John wakes up warm. He wakes up comfortable.
As a result, he wakes up slowly, his eyelids blinking lazily, dividing darkness with light – or light with darkness, as he starts to keep his eyes open longer.
John wakes up –
– with an armful of Sherlock.
John blinks a tad more purposefully, still fighting the edge of sleep – but no, his armful of Sherlock remains, warm against his side and fast asleep. John opens his mouth to say something, perhaps wake Sherlock, ask for an explanation – but then he closes it a moment later.
This – situation – is unusual, yes, and definitely unfamiliar, but in no way does it feel wrong.
Rather, it feels the exact opposite.
Which is rather perplexing – but then again, not exactly worrying –
With a grunt, John lets his head fall back against his pillow as he tries to understand the how and why of it, mind still a tad foggy from sleep – although, right now an explanation doesn’t seem as necessary as it probably should. The reasons don’t seem as important as the fact that this is actually happening, a reality John is still trying to wrap his head around:
Held like this, almost surrounded, John feels a way he’s not sure he’s ever felt before. He struggles to think of a word for it, keeps trying on the same ones over and over, but none of them fit. With a huff, John lets it go – focuses instead on the feeling of Sherlock against and around him, how oddly calming it is.
With that thought echoing around his mind, John, arms still full of Sherlock, decides to stop trying to force an answer. Instead, he takes his time waking up, thinking it certainly won’t hurt his attempt to get to the heart of this new development – and it’s in that gradual shift, that stretched liminal space between asleep and awake, where the truth begins to spread out, as if it, too, is uncurling from dormancy, stretching languid and undeniable.
And the truth is, waking up with an armful of Sherlock is exactly what John never knew (or rather, never acknowledged) he wanted. Pressed close, soft and warm and pliant, Sherlock is bony angles balanced with lean curves. Both his hands have John in their grip – one flung across his stomach, and the other tucked between his shoulder blade and the mattress – and Sherlock sprawls along and across John’s side, his head tucked against John’s neck, chin hooked over his trapezius. His breath comes in slow, barely-there puffs of warmth against John’s pulse point, tickling the edge of his nape, where short hairs move with each exhale.
Of course, John is not exactly passive in this entwining – not by a long shot: his left hand lies along Sherlock’s forearm over his stomach, and his right drapes over and along Sherlock’s waist. At some point Sherlock must have tossed a leg on top of John’s legs, and they must have spread to admit that visitor, then closed around it, and are now still gently keeping contact.
Like this, still waking, feeling Sherlock breathe against him, his beating heart, the whirling frenzy of him slowed to slumber, John feels a surge of something he is done fighting.
It’s like the first proper, rib-cage creaking inhale after a long night’s shallow sipping. It calls to mind the reaching stretch of muscles, the curving of the spine, the tucking of the pelvis, the curling and flexing of toes, mouth gasped wide –
John shifts a little at that image, hips shuffling side to side just a bit at the pleasant thought-feel, his body grasping for a yawn – or something differently satiating.
Sherlock is a lovely weight, a simple warm pressure against John’s body and bare skin where his vest has rucked up during the night. John finds he could rather easily sink back into sleep. That should be strange, perhaps even alarming – but the cozy nest of rumpled covers and consulting detective feels cyclically buoyant, like a lava lamp of wakefulness, the thrill of having Sherlock up against him spurring him towards awareness, which leads to a cataloguing of comforts which serve only to reel John back down into sleep’s murky embrace, only to start anew.
And that’s the way it would have continued, most likely, if – just as John had relaxed back against the mattress and the moment, ready to dip under again – Sherlock hadn’t shifted in response to John’s settling, hadn’t sighed out a little sound, so small and content that it slipped down John’s throat to coil about his heart and give a squeeze that felt like recognition, like reciprocation.
John is, all of a sudden, wide awake, the last measure of that transition sliding into place all at once. His breath is caught in his throat, tangled up in the after image of the sound Sherlock just made, and the momentary struggle to pull in air past that tightness causes John to tighten his arms around Sherlock.
Sherlock makes a pleased sound, and to the detriment of John sinking away from wakefulness, squirms into that snug hold.
“Oh,” John breathes, his chest finally expanding sharply.
“Mhm?” Sherlock hums, nose pressed into John’s neck, his eyelashes giving a single flutter against thin skin.
John shivers, not one bit delicately, as that simple sensation trickles though his nerves.
“Sherlock –” John begins, then clamps his mouth shut, not wanting to question their current arrangement lest Sherlock take it as censure.
“Hhhm,” Sherlock breathes into the hollow of John’s neck, the vibrations rattling John’s grip on the situation delightfully. “Mm,” Sherlock adds, rocking his head slightly, his far-slung arm grasping at John’s side, like a cat indulgently kneading a plush throw.
“Christ,” John mutters, his nipples tightening, sensitive where they press against his vest. “Sherlock, please wake up.”
“HhmmJohn?” Sherlock’s voice is a blurred buzz against John’s neck still, and instead of pulling away, he seems intent on suffocating himself against John’s skin. Even his hips dig in closer, shifting purposefully before hitching forward with a little pelvic shuffle.
Bloody hell. John takes a steadying breath.
“Sherlock,” John tries for stern, his hands gently gripping and shaking the man draped over him – but the effect is rather lost as his fingers relax and trail along the skin they’d grasped, transforming it into a caress –
The body underneath his fingers pushes up into that touch, seeming to search out more contact – then freezes, still and tense, and John knows Sherlock is finally awake. Very much properly awake. Aware-of-this-potentially-embarrassing-position awake.
Sherlock clears his throat delicately, otherwise remaining motionless. “John,” he says at length. “Good morning.” It sounds painstakingly normal.
“Good morning, Sherlock,” John says dryly. Sherlock’s hips are still flush against his thigh, and dark curls are still occupying almost half of John’s field of vision. “Sleep well?” he asks mildly.
“I – yes. I –” Pressed as close as he is, John can feel Sherlock’s frown. “Yes.”
John huffs out a laugh. “That’s good.” He waits for a moment then adds, teasingly: “I did as well, thanks for asking.”
“I – oh.” Sherlock swallows. “Good.”
There is a long pause – one John is loath to end. On one hand, prolonging Sherlock’s confusion is cruel – but on the other, it’s just plain funny.
Also, truth be told, John hasn’t a clue what to say next.
Somewhere between falling asleep on opposite sides of the last bed available in Oswich and waking up sharing almost exactly the same space, John’s finally come to terms with something – and that something is fragile in its infancy. John feels that whatever it is he says next, it had better be exactly the right thing.
Sherlock, on the other hand, simply says: “Your pulse is extremely elevated for what should be a resting heart rate, John.”
John snorts, and his mouth is doing something odd, something amused and fond and done-for. John purses his lips, tries to get himself under some sort of control. “Well I can feel you quivering,” he says, splaying his hand against Sherlock’s tensed waist to demonstrate his point. The skin underneath his palm jumps at the reminder of that contact. “I don’t think either of us qualifies as examples of resting right now.”
“You are not incorrect on that count. Um. I’ll just –” Sherlock shifts his weight, and John can feel him start to pull away, slip away in every sense of the word.
“Stay,” John says, blurts really, his mouth taken over by the panic in his palms, his skin, at the thought of losing Sherlock’s closeness.
Sherlock freezes again. His face is still tucked by John’s neck, out of sight. “Stay?”
“Please.” John sighs out a deep breath, tries to calm his nerves, his body, his heart.
Sherlock relaxes cautiously back into his previously unconscious sprawl. “Like… this?” John can feel every little hesitation in Sherlock’s frame as he moves closer.
“Are you comfortable?”
“Then yes, just like that.” John lets his hand curl carefully against Sherlock’s waist, tries to read if his touch is welcome or not.
“John?” Sherlock’s voice is small and very soft, for all that it’s right in John’s ear.
“Is this alright?” John wants to know, needs to, really.
Sherlock nods, curls tickling John’s chin and nose. “Yes,” he tacks on a moment later.
John feels like he’s inflating even though he’s sighing with relief. After a moment, he allows himself a small, private smile. It feels bold, and it gets him saying: “I like this.” He give’s Sherlock’s forearm a squeeze with his left hand back in place.
“Oh.” Sherlock seems caught off balance, but there’s a warm little curl to his voice, the surprise obviously a pleasant one. “Oh good.”
“Do you?” John asks, the trend of boldness continuing.
“Yes.” Sherlock breathes out a few even breaths against John. “It’s...good.” His voice is still quiet, but it seems, perhaps, a bit more sure of what it’s saying.
“Good.” John’s grinning up at the ceiling now, nothing for it. His palm feels electric where it molds to Sherlock’s curve. He can feel Sherlock’s eyelashes bat against his skin again, Sherlock having finally settled back into complete closeness, just like before. John feels several of those little eyelash flickers against his neck before Sherlock eventually speaks:
“…How long?” Sherlock asks.
Ah, John thinks. He should, he feels, be more nervous right now – but whatever calmness the morning’s first light, first thought, brought him lingers still. John breathes deeply through his nose, exhales long and slow. “Since I woke up.”
Sherlock pulls a face – it’s a tangible moue of consternation against John’s neck. “No, John, I mean –”
“I know what you mean,” John interrupts, his voice serious, because for all that he feels full of something like laughter just waiting to bubble up and over, this moment needs something more stable. Something more certain. “And I stand by my answer.”
John counts the blinks this time – seven of them in rapid succession – before Sherlock says: “Oh.”
John brushes the thumb of his left hand along where Sherlock’s forearm where it’s draped over his sternum. “It wasn’t all at once,” he admits, and his voice is steady even if everything else feels like the words are rattling his foundation. He clears his throat. “Took ages.” John swallows, nods his chin towards his chest. “I’m sorry it took so long.”
Sherlock’s shaky inhale is cool against John’s damp neck.
“Sherlock?” he asks, voice more gruff than he’d appreciate at any other moment.
“Yes?” Sherlock half-mumbles into John’s collar.
John feels his mouth twitch to the side, something bitter and sweet, brave and fearful, hesitant and sure. “Come up here?”
Sherlock huffs, but does lift himself slowly, away from the refuge of John’s blind-spot. His cheek has a crease where John’s pillow has left its mark. His curls are a tousled mess. His eyes are rather bright, perhaps a bit shinier than usual.
“Sherlock –” John breathes. “Can I kiss you, Sherlock?”
Sherlock’s mouth drifts open at the suggestion, as if the words themselves are a presence against his lips. “John,” he whispers, the distance between them diminishing to a humid moment of breath and nerves –
And then it is gone, eradicated as their lips press together, chaste and gentle with equal parts self-doubt and awe. Sherlock’s closed lips hold still against John’s, and John takes the lead, shifting his mouth back and forth a bit, a light bit of friction. Sherlock shivers at that swipe, and John grins, his lips parting against Sherlock’s – then relaxing away from the grin but remaining open as he presses close again.
Sherlock’s mouth drops open just a little once more, and their breaths mingle, the edge of sleep’s sourness still ghosting on their exhales. John shudders, undone by this minor detail, its absolute realness, such a very human tell, a mundane detail –
He groans against Sherlock’s mouth, and Sherlock gasps, lips pressed fiercely now to John’s, and then his tongue is there, a flash of heat and wet, swiping at John’s bottom lip as if stealing a taste before retreating.
John follows, though, intent to return the favour and the feeling, and Sherlock trembles underneath John’s palms – he’s shifted to be just about chest to chest with John at this point – as John licks deeply into his mouth.
Sherlock pulls back with a little, hitching gasp. “John –!”
“Yeah?” John breathes, and Sherlock is back, like a wave breaking over John, kiss after kiss making skinfall – lips, jaw, cheek, chin, every touch warm and tender – and John’s name falling from those lips each time they lift away, Sherlock’s eyes closing only to snap fiercely open again, as if afraid of missing one moment.
John, for his part, returns what kisses allow his mouth to make contact, and when Sherlock dives for his neck and the skin over his pulse point, John turns so that he can plant kisses on Sherlock’s curls, his temple, the hinge of his jaw. Intent on his exploration, John shifts lower, kissing and sucking his way down, then licks up along Sherlock’s neck, and god, what a moment: Sherlock’s breath escaping in a harsh rush, his body surging forward and down to press John back against the mattress.
John’s hands come up to hold Sherlock’s shoulder blades, the wings of them hard edges through his thin shirt, and John tightens his arms, his hold, helping Sherlock press closer.
With a bit of a twist, they get their mouths together again, breathing hard and fast as they share that touch, pass sensation back and forth with lips and tongues – and then teeth as Sherlock’s lower teeth scrape John’s chin, spurring him to gently take and taste Sherlock’s plump lower lip.
Sherlock’s eyes fall shut, and there’s a deep crease in between his brows as he groans, pulling back to free himself. “John.”
“Yeah.” John slips his hands further up Sherlock’s back, twining the fingers of his right hand into soft curls, fingernails scratching sensitive scalp –
Sherlock makes a strangled sound and goes limp in John’s hold, then shivers viciously, his breath a protracted, husking moan. “Oh god,” he manages at the end, sucking in a lungful of air. “John – you – please –”
“Anything you want,” John rushes the words out. “Anything,” he exhales again, slower. “Sherlock.”
“Just – I – just –”
John tightens his hold on Sherlock – the embrace and his grip in Sherlock’s hair – and Sherlock arches at those touches, cries out brokenly, and John could live on this alone, their bodies close and craving, because god, the way that arch pushes their bodies together is damn near perfect, a hot flash of desire and touch.
That, John decides, deserves repeating, begs it, and he glances down to see what can be done in service of that, kicking at the tangle of their sheets. John shifts a hand down without thinking, cups Sherlock’s hip, urges and directs Sherlock’s reciprocal eagerness.
“Oh god, John –”
“Like that?” Stupid question, obvious answer, and John expects Sherlock to scoff, but what he gets is:
“Yes –” and a bitten off moan.
John huffs a laugh at that – he feels exultant, Sherlock above him, touched to incoherency.
“John,” Sherlock pants as John gets a rhythm going, getting both their backs into it. “John – oh god – are you sure –?”
“About what?” John huffs, pleasure lancing through him as their hips connect just so.
“About – about this – with me?” Sherlock shudders, not slowing, question ending in a whine as John twists his pelvis to slide their erections past each other again. Even with two layers of pants in the way, even with the friction just this side of too much, it’s a glorious glow of sliding pressure, and Christ – what had Sherlock asked again?
John gets a leg around and over Sherlock’s as they both continue to press and push. “You – you’re asking me that – now?”
“I – I just –”
John studies Sherlock above him: his cheekbones are red, the rest of him succumbing to the spreading flush, his skin damp from exertion. His vest is disheveled, the stretched-out collar almost falling off his one shoulder. Little tendrils of his curls are caught against his skin and sweat, and his eyes are dark, frown lines above and between them, doubt writ large.
As John watches him, Sherlock looks away and down, his teeth worrying at his lower lip. “Do you want this?” John asks, slowing his movements a bit. Sherlock’s eyes are dazed as he lifts his head to look up at John, but his mouth seems caught in indecision. “Because I do, Sherlock –”
“You’re – you’re sure?” Sherlock asks again, and there’s the disbelief again, serrating the edges of his words, and John won’t have it, can’t let Sherlock cut into himself like that.
“Of course,” John gruffs out. “Of course I’m sure. I meant it when I said anything, Sherlock, but I won’t push you if you’re not – we don’t have to – unless you want –”
Sherlock surges forward, captures the rest of what John was going to say in a desperate kiss, falling to his elbows on either side of John’s head, his hands curling about and cradling John’s face, John’s skull. “I do,” he says, “I want – please John –”
“Yes,” John is saying in between kisses, and “Sherlock,” and “Of course,” and Sherlock whines at that, and John’s hands come up to cup his jaw as they kiss, his thumbs brushing across high cheekbones, feeling the heat of high emotion in that smooth skin, but also moisture, and he won’t call attention to it now, won’t say “What’s this?” but will instead try to prove to Sherlock that there’s no need.
John presses his mouth against Sherlock’s, slips his hands into Sherlock’s curls and around his hips, and Sherlock gasps into their frantic kiss. John slips his tongue into Sherlock’s mouth, encouraging Sherlock to return that slick touch, and then Sherlock is pushing down as John pushes up, and everything is light and heat where they touch, the moment fanned back to fervour.
Sherlock’s nails scrape against John’s scalp and nape, his hands shifting to get between John’s back and his vest, and John groans into Sherlock’s mouth – kisses him and kisses him until it seems that all of Sherlock has poured back into the crucible of his hot mouth, ready to be cast into John, to shape something new in the spaces between and within their lips.
John’s legs are both wrapped around Sherlock’s now, keeping them locked together as they shift, shunting and thrusting against one another. There’s hardly any space, not a moment’s retreat as they move together, coil each other tighter and tighter about the tipping point, neither cresting – but then John remembers, or rather, his palms do, and he lets his left hand gather a fistful of curls, tightens his grip so there’s a hint of a tug.
Sherlock gives a high, shocked cry, and bucks against John, so of course John does it again, keeping his grip and shoving up against Sherlock’s cock with his own, an inelegant pressure that feels vibrant and primal and perfect –
Sherlock stiffens in an arch, his mouth open on a soundless keen for a moment – and then the silence shatters as Sherlock’s voice cracks into groaning, crumbles into rhythmic little ‘ah, ah, ah’s as his hips jerk and judder, the rest of him going boneless against John.
“John,” Sherlock says, voice tattered and spent, his hands trapped beneath John’s back, still clutching at him.
John pushes up against Sherlock, overcome by his voice, his pleasure – and then John feels it. With Sherlock collapsed against him, still trying to shift his hips to give John what he needs, pressed so close – there’s no mistaking it: the warmth, the wetness of the mess Sherlock’s made of his pants, and god that’s it, that’s the last straw.
With a harsh cry, John comes, hips kicking up against Sherlock’s weight, and bloody hell he hasn’t come this hard, this much, in a very long time, and oh Christ – “Sherlock – oh god – oh fuck –” the aftershocks punch through John, potent echoes of that first tip into pleasure, an exquisite excess, and Sherlock is still on top of him, shuddering as John comes undone beneath him, expression dazed, smelling of sweat and sex and them.
For several long, honeyed moments, that’s the only thought in John’s head – but with Sherlock’s taste in his mouth, it’s the only one that will fit.
John rolls his head to look down at where Sherlock lies against his chest, mouth still open, eyes half-shut. John’s skin is still buzzing from his orgasm. His hands have settled at Sherlock’s nape and the beginning of the small of Sherlock’s back. With a little bit of effort, he convinces them to move, to bring Sherlock in for a kiss before that great brain can spin any doubts as to how sure John feels now, after ‘anything.’ He takes his time kissing Sherlock’s panting mouth, his lips cool from his rapid breaths, licking in deep and languid, tasting as much of Sherlock as he can here, coaxing response after response from Sherlock’s slack mouth.
Eventually they pull apart, and they both heave sighs, almost at the same time, deep come-down breaths. They catch each other’s eye, and John cracks first, grinning, and Sherlock snorts at that, which sets John giggling, high and breathless, and then they’re both laughing, shoulders shaking with it.
“John,” Sherlock says at last, “my hands –”
John lifts first one shoulder then the other, and Sherlock extracts his hands, flexing them slowly. John huffs out another laugh at that. “Shift over – yes, like that –” He gets Sherlock mostly settled beside him, and then starts stripping off his pants.
“John?” Sherlock asks, suddenly sounding unsure.
“They’ll stick, otherwise,” John says. “D’you mind?”
Sherlock rolls his eyes, scoffs: “Why would I?”
John grins at the bluster, but then a jolt of – not nerves, exactly, but something closer to anticipation – flashes through John as Sherlock begins to remove his pants as well.
They both wipe themselves clean, and with the sheets bunched down, the view is quite unobstructed:
Sherlock is – well, he’s just plain gorgeous, really, John thinks, more than a bit smug. Sherlock’s thighs are lean and pale where John’s are sturdier and just a touch more tan; his hair is sparse and dark where John’s is a dark golden brown and much more prevalent. They both have thick thatches of pubic hair, Sherlock’s almost black to John’s dark blond.
And of course, there’s something John had never really expected to see: Sherlock’s penis, soft now, and mostly clean after getting off with John. John is in a not dissimilar state.
“John?” Sherlock asks softly, and John looks up from where he was staring, colouring slightly at being caught out – but then he sees that Sherlock’s staring too. He looks – careful, maybe, his expression open in a way John’s never seen. They are on their sides, not even an arm length apart, and yet for a moment, that distance seems greater.
John thinks maybe it’s all the time they spent getting here.
“John,” Sherlock begins again, then stops when John smiles.
“Go on, then,” John says.
Sherlock reaches out cautious fingers, as if John might rescind his permission at any moment, but he doesn’t, and then Sherlock is touching John’s topmost thigh, sliding down to the crease where leg meets crotch, then carding through John’s pubic hair once, twice, before finally, hesitantly, settling his cupped palm over John’s cock.
It’s a warm feeling, a secure feeling, and it tingles through John like a whisper in his ear. He shivers, his skin lifting into bumps. Cherished, he realises. He feels cherished. “Sherlock,” he says, not knowing if there’s an end to that sentence.
“Is this alright?”
“Yeah,” John breathes. “It’s,” he clears his throat. “It’s good. Fine. Good – come here, will you?”
Sherlock shifts closer, careful not to jostle his hand against John too much, and John lays his left hand in the dip of Sherlock’s waist, under his vest. After a moment, John trails his own finger tips down, southward. Sherlock makes a pleased little sound, his hips hitching to make it easier for John to explore.
He follows the same route Sherlock took: thigh, crease, curls –
Sherlock’s cock is soft in John’s cupped palm, warm and sweat-damp. His bollocks hang lower than John’s do, but aren’t quite as full. He curls his fist loosely around Sherlock’s shaft, and yes – he can feel it begin to plump just a little. He looks up to see Sherlock watching him with eyes slightly closed and mouth slightly open. That sight alone gets John well on his own way back to firm, and that’s before taking into account the warm, barely-there massage of Sherlock’s touch.
“Yeah?” John asks, giving Sherlock a bit of a squeeze and watching him suck in a breath.
“Oh yes,” Sherlock says. “I – yes.”
John grins, and pushes into Sherlock’s space for a kiss. When they part, Sherlock looks up at him with a bit of a smirk.
“Think we might dispense with the rest of our clothing this next time around?” He plucks at John’s vest with his free hand.
“Well, if you’re sure,” John says, his mouth tugging into a grin. He ducks Sherlock’s suddenly airborne pants, swoops in for another kiss, and gets back to working on ‘anything.’
John has a giddy feeling that, between the two of them, there’ll be no settling for anything less than everything.