as though he’s wet himself, only it feels so intensely good that all he can do is gasp and thrust helplessly as John’s fist keeps working over him, prompting another burst and splatter, then another, until finally it’s only drips and drops and Sherlock breathes heavily, aware that the back of his shirt is stuck to his back in sweat.

He remembers himself and keeps up what he was doing to John and John is breathing profane encouragements, his fist closing around Sherlock’s and guiding it, rubbing faster, tightening over his fingers until Sherlock feels it, feels John’s body jerk and twist up off the chair, coming with a deep grunt of release, a hot splash of it arcing up onto both their shirts and all over Sherlock’s forearm. Sherlock keeps touching him, lifting his face to look down in fascination at the pearly drops still leaking from John’s body, until John gently pushes his hand away. “Fuck,” John pants, his breath hot on Sherlock’s lips. “That was – ”

He doesn’t finish and Sherlock doesn’t know which word to supply. His brain feels thick and sluggish. “Good?” he tries, hoping it isn’t presumptuous. (Perhaps he was useless at this. He hasn’t got much experience to go on, after all.)

But John nods, his eyes half-lidded again. “Yeah,” he says, sounding decidedly satisfied. And then, “I’m bushed. Think I’ll turn in.”

Sherlock blinks for a second, then clues in to the fact that John is telling him to let him up. He rather wants to kiss John again but it seems the moment for that has passed. He collects his legs and gets unsteadily to his feet, attempting to tuck himself in with what remains of his inebriated dignity, swaying where he stands. “Probably a good idea,” he says. He hesitates. Should he invite John back to his room? (Do people do that when they already live together? Would this seem juvenile? Or the opposite, too presumptuous, again?)

John doesn’t give him the chance, either way; he is already ambling toward the stairs in a not-quite-straight line. “Night,” he says, and begins to stagger up the stairs.

Sherlock stays where he is for a moment, then remembers that he hasn’t said it back yet. “Good night,” he says, but John is already upstairs. He purses his lips, feeling somehow both satisfied and yet slightly disappointed by this. It happened, though: they had sex in some form, and John was amiable about the entire thing, even if he did withdraw fairly quickly afterword. People get drowsy after sex, however; this is proven fact. Sherlock yawns, thinking of this, and belatedly realises that it applies to himself as well. Yes: going to bed has appeal.

He wanders crookedly down the corridor toward the bedroom, bruising his shoulder against the doorframe, and peels off his dishevelled clothing. This is a hopeful sign: if it happened once, perhaps John could be persuaded into allowing it to happen a second time. Or more. Sherlock remembers the quantity of alcohol consumed and mentally amends this plan to include the presence of liquor as a mental lubricant of sorts. Just to put John in a looser frame of mind. He certainly doesn’t want to encourage heavy drinking, not with John’s family history of alcoholism, but if that’s what it takes to allow him to access the part of himself that seemed quite content about this evening’s activities, then so be it.

Sherlock switches off the lamp beside the bed and turns on his side, feeling unpleasantly drunk, yet pleased by the turn of events. It was good, he thinks with satisfaction. It was very good, indeed.


They both sleep in. Sherlock wakes up close to one in the afternoon, his head pounding in a distant sort of way. It’s not the worst hangover he’s had, though. He crawls out of bed and makes his way into the bathroom to relieve himself, then hastily retreats, hearing John’s step on the stairs. He leaves the door open a crack; it’s their old signal that he’s there and awake and that John can come in if he wants. He used to sometimes, just stepping into the doorway to say when he’d be back from the clinic, or remind Sherlock to pick up eggs if he was going out. Small things like that.

He cocoons himself into the sheets and listens to John go into the bathroom, turning on the shower to let the water heat as he empties his bladder, the sound of it audible even over the shower. Then the flush sounds, followed by the drag of the metal curtain hooks on the shower rod. Sherlock turns onto his back, his hands wandering south to cup between his legs. The very thought of John in the shower just metres away, nude and wet, coupled with the memory of last night is quite enough to have stirred things. (Will he touch himself in the shower?) Sherlock thinks of it, stroking himself lazily and trying to picture John doing the same thing in the hot steam. Will he be awkward about it? Sherlock is fully expecting a stern talk over breakfast or lunch or whatever meal it will be. Hopefully John won’t try to pretend that he didn’t want it at the time and get stiff and uptight about the entire thing. Hopefully he will be reasonable. Through the cracked door, Sherlock hears a barely audible exhalation, just breath expelled through the nose, but he feels certain that he knows what the sound signifies, and his hand gathers speed, legs spreading wantonly as he works his fist over himself, thinking of John’s small hands on him last night. It was well worth the hangover, Sherlock thinks, still feeling very satisfied that it came about. The only question will be how to cause it to happen a second time. A second time would give great indication for a potential third collapse of stubborn will, and each successive time would prove worse, more difficult for John to defend or rationalise, until he is forced to admit that he likes it, craves it in secret, and agrees to continue it openly. This is the goal.

Sherlock comes with a nearly-silent exhalation of his own, then lies still, trying not to breathe too loudly, his heart thumping as the sheets caress his body, feeling abnormally sensuous on his skin in the aftermath of his release. John knocks lightly, then pushes the bedroom door open, and Sherlock hastily ensures that he is fully covered.

“You awake?” John asks, though from his tone he already knows the answer. He is wearing his bathrobe, only loosely tied, and his voice sounds normal enough. When Sherlock makes a sound of affirmation, he says, “Thought I’d make brunch, even if it’s a bit late for breakfast. If you’re amenable.”

“I’m amenable,” Sherlock says instantly. “Brunch sounds good. Should I come help?”

John shrugs, his demeanour still easy enough. “If you want. When you’re ready. Coffee would be good. I’ve got a headache and a half. Need some grease to settle my stomach, too.”

“We have bacon,” Sherlock offers. “I bought it yesterday when I went to buy the cheese you wanted.”

“Great!” John sounds genuinely enthusiastic. “I’ll go get dressed and then get it started.”

“I’ll be up soon,” Sherlock tells him, and John goes. Interesting, he thinks. A perfectly normal first interaction. Surely John wasn’t drunk enough that he’s forgotten what happened. This thought makes him frown. He must remember. Wouldn’t that be impossible to block out? No – not impossible, of course not, he reminds himself. But John hadn’t drunk that much, had he? Not enough to warrant complete memory loss. Perhaps, he thinks suddenly, this is a game of sorts. A battle of wills to see who can act normal and pretend nothing happened for longer until the other cracks and raises the subject. Or perhaps John is bothered that it did but is more interested in saving face and pretending it wasn’t a big deal. No sexual identity crises there, just business-as-usual. Sherlock honestly has no idea. He pulls himself out of bed and reluctantly dresses himself. He would much rather just keep the sheet, but that would seem a touch obvious given the events of last night. This done, he goes into the kitchen and gets the coffee going, then retrieves a pan for John’s bacon and another for mushrooms and onions. He leaves the eggs near the bacon and hopes that John will cook those, too.

His head does ache. It’s worse now that he’s standing. They keep a bottle of paracetamol on the table – it’s supposed to be in a cabinet in the bathroom but they use it so often that it’s more often in the kitchen. Sherlock uncaps the bottle and shakes two into his palm. He is just washing these down with a glass of water when John comes down.

“Good idea,” he says with a slight groan, and comes to pick up the bottle. Sherlock hands him the empty water glass and John fills and drinks from it without question or objection. Their fingers touch briefly on the glass and Sherlock makes a point of not reacting to it in any way. John doesn’t seem to notice.

“Coffee’s on,” Sherlock says needlessly, and John looks at it, his gaze lingering for a moment as though willing it to brew faster.

“Thanks,” he says, rubbing at his temples. “All right. Let’s get cooking. Oh, you got everything out. That’s great. Thanks. Are you doing mushrooms?”

“Thought I would,” Sherlock says. “And toast, if you want it.”

“Mm. Yes. Toast.” John turns on both elements. “I’ll do eggs, too.”

“Okay.” Sherlock goes to the fridge to get out the bread for toast. They cook in silence, which is odd, but the silence isn’t strained, or at least Sherlock doesn’t think it is. It’s just there. They serve themselves from the pans there at the stove, then carry their plates over to the table.

John pours them each a mug of coffee using the largest mugs they own. It’s a set of four that John once picked up at a flea market and brought back because he liked them. Mary hadn’t let him bring them to her flat. They’re large and made of clay and didn’t match Mary’s things. Sherlock had noticed the way John always used one of them whenever he came over. That’s all finished, thankfully. John pushes the sugar across the table to Sherlock and says, “So. Last night.”

Ah. So they are going to acknowledge it, then. Sherlock raises his eyebrows. “I thought perhaps you’d forgotten,” he says mildly.

“Er, no.” John doesn’t sound particularly embarrassed, though. “Sherlock – we both drank too much. A lot too much, I think you would agree.” He waits, his eyes on Sherlock’s face to gauge his reaction.

“Our hangovers would seem to be evidence of that,” Sherlock agrees, his voice carefully even.

“No – not just that,” John says, sounding slightly exasperated. “I mean the fact that – that happened! Obviously that shouldn’t have happened. It wouldn’t have if we hadn’t drunk so much. You do see the point I’m making, yes?”

“Yes.” Sherlock puts two large spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee and stirs it, then stabs a mushroom with his fork and makes himself eat it calmly. “Quite right.”

John’s shoulders settle a little. “It’s not – it doesn’t have to be a problem,” he says. “It’s not a big deal. It’s just something that happened. A drunken mistake. You know I’m not – that I don’t – ”

“Of course,” Sherlock says. “You don’t have to say it again.”

“Well, I do, because – that was – let’s just say that I didn’t mean for that to happen, and agree that it won’t happen again.” John’s eyes have gone a bit hard, still watching Sherlock’s face intently. “All right?”

Sherlock shrugs. “Well, I can’t pretend to know the future, but – yes, of course. We were drunk.”

“It was a mistake,” John repeats. He finally picks up his knife and fork and cuts one of his eggs, putting the piece into his mouth and chewing it. “Like I said, it’s not an issue. I just wanted to be clear about where we stand on it. Are we?”

“Very.” Sherlock picks up his coffee, his face still politely neutral and takes a long sip. His head hurts. This conversation was absolutely expected, though John is being rather calmer about it than he had predicted. That’s a pleasant surprise. He decides to change the subject. “You did the eggs perfectly.”

“You haven’t even tried them yet,” John objects, looking at Sherlock’s plate.

Sherlock tries out a slight smile. “I can tell from looking at them.”

That seems to please John. “I hope the bacon isn’t overdone,” he says instead of acknowledging this.

Sherlock shakes his head. “I’m sure it’s fine.” They eat the rest of their overly late brunch chatting vaguely about other things. When they’ve finished, Sherlock takes their plates to the sink and leaves them there for Mrs Hudson to deal with. He turns on the water to rinse them and says, over it, “It was enjoyable, though. What happened.”

There is a significantly large pause behind him as John pieces together the fact that Sherlock is indeed referring to what happened in his chair. Then he comes over, putting his mug in the sink beside Sherlock’s. His other arm, the right one, comes around Sherlock’s waist in a quick, loose hug. It feels as though it’s meant to reassure. “I didn’t say it wasn’t,” he says, his voice a little lower. “But it can’t happen again. We both know that.” His arm gives a small squeeze as though to confirm the point, then he releases Sherlock and moves again, toward the sitting room.

Sherlock shuts off the water and puts the bread back into the fridge, thinking privately, We’ll see about that.


It’s another ten days before the second incident comes about. Sherlock has been waiting for an opportunity to get John drunk again, but simply plying him with liquor around the flat would be far too obvious, so the right occasion needed to arise. It finally does: after a particularly messy double homicide in Clapham, Lestrade insists that they come out for drinks to celebrate Sherlock having solved the murder in what had admittedly been a rather brilliant stroke of genius, even for himself. Neither he nor John had eaten at any point during the fourth and final highly charged day of the case, and they were both famished. John agreed on behalf of both of them to go along to the pub before Sherlock could, so Sherlock hadn’t even had to talk him into it. They ordered drinks first and John had already downed a beer and a half before they even ordered food. They both had fish and chips, hot and greasy and filling, and drank even more beer with it. Sherlock matched John drink for drink for the first four beers, then cut back significantly, nursing the fifth and keeping a careful count on John’s.

He’s on his seventh now, and he’s already become predictably more physical. They’re all jammed into a circular booth, Donovan and the new one (no idea on the name) across the way, Lestrade and the forensics man (Brian something?) in the middle, then John, then him. In a sense it can’t be helped; they’re all sitting rather tightly, but John’s body is relaxing easily against him, their arms and shoulders leaning together. Sherlock says something sarcastic designed to provoke John into responding, which he does, squeezing Sherlock’s thigh in warning, hidden beneath the table. Sherlock pushes his hand away and John fights back, his hand returning even higher on Sherlock’s leg, their fingers tangling together and staying that way. Sherlock feels a bolt of heat sear through his body, pooling in his lap. The conversation goes on, no one noticing, and Sherlock takes the opportunity to rub his thumb over John’s index knuckle in a caress, and John’s fingers tighten in his. He finishes his beer at last, belches discreetly, and announces to the rest that he’s tired and that they’re going. He would usually check with Sherlock first, but Sherlock doesn’t mind in the slightest. He merely hopes that any physical reaction on his body’s part won’t show when he gets to his feet. He does so slightly unsteadily, keeping his coat around himself. Lestrade says something unimportant about his ability to hold his liquor and the lot of them snicker, but it’s fairly good-natured. John puts a hand on the small of his back and steers him over to the bar to pay their tab.

Outside on the pavement, the little silence that came over them both during the business with the hands carries on and Sherlock knows that they’re both thinking of the last time. John is walking very close to him, his hands in his pockets, but their arms are touching, particularly when one of them takes an uneven step and lurches a little into the other. Sherlock’s entire gut feels warm; it is going to happen again. This feels very certain. He calculates, then takes care to stumble against John a little harder than necessary. “Whoops,” he says vaguely.

“Whoa, there,” John says, his arm coming around Sherlock’s waist to steady him. “You okay?”

Sherlock puts his arm heavily around John’s shoulders as if needing the support. “I’m fine,” he says with deliberately false bravado, half-turned into John’s body as they walk.

They get another hundred metres down the pavement or so and then John’s arm drops several inches, his hand coming to rest on Sherlock’s arse through the annoyingly thick layer of his coat, and that’s it, the confirmation. This is definitely going to happen again. Except – “Damn it,” John says, sounding irritated.

“What is it?” Sherlock glances at him sideways.

“I should have pissed at the pub,” John says, too inebriated for delicacies by this point. “I forgot.”

“We’re not that far from the flat,” Sherlock says. “It’s only twenty blocks or so.”

John grimaces. “I really have to go.”

Sherlock looks around, then nods toward an alley. “Come on. In there.”

John grunts in apparent displeasure but lets Sherlock help him hobble over into said alley. It’s dark and there’s no one about, which is lucky. John moans. “It just came over me all of a sudden. I really need to – ”

It’s completely filthy, but something about his slight desperation is coming across as terribly arousing to Sherlock’s treacherous body. John is facing the brick wall, bent slightly, his fingers fumbling at the button of his jeans. “Here,” Sherlock says, his voice dropping an octave and going as fuzzy as his brain currently feels. He is standing behind John, pressed up against him, arms circling around him, his hands on John’s. “Let me help.”

“I can’t – ” John’s desperation grows. Sherlock grasps the problem immediately – John is about half hard and the bulge is making it difficult to undo the zip. He gets it down swiftly and doesn’t think twice about lifting John’s penis out of his underwear and holding it steady as he starts to piss. John groans again in sheer relief, but his penis is stiffening even more in Sherlock’s hand and Sherlock is harder than ever. He can’t help it – he lowers his mouth to John’s neck, mouthing over the hot skin there and rubbing himself against John through his open coat. John’s stream stops and starts, becoming harder to force out through his extremely erect penis, and the last spurts of it get on Sherlock’s fingers. He doesn’t care, not letting go of John. It’s rather filthy but evidently neither of them cares. Sherlock strokes John’s erection with both hands, his arms slung around John’s waist and John moans, bucking in his arms. “God, yes, just like that – fuck, you’re brilliant, you know – uhh – yes – harder!” His desperation has grown, not decreased, his hands on top of Sherlock’s, their fingers sliding messily together. John is thrusting into the tight circle of Sherlock’s fist, his entire body taut. “Yes – yes – fuck, yes – !!”

He comes loudly, his voice echoing in the alley, his release splattering against the brick and onto Sherlock’s fingers, and for a moment he sags forward, his face leaning against his forearm as he pants. Then he turns around, a predatory light in his eyes. He backs Sherlock further into the alley, away from the mess he’s left, turning him into the wall. Then he leans forward and puts his mouth on Sherlock’s, kissing him deeply, sensuously. Bliss, Sherlock thinks, his eyes closing. One of John’s hands is on the wall beside Sherlock’s face, the other unbuttoning Sherlock’s shirt and slipping inside as he pushes a thigh between Sherlock’s legs to rub against him. His fingers are a bit cool from the March air, but warm quickly against his skin, rubbing over his chest, a thumb pressing into his stiffly-peaked nipple, and Sherlock basks in it. He puts one hand on the back of John’s neck to keep his mouth right where it is, on his, and the other on John’s arse. The feeling of John’s tongue on his seems to be connected directly with his genitals, and now John’s hand is there, rubbing against the front of his trousers, tracing the hard line of his erection, coiled in his undergarments. He moans without intending to and John releases his mouth, apparently satisfied by having procured this sound from him. Sherlock opens his eyes to find John’s on his.

“Has anyone ever put their mouth on you?” John asks, his eyes half-lidded in that way Sherlock loves, and he shakes his head mutely in response. “High time, then,” John says, and slowly gets to his knees, his mouth pressing into Sherlock through his trousers in damp heat, and it’s so arousing that he is biting his lip in effort not to make any sound. John gets his trousers open and does the same thing through Sherlock’s underwear. Sherlock’s thighs are trembling and he puts both hands into John’s hair and notes that his fingers are trembling, too. He briefly feels cool night air on his penis and then John’s mouth is enveloping him in dizzying heat and Sherlock’s knees very nearly give way.

He hears himself cry out hoarsely at the very sensation. It’s better than anything he has ever felt in all his life. The combination of the heat, the wetness, the suction of the smooth inner walls of John’s cheeks, his tongue rubbing over the most sensitive part of him, and just to cap it off, the sight of John’s mouth around him, his cheeks hollowed, eyes looking up at Sherlock’s. Sherlock cannot form words, only agonised moans which come gusting out directly from his throat. He is harder than he has ever been. John’s head bobs back and forth over as much of his length as he can, his hands massaging the base and his testicles respectively, and he is – Sherlock squeezes his eyes shut, shudders, and comes, his entire body convulsing. He can hear his voice, ragged in his ears, feels himself spurt again, then again. John coughs and spits out a mouthful on the dirty cobblestones beside him, then puts his mouth back and keeps sucking, his tongue urging out more and more of it. Then he is standing, his hand still caressing Sherlock’s still-leaking penis and he puts his mouth back on Sherlock’s, passing some of his own semen back to him. They’re both swallowing it, still kissing, and finally Sherlock is spent. He leans weakly back against the wall, genuinely feeling unable to walk the rest of the way home. His body is as tired as though he just ran a marathon.

John is still leaning up against him, a hand in Sherlock’s curls. He kisses him one more time, then says, “Cab the rest of the way, yeah?”

“Mmm.” Sherlock can barely muster the energy to speak. “Cab.”

“Come on.” John pulls him off the wall and they both do up their trousers before making for the street. John puts an arm firmly around Sherlock’s back despite the fact that he can hardly walk straight, himself, and Sherlock flags down a taxi.

In the backseat, they’re both splayed out, legs touching each other’s, and the silence between them is half-comfortable, half nearly-passed-out. It’s fine, Sherlock thinks blurrily to himself as they stagger up the stairs of the flat a bit later. They’re fine.


This time Sherlock is already awake when John stumbles heavily down the stairs, though he’s only been up for twenty minutes or so. He bypasses the kitchen, making straight for the toilet, not even bothering to close the door all the way. Sherlock listens to him emptying his bladder and feels a guilty twinge of interest thinking of the previous night and what happened in the alley. (Stop it, he tells himself firmly.) It’s not that he has any sort of unhealthy interest in urine; he simply has an extremely large interest in touching John’s penis at any time, for any reason, and the memory of the previous night is vividly sensual, even if the details are very slightly blurred. (Next time: adjust volume of alcohol even lower. If there is to be a next time, of course.) He remembers the feeling of John’s body in his arms, writhing and fighting closer and closer to his release, and the very thought of it makes his face flush, his skin prickling with the memory of it. And the thought of John’s mouth on him is too much. He woke with a raging erection as it was and had to deal with it in the shower, and it was John’s mouth that he was thinking of the entire time.

The toilet flushes and the sound of water running in the sink reaches Sherlock’s ears. He listens. Will John shower now, prolonging the moment of their inevitable discussion? The door opens: apparently not. John comes back his way, lurching toward the chair across from Sherlock’s and falling into it like a sack of bricks and moaning, face dropping into his hands. “I feel like shit.”

Sherlock notes that he has neatly managed to avoid eye contact at the same time. He permits himself a small smile. “I’m not surprised.” He gets up and goes to the coffee maker and pours John a large cup of coffee. He sets it down on the table in front of John, then goes to the sink for a glass of water. The paracetamol is in the bowl where they keep the mail and Sherlock plucks it out and puts it down beside the water. “There you are.”

John lifts his face and inspects his offerings. “Thanks,” he says, his mouth twisting into a wry smile. “You’re fant – ” He stops himself and repeats “Thanks. Appreciate it.” He twists off the lid of the paracetamol and takes two, drinking half the glass of water at once, then reaches for the coffee and sips it. He keeps his eyes from Sherlock’s face as he drinks, possibly mustering his thoughts.

After a bit, Sherlock gets up and refills his own cup. He sits down again, reaches for the sugar bowl, and asks, “Are you feeling nauseated?”

“A bit,” John admits. “I… well, obviously I had a bit too much last night. I’m surprised you’re not feeling just as rotten.”

Oh. Right. It’s important that John think he drank just as much. It’s almost true. “I don’t feel great,” Sherlock says with an air of making a concession. “But I’ve showered. It helped. And I drank a lot of water before I went to bed.”

“I should have done that.” John rubs tiredly at his eyes. He puts his hands down on the table and looks Sherlock in the eye at last. “Look: I have to apologise about last night. I shouldn’t have let that happen, not after we said it wouldn’t happen again. I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, after what you did for me, I wasn’t just going to not – I wouldn’t have not reciprocated, I mean, but – yeah. You know what I mean.”

Again, this is hardly a surprising reaction, and Sherlock is unruffled by it. He decides not to point out that John hardly ‘let’ it happen. He started it the instant he put his hand on Sherlock’s thigh under the table at the bar. And reinitiated it on the pavement, putting his hand on Sherlock’s arse in unmistakeable intention. If Sherlock followed his lead in the alley, he can hardly be blamed for thinking that John was interested at that point. He certainly remained interested throughout, his mouth and hands enthusiastic on Sherlock’s body. Sherlock remembers the way John was kissing him, his hand inside Sherlock’s shirt, caressing his chest. “Alcohol and adrenaline,” Sherlock says instead, briskly. “Post-case release of tension, fuelled by alcohol. That’s all it was.”

“Right,” John says, perhaps sounding a bit surprised at Sherlock’s casual attitude about the entire thing. “Exactly. Like you said. That’s all it was.”

“And it won’t happen again,” Sherlock says, anticipating John’s next line and cutting him off at the pass.

“No,” John says, sounding slightly perturbed that Sherlock beat him to the punch. “I mean, obviously it would be for the best. Like we said last time.”

“Of course.” Sherlock looks over at him, at John’s pursed mouth, his worried forehead. “It’s fine, John. Just another – accident.”

“Right,” John says, sounding relieved.

“So – are you feeling too ill to eat, or shall I make us some lunch or something?” Sherlock asks, keeping his tone light and polite.

“You don’t have to make it yourself,” John says, frowning slightly. “I mean, I can help.”

“Of course you could, but I was going to suggest you go and take a shower instead.” Sherlock gives him an artificial smile, the sort he uses for clients. “I’ll look after lunch.”

John gives him a grateful look. “You’re the best friend a person could have,” he says, not censoring himself this time, and pushes himself to his feet. “Lunch would be great. And so would a shower.” He comes around the table and squeezes Sherlock’s shoulder.

Sherlock smiles up at him and resists the urge to put his hand over John’s.


After that, things are different between them. Oddly enough, they’re more relaxed. Sherlock is baffled at first – he had fully expected John to be somewhat awkward after the second time. One incident is easy; it can be written off as an accident, a slip-up, too much to drink, nothing real happening there. Twice, though – twice is fifty percent harder to deny, to explain away. Sherlock has extrapolated that if John can be persuaded to ‘accidentally’ have sex with him in some form only four times, that will be enough to shred any remnants of John’s arguments about not wanting it. Now that a second incident has occurred, the third should be easier still – yet now John will also be on guard, wary of it. More careful. At least, that’s what Sherlock expected.

Instead it seems that John feels more comfortable around him, not less. He touches Sherlock more often, as though having had Sherlock’s penis in his mouth makes it safer to touch him, as though that act somehow neutralised the threat Sherlock poses to his insistence on his heterosexuality. This bothers Sherlock once he sees it this way. The danger was supposed to increase, not decrease! Does this mean that now that John has experienced what it would be like for them to have sex, it no longer tempts him, no longer poses a threat of any sort? (Did he not like it? Was it reduced to something boring and mundane once it left the realm of fantasy and became physicalised?) This last is the most depressing thought Sherlock has ever had.

He makes an effort to keep himself slightly aloof from John, allowing the frequent touches but not returning them, not leaning into them the way he would like to do. He subtly begins to show more of himself, leaving buttons further undone than he might have done, shirt sleeves rolled up to expose the forearms he’s caught John glancing at before. He buys three new shirts and has them tailored so tight he can barely breathe in them, and does ‘accidentally’ leave his bedroom in only his sheet one morning when he knows John is already up. He stops in the kitchen as though John’s presence has taken him by surprise and feigns self-consciousness with a hand pinning the sheet to his chest. “Oops,” he says, and turns to go – conscious that the material is draped so low in the back as to nearly expose his arse.

John stops him, though. “I made tea,” he says, as though Sherlock’s near-nudity has entirely escaped his notice. “Come and have a cup.”

Sherlock pauses and turns back. “I – thought I should put something more on,” he says, feeling slightly wary.

John waves this off. “Come on. I’ve seen you in nothing but a sheet plenty of times now. And besides, it’s not as though I don’t know what’s under it now, too. It’s Earl Grey, your favourite.”

Sherlock blinks, then relaxes, going to his chair and sitting down. Actually, this just feels – normal, he thinks, and can’t work out whether this is a good sign or a bad one. The sheet slithers off his shoulders and settles around his hips, leaving his torso almost completely bare. John gets up and makes them both toast, barely glancing at Sherlock’s chest as he passes him a plate a few minutes later. Sherlock takes it from him and doesn’t know whether he feels pleased or insulted. This is supposed to be a big deal, he thinks irritably. They’ve had sex. His genitals have been in John’s mouth. He has touched John twice now, felt him come all over his hands. They’ve kissed. Multiple times now, on multiple occasions. Does none of it signify anything to John at all? He feels uneasy. Perhaps John meant precisely what he said: that it was a mistake, but not a big deal. So inconsequential, in fact, that he can sit across the table from Sherlock and ignore the fact that Sherlock is practically naked without being remotely bothered or interested by the fact.

“You all right?” John asks lightly a moment or two later, glancing at him.

Sherlock realises that he is frowning and attempts to relax his face. “Yes. Fine,” he says stiffly. Then, “When are you coming home from work?”

“Around six, if the traffic isn’t too bad.” John closes the paper and takes his plate to the sink. “See you later.”

Sherlock watches him to the door and wants to get up, leaving his sheet on the chair, and go over to him and kiss him before he leaves, his bare body pressed up against John’s clothes and jacket, not minding the scrape of the rough material against his skin as their tongues and lips press together. John goes, and Sherlock has a completely lethargic, rather depressed wank there at the kitchen table, making a mess of his sheet.


It’s nearly seven when John comes home at last, and when he does, he looks tired and worn out and older than he should. Sherlock looks up from his laptop at the desk. “John,” he says, a bit startled. “You’re home late.”

“I know.” John peels off his coat and hangs it up on the back of the door, sounding weary. “I’ve had the worst day, and then there was a traffic accident and all of the buses were backed up. It took me fifty minutes to get home. And the patients! God, what a day!”

Sherlock feels genuinely sympathetic, which isn’t a common occurrence. “What would you like?” he asks. “Dinner? A bath?”

John throws a grateful smile his way. “A drink,” he says firmly. “In fact, I’d rather like to get plastered.” When Sherlock hesitates, John turns around and looks at him properly. “Don’t go thinking – I mean, I’m not going to try anything. You don’t need to worry. But it’s Saturday tomorrow and I’ve got nothing on, so I’d just like to really let go. Keep me company?”

“All right,” Sherlock says cautiously, his curiosity piquing in spite of himself. “But you should eat something, too.”

“Can we order in?” John goes to the cupboard and takes out the bottle of whiskey. It’s a new bottle, the seal still intact. “Have we got any ice?”

“I think so. I’ll check.” Sherlock gets up and goes over to the freezer. There is a tray of ice, happily. He twists it to free the cubes and retrieves two heavy-bottomed glasses, scooping rectangles of ice into each one. “Chinese?” he asks.

“That would be perfect.” John pours them each a hefty tot and clinks his glass against Sherlock’s. “Cheers.”

Sherlock lifts his glass to his lips and inhales the smoky, peaty scent of the whiskey. “What are we drinking to?”

“To a good evening. To a better evening than the day I just had.” John takes a long sip. “Call and order,” he says after.

Sherlock takes out his phone and does as bidden, ordering their usual favourites. He hangs up, then says, “Come sit down and tell me what made your day so terrible. Bring the whiskey.” He turns and goes to the sofa and sits, putting his bare feet on the coffee table and patting the well-worn leather cushions beside him.

John ambles over, his brow still knit together, but he deposits himself next to Sherlock with a deep sigh of satisfaction, and begins to talk. “Well, for starters, Mrs bloody Drew came in again.”

“Does she still think she’s got shingles?” Sherlock asks. He knows everything about John’s regular patients.

“No, now it’s conjunctivitis,” John says, rolling his eyes.

“I take it she doesn’t.”

“She thinks she’s got conjunctivitis in the stomach.” John sounds pained.

“Ah.” Sherlock takes a long drink of whiskey. It’s good, a better quality one than they’ve ever bought for themselves. It was a gift from a grateful client. “Go on.”

John talks until the food comes – complains, really, but Sherlock never minds that. He’s grimly satisfied that he is the one who gets to listen to John complain about his patients at the end of the day rather than Mary, who lost that privilege. It is a privilege. The food comes and they eat and the conversation turns lighter. John’s foot is resting against Sherlock’s ankle on the coffee table and the whiskey bottle is one-third empty. Sherlock is drinking slowly, far more slowly than John, and hopes it will go unnoticed. If it happens again, he wants to remember every single detail is laser-sharp perfection this time. “I’m beat,” John says. “And my shoulders ache. What a day!”

Sherlock sees the opportunity and goes for it. “Would you like a massage?” he asks, keeping his voice light and deliberately devoid of any particular inflection.

John doesn’t even hesitate. “If you’re offering,” he says. “A massage would be amazing right about now.”

“Turn that way,” Sherlock instructs him, taking John by the shoulders and angling him away, facing to the left. Of course it would make more sense for John to sit on the floor for this, but Sherlock doesn’t want him that far away. In fact… “Take your shirt off,” he says briskly, hoping John won’t balk at this.

He doesn’t, merely pulling his jumper over his head and tossing it onto the floor. Sherlock tucks his left leg under himself and starts massaging John’s tense shoulder muscles. John immediately starts making small pained noises in his throat, wincing when Sherlock’s fingers find the knots and work at them. The sounds are nearly pornographic, or so they sound to Sherlock’s oversensitive ears. John’s skin is warm and dry to his fingers. Too dry. Sherlock looks over at the coffee table and sees that the hand lotion John keeps around is still there. He leans over and pumps some into his hands, then keeps going and John’s reactive noises turn even more appreciative. “I had to bring in the new copier when it was delivered,” he says, his eyes closed. “It was heavy. And Mr Clark, who is morbidly obese, came in and needed help getting onto the examination table. My shoulders may never recover.”

Sherlock is examining the scar he’s never managed to get a close-up look at before and touches it experimentally. “Just relax,” he says. “You don’t have to do anything else today.”

John reaches for his glass and drains it, then relaxes both audibly and visually, falling quiet as Sherlock’s hands work over him. Sherlock works down the length of John’s back, then pulls him back against himself.

“Lean back,” he says unnecessarily; John is already doing it. “I’ll do your front.”

John tilts his head back onto Sherlock’s left shoulder, his eyes still closed. “You’re amazing,” he says, the words completely unfiltered, and it goes directly to Sherlock’s already-hard crotch.

He draws breath sharply but doesn’t respond, his arms circling around John’s shoulders to massage the muscles around his collarbones, then lower, digging his fingers into his pectoral muscles. John exhales deeply as Sherlock’s hands stroke over his belly, lightly enough not to tickle, returning to his chest again and again in circular patterns. He is breathing in John’s ear, trying to control it through his nose, but having John half-naked in his arms and getting to touch him this way is extraordinary, in a word. He presses a thumb into one of John’s nipples and John exhales heavily again.

“How are you so good at this?” He wants to know, the question muzzy with drink and relaxation. “How do you know exactly how to – ”

“How to what?” Sherlock asks, his voice low, lips close to John’s ear, nearly touching it.

“How to touch me,” John says, without embarrassment, his eyes still closed.

Sherlock does let his lips brush John’s ear this time. “Base instinct.” He slides his hands between the sofa cushions and John’s arse and squeezes. “Take off your jeans.” He keeps his voice as low and sultry as he can make it and John doesn’t bother responding, just scrambles out of his clothing, including his underwear, and Sherlock notes with an instant rush of saliva to his mouth that John is already extremely hard. He leans back against Sherlock again, naked and apparently unconcerned about it, and Sherlock grips and squeezes his arse again under the guise of massaging it. John groans and Sherlock is hard-pressed not to echo it, his trousers feeling far too tight and restrictive at the moment. He puts one hand back on John’s chest and John takes it and moves it to between his legs. Sherlock is startled. “John – I thought – ” (He shouldn’t be protesting this; it’s exactly what he intended to have happen, but the words leave his mouth before he can think.)

“I know what I said.” John’s voice is heavy with arousal. “Bugger that. Touch me. Please.”

Sherlock has John pinioned between his arms, one draped over his front, circling his penis, the other grasping his arse and there is no way that he could refuse this even if he wanted to and he does not want to in the slightest. His breath is shaking, panting in John’s ear as he grips and strokes the erection in his fist and rubs blindly at his arse. The latter is somewhat difficult with John’s weight pinning his hand to the sofa, but it doesn’t matter. Sherlock notes hazily in passing that arousal is nearly as effective as alcohol when it comes to eliminating inhibitions; he is going on instinct alone now, his fingers seeking the heat of John’s body. John gasps when Sherlock’s long middle finger locates the entrance to his body, pressing at it. Sherlock makes a questioning sound in John’s ear and John nods frantically.

“Yeah – do it!” His reaction can only be described as wholeheartedly enthusiastic – fervent, even – so Sherlock works his finger into John’s body and the thought of being inside him even in such a minimal capacity as this is so blindingly arousing that he can hardly breathe.

He is jerking John off roughly, urged on by John’s sounds and occasional demands that he go faster, harder, and John’s body is thrusting in the air, up into Sherlock’s fist and down onto his finger. He comes all over his own chest and stomach, his hands on Sherlock’s and the effect of witnessing the violence of John’s orgasm renders Sherlock trembling on the edge of his own, holding on by only a very slender line.

John’s body is relaxing against his, chest and back and stomach all heaving as he pants, and his fingers tangle into Sherlock’s. “Holy fuck,” he breathes, and the profanity brings another gust of exhalation shuddering from Sherlock’s lungs and onto his neck, completely unable to respond. Perhaps John can feel him shaking, because he twists around a moment later, bending Sherlock over onto his back on the sofa. “Let’s see to you, then,” he says, eyes half-lidded and heavy, and even exhausted and limp from his orgasm, John’s fingers are quick on the button and zip of his trousers. “Oh, that’s – that’s very nice,” he says in appreciation as his hand curls around Sherlock’s rock-hard and aching flesh.

He can’t contain himself. “John – ” It’s horribly needy and desperate-sounding, but Sherlock can’t help it, reaching for John’s face. John understands and puts his mouth on Sherlock’s, his hand stroking him in long, firm movements, and the instant their tongues touch, Sherlock loses control and start to come. It forces him to break off the kiss he wanted so badly, gasping as his body jerks and twists, expelling his lust for John over both of them, soiling his clothing in stripes of sticky mess. The pleasure sears through him, leaving him gasping and shaking, John’s hand still caressing him, his mouth on Sherlock’s throat and jaw until Sherlock can breathe again and insistently pulls John’s mouth back to his own. They lie together that way for a long time, John on top of him and kissing him over and over and over again and Sherlock is drowning in it, in John.


They wake toward dawn, both surprised to find themselves still on the sofa. John is stark naked and Sherlock is fully clothed, except that his trousers are open, his penis exposed and semi-erect against John’s body. They’re blinking at each other and Sherlock doesn’t know what to say. (Is John still drunk enough that he will understand finding himself this way?) He hopes that he won’t panic or get angry.

He doesn’t, though. “Oh. Erm. Right.” John disentangles himself, sitting up. “I remember.” He winces a little. “Sorry. I did mean what I said, earlier last night. About not, er, meaning for this to happen again. I honestly did. I’m just pants at – well – ”

He stops and Sherlock doesn’t force him to finish it. “It’s fine,” he says, which is a major understatement. His gaze flickers briefly over John’s lap and he sees that John is also partly hard. He probably shouldn’t mention that, or propose that they do it again. “I suppose we should go to bed.” Sherlock sees the wariness that flashes over John’s face and hastens to clarify. “Our own beds, I mean.” It sounds a bit more cross than he meant. (Good thing he didn’t suggest a reiteration of events, then, if this is how John is going to be about it.) He pushes himself to his feet, stiff from having slept on the sofa for so long, and heads toward the corridor and his bedroom. “See you in a few hours.”

“Yeah – maybe we could go out for brunch or something?” John suggests, coming after him toward the staircase. “It’s Saturday.” His voice is still sleepy and evidently he has decided to abandon his clothes on the sitting room floor for the time being.

Sherlock turns around and looks at him, standing there nude and sporting a more than partial erection. He looks at it directly and says, “Sure.”

John comes over to him and the air between them is charged. His eyes drop to Sherlock’s waistline or just below it and his eyebrows lift. He comes and stands right in front of Sherlock, their eyes locked, and then he puts his hand on the front of Sherlock’s trousers, cupping the hardness trapped within.

Sherlock doesn’t hesitate, bending to kiss John and reaching for his erection at the same time. They don’t speak the entire time, just kissing and touching each other. John gets his trousers open in seconds and they stand there in the opening of the corridor beside the open door of the flat kissing wetly and stroking each other off, John’s hand on the back of his neck, Sherlock’s arm around his shoulders. They come at nearly the same moment this time, Sherlock slightly ahead, his body pulsing out his release onto John’s skin. John returns the favour a moment later by coming all over Sherlock’s shirt and the hip of his trousers. They stand together for a moment or two longer, breathing heavily and each keeping whatever he is thinking to himself, then John detaches himself and goes upstairs. Sherlock retreats to the bedroom, unsure what to think of what just happened. Was John still drunk? He was sober enough to realise their situation when they woke up, but perhaps there was still enough in his bloodstream to loosen his inhibitions. Or perhaps he just felt sorry for Sherlock, thinking that he had insulted him over the thing about going to their own beds. He doesn’t know and not knowing irks him tremendously. He pulls off his clothing and falls into bed, and resolves to think about it in detail later.


They don’t talk about it at brunch. In fact, its absence as a topic of their conversation is somewhat conspicuous, but Sherlock doesn’t want to ask and John isn’t volunteering it this time. They’re both rather quieter than usual but that could be chalked up to fatigue and, on John’s part, hangover. (How much had he actually drunk, though? Sherlock still isn’t entirely certain.) After, back at the flat, John settles into his chair with his laptop, pecking away at an email or perhaps the latest case, and Sherlock gives him a bit of a berth without trying to look as though he is. Nothing outward has changed but he senses an uncertainty in the atmosphere of the flat, a feeling of neither of them knowing what’s what. Sherlock doesn’t like it. He goes to his room and has a nap a little while later and when he wakes up, John is asleep on the sofa, his mouth open, snoring a little. Sherlock stands a few metres away and watches him for a few minutes, wanting very much to go over and lie down beside John, slot himself into the narrow space there, pull John into his arms. There isn’t really space for two people to lie side by side, but it worked well enough last night with John on top of him.

In the quiet of the room it occurs to him more plainly than ever that he is hopelessly in love with John. It’s not that he didn’t realise before, but with the dust motes sifting through the scattered rays of sunlight which are slanting in through the windows, the only sounds his own breathing and John’s gentle, regular snores, the truth just makes itself quietly unavoidable. He knew that he desired John, that kissing him pours water into some well deep within him that has always been dry until now. He knows that he could and would kill without thought anyone who threatened to even attempt to persuade John to leave him again. He has waited for this, waited so long for John to come home, and now it’s happening at last. Sort of. Is it, though? Is anything real transpiring, or is this just John single and desperate for sex? Conveniently ‘letting’ it happen and apologising after the fact, never intending to allow it to deepen into anything real, anything he would admit to by daylight?

John’s chest is rising and falling and his jumper has crept up, a weak sunbeam catching the glint of golden hair on the softness of his belly and Sherlock wants to go over to him, drop to his knees and put his face there, caress the exposed skin with his lips and tongue, wake John gently and put his lips to John’s, immerse himself in the warmth of John’s very being. But this he cannot possibly do, and the realisation comes with a pang.

Sherlock takes a sudden, deep breath, realising that he hasn’t breathed in nearly a minute. His heart feels as though it is burning in his chest. He turns and goes into the kitchen and wonders if he should start making supper. If that would seem too obvious, too much like flirtation, as though he is trying too hard to persuade John to feel the same way about him. To say so aloud and acknowledge it. If he does feel that way in the first place. Love is terrible, he thinks, staring dismally into the interior of the fridge. There’s nothing much in to cook with. Will John think he’s coming on too strong if he suggests they go out? They just went out for brunch, though just to the local diner. Order in again, then? They just did that last night. Should he go to the shops and buy some things? Only John likes it when they go together, not trusting that Sherlock won’t accidentally come home with thirty bananas, some expensive chocolates, a bottle of Merlot, and no milk. He doesn’t want to wake John and ask if he wants to come along.

He decides to go down to say hello to Mrs Hudson. Maybe she will ‘mysteriously’ have an extra lasagna on hand or something. She does, sometimes. (“I accidentally made two; I don’t know what I was thinking. Thank you so much for taking it off my hands! I never could have eaten all that lot myself!”)

She’s in, calling him to come in when he knocks, and looks up from the Times crossword at the kitchen table. She smiles at him, as pleased as she always is to see him. “Come and sit down!” she says, setting her pen down. “Cup of tea?”

“All right.” Sherlock goes over and pulls out the chair opposite, knowing that he sounds morose, and she catches it, turning back over her shoulder.

“Everything all right, dear?” She looks at him over her glasses, gauging. “Where’s John, then?”

“Napping on the sofa,” Sherlock tells her.

She smiles. “And you didn’t want to wake him,” she observes. “Thoughtful of you. What are the two of you doing for supper?”

“Not sure,” Sherlock says, reaching for her pen and fiddling with it. “We just went out for brunch and ordered in last night and he’ll say we’re spending too much if I suggest it again. We haven’t got much in and I don’t want to go to the shops without him. He doesn’t trust me to get the shopping unsupervised.”

Mrs Hudson chuckles. “Don’t be daft; of course he trusts you. He just likes to go with you!”

A smile tugs at the corner of his mouth but he frowns at the same time, wishing he could be as sure. “Maybe,” he says, not committing one way or the other.

“You’re in luck,” she tells him. “I was going to go and see my sister and I made a casserole for it, but then she called and said they were all feeling sick and not to come, so I have this whole big thing… would you take it off my hands? It should be enough for the two of you, I should think.”

She’s creative with her lies, Sherlock thinks fondly. If there is one thing he would never do, it would be to call her on these ones. “That would be wonderful, actually,” he says. “But what about your supper? Do you want to come up and eat with us?”

“Oh, no!” Mrs Hudson waves her hand in front of her face as if the very idea is untenable, and brings the teapot over to the table, sitting down. “I’ll just have a bit of toast or something. Maybe a bowl of soup. You know me, never much appetite in the evenings. And I had a big lunch.”

“Are you sure?” Sherlock surveys her, eyes sweeping over her frame. “What did you have? Besides something with mustard in it,” he adds, nodding at the sleeve of her cardigan.

She looks at it and makes a tsk-ing sound in exasperation, picking up a tea towel and scrubbing at it. “It was a big luncheon in Knightsbridge, a lot of ladies from my bridge club,” she tells him. “I had an enormous slice of quiche and there were salads and little sandwiches and that, and you should have seen the puddings! When I left I thought they would have to roll me out!”

This seems to be the truth. “Well – if you’re sure,” Sherlock says. “You know you’re always welcome. If you change your mind, just come up. I can call you up when we’re going to eat, if you like.”

“No, thank you, Sherlock dear.” Mrs Hudson is very firm, patting his wrist. She picks up the teapot and pours for both of them. “You two go ahead and enjoy it. How is John? All settled in again?”

“Yes, I think so,” Sherlock says cautiously.

“He’s happy to be back,” she tells him, pushing the sugar bowl across to him.

“What makes you say that?” he asks, curious.

“He said so the other day.” Mrs Hudson stirs her own tea and puts the spoon down on the edge of the saucer. “We met coming in, you know… and he said it right out, that he was so happy to be back here, with you. His exact words.”

Sherlock feels his face heat, to his own embarrassment. She’s sure to notice this. He clears his throat. “Ah.”

He’s averted his eyes but can’t help seeing her delighted grin in his peripheral vision. “Oh, Sherlock!” she crows. “Look at you, blushing! Go on, then, tell me for real: have you made any progress yet?”

They’ve never discussed this before and for a moment Sherlock can’t believe she’s asking right out like this. He clears his throat again. “A bit,” he says, the words sticking and coming out with difficulty. “I’m… not sure, actually.”

“Explain.” Her tone brooks no refusal.

Sherlock squirms internally. “I… can’t really say,” he says, feeling stilted. He can hardly go into graphic detail about the things they’ve done with Mrs Hudson.

She purses her lips and smiles into her tea. “You’re not going to shock me, you know. I’ll have you know that I’m a very modern woman.”

“I know that. Of course I know that. I just – ” He stops, unable to verbalise it.

She looks at him over her glasses. “Have you kissed?” she asks directly.

Sherlock nods and looks away, his face still hot.

“More than once?”


“What about… the rest?” she wants to know, her tone a bit delicate. “Anything else, beyond that?”

Sherlock coughs and doesn’t answer, picking up his tea but not drinking it.

“That’s a yes, then,” Mrs Hudson says, observing him keenly. “Well, I’ll tell you what: if he’s said yes once, he’ll say it again. The barrier was getting him to admit it, you know. Can you blame him? He probably thought you were a lunatic when he first met you, and you hardly made it easy for him, with your carryings-on. And then, what you put him through… what you put us all through – I know you had to, dear, and I’m more than grateful that you saved our lives in doing it, but of course the poor man had to try and move on as best he could, didn’t he? But now that wife of his is out of the way and he’s back here. All he needed was a push.”

“He keeps saying it’s just accidents,” Sherlock says, putting his cup down fiddling with his spoon instead. “That he doesn’t want it, doesn’t think it’s a good idea.”

“That’s just a front,” Mrs Hudson says sagely. “He’s just being careful, in case you don’t want it or something. He’ll come around. Just give it time.”

Sherlock looks over at her and feels a touch of relief. “Do you think so?”

“I’m sure of it. The two of you were meant for each other, and that’s a fact.” She nods at his tea. “Now get that down you and go on back up to him.”

Sherlock smiles into his tea, the tightness in his chest dissipating a little.


Lestrade invites them to the housewarming party of his new flat, having sold his house sometime not long after his second divorce. The party takes place only four days after the most recent incident and Sherlock feels slightly concerned that it’s too soon to hope for a repeat of events with John. But just in case, he decides to feign drinking only, wanting to remember the entire thing in clear detail if it does happen again. He lets John pour him a gin and tonic, but switches immediately to tonic only once it’s finished, keeping the lime slice and stir stick in the glass for added effect. They circle about the room, talking to various people. John stays with him for the beginning, but wanders off after awhile to talk to other people and Sherlock is left making mandatory smalltalk with people he barely knows.

One of them is Lestrade’s estate agent, and as it turns out, he has an aunt for whom Sherlock once solved a case. Sherlock remembers the details, though it was four years ago now. They talk about it a little and the man expresses his admiration. He is standing rather close and suddenly Sherlock wonders if he is trying to flirt. He feels a touch of disappointment; he’d thought the admiration genuine. He changes his tone of voice to a slightly cooler one, but suddenly John is there, inserting himself between the man (whose name Sherlock forgot instantly) and Sherlock. His smile is somehow a bit forced as he shakes hands and introduces himself. The man’s eyes light up as he recognises John. “The blogger!” he says with delight and the two of them repeat the entire conversation that Sherlock just had regarding the case. He loses interest, and on top of that, feels a twinge of jealousy. The agent and John are talking away, having taken an instant shine to one another, it seems. He puts his drink down on a nearby table and moves away.

“Toilet,” he says vaguely when John says his name, calling after him, and goes to find it, shutting out the noise of the party for a few minutes. He looks at himself in the mirror and wonders if John would like him more if he were more gregarious, more sociable. He looks acceptable – that much he can manage. His suit fits him nicely and he thinks that the open collar of his shirt (one of the new ones) looks right, black under the light grey of his suit. His hair looks fine. His face is his face, not much he can do about that. The problem is just that he’s not a woman. Nonetheless John likes it, likes touching him, likes having sex (what they’ve done counts, doesn’t it?) with him. It’s obvious, and yet it isn’t happening the way it should. He wants all of that, not just these occasional, semi-manipulated encounters, never knowing when the next one might come. A critic could argue that John has manipulated him into them, but Sherlock knows the truth.

He dries his hands on an obviously-new towel and opens the door. John is lingering in the corridor, having apparently pulled himself out of his fascinating conversation with his new friend. “There you are,” he says, before Sherlock can ask if he was waiting for the bathroom. “I wondered where you’d gone.” He holds out Sherlock’s glass. “You left your drink behind.”

Sherlock takes it from him. “Thank you,” he says. “I sort of meant to, but it was kind of you to bring it.”

John’s eyebrows lift. “Had enough?” he asks, his tone slightly arch. He steps closer into Sherlock’s space, his eyes dropping to Sherlock’s chin or thereabouts. “I’ve had a good bit, but I was… counting on you to keep me company.”

His tone is completely suggestive and suddenly Sherlock’s spirits lift. He hopes that John hasn’t smelled or tasted his drink, then, if he was counting on Sherlock to get drunk with him. “In that case…” He brings the glass to his mouth and sips, his eyes on John’s. “How much have you had?”

“Enough,” John says, his voice lower than usual, his eyes coming up to Sherlock’s eyes and then going to his mouth again. “Put that down.”

They’re standing in the doorway of the bathroom, but a quick glance proves that no one else is in the small corridor with them, though they’re not far. Sherlock reaches back and sets the drink down on the bathroom counter, and then John is crowding him into the doorframe, his hips and chest trapping Sherlock there, his mouth landing warmly on Sherlock’s, his hands on his hips. The sweet relief of it, the instantaneous, heady rush goes straight to Sherlock’s head and he kisses back and tries not to go overboard, not wanting to seem desperate – just tipsy and aroused, as John is.

John pushes a knee between Sherlock’s legs. “I thought you were flirting with that guy,” he says. “I didn’t want you getting any ideas about… having a drunken incident with someone else.”

It’s the first time John’s acknowledged it so explicitly while being under the influence, himself. “You were flirting with him,” Sherlock says, and he can’t help how accusatory it sounds. “He was completely taken by you!”

John smiles at this for some reason and doesn’t refute it. Instead he kisses Sherlock again and Sherlock drinks it hungrily in. He slips his tongue into Sherlock’s mouth and strokes Sherlock’s with it and Sherlock wonders if it’s only John who has an extraordinary talent, in his inexperienced opinion, for making a kiss feel dirty, as though their mouths are engaging in a highly sexual act. He knows he is naïve when it comes to this sort of thing but he’d always relegated kisses to the realm of romance, rather than sex, particularly. Then again, John is a man who can seemingly make any act a sexual one if he so chooses. He drowns in the feeling of John’s lips and tongue embracing his. He was trying not to touch John but ends up gripping him by the shoulders, not wanting the kiss to end. “Come on,” John says after, his voice still low and inviting. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Okay,” Sherlock says, the relief stronger than ever. He follows John back into the sitting room, focusing on not touching him here, in public view. He says something he can’t remember later to Lestrade (it doesn’t matter; it was irrelevant in any case) and then they’re out on the pavement, John hailing a taxi. They get into it and John sits very close to him, their legs and arms touching. Sherlock is trembling with the effort of not touching him, but then John undoes this by putting his hand on Sherlock’s thigh in blatant invitation, and Sherlock puts his on John’s. A glance proves that John’s jeans are straining at the seams and Sherlock has to swallow, seeing it. When the taxi finally arrives, Sherlock practically throws bills at the driver and John pushes him out into the cool night, his hands all over Sherlock as he fumbles with his keys. It’s difficult to concentrate with John’s arms around him, rubbing over the front of his trousers, having already unbuttoned his coat, and Sherlock’s fingers are shaking on top of it in arousal so sharp that he can hardly breathe. The door opens at last and they stumble inside, John kicking the door closed and pushing Sherlock up against the wall at the foot of the stairs. They kiss wildly, John’s hands clawing his coat off his shoulders and onto the floor, his hips jammed up against Sherlock’s body.

“Upstairs,” John says, his mouth on Sherlock’s jaw, his breath hot. Sherlock makes some sort of sound of very vocal agreement and John flings his jacket to the floor and wrestles him up to the landing before Sherlock gets hold of his face and pulls their mouths back together. John shoves his arm down Sherlock’s trousers without so much as unbuttoning them, causing Sherlock to gasp, his head falling back against the wall behind him with a thunk. John makes a sound of approval and kisses Sherlock’s throat. “What do you want?” he asks, his voice gone husky in that way Sherlock craves. “Tell me – it can be anything. Tell me what you want most right now.”

Sherlock bends his head forward, barely able to speak with John’s hand curled around him, stroking roughly. He is so turned on he can barely speak, his mouth filling with saliva. He tips his face into John’s neck and gets it out, his face hidden. “I want you to fuck me.”

John’s hand stills. Then he removes it from Sherlock’s trousers and puts both of them on his face and the kiss that follows is… different, somehow. Every bit as hungry, but somehow more passionate, unless he’s interpreting it incorrectly. Sherlock doesn’t know what to think of the change, but doesn’t question it. John lifts his mouth and rubs his thumbs over Sherlock’s lips. “Come upstairs,” he says again, his eyes on Sherlock’s, his brow furrowed a little.

Sherlock feels wary of the shift, uncertain how to respond. “Is that – are you – ”

“Oh, yes,” John vows, his tone dark with promise. “If that’s what you want, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” He puts his hand back on Sherlock’s erection, through his trousers this time, and pulls him off the wall, propelling him up the stairs with a strong arm firm around Sherlock’s back.

Sherlock follows blindly, kissing John there on the stairs again, their legs steering themselves into the flat and down the corridor into Sherlock’s bedroom. John’s hands are stripping the clothes from his body, saying something about the absurdity of Sherlock’s shirt and how tight it is, something along those lines – it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the moment when they’re both finally naked together, pressing and pulling each other closer, John’s erection stiff against his body. John backs him into the bed and they tumble into it, John already moving down Sherlock’s body. His mouth licks and sucks at Sherlock’s right nipple, peaked so sharply that the pleasure of John’s tongue is almost painful. The left side gets the same treatment, Sherlock gasping helplessly, his fingers tangled in John’s short, soft hair, and then John’s mouth trails hotly down his belly and then lower, the heat of it dipping over his penis. It’s just a brief bob down the length of his shaft, then a swipe of John’s tongue around his foreskin, swallowing down the fluid pooling there. His small, sturdy hands stroke over the sensitive skin as John takes his testicles into his mouth in pleasure so exquisite it’s like white-hot shock, nearly painful as every nerve ending sparks, this horribly vulnerable bit of himself inside John’s very mouth. Sherlock can hear himself, the ragged moans gusting over his lower teeth, his abdomen hollowing and filling as he pants shallowly.

John doesn’t stop, putting his mouth back on Sherlock’s erection and looking up at him, the way he did in the alley, and the intensity of having John’s eyes on his while he is doing this bolts through Sherlock’s last defences like a lance. He is helpless, exposed, unable to do anything but accept whatever John wants right here and now. He does not possess the power to set limitations, to deny John anything, and he doesn’t want to. John drops his eyes to Sherlock’s skin again and begins to suck him in earnest, pressing a finger to the entrance to Sherlock’s body. His mouth lifts off Sherlock’s throbbing flesh for a moment. “Open this,” he says, pressing a small tube into Sherlock’s hand where it’s clenched around a fistful of sheet.

Sherlock manages to make his clumsy fingers do it and squeezes some lubricant into John’s waiting hand, then gets the lid back on and puts it on the night table.

“I’m clean,” John says, dexterously inserting a single finger into Sherlock’s body, as though he does this all the time. Sherlock remembers briefly that he is a doctor; of course he does this all the time. “I had myself tested after Mary. Just in case you were concerned.”

He doesn’t even sound inebriated, Sherlock thinks blurrily, far more focused on the feeling of John’s finger within him. “I wasn’t.”

John smiles at his penis and puts his mouth on it again. Sherlock’s head falls back onto the sheets as John’s mouth swallows him down, two fingers stretching and twisting within him now, sliding in and out and procuring silvery twists of pleasure shivering up his spine. “How do you want to do this?” John asks, his voice huskier than ever, heavy with unsated lust. “Like this, on your back, or – ?”

“No.” The word says itself instinctively. Somehow he can’t let John see his face as they’re doing this; it would just be too embarrassing. “I’ll turn onto my front. If that’s - convenient.”

“Whatever you like.” John’s hands are on him, turning him and Sherlock puts his face down on his arms.

John lies down on top of him, his hands pulling Sherlock up by the hips, spreading him open. “God,” he says, his voice nearly hoarse with sheer, undisguised lust. “You look – ”

Sherlock waits but John doesn’t say what he looks like. Breathing hard, John pushes slowly into him, fast enough to show his impatience, but slow enough to give Sherlock’s body enough time to adjust. Sherlock closes his eyes, his mouth opening, his fingers clawing into the sheets and his own arm respectively. John is inside him, joined to him in the most intimate of ways, in a way that no one else has ever been. He is gripped in the dual sensations of the physical discomfort of having something as large as John’s erection and the long-desired sensation of having John within him at last. His back heaves, attempting to adjust to both without betraying himself emotionally.

John’s hands stroke over his back. “Okay so far?” His voice is the same, rough with desire, his penis harder than marble within Sherlock.

Yes,” Sherlock says, and it might as well be a declaration of permanent intention on his part, because there is no one else that he would ever do this with. “John – please – ” He cannot articulate it more clearly, that he needs for John to move, to see this through, to lay physical claim to him, body and soul. “Please,” he repeats, and John responds with a sound akin to desperation on his own part.

“All right,” he says, his voice scraping in his throat. He pulls back a little and slides in again, and Sherlock can feel him shaking with need. “Oh, God…” His hands stroke up and down Sherlock’s sides.

“Please,” Sherlock says again, his eyes closed. “I need – ”

John makes another sound like the first one, choking from his throat, and he begins to move faster, his hips pressing into Sherlock’s body over and over again, bending over him, hands rubbing over Sherlock’s belly and chest and leaking erection. He shifts and the angle changes and suddenly Sherlock is gasping like a fish out of water and John makes that desperate sound again, and thrusts hard against the same spot. His restraints are faltering, going as deeply as he possibly can into Sherlock’s body, faster and faster. Their bodies are slapping together, Sherlock’s penis as hard in John’s fist as John’s is within his body.

He is begging, the pleas slipping over his lips in a litany of need and John’s fist jerks and squeezes and it’s bliss, Sherlock is flying along the verge of it, about to combust into flames and nothing but endless sensation and then it hits him. His orgasm is so long and so intense that he cannot breathe as it screams through his body like radiation. There is wetness within him and flooding out of him and he can hear John’s voice shouting and then finally he is dragging in lungfuls of air and still his body is spurting out his release. It finishes at last, leaving him weak and trembling, crashing down with John still on top of him, still buried inside him, and the last thing he remembers before morning is the feeling of John’s arms coming around him and holding him close.


When Sherlock wakes, he is lying on his side and John is behind him, his left arm wedged under Sherlock’s neck like a pillow, his other arm flung loosely around Sherlock’s middle. They are still naked and he can feel John’s erection pressing into the lower curve of his arse. He remembers the previous night in full detail, his eyes opening suddenly, inhaling sharply at the very thought of it. And John is still here, in bed with him.

Before he can start wondering about that, John’s arm tightens, his hand stroking over Sherlock’s chest and belly. “Morning,” he says, kissing the top of Sherlock’s shoulder. “Finally awake, then?”

His voice is lightly teasing. He pushes a foot between Sherlock’s ankles and rubs it against them, his hand reaching down to cup between Sherlock’s legs, taking Sherlock’s growing erection in hand as easily and naturally as though they do this every morning. Sherlock doesn’t know how to respond. “Yes,” he says. “John…” He trails off.

John kisses his back again. “Last night was incredible,” he says, pressing closer, his hand still stroking gently. He pauses when Sherlock doesn’t answer immediately, then adds, “For me, anyway.”

“No, it was,” Sherlock says hastily, not wanting to dissuade him on this point. “But – ” He stops again, not knowing how to word his objection. Or – not objection, but question, perhaps.

John moves his hand back to Sherlock’s torso. He doesn’t sigh, exactly, but his exhalation is stronger than it might be against Sherlock’s shoulder. “I have a confession to make,” he says.

Sherlock turns his head very slightly over his shoulder. “Oh?”

“I wasn’t drunk last night,” John says, pressing his lips to Sherlock’s shoulder. “In fact, I was completely sober.”

Sherlock is so startled that it takes him a full ten seconds before he is able to respond. “You weren’t?” His mind is filled with blank white space; he has no idea what to make of this. “Then why – ”

“Why did I initiate this again?” John finishes for him, and Sherlock turns on to his back so that he can see John’s face for this. John props himself up on one elbow and smiles down at him, his thumb still rubbing over Sherlock’s chest. “Because you weren’t drinking last night, either.”

Sherlock feels his face condense into confusion. “I don’t understand,” he says, hating to say it so starkly, so nakedly, but John has already peeled every layer of protection he possesses from him.

“Well – I had started to wonder already, honestly,” John admits. “But I tasted your drink when you left that conversation and realised you’d only been drinking tonic and clearly wanted me to think that you’d been drinking, and it occurred to me then that you must have wanted this to happen. I didn’t realise at first – you were always so casual about it, so casual that I honestly thought it didn’t matter to you at all.”

“That’s what you wanted, though,” Sherlock interrupts, objecting. “You said it wouldn’t be a good idea, that it was a mistake. You were exceedingly clear on that point, after the first time it happened.”

“Then, I did think it was a mistake,” John tells him, his eyes searching Sherlock’s face. “Because I honestly thought it was a mistake on your part as much as it had been on mine. That you never would have chosen to do that if you had been sober.”

“But it was for you,” Sherlock says, to confirm. “An accident.” He has to know this.

“It was,” John admits. “The first time, at least. It was only a mistake in my mind because I thought I was the only one who wanted it. I’ve always known that I could have been really – no, extremely attracted to you, if I let on to myself. But I didn’t think you did this sort of thing, or that you felt things like this, but the way you kiss me, the way you touch me – God, Sherlock. You made me feel so much I thought I would implode. And when I realised you were actively trying to make it happen, maybe because you thought you couldn’t just say it because of what I’d said – last night I thought I would just go along with it, but I told myself then that I would tell you first thing once we woke up.”

His gaze is terribly fond – no, fond isn’t strong enough, Sherlock revises inwardly. John’s eyes are so intense, bracketed by his expressive eyebrows, that Sherlock feels a hole gnaw itself through his gut. He puts his hand over John’s on his stomach. “I make you feel so much?” he repeats, wishing it sounded less uncertain when he hears the words aloud.

John nods, smiling gently. “Yeah,” he says. “So much. So very much.” He bends and puts his mouth on Sherlock’s slowly, languorously, his leg twisting around Sherlock’s, their fingers tangling together as they kiss. “I’m addicted to kissing you,” John tells him, his lips millimetres from Sherlock’s, eyes coming up to his. They’re dark blue, the lashes long and golden and Sherlock knows with a fierce stab that he could never possibly feel this much for any other person on the planet.

“I’m addicted to you,” he counters. John laughs nicely and moves to kiss him again but stops before their lips touch.

“Have you wanted this for a long time?” he asks, putting his hand on Sherlock’s face and caressing his cheekbone with his thumb. Sherlock nods. “Since before I married Mary?”

“Yes,” Sherlock says, feeling hollow all over again, despite having John naked and aroused and lying next to him in his own bed. “Maybe I didn’t – quite – know yet, then, not exactly, but – ”

John nods. “It took awhile for it to dawn on me that it wasn’t just a physical attraction. I mean, obviously I loved you as a friend, but those two things don’t necessarily add up to – this.”

“But now,” Sherlock begins, not wanting to press the point but at the same time needing to know that this is real this time. “We’re – are we – ”

“Oh, yeah,” John assures him. “We’re in this now. We’re not going to call it an accident or a mistake any more. I wish I hadn’t now, but we were doing the same thing, both of us being too careful, when really we both wanted it. Me especially, I know. I’m sorry I was so firm after the first time. I genuinely thought we’d both slipped up and that being clear about everything would be the best to keep things from getting awkward between us. I didn’t want that.”

“I was actively trying to make it happen, you know,” Sherlock tells him, smirking and trying to lighten the mood before the weight of his emotions can overwhelm him and potentially send John running for the horizon. “Luckily you’re rather persuadable when you’ve been drinking.”

John laughs. “And when I’ve had a latent attraction and undeclared feelings for you all along,” he points out. “But you were very effective, too. That night in the alley, and your massage, God! And you just sitting there at the table half-naked while I was trying to casually eat my toast and pretend I wasn’t half-hard in my trousers the entire time.” He turns serious now, still touching Sherlock’s face. “I hope you know by now how much you mean to me, though. I didn’t really mean any of the things I said after that first time. It only would have been a bad idea if you hadn’t wanted it, but now I know that you do.

“Yes,” Sherlock tells him, his tone intense. “I do. I want it – more than anything.”

“So do I.” John rolls onto him and gets both arms under Sherlock, kissing him with abandon, and Sherlock thinks distantly that it feels fuller than any of the previous times. It’s more than mere arousal, alcohol-fuelled or otherwise. There’s more of John in this, and he is immediately addicted to it. Their bodies react instinctively, sliding against each other’s, like heat-seeking missiles moving blindly toward the target. But John lifts his mouth after a few heartrendingly wonderful minutes of this. “I have a question,” he says.

Sherlock blinks up at him, his arms still clutching John to him. “What?”

“Last night, on the landing,” John says. “When you said you wanted me to fuck you…”

Sherlock doesn’t know where this is going. “Yes?” He knows he sounds confused.

John touches his lips again. “Was that what you really wanted?” he asks.

Sherlock frowns a bit. “Did it seem as though I didn’t want it?” It’s hard to feel concerned with John’s arms around him, though.

“No,” John says. “But I just wondered if you said that because you thought that that was the only thing I would have been willing to do. I’m just curious.”

Sherlock blinks again, unsure as to how to respond. “No,” he says, though it comes out with less conviction.

John hears it. “Because I would have done anything, you know,” he says firmly. “I mean that. Absolutely anything. I still want to. I just wondered if you thought that I would have got cold feet if you’d suggested… well, that we’d done it the other way.”

Sherlock struggles to find a response to this. “I… no, not exactly,” he says, trying for honesty. “I did think that you would probably prefer that, though. And you’re the one with all of the relevant experience in this area, so it – made sense. And I did want it.”

“So did I,” John tells him, picking up his hand and kissing his fingers as though for added reassurance. “But I don’t have any experience with this particular act either way, so we’re on even footing. Just so you know. You must have – wondered. I mean, I’ve been saying all the time that I wasn’t gay, didn’t do that sort of thing, and then I go and turn around and keep having it off with you. I thought you should know, though. When it comes to this, I suppose I have got off with the occasional other bloke before. Just back in the army. And once in uni. But never anything more than that. And even in Afghanistan, it was usually more along the lines of jerking off together. I don’t like to talk about it, but you must have wondered and you have the right to know.”

Sherlock reaches up and puts his hand on John’s face. “I’ve never done anything with anyone other than you,” he says, the fact plain and unadorned and flushed into the daylight. “I’ve barely even kissed anyone else.”

John smiles, though, completely unbothered by this. “Good,” he says, sounding decidedly satisfied. “Let’s keep it that way.” He reaches between them to stroke Sherlock’s erection again. “The thing is,” he says, lowering his voice again, eyes going hooded, “the other night on the sofa when you put your finger inside me – I had no idea that I would like that so much. I don’t mind telling you now that I loved it. So I’m rather keen to try it the other way, if you’re up for it.”

His eyebrows jag upward in overt suggestion, his hand still curled around Sherlock’s erection. Sherlock feels his saliva glands all activate jointly. “We could try that,” he says, swallowing. “But I just – I’m not sure if I know what to do… I don’t want to hurt you.”

John smiles again, a bit of a gleam coming into his eyes. “I think we’ve established firmly that you know exactly what you’re doing when it comes to touching me,” he says. He rubs his lips against Sherlock’s, sucks at his lower lip and murmurs, “Put your fingers in me. Please.”

“Like – this?” Sherlock manages to ask, meaning in their current positions, and John nods, kissing him again, letting go of him in favour of writhing against him as they were doing before. Sherlock lets his hand travel down John’s muscled(/soft-at-the-sides, perfect contrast) back and reminds himself of the way John responded to the massage five days earlier. He does know how to touch John, even if this is new. It was all new. This just feels more important. He squeezes John’s left arse cheek, then lets his fingers drift toward the centre, searching out the heat of John’s core again. He finds it, slipping his middle finger into John, feeling the way the muscle tightens around him. “Lubricant,” he says against John’s mouth, and John leans over to get it from the night table and puts some in his hand the way Sherlock did for him last night. The angle becomes too difficult for two fingers, so they turn over, John on his back, his erection flat up against his stomach in such obvious arousal that Sherlock gains confidence. He reaches around John’s thigh and proceeds to finger him until John is panting on the edge of climax and telling him to stop.

He sits up and pushes Sherlock onto his back and climbs onto him again, straddling his stomach. “Let’s try it like this,” he proposes. He reaches back to take Sherlock’s erection in hand, hard and seeping liquid arousal from fucking John with his fingers the way he was, and having John touch him with his body blocking the view makes it feel strangely surreal and very good. Sherlock makes a sound to show that he agrees and John lifts himself, guiding Sherlock’s penis toward his body, and when they’ve got the right place, John begins to sink down on him, both of them panting, Sherlock through clenched teeth. His entire body is trembling and his erection seems to harden even further from the sensation of pushing into the tight heat within John. He gasps and shudders, his fingers gripping John’s knees. When John is all the way down to his body, he stops, his weight settling a bit more on Sherlock’s legs and hips and their eyes meet, both of them breathing with their mouths open.

Sherlock looks down the length of his body, his erection buried fully inside John and he cannot put words to the way it makes him feel to see their bodies connected that way, to know that John specifically asked for this, wanted Sherlock inside him. “Are – are you all right?” he gasps out. “It doesn’t – ”

John leans back, his hands braced on Sherlock’s thighs, his erection standing out from his body like a flagpole in a field, practically obscene. “It’s amazing,” he breathes, cutting off Sherlock’s concerned inquiry. “You’re inside me. It feels exactly the way I imagined, only much better.” He gives an experimental twist of his hips and Sherlock groans, struggling to hold it together. John looks pleased with the sound he made, even breathing through his mouth. “Does it feel good for you?” he asks, every muscle of his body trembling, the tight ring gripping Sherlock’s penis within him convulsing and fluttering, trying to accommodate the intrusion.

Sherlock jerks his head in a nod, unable to form words at the moment. He reaches for John’s penis and gives it a stroke from the underside, his wrist twisted at an awkward angle but it doesn’t matter. John shudders and begins to move again. Sherlock instinctively brings his knees up to support John’s weight and John cries out. “What – did I – ” Sherlock is alarmed.

“… prostate...” is all John can say, his eyes closed, tone agonised. “Oh God!” He lifts himself a little, reaching back to hold onto Sherlock’s thighs as he does so, and Sherlock thrusts up experimentally as John moves down over him again, and they both react to this, a rhythm falling naturally into place.

Sherlock can hardly believe that anything could feel this good, just as he can barely take in that John really, really does want this from him. He grips him by the hips and begins to drive into him from beneath and John begins to unleash a steady stream of profanity. The pleasure is so intense that reality begins to blur into a wash of absolute, utter ecstasy, every part of Sherlock’s body alive with it, on fire with it. Suddenly John’s face contorts and his arse clamps around Sherlock like a vice, his hand on his penis, flying along it and then he comes, his release shooting out over Sherlock’s chest and catching him in the throat. There’s another splash of it, hot and wet on Sherlock’s stomach and he can see heavy drops of it still guttering out over John’s fist, winking from the slit of his penis, and it’s all he can take. He pumps upward about twenty times successively, as hard as he possibly can, and then finally, finally the ecstasy flares in every nerve ending, tipping him over the edge. It bursts out of him like a dam flooding its gates, feeling as though his entire body is rushing into John like a river and he can only guess hazily from the rawness in his throat what his voice is doing.

When the frenzied fever of it finally seeps from his veins, Sherlock is panting harder than ever in his life, his heart beat crashing through his eardrums, and John is breathing hard, too, looking down at him. John bends forward lets Sherlock’s still-leaking erection slip from him, laying himself alongside Sherlock and stroking his penis, wet from his own release, touching him as he comes down from the unparalleled high, easing his body through the shock of detachment by keeping his hands on him. He puts his mouth on Sherlock’s jaw and throat and face, his hand still caressing him until the last ebbs have stopped, then puts his mouth on Sherlock’s again.

Sherlock finally gets his breath back and puts all four of his limbs around John, hugging him to himself and not caring how needy it seems for the first time, kissing John with every scrap of energy he has left. John is responding the same way, though, despite both their bodies being limp and spent. When they finally release one another, Sherlock feels as though he has died and been reborn, and John is looking at him as though he can hardly believe that Sherlock is even real.

“Was that worth waiting for?” John asks him, his heart pounding against Sherlock’s chest, and Sherlock thinks that his face, his entire being, is the most beautiful thing that he has ever seen.

There is no way he can even answer this question; it’s completely preposterous and John must already know though, so why would he? Except for the sheer pleasure of saying it aloud and confirming again and again, just to feel that burst of warmth all over again. It occurs to him that this is why people tell one another that they love each other. (Later, he tells himself.) “Yes,” Sherlock says, very seriously. “Was it, for you?”

John smiles. “You’re seriously asking me that, after the most amazing orgasm I’ve ever had?” he asks, unconsciously echoing Sherlock’s unspoken thought and then giving voice to another one. “I want to do this with you for the rest of our lives, as often as possible. Assuming you’re amenable, of course.”

Sherlock thinks for a moment, then comes up with the perfect response. “Anytime,” he says, and John laughs.