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Down with this Ship

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"John? Jaaawwwwwn! John - where are you? I need you John. John?" The rich, deep tones echoed around the empty living room before insinuating themselves through the closed door and into the bathroom, where the subject of Sherlock's rather loud enquiry was currently finishing his shower. 

"I'm in the bloody bathroom, Sherlock!" he yelled back, having just turned off the water. "I'm having a shower.. I did tell you I was going to have a shower. More than once in fact!"

"Tedious, John". Must have deleted it!" Sherlock answered back, coming to a halt in front of the bathroom and yelling approximately 25% louder now that he knew John was located behind a rather thick wooden door. "At least you'll be clean I suppose. Do hurry up in there, I hope you didn't use up all the hot water, I need a shower too."

John resisted the urge to punch something, but he couldn't quite suppress a sigh. Muttering darkly about bloody flatmates and no boundaries and other equally dire things, he exited the bathroom, still glistening from the hasty towelling and - unusually for him, since he was quite modest as a rule - with only a towel knotted about his waist, clothes bundled in his arms.  

Sherlock looked him over with that narrow-eyed-cat-look of his that tended to make John extremely nervous - somehow he never quite felt like he was going to pass muster. He squirmed beneath the intensity of the detective's surgically sharp gaze and waited for the verdict. When it came, it wasn't quite what he was expecting. "I need you to be my male homosexual lover tonight. John," Sherlock pronounced, in his most bored, uninterested, matter-of-fact tone of voice. 

John's jaw dropped in a very unflattering way.  

"It's for a case, John!" Sherlock dead-panned. Well of course it was for a case, thought John. Why else would... never mind.

"Hurry up - we need to hit the club in less than an hour. Though you'll need to wear something nicer than that hideous jumper you had on earlier, that's for sure. You are to be my boyfriend - therefore you will be a reflection of me, and I simply can't be seen going out with a jumper, John!" Sherlock's disdain was so evident even John could deduce it from the curl of his lip. 

"Oh - so sorry to risk embarrassing you with my choice of wardrobe, Sherlock! It's not like, oh, I don't know, I'm going to tell your most secret thoughts to a whole room or make your girlfriend cry or anything!"

"Well," Sherlock replied, ignoring the jibe, as was his habit. "I could always come up and select something not-terrible for you, John. Might be best, actually -"

"No! No. God No. I'll thank you to stay out of my wardrobe Sherlock. I can manage quite well on my own, thank you!"

Sherlock raised one eyebrow and shot him a look that begged to disagree, however, in spite of often claiming to be ignorant of such things, he knew enough about social niceties to realise that pushing the issue now would be highly counter-productive to his plan for the evening. He merely waved one hand in that vague 'go ahead' gesture of his and spun on his heels to retreat to his bedroom - ostensibly to pick out his own outfit for the night.  

Once safe within the confines of his room, however, Sherlock allowed his face to settle into one of his signature smirks. Oh, this was going to be so good! It's Christmas! he thought to himself. He'd been dying to get John into a proper gay club for years now - ever since the night at the pool, really -the horrifying moment when his own heart was unveiled to him and he realised just how much sentiment it held. For John. Always John. The shock had been immense, he could barely stand it. And once the deduction was made, well, you could not unsee what had been seen, could you? Of course - being Sherlock - he could always delete it. Yet he hadn't. Not yet. Maybe not ever. It was John, ordinary, straight, John. Sherlock did not do 'relationships'. And even if he did - John did not fancy other men. It was bizarre to persist in hoping that something might one day come of it - and yet, and yet - perhaps he was only human after all. He rather liked the warm feelings engendered by his always surprising friend. The fact that he was also undeniably handsome, with the kind of body that - if any body could be claimed do so - would be the type to set a certain consulting detective's pulse racing, well - that didn't hurt either, now did it?

Sherlock Holmes was nothing if not devious and certainly not without a streak of mischief when the situation allowed. He longed to see how John - his so-not-gay-John - would fare in a room full of - well, men loving other men. He wanted to see John's reactions, to deduce him, how comfortable he really was with their surroundings. It might give him a hint if 'all fine' really did mean all fine after all. He also got great pleasure in seeing John flustered, the bloom of embarrassment flushing up from his neck. The thought of making his secret crush squirm tonight, well, it was nothing short of - delicious! His mouth watered at the thought. And, he could admit to himself, there was one final motive at play. He longed to show his surprisingly strong and toned army doctor off, just this once, in public - to pretend just for a moment that this was a possibility, that in some alternate universe, a John Hamish Watson, army medic and surgeon, might have feelings  - non-platonic ones at that - for a Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, sociopatic genius with an unfortunate predilection for nicotine, 7 percent solution, and short, pragmatic men in awful jumpers. That's not wrong, not in the slightest, he thought defensively, and it definitely wasn't sad

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John could not get to his room fast enough, hoping his flatmate did not, in fact, trail after him to make good on his threat of choosing John's outfit. Because John had ideas of his own on what to wear tonight, and he could barely wait to execute his hastily-wrought plan. He practically dragged open his wardrobe, rummaging around amongst the boxes at the back before pulling out a few choice items, then bending to retrieve a wrapped package from underneath his chest of drawers. 

Eyes roving over the ensemble now laid out on the bed, he couldn't help but grin. Anticipation hummed in his veins as a strange and reckless kind of excitement began to build in the space around his heart. It felt strangely like the beginnings of arousal. Did he dare? There were a hundred reasons why this would be such a bad idea. And yet. And yet.. he was so fed up with hiding this part of himself, so sick of the denials and the pretence. Maybe it's time to show myself, all of myself, to the man who so completely shares my life...

John squared his shoulders and set to, with all the courage and determination that resided in his wonderfully solid soul. There was work to be done!

***

Downstairs, the faint sounds of John Watson getting dressed in the room above drifted into Sherlock's subconscious, in the way that all John's movements did, but he wasn't really paying attention. If he had not been so engrossed in his own preparations, he might have noticed that it was taking the army doctor significantly longer than usual to get ready, and might consequently have felt compelled to go investigate the reason why. However, luckily for John, he was for once rendered less than acutely observant by the excitement curling in his belly and by his annoyance at the slight shake in his hand as he applied a liberal coat of both eyeliner AND eyeshadow. A shake which was in no way caused by nerves. 

Sherlock studied his reflection and was pleased with what he saw. His jet black curls were glossy and smooth, with just a hint of bounce. He knew the effect his hair had on people. They always itched to fondle, to stroke, although Sherlock rarely allowed it. But he never minded being just a bit of a tease when it suited. Of course, he knew full well how to maximise the responses of either gender, with just a subtle glance from smoky eyes, a soft pout of moist pink (no glitter, just gloss) on his cupid's bow lip, or a barely-there toss of a silken curl. He had chosen a pair of dark tailored trousers (really he should tip his tailor more, the cut accented his lush arse to perfection!). He had teamed them with a white fancy shirt with soft ruffles at collar and cuffs that rather made him think of pirates, and he found he rather liked the connection. The outfit made him look dark, dangerous, seductive. He liked the feeling. He let it seep into his bones as he began to move about, spraying just enough of an expensive cologne to waft enticingly behind him without overpowering anyone who got close.

Sherlock might not do relationships - but he knew all about the power of seduction. He knew he looked good, would without doubt be considered desirable.  But he had no real idea what one John Watson might think. Just considering the stakes tonight brought a wave of nervous fireflies to lodge beneath Sherlock's belly button. He hoped John might - just might - respond favourably, or at least without judging what he saw - though it was some reassurance to know he could always spout the 'for a case' excuse if he had completely misjudged. It was still a risk, though, and the very thought of alienating John made his hands tremble even more as he tied his expensive, pointy-toed shoes. Still, there was a 91% chance of a not-entirely bad outcome, though he had not enough data to calculate the odds of outright success. (He suspected rather low, but he wasn't going to waste this chance by dwelling on it.) 

Sherlock went into the sitting room to wait for John, steepling his hands and entering his mind palace for a little indulgent play-back of the joyful moment when he got to say, out loud, to his army doctor those glorious words, saying to John's face that "you'll be my boyfriend" and "be my homosexual male lover". If nothing else this evening, he would have the memory of that. And given the venue, he hoped, oh how he hoped, for just a little bit more. 

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Finally, Sherlock registered John's footsteps on the stairs. That doesn't sound quite right, he thought. The tread is heavier than usual, gait is hesitant. He turned his head suspiciously towards the door, looking, in the moment, very much like an owl, the rest of his body still facing forward. He had a very clever outfit-related piece of snark ready to fire off, since John surely would have something hideous on and Sherlock did so like to tease the man, he responded so delightfully every time. 

Sherlock's mouth had begun to shape itself around the words even before the door swung open. But suddenly John was in the doorway and oh, it wasn't hideous. And oh! Sherlock's sentence shattered on the hard edges of his surprise, instantly forgotten as he sucked in an involuntary, shuddering breath. To his horror, his mind went blank - actually blank - his mouth was moving but Good Lord, nothing was coming out. He may or may not have emitted a faint squeak (though he would rather die than admit it). His jaw opened and closed several times. He swallowed. Offline. His great, big, deducing, genius brain had gone offline. 

There, leaning on the door frame with such studied nonchalance, was the most mouthwatering sight he had ever seen. It was John, of course it was John, but - it was so unlike John, unlike any part of John that he had yet seen, that Sherlock almost feared he was in the middle of one of his drug-induced hallucination. He already liked John. He already  fancied  John, even in his usual clothes, the ones that hid him beneath layers of mis-shapen wool and old-man plaid. But this John, this vision, well - it was obscenely luscious. There was no other word for it. Sherlock simply stared. 

John-but-not-John was all sinew and muscle, and yes, of course Sherlock knew very well that John kept himself fit running around the streets of London after his friend and flatmate, but knowing it and having it paraded in front of one, well. They were two different things entirely. And this - this, well, this was... just... downright edible..  mmmmmmhhh....  

Instead of John's usual style - wherein he seemed to dress for cold, or for bulk, or likely both - tonight's offering was tight. Tighter than tight. And it made him look so small and thin and.. yet so powerful and dangerous! Sherlock could barely breathe with the glory of it. The tight black v of his t-shirt outlined John's tanned, strong neck, clinging to the muscles of his chest. The snug line of the sleeves accentuated his biceps - oh God, those biceps! Sherlock could almost feel himself being gripped in them, moved, as if he weighed nothing at all, inconsequential. The power, intoxicating! And beneath the t-shirt, a pair of skinny trousers that hugged John's figure and seemed entirely made up of buckles and belts and fastenings, black as midnight, hinting at restraints and bondage and - just a touch of military around the edge. And those boots, leather, they looked like leather and how they shone! Sherlock swallowed and raised his eyes slowly to John's face, arrested by his wheat-gold hair ruffled and spiked in a way that took about ten years off his age. And oh Lord, was that glitter? Yes, glitter highlighting the sweep of his jaw, a light dusting above his eyes, making them shimmer in the reflected light. Sherlock was mesmerised. 

Could be dangerous, he thought, as his synapses rebooted frantically, and the thought dropped, sweet and heavy like syrup, until it caught somewhere beneath the buckle of his belt. Suddenly the night ahead felt wrong, in all the right ways. And his mind was awash with the soft and sibilant hiss of Christmas...

***

John swallowed nervously as he opened the door to the living room and stood - look casual, no big deal, just standing here, like usual - eyeing the gorgeous vision in front of him. Sherlock was lounging on his chair, all  angles and lines and legs that went on forever and that air of something uncontrollable, of raw power just barely restrained. His shirt was trade-mark-tight, pulled taut over that gorgeous torso, gleaming white with soft hints of ruffles arranged so artfully. He looked so put together, it was really unfair, that hair. That fucking gorgeous hair. And oh, then John caught Sherlock's eyes and his heart stuttered to a full-stop. Smoky, seductive, those eyes, lined in Khol and surrounded by dove greys and charcoal - God they pierced his soul. He couldn't stop staring at them, ice on water, sharp and deep. So beautiful! And oh, he could drown in them, but how could ice feel so warm, so alive, so heated, it didn't make sense. Those eyes, they reeled him in, hooked and gasping and irrevocably caught up in the chaos of the surging tide. 

But wait, why was Sherlock staring? Why so silent? Oh no, too much? Shit, this was such a mistake, oh God.. too late, too late now, pull it together Captain Watson, act naturally, pretend there's nothing wrong, just MOVE would you! 

John cleared his voice, pushed his shoulders back, raised his eyes to meet Sherlock's. He fought to keep his feelings in check and swallowed his nerves down and down, until they lodged somewhere below his navel. "Let's go, then, shall we? Taxi?" And he pushed off the wall with one foot, making for the door.

In a daze, Sherlock followed his Captain, of course he did. Only Sherlock never followed anyone. Except - except perhaps when he did. How very surprising, he muttered, swirling himself and his enigmatic Belstaff out the door. 

 

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The taxi rutted and rattled its way through the night-glow of a vibrantly edgy London, the city alive and tasting of barbed wire and anticipation. The cabbie showed not the slightest interest in his strange passengers, each studiously avoiding so much as a glance in the other's direction. John kept his eyes fixed on the window - even though in this light, he could hardly be able to see what lay beyond the glass - whereas Sherlock had whipped out his phone and was tapping away at the screen, head bent, attention focussed and narrow.. 

This is not going to plan, thought Sherlock. John is meant to be flustered by now. Adorably, predictably, nervously flustered. But he isn't! What does that mean? He hummed to himself as he pondered this inconsistency. Need more data!

He spared a glance at his flatmate on the opposite side of the cab. It was dark, the other man was barely visible, but as they passed each streetlamp, the glitter on his left cheek would catch the light in a binary, on-off kind of rhythm. It was almost hypnotic in its regularity. That glitter...

"John?" His voice was curious, his gaze narrow and cat-like, inquisitive. 

"Yes Sherlock?"

"Is that.. is that - glitter on your face? Some kind of highlighter?

"Oh - it's not just on my face. Actually it's a body rub," John said, with a slight, shy smile. His left hand stroked lazy circles on his pectorals, dipping lower towards the waistband of his trousers, at once seductive and suggestive. Sherlock's mind skipped like an old LP as the needle jumped. Oh God, he thought, as his heart frantically picked up the pace. Where else has he rubbed it?

"You put a glitter-rub on your body? Where?" Sherlock's voice seemed sharp, almost strident, and he wished fervently that John would stop stroking himself like that. 

John smiled, a predatory smile. "Everywhere!"

Sherlock barely avoided stuttering as he answered, "But - why on earth put it places people won't see? That's.. that's hardly sanitary!" 

"Oh," John teased, "why, you never know when your t-shirt might ride up, show a bit of skin," he said sultrily, toying with the hem of the garment in a most alarming fashion! "And it is a gay club. Who knows, I may be forced to take off my top.. just to, well, blend in after all."

Sherlock privately thought he must be hallucinating again. John didn't, he wasn't - was he? No, he wasn't - flirting was he? Nooooooo. Pull yourself together William Sherlock Scott Holmes! 

Silence spread through the taxi for a couple of seconds, as Sherlock digested the beautiful idea of John Watson dancing bare-chested and shining with glitter before he resolutely shook the image from his addled brain. Masking his confusion, his damned arousal, he made his face do that impassive thing he perfected long ago and asked the question that was burning brightest in the forefront of his mind. "But, John, why do you have a tub of, ah, glitter-body-rub in your room? It's not something you would have need of and just happen to have lying about the place, surely?"

"Oh," John answered nonchalantly, in his everyday matter-of-fact voice. "That's easy. One of my exes left it behind one time, and since things, ahh, ended before I could return it, I just kept it. Rather liked the taste of it, truth be told. Shame to bin it, really."

"Taste?" Sherlock gulped.  

"Yes, tastes like honey. Really nice honey, actually."

For one long, horrible moment, Sherlock forgot to breathe. Honey! Tastes. Like. Honey. Oh for the love of God! Of all things.. Honey?  He shuddered with the sudden rush of heat and all but moaned out loud. Oh, I love honey!  

He had the maddening sensation that he was losing control of his conscious thoughts. He didn't mean to. He didn't! But he simply could not prevent himself from imagining exactly where else the rub might have been - well - rubbed, by John's own compact fingers! Oh, he longed to taste it!

Sherlock's mind diverted precious processing power to the thought of John's golden skin smelling and tasting like honey. His previously inactive imagination roared into life and unhelpfully threw a moving image onto his internal projection screen. He could actually see it, see his lips exploring the delicious planes of John's honey-scented skin, see himself drizzling golden honey - real honey, from his precious store of home-sealed jars that John was forbidden to so touch - right into John's navel, a slick and glutinous trail running like liquid fire from his hand to John. The image was so real, so sensuous, he imagined the sounds John would make at the long slow slide of it on his skin, pooling there and overflowing, running down and down towards the forbidden nirvana of his groin, and Sherlock's tongue following, lapping, sucking - oh he had to stop this, now!

***

John watched as Sherlock frowned and seemed to get lost somewhere on another plane. He knew that his consulting idiot often got 'stuck' on a thought and found it hard to jump track again. John could see he was getting obsessed with the idea of the glitter-rub (which was in fact John's, and not left-over from one of his affairs. Honestly, John thought, when did I ever bring girls back to Baker Street, I know better than that!)

Still, he had to move this along, he could tell that Sherlock was getting caught up in this little detail like he does sometimes, and that he wouldn't leave it alone, he would pick and pick at it, until he had ferreted out the truth. It's too soon for it all to spill out now, before we even get to the club. Best deflect, then. 

"So," John said, "where did you get the khol? Oh - I know, you probably have it as one of your disguise-props. For cases I mean."

"No. Not a prop!" Sherlock almost-shouted, sounding more than a touch defensive to John's ears. Of course, the doctor was practised enough, after long years, to pick out the different flavours of 5-year-old that sometimes appeared when Sherlock was in a strop.

"I go to nightclubs. I dance. On occasion!" came the unmistakably indignant, even haughty, tones of a consulting detective who was so obviously hiding a particularly vulnerable spot. 

"No you don't!" retorted John, knowing full well that this was the best way to make his flatmate forget all about the glitter - for now!

"Yes I do! Well. I mean I could. If I wanted to! Obviously, John!"  

Objective achieved, the doctor knew better than to reply. Sherlock's resulting huff lasted the remainder of the way to the club. John was thankful for small mercies and kept his gaze on the window, where he could study the gorgeous profile of his beloved in reflection, while the object of his attentions remained unaware, lost in internal monologues and a sense-memory of honey on his tongue. 

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John was quietly pleased when he heard Sherlock give the cab driver directions to the club, relieved it was not one of the old haunts from his pre-army days. At least he wouldn't be recognised before he even got in the door - that wasn't how he wanted Sherlock to figure this out. Not that he really expected anyone to have remembered him, it had been years, after all. But it felt far less risky being on neutral ground. 

Sherlock swept unceremoniously from the taxi the moment it had rolled to a stop, leaving John to pay the fare - again! John followed the lanky detective, rolling his eyes but unable to stop a rising fondness from morphing his pseudo-glare back into a smile. Even from behind, Sherlock looked so imposing, almost imperious. It must be in the genes, John thought. He knew he could pose all day in a mirror and take acting classes for a month and still never look like that!

From the outside, the club looked like one of those pretentious renovated warehouses, terribly fashionable and all bare wood and glass on the inside. It practically screamed of interesting people and loud music and overpriced drinks in day-glo hues. The men lining up outside also looked terribly fashionable, and for once John was glad to have ditched the shapeless jumper. He might be a little older than the average, judging by the guys he could see, but he would still blend. And he was thankful to note that he wouldn't look too much like a chicken hawk while doing so. John took in the scented, coiffed, very well-dressed boys, the bass throb of the music, the hum of anticipation, and allowed himself to feel the first faint buzz of tension, the thrill of what lay ahead. Oh, this was going to be fun!

 ***

Sherlock was watching John from the corner of his eye. He couldn't understand it - his friend actually looked pleased to be here. He was even doing that annoying little feet-rocking thing. The tall detective felt decidedly put out. The least John could do was look a bit - well, twitchy or something. This was ruining all the fun. Sherlock had gone to all this trouble to bring John someplace outside his comfort zone, someplace dangerous,and here he was, looking around, grinning and relaxed - seemingly as comfortable here as in the sitting-room of 221b. Maddening! He would just have to up the ante.. 

***

John smiled to himself as he strode confidently into the dark embrace of the club. It had been so long since he'd been to a club like this. It felt strangely like coming home - not to a place but to a lost part of himself, an almost-forgotten John who had existed in the spaces before war and heat and sand and pain, before the lure of cases and gorgeous, asexual flatmates. It was amazing how it all clicked back neatly into place, without even having to try.

Two bottles of elegant but overpriced beer clutched in their hands, the Belstaff reluctantly relinquished to the coat check ("I told you it was too warm for a coat tonight, you berk!"), Sherlock and John found a quiet spot on a handy mezzanine that afforded a good view of most of the club, directly above the dance floor. 

"Right, so - who are we looking for again? What do you need me to do? What's the plan?" asked John. 

Sherlock's look was puzzled, before he caught himself and replied, much to John's amusement, that the ex-army doctor had no purpose tonight save decoration. His role was to help Sherlock blend in and avoid being annoyingly chatted up by the clientele. In fact, the great git refused to offer up any detail on the case at all - thanks to which, John steadfastly refused to ask.

Which is just as well, thought Sherlock. Considering that there is no case in the first place. The tall detective felt quite pleased with himself and indulged in a small, self-satisfied smirk before masking it in a signature scowl and turning away. 

***

Sherlock allowed John a few minutes grace to settle and consume no less than half his beer (the stuff was really quite disgusting, he could not drink more than a mouthful of his own). Contrary to Sherlock's expectations, John was not acting as if being in a gay club bothered him in the slightest. He didn't seem surprised - or even especially interested -  at the actions of the very-male couples around them. He barely seemed to register the casual touches, hand-holding and caresses they were witness to.  And he was most definitely not staring-wide-eyed-then-blushing-and-trying-to-hide-it at the (gorgeous) sight of two men kissing. The men were almost on top of them, too. And it was not just a peck either. They are really going-at-it, thought Sherlock. Vigorous use of tongue combined with rather sensuous frotting. Surely this should cause John some discomfort - but no, he's watching the dancers, and not in a 'I'm too embarrassed to look' way, either. He's genuinely relaxed. Sherlock's interior monologue paused briefly to consider this new conundrum. Maybe John needs glasses! 

This was not going at all to plan. Sherlock scowled. Time to take it up a notch, he thought. Let's see how composed army-boy can stay when he's  dancing with another man and forced to bump and grind with the masses!  With that, he turned to John, and taking his bottle from him, placing it on a nearby table, smiled that fake-charming smile that John knew so well, the one that spelled trouble for sure.

"Let's dance, John," he purred, all grace and seduction. Sherlock tilted his head in a way he knew was considered provocative as he took John's hand and manoeuvred him down the stairs and onto the dance floor in one easy glide. His heart was beating even faster now, maybe too fast, but - he could blame it on the music if needs be. He felt a wonderful wave of excitement crest within him at the thought of - finally! - moving in sync with this compact man on the dance floor. Oh, he had wanted this! His mouth was dry with anticipation. And then.. and then, somehow, they were on the floor, facing each other - and suddenly, everyone else in the entire club simply faded into the background as he looked into John's deep blue eyes and the intro of the next song began to play.

***

John had barely managed not to spit beer on himself when Sherlock unexpectedly swiped his bottle mid-gulp. He glared at his flatmate for a second, before remembering their cover story and wondering if the detective had spotted something and might be about to make a move. But then - Sherlock was taking his hand, and oh, it felt divine. And that voice! Purring? yes, it was definitely a purr. Sherlock bloody Holmes just purred, John marvelled, keenly aware of the distinctive flutter said purring was causing in his nether regions. Who knew the man could even make a sound like that! And oh God, what other sounds might he make if.. no. No. Focus! John took a deep inhale and tried most definitely not to think about those kinds of noises coming from this beautiful man's gorgeous bloody mouth.

He could hardly believe he was about to dance with - quite literally - the man of his dreams. It wasn't a slow set, but in a way, that was just as well. He wasn't sure how long he could keep himself from misbehaving if he were to suddenly be graced with an armful of luscious consulting detective accompanied by a slow, seductive tune. As the first strains of the intro surged over them, he raised his eyes to Sherlock's and read - irritation? Confusion? Nerves? But whatever the look was, it was fleeting, replaced by a dazed kind of intensity that John had no words for. He'd never seen this particular look on Sherlock's face before. 

And then they began to dance. 

 

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The beat was rich and throbbing. The beat was hypnotic. The beat was a living thing. 

Sherlock closed his eyes and let the wild waves of it rise around him, settling into the empty spaces of his body until he was filled with vibrating, rhythmic fire. Sherlock loved to dance. And tonight he wanted to dance with John.

He opened his eyes and looked straight at his army doctor, meeting a blaze of devilish stars sparking across the softness of a midnight sky. Shuddering, Sherlock could not quell the rise of a strange emotion deep in his chest as those eyes bored into his - a challenge. Oh, this man was so beautiful. So enticing, barely contained in all that tight black wrapping! Sherlock almost wept at the sight of him, so close. Not close enough. 

And then suddenly they were gliding, moving to that glorious beat. God it's too sensuous, Sherlock thought. It felt as if he could die of it right there. And they were dancing so close, almost touching - not touching - nearly touching. Dancing like two parts of one body, so smoothly, how could that be? What should have been awkward, uncomfortable, was astonishingly easy. It felt familiar, as if their bodies already knew how to synchronise, to move together, without being told. Oh John, can't you see? Thought Sherlock. Can't you see how made for me you are. Your body knows it. Your body moves for me so effortlessly. Oh John!  

***

John almost buckled under a wave of knee-trembling anticipation as he stood opposite Sherlock on the dance floor. He wanted to touch the man so badly he could taste it, like iron on the tongue. He kept eye contact with Sherlock for a brief second. Do your worst, Sherlock. I'm ready! he said with his eyes, a call to arms. 

And then the music began to rise up through the dark, intimate spaces between them and somehow it had a magic of its own, surrounding his body like a caress, seeping into his soul as it took control of his limbs. His body began writhing to the beat as something primal, something beyond time, pulled him into orbit, and John surrendered completely to its embrace. And just like that, he was lost, the music, the heat, the pull of Sherlock's body, those magnetic eyes lined in khol, these things owned him. Here, in the dark, on the dance floor, John Watson was no longer his own. 

As the first song gave way to the next, and then the next, John felt his movements synchronise beautifully with the taller man's. Unable to resist any longer, he raised his eyes to Sherlock's, and oh God, the intensity hit him like a wave. Sherlock's gaze seemed to grip John's very soul, an irresistible pull that he could not for the life of him refuse. They moved as one, as if tethered together. Sherlock's wiry body flowed forwards and John's compact frame ebbed in retreat. The strange electricity in the air built and hummed, until it was almost unbearable in its fevered pitch.   

But how could he have ever thought he could do this, dance without betraying his soul-deep, aching want  for this man. How could he bear to simply  dance  with this delicious mass of curls - to dance so close to Sherlock and not touch him, hold him, feel the gorgeous slide of his skin as their bodies pressed together, hearts on fire. What chance had John against the pull of that intense gaze, that masterful, brooding grace? Because Sherlock was so graceful! How could a man so socially awkward be so devastatingly graceful when he danced? He was fluid and lithe and... and  undulating, for fuck's sake! 

His fingers itched to reach out, to take, to hold, to explore, and damn the consequences. But John was not one to easily admit defeat. He tore his eyes away from the visual feast before him, relinquishing his hold on Sherlock's smouldering eyes. Putting a few scant inches between them, he began to weave his hips to the music in earnest, letting his lids fall closed as he gave in to the call of the intense and throbbing beat.

The beat that pulsed like a living thing... surrounding him as he surrendered to the tide. 

***

God, the man was breathtaking! His eyes, his eyes so intense, boring into me, God his eyes! Sherlock felt as if he could barely breathe, his heart was in his throat, his heart was expanding, his heart was about to explode - and then - and then - John closed his eyes! He broke the link, the connection that was blossoming like liquid fire between them! Sherlock felt it like the snap of an elastic breaking, a door slamming in his face - how could he do that?

And just like that, John was dancing, just as fluid as before, but without Sherlock. John was dancing alone. Oh, but not alone - other bodies, other people, dancing so close to him. How dare they! Sherlock barely bit back a growl. He wanted to grab John, shake him, make him see Sherlock again. See to whom he belonged! 

But the small army doctor was gyrating and - oh God  - he began bumping and grinding with some nameless man behind him. Sherlock felt his heart sink, his heart was shattering, his heart was stomped into a million pieces on the floor.. and then - then the man's big hands came to rest on John's body, on John's perfect hips, and suddenly, Sherlock could watch no more. He retreated, he had to get away from this, he couldn't - Oh John!

***

John swayed and twisted to the music, losing all sense of up and down, here, in the dark, with his eyes closed. But he could feel Sherlock behind him, so close now! Oh God, would he? Somehow, the darkness behind his own eyelids gave John the courage he had never quite found before. If not now, when? Do it! his demons whispered. So he did it, he pushed subtly backwards until his body made contact with Sherlock's belly and it felt so good to brush against him. And then Sherlock's hands came to his waist and Sherlock - no- wait, those weren't Sherlock's hands! What the-? 

John's eyes snapped open and he shot a glance over his shoulder - nope, definitely not Sherlock.  John calmly lowered his hands to the (increasingly insistent) hands on his hips and slowly prised them free, letting them go with a pat as he moved away. What the buggering, bloody fuck - where was the git? How could he have left me alone up here! Idiot probably saw the suspect and ran off after him. Didn't wait for backup, no! Didn't tell me he was leaving, oh no, that would be too much to ask! John desperately scanned the room, looking for the familiar dark curls in the crowd. There he is! John exclaimed, finally catching sight of the consulting detective leaning against the bar, knocking back some awful looking cocktail, looking at nothing in particular. I should have known he was just faking it. "It's for a case John", after all. Damn it all to hell. I was so sure he wanted to - but no - Sherlock isn't like that, is he? No. Should have known..

And since the great genius detective seemed to have no further use for him at the moment, John shrugged, swallowed down his hurt at the summary rejection, and returned to dancing, leaning into the sea of hot, hard bodies that pressed around him... Losing himself in their midst, as the beat moved on, oblivious.  

 

Chapter Text

John turned his head to look up at his friend. Yep, he was still there, still drinking at the bar. It looked like some bloke was trying to talk to him - getting the brush-off, naturally. John felt a faint stab of guilt at having abandoned his role as defender of Sherlock's virtue. But then he noticed that Sherlock seemed to be doing just fine by himself, judging by how speedily the other bloke was making like a scalded cat. In any case, it was Sherlock who had abandoned John, so why the fuck was John feeling guilty now? It's not like Sherlock actually meant any of that relentless eye-fucking or suggestive moves from their - frankly hot - first dance. He was playing a role. It was for a case.

And yet, something felt off. Sherlock looked - he looked upset - why would he be upset? John watched those steel-grey eyes move until the full heat of Sherlock's attention settled on him. John couldn't seem to read the expression, but there was a storm building there. It made John shiver. Oh God, he thought. Did he just figure it out? This is Sherlock, and I was hardly subtle.. Does he know that I am in - that I like him that way? Have I made him feel so uncomfortable he had to rush away? He gulped and considered returning to Sherlock's side. But then he remembered his bright idea from earlier, his reason for dressing this way for Sherlock. Yes, I wanted this. I wanted him to SEE me. To know. No more hiding.  

And with that, John locked eyes with Sherlock and - resisting the impulse to let himself sink back into the heaving mass of bodies, to let their ardour and their snaking arms engulf him - began to dance for Sherlock!

***

Sherlock scowled at the boring arse who was attempting to chat him up. A few choice words soon had him scurrying for cover. Idiot! His eyes automatically shifted back to John on the dance floor. Sherlock did not want to look, it hurt too much to watch John with those other men pressing so very close to him.. their big ugly hands all over him.. their horribly muscled thighs and hard, slick chests pressing against his body... And yet he couldn't look away. His eyes met John's again, and the whole room seemed to momentarily still. Sherlock traced fleeting emotions across his friend's face before it settled into a strangely grim determination. Licking his lips, God, those lips! John claimed Sherlock's gaze and slowly began to move.  

Oh, it took his breath away! John, John is dancing so.. intimately, so - could he reaĺly be dancing for me? He... he's looking right at me, there is something almost vulnerable in his gaze. Why? Why would he be feeling that way? What does it mean? 

Sherlock began to panic, he didn't know, he couldn't understand. It was so horribly confusing! This wasn't how it was meant to be, John was ruining everything! He was meant to be the flustered one, eyes big as saucers, a heterosexual goldfish out of water, shocked and overwhelmed - oh, but hopefully not disgusted, not horrified - and perhaps, just perhaps, a little curious, oh God he had hoped for curious. But he had not reckoned on this - a teasing, seductive John who was obviously not shocked or horrified or anything like it, who seemed to enjoy the - but wait! Rewind that! What?

Sherlock's jaw dropped in stunned surprise. He could barely breathe, his knees almost gave way beneath him. It would be true to say that Sherlock Holmes was rarely blind-sided by an observation. Yet he had been so focused on his own emotions this evening that he had let the completely self-evident implications of John's revealing behaviour pass right over his highly intelligent head.

Oh! John was not straight. Obviously!  Not his first time.. The clothes and the glitter and the lack of discomfort at blokes getting off together and the ease of his stance and the dancing - the dancing! - and the looks, the scorching looks - the - the -  

John was watching Sherlock closely and caught the moment where this all just became too much for his friend. He recognised the signs of oncoming overload. He scrambled to intercept. All strategies and agendas aside - Sherlock needed him. Now. 

***

Within seconds John was by his friend's side. Sherlock simply stared at him, face blank, seemingly unable to say a word. He wasn't even blinking - oh, this was bad! "Come on, Sherlock", John said, in his calm quiet way. "Just breathe for me, hmm?" He gripped the taller man's arms, trying to ground him, and found his own biceps clasped tightly in a bony-fingered grip. "It's ok. Everything is ok, alright?"

He kept up a comforting litany of softly spoken words, until at last Sherlock took a single shuddering breath and his eyes finally - finally - focussed back on John, who was standing, holding his upper arms. John knew it was too loud for Sherlock in here right now, too many lights, too much stimulation, too hot. He needed to get somewhere he could check on Sherlock properly, and he could only assume they also needed to find somewhere they could talk. He tugged his friend gently after him into the corridor leading to the loos. 

The corridor was cool and dim, with minimal traffic. The club had a 'dark room' so the toilets seemed quiet enough, relegated to their designated function. Out here, the music was just a faint thrum, a fuzzy beat, echoing John's heart throbbing in his ears. He took a steadying breath and looked Sherlock in his eyes.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't think it would be a problem. I just - look, let's forget it, alright? Are you ok? You checked out for a minute there on me. Sherlock, you need to answer me now, use your words, ok?"

"John!" Sherlock's voice was barely a whisper. "You're - you're -"

"Bisexual, Sherlock. You can say it. God knows it's the truth. Not gay. Not straight. Somewhere in between."

"But - why? Why didn't you tell me? Surely - surely you couldn't think it would matter? Why did you hide it so long, it's - you were lying all this time, I - "

"I'm so sorry. I tried, you know. Tried to tell you. So many times. I was just - I was a coward, alright?"  He stopped, searching for the next words, praying they would be the right ones, that they would get through to this man, the one he simply could not bear to lose.

"I just - on that first day, in Angelo's, you seemed so - I dunno - so put out thinking I might be making a move on you. You went completely frosty on me. I wanted - no, I needed - you to like me, needed the flat share, needed the life you has already started to breathe back into me that night. Wanted you to be comfortable. With me. And it'd been so long since I'd even done anything with a man, and it's not like I mind dating women. I thought, sod it, not like it's that big a part of my life now anyway. And the longer it went on, the whole 'not gay' thing, the harder it got. I was afraid it would change things, I couldn't risk it, risk losing your friendship."

John huffed a quiet laugh, his voice lowering as if talking to himself. "I never really thought it would fool you, you know. I wanted you to deduce it. Jesus, you can tell everything about me just from the way I hold a cup or something! I thought, how could he not know? How can anyone fool Sherlock Holmes? I just wanted you to figure it out without having to say it. Out loud.  But I - I shouldn't have sprung it on you like this tonight, it was stupid. I can see that now." John trailed off into silence, biting his lower lip, eyes pensive and trained on Sherlock's face. 

Sherlock's quick-fire eyes darted over John, his clothes, his face, finally seeing, really seeing, the man as if for the first time. He's right, you know, I really - I should have known. How was I so blind, not to see it. It was always there. Right there, in front of me.

"I wish you had told me",  he whispered. "I would have - I really would have understood." He had so many questions circling his head, spinning so fast. He wanted - he had so many questions - damn it - they just wouldn't come out. The words lodged somewhere behind his breastbone, right next to his ever-expanding heart. 

"I need a drink", was all he managed to say. So John took his hand - his hand, how had that happened? - and drew him gently back towards the bar. 


 

 

Chapter Text

John watched as Sherlock knocked back yet another drink - how many has he had tonight? I need to stop him after this one, shock or no shock. 

It was getting late, whatever case there had been - if there ever had been a case - was a dead end. John was about to suggest they head back to Baker Street, when the atmosphere in the club changed. John recognised the first strains of a slow set - sweet and somehow melancholy, tugging at the heart. The lights dimmed even more, and he could see the outlines of slow-dancing couples swaying gently on the floor. He looked at Sherlock, taking in the dazed and slightly panicked edge to his expression. He sighed, understanding what his friend needed. He looked so - miserable. Alright then, John would ask for a dance with Sherlock. One slow dance and then - he would take Sherlock home and away from this club. They would go home, to the flat he shared with the man he happened to love. Home, where he could spend the rest of his sorry lifetime trying to forget the feel of this man in his arms. It was time. Time to put this to bed.  

"Sherlock. Sherlock? We'll be leaving soon. But before we go - will you do something for me? Hmm? will you dance with me? Just one dance, a slow-dance. Please?"

"Dance with you? Why?"

"Oh Sherlock!" he sighed. "You can't have failed to deduce that - that I've had... feelings for you? The signs have all been there." He forged ahead in the hopes of offsetting the rising astonishment, perhaps even fear, that he could see in Sherlock's face. "Don't worry, it's ok. I know that you don't - well, you don't do romance or dating. And even if you did - well obviously it wouldn't be with me. I know that. So - don't be alarmed, I'm not looking for anything like that from you."

Sherlock just stood blinking. Not good. John sought his friend's eyes, so that the man could be sure John was telling the truth. "I've spent so many years learning how to accept that you can't return my feelings. And I do accept it, fully and completely. I have no expectations. But - since this is a kind of unique opportunity, I wondered - would you be generous enough to let me have just one dance, like this, tonight? 

"I - I don't understand..."

"I guess I'm asking you to let me pretend - just this once... I'll never ask again. Do you think you could give me that? A few minutes of holding you close, before I finally let you go?"

John held out his hand. And Sherlock took it, and suddenly they were on the dance floor, the lights down low, the music soft and lovely. This was everything John had ever asked for, ever needed, right here, finally, in his arms. And oh, this was heaven. And oh, this was hell. 

***

Sherlock had never in his life been so blind-sided by something someone said. His mind shrieked to a halt, even as his body responded, taking John's hand, moving with him to the dance floor, and oh, oh - moving closer to him, sinking into the warm circle of his arms, and oh God, this was a strange kind of perfection. It was unbearable! It was delightful! None of this was making any sense. 

John Watson has feelings for me?  He wants to dance? To hold me?  Sherlock's mind instantly came back online, his thoughts now whirling, free-falling, flailing. He had to get a grip! But that didn't make any sense. John was strai- oh, no. He wasn't. Was he?  Already established that he was in point of fact very far from super-straight.That had been a monumental mistake. Damn it - there's always something! 

Right there, on the darkened dance floor, Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, genius and avid admirer of one Doctor John Hamish Watson, first learned what it was to hope. 

***

The song was over far too soon. John had really believed that he could take this one moment of brightness, of sweetness, of joy, and then give it up forever. He had been convinced that one dance would be enough. But as soon as he took his flatmate in his arms, he realised that, when it came to Sherlock, for him there would never be enough. Enough anything.

The time it took for the music to swell and then fade felt both endless and cruelly, horribly short. Those few minutes of pressing this man to his frantic heart were the most intoxicating, joyful, and yet most bitter of all the moments of his life so far. He felt that every second had always been silently leading up to this one pivotal point - this instant where he suddenly understood how truly screwed he was. His love for Sherlock was never going to lie down quietly and die. It wasn't the kind of love to warm him by reflection, something soft and familiar to provide comfort over long years of solitude. No, it was a roaring, swearing, snarling beast of a thing. It had claws and fangs and it was ravenous! And he had woken it good and proper now. 

As the song died out, he felt his heart sink in his chest. He gave one last, lingering, hug and leaned up to whisper "thank you" in Sherlock's ear, before stepping back and letting go. It broke his heart, but he had promised. He let go anyway.

Silently, he led the way towards the cloak room to reclaim his best friend's beloved coat, before venturing outside, hands shoved into his pockets against the sudden chill of midnight air. Well, no more secrets, he thought. It's all out in the open now. He just hoped his friend would not freak too badly, once he had time to work it all through. He needed Sherlock in his life. Leaving just wasn't an option. It never had been, not since that very first question, "Afghanistan or Iraq?". 

Sherlock seemed unwilling to talk right now, and a part of John was almost grateful for the silence, the peace. During the (too short) taxi ride home, he concentrated on locking away the memory. He tried to re-create the exact feeling of Sherlock in his arms, moving gently in time with his body, holding him close. It gave him a funny feeling in his heart. But he would bear it. He would! He had to.

 

Chapter Text

John put on the kettle as soon as they got back to the flat. There was nothing that wouldn't feel a little better with the addition of a nice cup of tea. He set a steaming cup in front of a still-dazed looking - but much calmer - Sherlock, and settled back to wait. 

When not one word was forthcoming, he decided to set the ball rolling himself. This thing needed to be cleared up between them, he wouldn't have it festering overnight in Sherlock's giant brain. 

"Sherlock, you ok?"

"Of course I'm ok. Why wouldn't I be ok?" he practically spat. Oh good, defensive mode. Fine. 

"Well, it might be a lot to take in. A bit of a shock. You know. Me having - feelings? - for you?" John cringed at the words. But - they had to be said. 

"Yes. Well. Nobody ever liked me that way before, John. I am not quite sure what to do with that.. information."

"Nobody liked - Sherlock, what are you talking about? Loads of people fancy you. Loads."

"Don't be an idiot, John."

"They do - you're - look at you!"

"Oh? Who? Name them, if you're so sure of yourself."

"Loads of people. Molly, for starters."

"Molly!" Sherlock snorted, "she doesn't count. She's a woman."

Oh no, of course. I'm a bloke. He probably feels weird because I'm a guy. What an idiot I am!

"Well - yes, it's true, she's a woman and I'm not, and I know that may feel strange but I know men fancy you too, there are loads of our clients who tried to -"

"Oh do keep up. It's not about that is it? Fancying. When it comes down to it, people don't actually like me, John. Not really." Sherlock's voice was scathing. 

"In case you haven't noticed, Sherlock, I am not people."

"No, you're my flatmate."

Oh, thought John. That's it, he's right. I've only gone and made him uncomfortable in his own home, the one place of all places where he should feel safe. What have I done? 

"I'm so sorry," John mumbled. "I promise you I haven't been disrespectful, I really do try not to look when you're floating around half dressed. And I don't go through your stuff. And I never - you have to admit, I never take advantage of you being hurt or tired to touch you in ways I shouldn't. I would never want to make you feel uncomfortable. I'm so sorry if that's how this makes you feel."

Sherlock simply stared at him. John had no idea how to fix this. But if his sorry confession lost him Sherlock's friendship then he really didn't know what he would do. 

"Sherlock. If I make you feel so uncomfortable.. do you want me to - leave?" John's heart was in his throat. Please God he thought, don't let him ask me to leave.

"No! No John! You can't leave! That's not what I meant."

"Then what did you mean?"

"I meant - you - you know me. You live with me. You know more about me than anyone else, ever. Even more than Mycroft, maybe. And yet you stick around. You tell me 'amazing' and 'brilliant' and - you stay. Nobody stays. But you do. And then you say you - you want me? Knowing me? Knowing who I am, what I can likely offer, having seen me at my worst moments as much as my best? And you still want me?"

"Of course I want you, you absolute idiot," John breathed, hardly daring to hope that his growing suspicion might be true.  

Sherlock's eyes - those kohl-rimmed startling eyes - bore into his own. "John," he whispered. I don't know how to do this."

"You don't have to know, Sherlock. Just tell me what it is you want, what you need."

"You, John. I want you. Only you."

That was all John needed to hear. He crossed the distance between them, but slowly, so as not to spook the already perturbed detective - and knelt slowly beside Sherlock's chair. 

"And I you, Sherlock. And I you," he said, as he leant in for the gentlest little kiss. And all that Sherlock could taste was the delicious scent of honey on his lips. 

Chapter Text

Sherlock and John's first kiss was sweet and lovely and altogether far too short. It was so short, sweet and lovely that they felt obliged to do it again. And again. Until suddenly it wasn't enough any more to be sweet, and something deep and urgent grew in the frenzied way Sherlock pushed his lips into John's and John's tongue invaded Sherlock's mouth so insistently in return. 

Neither man could quite believe that this was happening. And yet - it was, and it was perfect! John couldn't hold back a low moan as the kiss deepened and brought him spiralling down and down in a wave of dark velvet desire. He heard Sherlock's deep-voiced moan in response, and suddenly kissing was not enough and the angle was too awkward and he needed skin, now. So he pushed Sherlock backwards in the chair and straddled his beautifully long thighs. He brought his hands up to untuck that white shirt from those ridiculously tight trousers and started to undo the buttons one by one, lips never leaving Sherlock's for a second as he moved.  

Sherlock flinched as John's fingers brushed his tensed abdominal muscles, and John paused, lifting his lips just a few millimetres from Sherlock's. 

"Hey - you ok? Too much?"

"God, don't stop. It's brilliant. Don't you dare stop!"

John's lips quirked into a grin as he lowered them back to their luscious prize. Wouldn't dream of it, he thought, but was too preoccupied to bother trying to say it. He had more important things on his mind, like how to get them both horizontal before he went out of his mind with this feeling. John was achingly aware of his own erection, and could feel - oh it was tantalizingly hard - the iron nudge of an answering hardness from Sherlock against his belly. He couldn't help but rut a little, grinding down and squirming in his lap. Damn but there were too many clothes in the way! 

His fingers unhooked the last button and he - finally - managed to slip that shirt off Sherlock's shoulders and oh, all that creamy skin and oh, he had to taste it! He regretfully left the gorgeous wet slide of Sherlock's lips and started to kiss his way down that long, pale neck and further down, down, until his lips met soft skin and muscle. Sherlock moaned again, a deep baritone rumble that set John's desire alight. His kisses to Sherlock's chest became sloppy and when he came to a peaked nipple he drew it into the soft wetness of his mouth and sucked, causing Sherlock to buck beneath him at the sensation. 

Sherlock's hands were scrabbling ineffectively at John's t-shirt, so John took pity on him and swiftly removed it for him. Then suddenly they were chest to chest and writhing against each other in the confines of the small armchair, hands everywhere and skin aflame. John stopped just long enough to whisper "bed" in Sherlock's ear before dismounting and pulling him by the hand towards Sherlock's adjacent room (John figured his own room was simply too far away). 

John shimmied out of his trousers and pants in one sinuous move, prompting Sherlock to do the same. They collapsed in a tangled heap on Sherlock's bed. Suddenly they were naked, and very, very aroused. Sherlock blushed, he could feel the warm flush traverse his chest and neck all the way to his hairline. This was - this was exquisite agony. He hid his heated face in John's (steady, reliable, non-judgemental John's) neck. John's strong arms tightened around him and he caught the delicious scent of honey. Yes! he thought, and his lips followed the tantalizing taste from John's neck all the way down, down, until he was licking John's belly with abandon. It tasted exactly as good as he thought it would, rich and golden and sweet.

Sherlock felt the warm heaviness of John's erection nudging his cheek. Oh, he thought. How delicious! Turning his head, he continued his licking and kissing along the shaft, focusing on the sensitive head and underside, and revelling in the salty taste of John. The beautiful noises he was drawing from John were amazingly erotic, he felt his cock harden even more, it was aching, but it felt so good. Oh, if he had known this was where the night would end, he would gladly have turned that damned taxi around and never gone to that club at all. This - this was - perfect! He may not have much experience, but he had some. He took a breath and swallowed John down to the root, relishing the shuddering gasp John gave. He repeated it once, twice and - suddenly it was too much for John. He couldn't hold off any longer. He tugged frantically at Sherlock's hair to signal him to pull off, but instead Sherlock moved his mouth up to the tip of John's cock and sucked him through a shuddering and very loud orgasm, swallowing everything John gave with relish.

Hearing the man he had wanted for so long moaning in ecstasy was almost enough to send Sherlock over the edge himself, but he managed to hold off. His desire was urgent, almost frantic, knowing he was leaking pre-come furiously onto the bedding below, but not having it in him to care. It felt so glorious. He climbed up John's glowing body and attacked his mouth, kissing him furiously, as he involuntarily began to rut against his hip. Oh, he was so excited, he wasn't going to last long, he was going to - but then John suddenly flipped him, as if he weighed nothing at all, so that he was lying on his back. Sherlock delighted in the strength, the masterful handling of his body by John's hands. Oh yes! John's hand moved down Sherlock's silken body until his fingers met his hot, aching erection. He wrapped his fist around the shaft and began to pump, spreading pre-come to ease the glide. It was heavenly! Sherlock began to pant, he was nearly - nearly - so nearly there! And John, wonderful John knew it somehow, and sped up his movement, and then he was there, he was there and falling, falling, tumbling over the edge and spilling relentlessly over John's capable, delightful hand.

Shuddering out a sigh, Sherlock went completely still, burying his face back in his new favourite place, the warm and lovely nook where John's neck met his shoulder. He smiled into John's skin and drew the other man as close as he could, wrapping his long arms around his sated army Captain. Rumbling in pleasure, he decided he was never letting go again.

John, for his part, could think of no better place to be. He had never felt more alive, more at home, than right now, in this moment of bliss. This was their essence, honey on silk, this right here would be their own special slow dance - and he just knew that it was going to last forever.