Proposal + 00:40:00
“I don’t have anything to give you,” John started cautiously, rubbing the platinum band on his ring finger. He was settled in his chair, working on a second cup of tea. “I would like to, though. If that’s something you want.” Honestly, he’d never seen Sherlock wear any accessory other than his watch.
“Ah, but you do,” Sherlock replied from behind him. He was, quite unusually, fixing his own coffee. And gathering a handful of biscuits.
“Have something to give me.” Sherlock returned from the kitchen and sat at his desk, flipping his laptop open.
John suppressed a shudder as he watched Sherlock take a sip of what he knew was his preferred, sickeningly sweet, industrial-strength coffee. “I—no, I don’t. At least I don’t think I do. Did you find something while you were rummaging through my things?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Haven’t done that in ages.”
John took a sip of tea. “But you know I have a ring to give you.”
“I didn’t say it was a ring, did I?”
John looked heavenward, waiting. Sherlock ignored him. “Sherlock.”
“It’s something you used to wear every day. Something eloquent, that speaks of the man you are and the life you lived before we met. Something that speaks of your commitment, loyalty and resolve,” Sherlock continued. “Something with your name on it.”
John gaped, stunned by the depth of feeling inherent in the request and the fact that it had come from his Sherlock. “You want to wear my dog tags?”
“Eminently practical given the things I tend to do with my hands.”
John’s sigh was genuine and resigned: that sounded more like his Sherlock. “You know there’s no rule says you have to wear anything at all, especially something so sentimental."
The man waved a hand dismissively as he chased a bite of chocolate HobNob with another mouthful of coffee. “While I may not fully grasp the intricacies of relationships, I am aware the modern custom is for both partners to wear such emblems. I think this is an elegant solution, don’t you?”
Sherlock turned toward him, looking incredibly smug. John couldn’t help but smile—today he could forgive the gorgeous git just about anything. He set his tea down and stood.
“All right, then.”
John made his way up to his room and dug the box he kept his tags in out of his old footlocker. He ran a thumb over the plain black cardboard then looked at the Holmes family heirloom now on his hand. He wished there wasn’t such a disparity between the tokens, but couldn’t help but be chuffed that Sherlock wanted to wear something so intimate.
As John made his way down the stairs, clutching the black box in his hand, he could hear Sherlock’s voice echoing up towards him. “…looks very promising. What do you think?”
He reached the lower landing and padded toward the door with amusement.
“Wasn’t in the room, love,” he said lightly as he made his way back to the desk. “You’ll have to start at the beginning.”
Sherlock looked up, blinking. “The beginning?”
“I was upstairs.” John waggled the box in front of him. “Go on, then. Tell me about the case.”
Sherlock looked pleased, turning the laptop so John could see the photos that had been sent along with the email. “Missing fortune of a recently deceased media tycoon. No surviving relations—all earmarked for charity. A Mr. Littleton writes on behalf of the firm representing the estate.”
“Right,” John said. He stood beside Sherlock, his own body at a right angle to the man in the chair. He leaned his abdomen against Sherlock as an arm snaked around him. It was easy, natural—as though John had always stood this close and Sherlock had always held him tight, caressing one hip with his thumb. John opened the box and set it on the desk, pulling the chain free. “So how can the money be missing? Isn’t it in a bank or a trust or something?”
“Was. Should be. But not anymore.” Sherlock pointed to the photos. “This is the bank where the bulk of the liquidated assets were housed. The senior executives are with the police, there by the door. They and the employees have all been investigated—thus far, no leads. A variety of stocks and bonds had been kept in a safe deposit box…”
Sherlock trailed off, concentrating. John inclined the dark head toward him slightly and slipped the chain over it. He dropped a kiss on Sherlock’s temple and smoothed a hand quickly over the chest where the small metal plates now lay.
He wasn’t at all certain Sherlock had noticed until the man’s free hand slipped up to clasp the dog tags in a tight fist.
“Oh,” Sherlock said suddenly, sounding very disappointed. “No, never mind. It was the bank manager. She’s his niece. Boring.”
“I thought you said there were no surviving relations.”
“She was disinherited six, no, seven years ago. Faked a suicide by…drowning…and established a new identity.”
“So not dead.”
“Not as such, no.”
John smiled to himself as Sherlock released him to pick up his phone. He turned and made his way to the kitchen.
He noted happily that Mrs. Hudson had brought the paper up, though she’d left it in the kitchen near the bin—not her usual place. He grabbed the Weetabix box from the shelf, his stomach suddenly reminding him that while he’d not eaten in quite some time, he had been unusually active. He retrieved a bowl, deposited two biscuits into it and turned to the refrigerator.
Proposal + 04:15:00
“I don’t care what they call it. Why can’t we do it today?”
John was sat on the sofa, eating a sandwich, watching as Sherlock paced in front of the window working himself into a proper snit.
The presentation of John’s dog tags had preceded a delightful, quiet, surprisingly uneventful morning. John had finished his breakfast and the paper before seeing to the sheets in the wash. Sherlock had disappeared for a long shower and returned in his dressing gown and pyjamas. John—still in his robe—had decided this was a wholly appropriate dress code for the day and had gone to change before installing himself in his chair to catch up on his BMJ reading, while Sherlock busied himself with an experiment involving the tongues from the refrigerator.
When Mycroft rang, offering congratulations and wishing to know when the blessed event might occur, the discussion commenced about what, exactly, their new jewellery was going to mean.
It was not going well.
“I’ve told you,” John repeated patiently, between bites of cheese and pickle. “Even if we were ready, which we’re not, we can’t just turn up at the register office today and get married or…partnered. There’s a process and it takes time. We have to give notice and then there’s a waiting period.” He reflected for a moment. “I take it this means your knowledge of our judicial system doesn’t include family law?”
“Why aren’t we ready?” Sherlock rounded on him. “We live together. Now we are sleeping together. We’ve been friends for years, and we are very compatible. I fail to see in what way we are not as prepared for this as anyone else.”
“It has nothing to do with being more or less prepared than anyone else. It’s about us. We’ve only just started…this. We need time to adjust.” John set his lunch down. “You’ve spent most of your life avoiding attachments—aren’t you the least bit concerned about the impact our new relationship might have on the work?”
“Not at all,” Sherlock drew himself up, setting his jaw. “I have managed to solve quite a number of cases since…you know.”
Since I realized I was in love with you, John filled in mentally. “And?”
“And this morning demonstrated that sexual activity can lead to clarity under the right circumstances.”
“I see. So you’re saying—now correct me if I’ve got this wrong—in one night you have eliminated every one of the objections you had to the idea of forming emotional connections with people. Objections that kept you single and essentially friendless for 30-odd years, not to mention mostly celibate.”
Sherlock’s nose twitched and he crossed his arms. “Yes.”
“Sherlock, I may not have your observational skills, but I do know a load of cobblers when I hear it.”
“But I don’t want to wait!”
“Neither do I, but we don’t really have a choice. And that’s probably for the best. You’ll just have to trust me. This is not your area, remember?”
“Well, I’m not entirely certain it’s your area either. Divorced, remember?”
Sherlock marched over and flopped into his chair, digging his bare toes into the carpet. “You know what I mean.”
John shook his head. “Fine. Ask Lestrade. He’s been married a long time. He’ll tell you.”
“You think I should solicit relationship advice from a man married to a serial adulterer.”
“Well, ask someone else then. I’m telling you, Sherlock: we need some time.” John wiped his hands and put his napkin on the plate. “And—since you’ve brought it up—there is the matter of my divorce, as well.”
“What about it?”
“We’ll need the decree absolute before we can get married."
“And?” Sherlock mimicked.
John shrugged, looking a little sheepish. “It’s just taking a bit longer than I thought it would.”
“Your divorce is not complete?” Sherlock’s eyes narrowed.
“Not, exa—there’s—well, no.” John sighed. “Look, it’s well in hand. I filed the petition ages ago; Mary just didn’t respond by the deadline. She’s probably mislaid the letter. The solicitor will sort it.”
“And you didn’t think to mention this first?”
“Because we’ll have it by the time we’re ready.”
“But technically, at the moment, you are not free?”
“Not technically, but as good as,” John defended, studying the crumbs on the plate in front of him.
“I see. You’re telling me I’ve just shagged a married man.”
“Oh, don’t be...” John looked up and spotted the traces of pleased interest on his lover’s face. “Fine. Technically, yes, you’ve just debauched a married man. Satisfied?”
“Maybe.” Sherlock regarded John for some time. “So we are not getting married. Or forming a partnership or whatever it is.”
“Just not today.”
“Not long, love. I promise.”
“Let’s just see how we get on, all right?” John hesitated. Sherlock was quiet, but his fingers were drumming relentlessly against the leather chair. “What’s worrying you?”
“I cannot be without you John. Not now.” Sherlock looked away, drawing his knees up on to the chair and wrapping his arms around them. “You will change your mind.”
“No,” John said, the words coming out more sharply than he intended. He stood and crossed to Sherlock’s chair, dropping to his knees in front of it. He tugged at Sherlock’s legs until he uncurled them and set his feet back on the floor on either side of John.
John leaned in and cradled Sherlock’s jaw and turned the man to face him. “Nothing is going to change my mind about this. I’ve loved you for a very long time. I just didn’t know how much. Now I do—I’ve never been more certain about anything in my life.”
Sherlock assessed him, the keen eyes taking in every detail. “But I am difficult, rude, petulant, unerringly selfish, thoughtless, compulsive and reckless—these are not my own observations, they are direct quotations. I am, as you yourself have pointed out, an ‘annoying dick’.”
“Yes,” John agreed with a smile. “But did I say I didn’t like it?” He stroked a cheekbone with his thumb. “You promised to try; I promise, too. This is not a test, Sherlock. This is a good opportunity for us to spend some time just being in love and looking forward to the next bit.”
Sherlock looked down at John’s other hand now resting on his thigh. Sherlock stroked over the knuckles. “So we wait.”
“Just for a while.”
Sherlock released a heavy breath. “Until then we are, what—boyfriends? No, sorry, that’s ridiculous. And I’m not calling you my lover in public. ”
“Strictly speaking, I’m your fiancé, being as we’re engaged.” John noted Sherlock’s look of disdain. “Which can be quite fun, actually. People will be wanting to throw us parties and buy us drinks.” He paused, watching as Sherlock’s mouth turned down. “And we can have sex anywhere we want.”
“You’ve just made up that last bit.”
John chuckled, pulling Sherlock down toward him and stretching up to place a kiss on the pale brow. “I promise you, I will make the wait worth your while.”
Sherlock slid forward and dipped one hand under John’s sleep shirt, dragging his palm over the flesh beneath. “You really shouldn’t say things like that to me.”
John brushed a soft kiss over Sherlock’s lips. “I think I’ll take my chances.”
“You taste like pickle,” Sherlock mused, nibbling at the corner of his mouth.
“Do you mind?”
“Good.” John slanted his mouth over Sherlock’s, leisurely dragging his tongue over the seam of Sherlock’s lips until they parted. He delved within, lapping at the sweetness of Sherlock’s mouth. The detective’s tongue responded, dancing over and around John’s, lips parting, meeting, and parting again.
Sherlock’s hand slithered up from John’s abdomen, stroking and tugging at his nipples. John leaned in to the caress.
“John, how sore…”
John dropped his hand into Sherlock’s lap and made quick work of the drawstring at his waist. He tugged it loose and slid his hand beneath the soft cotton jersey. “Not too sore for this.”
Sherlock sighed as John’s fist closed around him.
“Like that?” John whispered the question into the ear he was tracing with the tip of his tongue. He stroked Sherlock’s cock firmly, feeling the flesh fill under his touch as he did. His own erection was beginning to tent his soft pyjama bottoms. He dropped his free hand to palm himself with a moan.
Sherlock grabbed at the hand with a deep, throaty sound of protest. “That’s mine.”
John pulled back and they stared at one another, breath short. Finally Sherlock moved. In a flurry of navy silk, he had grasped John around the waist with one arm and carried them both to the floor. John clung to Sherlock’s shoulders as they landed heavily, in spite of Sherlock’s efforts to catch most of their weight with his knees and free hand. John managed to untangle his legs, relishing the feeling of being pinned beneath his lover’s frame.
“Want to feel you. Hurry.” He reached down to tug insistently at Sherlock’s loose trousers until the fabric began to slide over slender hips. Sherlock obliged, lifting his weight to allow John to drag them down over his thighs. Sherlock kicked them free and quickly shifted to straddle John’s hips.
John captured the nape of Sherlock’s neck and drew the lush mouth back to his own. Sherlock ground his naked cock against the thin fabric still covering John as they kissed. John stroked up under the silk dressing gown and light t-shirt to touch the smooth skin of Sherlock’s back. He traced the sinuous spine curled over him, groaning into Sherlock’s mouth.
Sherlock pulled back, surveying John beneath him. John was sure he looked exactly as he felt—flushed, love-drugged and needy.
“I love you,” John whispered.
Sherlock’s smile was gratified, confident. He tugged at the cotton of John’s sleeping pants until they sat below his hips. John’s erection sprang free; Sherlock captured it immediately, teasing the slit with his thumb. His breath caught just a little as he regarded the swollen member in his hand.
He dropped another hard kiss on John’s mouth before rotating his pelvis down into John's. He leaned over and anchored one hand on the floor above John’s shoulder, turning his free hand to John and holding the palm expectantly toward him; John obliged by grabbing his wrist and dragging the hand to his mouth. He sucked the fingers between his lips and then laved the palm with his tongue.
John held his lover’s gaze as he slicked his hand—Sherlock was rocking, pressing them together where they both most needed to be touched. After a few moments, he sat back and pulled the damp hand away from John’s mouth, wrapping it around both their erections.
“Sherlock—oh, god, love, yes.”
Sherlock groaned as he rubbed their cocks together at the heads, dragging soft keening noises from John at the stimulation of the sensitive bundle of nerves on the underside against Sherlock’s hot, pulsing erection. Sherlock slid his fingers between and over and around their cocks, and began to stroke them together.
John watched, entranced, as his lover’s eyes drifted closed. Sherlock’s hand moved hard and fast, using the semi-lubricated flesh to improve friction. He tugged and dragged, intermittently teasing the heads against each other.
John reached down to help. He joined his hand to Sherlock’s and tightened their grip.
Sherlock cried out, his head thrown back. John reached out and locked their free hands together, lacing the fingers and holding fast. He couldn’t close his eyes, couldn’t stop looking at the man above him.
Sherlock was generally attractive, in an unconventional way, but during sex? He was fucking unbelievable. The tousled hair that John could barely keep his fingers out of bounced with the movement of their bodies; his soft, full, bottom lip was caught between his teeth. The sinful cheekbones were flushed and his brow began to glisten with perspiration as he worked to bring them both off.
John groaned—a deep, hard, desperate groan that came from the deepest recesses of his body. “Oh, love. Yes, fuck, yes.”
Their hands continued to pump as they rocked into each other. Sherlock’s eyes drifted open and he looked down at John. Their eyes were still locked long minutes later when John finally began to weaken.
“Close,” he muttered. “So close.”
Sherlock slid a finger over the tip of John’s cock. “Come.”
The heat and tension that had been coiling in his belly peaked and John arched as the wave washed over him. “Sherlock—love you so much.”
Sherlock panted, continuing to stroke hard as John rode out his release. He leaned in over John and began to fuck their hands, straining for his own.
His body shuddered as he finally came, spilling out over their hands, their cocks and their bellies, adding to the puddle of white John had already deposited there.
Slowly, Sherlock began to sag as his body relaxed. John braced him with their joined hands, lowering him to his chest. He wrapped both arms around his lover and rolled them until they were side by side. He stroked Sherlock’s back silently.
Sherlock gazed at him, eyes still dark. “I don’t think I mind being engaged.”
Proposal + 07:30:00
John started awake at the sound of Mrs. Hudson’s voice. Bollocks.
“In here, Mrs. H,” John replied, trying to keep his voice down. He quickly surveyed his position—there was no time to fix it.
John dropped his head back and sighed. At least it would save him the trouble of having to explain to their landlady why it would be best if she didn’t pop in too unexpectedly from now on.
“John, dear,” she called as she entered through the kitchen. “I’ve—oh!”
Mrs. Hudson stopped where she was, two fingers pressed against her lips, taking in the sight of John stretched out on the sofa with a lap full of sleeping Sherlock. Sherlock’s head rested on John’s chest and John still had one hand tangled in the dark curls. They were both wearing only pants and robes; fortunately the blanket covering them was pulled up to Sherlock’s shoulders.
After their discussion about the engagement, and the orgasm that had followed, they’d talked about going out on a proper date to celebrate the end of the case and their own new beginnings. But after a shared shower, Sherlock had started yawning and John had known they wouldn’t make it out of the flat. He hadn’t been tired at the time, so he’d turned on some crap telly and pulled Sherlock into a warm puddle on the sofa, where they’d been ever since.
“Oh, dear, I’m so sorry to interrupt,” Mrs. Hudson whispered.
“Not to worry, Mrs. H.” John pulled the remote out from between the cushions and switched the television off. “We’re just, uh, taking a nap. Sherlock’s at the end of one of his long stretches of hardly sleeping.”
Sherlock muttered something in his sleep and grabbed John’s forearm before settling again with a deep sigh.
Mrs. Hudson smiled with a twinkle in her eye. “Of course, dear.”
John cleared his throat. “Was there something you needed?”
“Oh, just to let you know I’m having a builder in to look at the cracks in the plaster on your bedroom ceiling. He’ll be here tomorrow, so after that you may have to sleep somewhere else for a night or two.”
The dear woman could barely conceal her mirth as John nodded. “Sure, fine, yeah. Not a problem. I’ll just kip here…” He glanced out in front of him at the dead weight of the unconscious man sprawled over him and the sofa.
Mrs. Hudson stepped close and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. John looked up at her; unable to conceal the happiness he was sure had to be radiating from him.
She patted his cheek with affection and gave him a wink. “I’m sure you’ll find somewhere more comfortable.”
She walked to the door and paused, turning back, her whisper slightly louder. “Oh, and I popped in this morning with the newspaper after I heard Sherlock leaving. I hope you don’t mind, but I spotted the mess by his desk so I thought I’d just tidy up. In the future, if you could ask him to wipe up the coffee before it dries, that would be ever so helpful. Makes it so much easier to get the stain out of the carpet.” She paused. “Shame, really. It was a lovely cup—commemorative for the royal wedding.”
John bit down on the silly grin that threatened. He just couldn’t think about the “l think we should fuck” mug having smiling Windsor faces on it.
“I’m off out. Is there anything you need?”
“Would you mind terribly getting us some biscuits?” John asked hesitantly. He didn’t like to abuse her generosity (Sherlock did enough of that for both of them) but…“Sherlock finished the last of ours today.”
“Of course, dear. I’ll bring them up later.” She smirked. “Or perhaps I should just leave them on the landing?”
John blushed a little and made a noncommittal noise. He could hear her tittering as she made her way down the stairs.
Sherlock moaned in his sleep and shifted. John flinched as a bony hip dug into his thigh. He slid his leg sideways, out of the way, effectively easing some of the weight off of the still-sensitive parts of his body. He wrapped his arms around Sherlock’s shoulders.
“John?” The voice was groggy, sleep-softened.
“It’s all right, love. Go back to sleep,” John soothed. He felt his own body easing back into slumber and cuddled down into Sherlock’s warmth with a yawn. “I’ll be right here when you need me.”