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It Must Have Been the Mistletoe

Chapter Text

Sherlock is staring sulkily into the mirror over the mantelpiece, straightening the collar of his shirt. He catches John's eye in the reflection and pouts even more emphatically, causing John to chuckle and roll his eyes.

"I still don't understand why we have to go to this awful Yard holiday party."

John smiles, the patient, indulging smile of a parent who's had to explain something to a petulant toddler four times already.

"Because you flat-out refused to have another party here, and I want to socialise and spend some time with my friends."

Sherlock spins, turning to face John properly. He looms in close, and even after all this time, it's a little overwhelming. John steps away and grabs his new Christmas jumper.

"They're not friends. They're co-workers. Barely."

John sighs loudly, muffled by the hideous garment he's currently pulling over his head. "Greg? Molly? Come on, Sherlock. I know you. You can't tell me you feel nothing towards any of them. I'm not expecting you to chit-chat with Anderson or waltz with Sally, but it won't kill you to be sociable for one night."

Sherlock simply stares at John, mouth comically agape.

"What? Is it my hair? Did the jumper muss it up?"

Unable to control himself, Sherlock succumbs to a fit of giggles. "John, I should hope you're not wearing... that." He gestures to the front of the jumper with one hand, and John frowns.

"I know you don't like my wardrobe, but this one was a gift from Mrs. Hudson. Figured I'd get some use out of it. What's wrong with it?"

Sherlock sucks in a few large gulps of air, composing himself. "Mrs. Hudson? I wonder if she was dropping hints, or if she's merely as oblivious as you are."

Without saying another word, Sherlock steps to the side so John's now facing himself in the mirror. Carefully and skilfully knit into the front of his navy blue jumper are three reindeer. At first, John had just thought they were frolicking. But now, upon closer inspection, it's quite obvious they're... John's mouth falls open.

"There are three reindeer fornicating on your chest, John." Sherlock is overcome with another cascade of deep, throaty laughter as John flushes crimson.

"Yes, thank you Sherlock, for that clever and insightful observation." Despite himself, John's laughing too, as he pulls the jumper back over his head and tosses it onto the sofa. "Just... don't tell Mrs. H. I'm sure she had no idea."

Sherlock raises one eyebrow wryly. "No, no, of course not."

John glares at him briefly before whirling around, looking for something else to wear. Realising they're running late, he grabs a suit jacket off one of the kitchen chairs and shrugs into it. He looks up just in time to catch Sherlock's eye, and damned if Sherlock doesn't nod appraisingly, reaching out to dust some invisible lint off John's lapel.

"That suits you much better, John. You do yourself no favours hiding under all that bulky wool."

There's an unwelcome fluttering sensation in John's stomach, but he pushes it aside, chalking it up to having skipped lunch. Who cares what Sherlock thinks of his wardrobe, anyway? Just as John's about to snap at Sherlock, there's an impatient buzz at the doorbell.

"Greg's here then. C'mon, Sherlock."

Sherlock strides across the sitting room and pulls the curtain aside, peering out the window. When he turns back, John gives him a questioning shrug.

"Just making sure he's in his own car, not one of the Met's."

John smiles and rolls his eyes fondly again, tossing Sherlock's scarf at him as he heads down the stairs.

Greg's already back in his car, waiting impatiently in the driver's seat. John slides in behind him, leaving the front passenger seat free for His Royal Crabbiness. It's only fair, John supposes, since Sherlock is all leg anyway. He needs more space. Not that he needs to justify the gesture to anyone. Moments later Sherlock barrels out the door, shouting something incoherent at Mrs. Hudson before jerking open the car door and folding himself in with unfair grace and poise.

Greg greets them both with a chuckle. "Alright then, everyone buckled in?"

Being in the back seat has its advantages. While Sherlock prattles on in the front and Greg focuses on driving and tuning Sherlock out, John finds himself staring out the window, trying to convince himself those flutters in his stomach earlier really didn't mean anything, and absolutely weren't because of the fondness on Sherlock's face or the strangely intimate stroke across John's chest.

The trip to New Scotland Yard is a short one, under ten minutes with Greg's skilled but slightly manic driving. There's not much traffic out, oddly.

Stepping out of the car, John stumbles on the kerb, and in an invisibly fluid motion, Sherlock is standing beside him, offering a hand. Caught off-guard, John accepts the gesture gratefully, and there it is again. A tingle, starting in his fingertips and ending up somewhere under his diaphragm. He looks into Sherlock's face, and for a moment neither of them moves. Greg lets out a discreet cough and the moment - such as it was - shatters. Sherlock huffs out a breath, nostrils flared, and pulls his hand back, leaving John to steady himself.

Dismissing it all with a shake of his head, John slams the car door shut and marches into the building, leaving Greg and Sherlock behind him. He's here to have fun tonight, not to let some misguided crush on his disinterested flatmate muck things up for him.

Sherlock sidles up to John in the hallway, unravelling his scarf. "I hope you're not intending to stay too long here, John. Or if you are, I should hope you're not expecting me to stick around."

John glances sidelong at Sherlock, smirking. "God forbid I inconvenience you for once, rather than the other way 'round, right?"

Sherlock pauses and turns to peer straight at John. "You inconvenience me all the time, John."

John's brow furrows. "How so?"

"By not being around when I need you. By going to work. By going on..." he pauses, as if the word itself is an affront. "Dates. It's a nuisance having to track you down when I want you."

"When you need me."

Sherlock rolls his eyes. "That's what I said, don't repeat things."

John knows that's not what Sherlock said, and he's sure Sherlock knows it too, but he doesn't say anything. He just shrugs and keeps walking, heading towards the large room at the end of the hall.

The door's open and the party's clearly already in full swing. Plenty of familiar faces - Sally and Anderson, DI Dimmock's over in one corner with a mousy woman John doesn't recognise. Molly Hooper's there too, in yet another shockingly form-fitting and exceptionally flattering dress. She grins and waves eagerly at the trio, but her gaze eventually focuses on Greg. John smirks and elbows him lightly in the ribs, chuckling as Greg makes a beeline for her.

Sherlock's made a beeline as well, setting up camp in one of the tables in a far corner of the room, back to the wall. He's studying people very intently, and John finds himself relieved that Sherlock's decided to be antisocial for the evening, rather than deducing and embarrassing the hell out of everyone at the party.

John feels a light tap on his shoulder and looks up to see Sally, a slightly sardonic but not entirely unfriendly grin on her face.

"You actually managed to get the Freak to come. Colour me impressed." She nods in Sherlock's direction and hands John a cup of egg nog. He takes a sip, finding it cloying and far boozier than expected.

"Dunno how long he's going to stick around, but I thought it'd be good for him to get out."

She nods. "He's never bothered coming before. You're good for him."

"We're not..." John's not sure whether he has the energy to bother denying it again. "I'm not..."

"No, no. You are. I honestly don't care if you're shagging or not, but you are good for him. He's calmer, somehow. Less of an arse."

John shakes his head, downing the rest of the egg nog. Whatever was in it packs a bit of a wallop; he already feels his cheeks warming a bit. "I can't imagine what he was like before, then." He glances over at Sherlock, who appears to be dissecting one of the leaves of the poinsettia plant in the middle of the table. Figures, he'd find something poisonous to analyse.

As if Sherlock can sense John staring, he looks up. For a moment their eyes lock, and whatever Sally's saying goes right over John's head.

"I'm sorry, Sally. I'm going to go see if he wants anything." John steps over to the table laden with tipples and snacks, and fills a small plate with a selection of things he hopes Sherlock might deign to eat, and grabs another cup of egg nog for himself.

Sally chuckles and shakes her head. "If you two aren't shagging, you're getting the short end of the stick. All of the hassles of marriage, none of the benefits. Go on then."

John rolls his eyes and crosses the room, sitting down at the table next to Sherlock.

"I brought you some food. But that poinsettia’s toxic, might want to wash up before you eat any of it."

As if to prove a point, Sherlock pokes his fingers into several of the sad little sandwiches, tainting them. Nobody's going to eat them now.

"Did you have fun chatting with Donovan, then? And what is that, your third drink?" He sounds surly and petulant.

"I did, actually. She's really not that bad, Sherlock. And this is only my second. What's it to you?"

Sherlock ignores the question and pulls another leaf off the pot plant, segmenting it precisely with a small knife he'd secreted away in some pocket or other. Frowning, John finds himself finishing off the second glass. The warmth in his cheeks is spreading down his neck, but his stomach feels cold and hollow. What's Sherlock's problem, anyway?

Feeling peevish, John rolls the empty plastic cup between his fingers. Sherlock returns to the poinsettia leaf, studiously ignoring him. They're saved from the awkward silence when Molly bounces to the table, Greg in tow and looking slightly overwhelmed. Without asking, she grabs a seat, Greg looming hesitantly behind her.

"Hullo John, Hullo Sherlock!"

Something in Molly's demeanour makes John sit up and take notice. She's usually so skittish around Sherlock, but tonight she's friendly and chatty and exuding confidence. His eyes cast over towards Greg, who makes a point of staring at the back wall.

Sherlock looks up, studying the two of them for a moment. "I suppose congratulations are in order? Lestrade, I hope you finally left that harridan of a wife."

Molly's cheeks blush a furious red, but neither of them say anything.

"It's obvious, really. You're giddier than usual, but also emboldened. Someone's done something to make you feel good about yourself. Now, Greg here..." He rolls the name around in his mouth, as if he's still unfamiliar with it after all this time. "He's wearing a new shirt, there's still a pin in the collar and the creases are far too sharp. He came to the party with John and me, and clearly he's not interested in impressing either of us. You two have been clinging together since we arrived. Not exactly a puzzle."

John cringes, expecting an outburst from poor Molly or an admonishment from Greg, but neither happens. Instead, a huge grin spreads across Molly's face.

"See? I told you he'd figure it out." She leans over, kissing Greg demurely on the cheek, and he grins, one of those goofy, nauseating grins people newly in love tend to sport. John glances over at Sherlock and feels as though he's been punched in the chest. Sherlock, unsurprisingly, is oblivious to everything besides confirmation that his deductions were correct.

Deciding it's safe to leave the three of them alone, John crosses the room again and picks up another cup of the volatile egg nog, downing it in one gulp before grabbing another cup. He knows he should slow down, but his stupid, stupid feelings are getting in the way of what should have been a pleasant evening. He's debating just suggesting they go home. Surely Sherlock wouldn't argue, seeing as how adamantly he didn't want to be here in the first place.

He glances over towards the table, where Greg and Molly are lost in their own little universe, orbiting around each other. Sherlock, however, has his eyes locked on John. There's something unrecognisable in his expression. He almost looks confused.

Sighing, John settles against the wall under a heavy bulkhead, relatively comforted by the shadow protection it affords. It's too late though - Sherlock's spotted him staring, and is stalking across the floor, gracefully evading anyone who tries to talk to him. He slips through the tangle of partygoers and misplaced chairs like a panther. John finds himself slightly mesmerised by the roll of Sherlock's hips, the flow of his long legs. He sucks in a shaky breath and shakes his head, trying to clear it, just as Sherlock sidles up to him.

"Are we done here?" John blinks, unsurprised that Sherlock seems to have been reading his thoughts again.

He nods up at Sherlock. "Yeah, I think so. Greg seems to be having fun with Molly, we can just grab a cab back, or walk, it's a nice night."

If Sherlock's expression looks disappointed, surely that's just John's imagination playing tricks on him. He's bored out of his gourd and didn't want to come, why on earth would he be upset about leaving now?

They're just about to head off when Sally's voice cuts through the noise of the crowd.

"Hey Freak," she calls out, but her tone of voice is warm and friendly, not acidic. "Look up."

Perplexed, John follows Sherlock's gaze up towards the ceiling. Suspended from the bulkhead with a piece of red ribbon is a sprig of fresh mistletoe. Plump white berries gleaming against dark green foliage. The look on Sherlock's face is thoughtful. He's got to know what Sally's expecting, John muses. There's no way he's that clueless about holiday traditions.

"WOO! KISS!" Molly voice is shrill with excitement and booze, and she bursts into a fit of giggles as Greg grabs her tightly.

Sherlock peers down at John. If there was any question about his knowledge of mistletoe-related customs, Molly's alleviated it.

"Go on, then!" Greg shouts, punctuated by a groan from Anderson and an impressively loud wolf-whistle from Sally.

There's blood thrumming in John's ears, loud enough to muffle all the hooting and catcalling. He bites his lower lip, staring into Sherlock's eyes. His pupils are wide, clearly visible in those celadon eyes. His are cheeks flushed too - has Sherlock been drinking? His tongue darts out, running along that plush, plump lower lip, a gesture mirroring John's.

For a moment, it feels as though neither of them is going to make a move. There's a proper crowd gathering around them now - all the people they work with and even a few they've never seen before. Suddenly emboldened by the alcohol pounding through his veins, John realises this may be his only chance. He takes a step forward, vaguely aware of an increase in pitch and volume of the crowd's noise. Before Sherlock has time to react, John grabs the lapels of his jacket and pulls him down, pressing his lips firmly against Sherlock's.

Everything narrows down to this one moment. Sherlock's lips are - impossibly - even softer and lusher than they look. John bites his own tongue to prevent himself from parting his lips and slipping his tongue into Sherlock's mouth.

He realises what he's done, and freezes after letting go of Sherlock's jacket. They stay like that, lips brushing together but no contact elsewhere, for a second, an hour, an eternity. And suddenly, Sherlock is kissing him back. Those lips, lips John's dreamed about more times than he's willing to admit, lips he's thought about while having a sad and furtive wank in the shower, are parting, inviting his tongue in. There's a warmth spreading across John's back that he realises is Sherlock's hand, broad and strong. Without thinking, he reaches up and fists one hand into the soft curling hairs at Sherlock's nape, pulling him in deeper. When he tugs gently on the hair, Sherlock lets out a gentle moan that makes John weak in the knees.

He slides his tongue against Sherlock's, tentatively, and finds him eager and receiving. John's other hand has found its way down to the small of Sherlock's back, fingertips just brushing the curve of his arse.


Greg's shout brings them back down to earth, and John pulls back, dizzy. Dizzy with too much egg nog in his veins. Dizzy with not enough oxygen in his lungs. Dizzy with hungry, desperate need for Sherlock in every fibre of his body.

He coughs and steps back, studying Sherlock's face. His pale eyes are wide and pleading, his cheeks vivid and flushed. His lips are wet and swollen, parted slightly, and the knowledge that this is all because of him is almost too much for John to bear. He grips the edge of the table and giggles nervously.

"Honestly, you two. I'd almost think you'd never kissed before. That was some seriously pent-up tension there." Greg chuckles.

Sherlock blinks, snapping back into the moment. "We haven't. Hadn't. Uhm."

An awkward murmur and titters of nervous laughter ripple through the crowd, and everyone starts slinking away. John turns back to Sherlock.

"Hey, you alright?"

Sherlock nods, curls bobbing madly, and John's reptile brain pushes all sorts of unneeded but not unwelcome images to the forefront of his imagination. What other things could he do to Sherlock to get his hair to bounce like that?

"You. Me. We need to talk. Right now." He grabs Sherlock gently but forcefully by the wrist - not the hand, too intimate right now - and drags him out of the party room and into an empty office halfway down the hall.
Sherlock leans against the desk and John sinks into an uncomfortable vinyl chair, scrubbing his hands over his face.

"Shit, Sherlock. I am so sorry. I don't know what I was thinking." He stares at the carpet, unable to look Sherlock in the eye. "We can just... it never happened, okay. I've had too much of that bloody egg nog. I think it's time to go home."

"I kissed you back."

John cringes. "I'm sorry, I took advantage of you. I got caught up in it."

Sherlock laughs gently and pushes off from the desk. He closes the gap between them in two smooth steps and squats down, so he's looking up at John.

"I kissed you back. You know I hate repeating myself, John."

"You... kissed me back." Realisation dawns on John's face. Sherlock returned the kiss willingly. No, not willingly. Eagerly. "You. Me?" The words are stupid and clumsy in John's mouth, but if anyone can fill in the blanks, it's Sherlock.

He smiles, one long hand reaching up to cup John's cheek. "Yes. You. It's always been you, John."

The chair tips back as Sherlock straightens himself, looming over John. Sherlock drops his face forward and closes his eyes, his intention clear across his face. John stretches, pressing his lips carefully against Sherlock's. The kiss is awkward and fumbling at this angle, but it floods John with warmth from his belly to his extremities. It's not as frantic as the last kiss, not as lascivious, but there's a heat behind it, heaviness, a promise of things to come.
Sherlock pulls away and holds a hand out to John, the gesture nearly identical to helping him out of the car earlier. This time John takes it comfortably and easily, and Sherlock helps him out of his awkward perch in the chair.

"Is this why you were sulking earlier? Because you thought I was flirting with Sally?"

"And Molly. And Dimmock's boring-looking date."

"She was quite boring, honestly. Can't even remember her name." John wraps his hands firmly around Sherlock's waist. "You're jealous. That's adorable."

"Shut up. You can make it up to me by having one last dance before we go home."

Grinning, John brushes his lips gently across Sherlock's cheek. "Thought you'd never ask."

When they head back to the party, they're greeted with an oppressive silence. The crowd seems to be holding its collective breath, likely anticipating an outburst from Sherlock. Tentatively, John reaches out, fingers just brushing the palm of Sherlock's hand. Thankfully, Sherlock welcomes it, running his long, thin fingers between John's and squeezing gently.

A relieved sigh spreads through the partygoers and everyone spreads out again, going back to their collective mingling and munching. Everyone except Molly, who lets out an adorably excited squeal. She runs towards them and kisses John on the cheek. She turns to Sherlock and rises up on her toes. John squeezes his hand, the message clear. Play nice. Smirking, Sherlock winks at John and angles his head so Molly can reach his cheek, planting a lipsticky kiss right on his cheekbone.

She looks up at them, suddenly wise beyond her appearance, and quirks an eyebrow. "I suppose congratulations are in order?"

Sherlock lets out a bark of a laugh, clearly amused by having his own words turned around on him. He looks at John with uncharacteristic fondness in his eyes. "I suppose so. Thank you, Molly Hooper. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to dance with my date."

John starts. "Date?"

Sherlock shrugs. "I'm at an event with the man I am apparently currently involved with. What else would you call it?"

Leave it to Sherlock to simplify things, to uncomplicate everything. John lets go of Sherlock's hand and threads his arm through Sherlock's instead. "Date it is, then."

The music being piped through the speakers is tinny and insipid, modern pop remakes of classic holiday tunes. Not exactly the sort of thing John would have chosen for a first dance. Thankfully the tweeny pop group he doesn't recognise fades out and the more comforting and pleasant strains of Dave Brubeck's version of Walking in a Winter Wonderland starts playing. Taking it as a sign, John holds a hand out to Sherlock.

With a smirk and a wink, Sherlock takes the proffered hand and rests his other one on John's shoulder. He would lead, the arrogant sod. John smiles fondly and curls his other hand around Sherlock's waist. The dance is clumsy and awkward, due in no small part to John. Sherlock would probably have been equally graceful and elegant dancing with a hatrack as a partner. He doesn't seem to mind though.

As the song picks up, John feels Sherlock's soft lips and warm breath caressing the shell of his ear, and he shivers slightly.

"I do believe we were getting ready to head home?" Sherlock's voice is a deep, breathy whisper that reverberates straight down John's spine. He nods, not trusting his voice right now.

There's a tap on Sherlock's shoulder, and John finds himself face to face with Sally, grinning conspiratorially.

"Freak, can I cut in? Your date's pretty charming and I'd like to apologise for embarrassing him."

Clearly not the least bit put out by the insult, a slow, predatory smile creeps across Sherlock's face. "No, sorry. I don't feel like sharing."

The holiday mood must be infectious, because Sally just laughs and nods, holding up a cup of the lethal egg nog in mock-toast before stepping away. A few more shuffling rotations in place and the music fades away, leaving John and Sherlock to pull apart. John's not sure if Sherlock looks wistful, or if his imagination's just playing tricks with him.

"C'mon, let's get you home." John murmurs, quiet and close, any excuse to brush his lips against Sherlock's soft, warm skin.

Their goodbyes are quick and perfunctory, and they head out to hail a cab, leaving a contented Greg behind with Molly.

Sherlock's quietly pensive in the cab, and John is itching to lean in, to take his hand, to kiss him again, but he keeps to himself, unsure of how Sherlock's reacting to the sudden change in the status quo. Thankfully the ride is quick, and John pays the cabbie as Sherlock runs up the stairs. At least that hasn't changed.

When they get upstairs, Sherlock empties his pockets, pulling out various wilted bits of poinsettia and tossing them on the kitchen table. When John shoots a second glance onto the surface, he notices the sprig of mistletoe is there too.

"Are you going to cut that up too? Doing some experiment on the toxicity of various holiday decorations." He laughs a little too loudly, still warm and giddy from the alcohol and the evening's events.

Sherlock studies the mistletoe for a moment before reaching out to squeeze John's hand in a charmingly uncharacteristic gesture.

"No, no. I'm just... holding onto that one."

The fluttering's back in John's stomach, but this time he welcomes it. He smiles at Sherlock. "Sentiment?"

Sherlock picks up the mistletoe, rolling the stem between his fingers as he studies it. "Sentiment." he agrees, his voice low.

John makes a mental note to hang the silly branch back up in the doorway first thing tomorrow morning, but tonight he's got more important things to worry about. Grinning like a fool, he wraps his arms around Sherlock's waist and pulls him close.

Chapter Text

Sherlock’s body is warm and pliant in John’s arms, and any hesitation or nervousness John was feeling vanishes. He runs his hands up Sherlock’s spine, fingers slipping into loose, dark curls again as John leans in for another kiss. It starts out chaste, but Sherlock greedily and eagerly sucks John’s lower lip between his own, dragging his teeth lightly against it, and John feels a heavy throb low in his abdomen.

Wanting to give as good as he’s getting, John tugs lightly on the soft downy curls at Sherlock’s nape, remembering the indecent noises he’d coaxed out of him under the mistletoe. Sherlock doesn’t disappoint, groaning deeply against John’s mouth. The noise goes straight to John’s groin, his prick hardening rapidly. John had thought he was taking a leading role in the proceedings, but suddenly he finds himself out of his depth as Sherlock’s broad hands wrap around him, gripping his arse. His tongue is equally as forceful, sliding and curling against John’s in a way that makes his whole body tremble.

Without breaking the kiss, Sherlock looms over John and steps forward, guiding them into the hallway and forcing John to step backwards. The space between them closes further, and John thrills at the feeling of Sherlock’s cock, hard and hot, pressing into his hip.

Wistfully, John pulls away from Sherlock’s clever, talented tongue, if only to try to get his bearings. He opens his eyes to find Sherlock peering at him, flushed and eager, but still sharply intent.

“Bedroom, John?”

John reaches out a hand to steady himself against the wall. This is all going far quicker than he’d anticipated, and as eager as he may be, he’s worried about pushing Sherlock’s boundaries.


“John....” Sherlock’s voice drops to a rumbling purr, emanating from deep within his chest. “You’ve already made me repeat myself at least once tonight, please don’t do it again.”

John nods, swallowing thickly, not trusting himself to avoid saying something stupid. A slow, seductive grin spreads across Sherlock’s face, and he continues his steady but determined walk towards the first-floor bedroom. John stumbles and scrambles backwards, pushing the door open with his back.

Sherlock's bedroom is much like it always is - neat as a pin and slightly dim, with only one small lamp lit and the soft orange light shining through the window - but somehow it feels incredibly intimate right now. John's been in here numerous times before, but never with this intent. He's caught off-guard when Sherlock pulls him in for yet another blistering kiss, a nearly-violent interplay of tongues and lips and teeth.

Somehow, without breaking the kiss, Sherlock manages to turn them around, so his back is to the bed and John is facing him. Hooking his fingers into John's belt loops, Sherlock steps back until his calves hit the mattress. He leans back, falling heavily onto his shoulders, and pulls John down with him.

The air is knocked out of John's lungs as he braces his arms, preventing himself from dropping heavily onto Sherlock's chest. Still kneeling over Sherlock's prone form, John drops his head, running his lips along the edge of Sherlock's jawline. It's been nearly twenty hours since he shaved, early in the morning, but somehow the skin is still impossibly smooth. Peppering feather-light kisses along the ridge of bone, John works his way from Sherlock's chin to his ear, and whispers.

"Are you positive this is what you want? I don't want you to feel like you have to do anything, but once we do this, there's no going back." John is certain he couldn't handle one night like this and then returning to the way things were. "If you want to change your mind, we can stop now and I promise I won't bother you anymore." The flood of babbling is embarrassing but John can't seem to stop.

Sherlock's sure, steady fingers grip John's chin, holding his face so he can't look away, and he stares at him with tempestuous eyes.

"John... Tonight may not be the night for dramatic sweeping declarations. That can wait until we're not under the influence of alcohol and hormones. But let me assure you of this one thing. I have wanted you for a very long time. I have been rebuffed and rebuked once too often to lay my heart on the line, especially to someone who has been so adamant about not being gay. There's a reason I keep things close to my chest."

Inwardly, John cringes, but he can see the playfulness in Sherlock's eyes and slowly his body relaxes.

"I knew you were attracted to me, that much was obvious - even to the most casual and oblivious of observers. I just needed you to come to terms with it, and now it appears that you have. So, as you put it, there will be no going back. When have I ever done anything in half-measures? Now kindly shut up and kiss me."

Relief bubbles up from somewhere behind John's sternum, and he releases a breath he hadn't realised he was holding. From Sherlock, that was tantamount to "I love you". Grinning, John presses his mouth to Sherlock's once more.

Suddenly all John wants to do is to lay Sherlock bare, to take him apart piece by piece. He wants to see Sherlock's unflappable veneer shattered, watch him come undone under John's hands, in his mouth. He wants to show Sherlock how wanted - how needed - he really is. His erection had flagged somewhat as they talked, but now, imagining Sherlock sprawled out naked and spent across the bed, it's returning in full force, throbbing uncomfortably against the confines of his jeans. He groans, reaching down to adjust it as subtly as possible, but the gentle brush of Sherlock's fingers along his arm as he chuckles softly make it quite clear that John wasn't quite as discreet as he'd hoped to be.

Looming over Sherlock, John smirks. "You think my discomfort is amusing, do you? Well, turnabout is fair play."

Carefully, John shifts his weight, dropping to lie alongside of Sherlock and freeing up his hands to do more important things than hold himself up. Slowly, gently, John traces the outer rim of Sherlock's ear with the very tip of his tongue. As he gets to the lobe, Sherlock lets out a quiet whimper, but remains otherwise unmoved.

Encouraged, John takes the earlobe between his lips and grazes his teeth over it, earning another needy whine. He slides one hand down Sherlock's torso, the smooth cotton warm and silky under his sensitised fingertips. When he gets to the waistband of Sherlock's trousers, he tugs gently at the shirt hem, pulling it loose. He's vaguely aware of Sherlock's broad hand stroking his back in a soft and haphazard manner.

Releasing Sherlock's earlobe, John draws his tongue down Sherlock's neck and along his carotid artery. He places a light kiss there, feeling the rapid fluttering of Sherlock's heartbeat through his lips, and grins against the pale skin.

As John's mouth reaches Sherlock's suprasternal notch, his hand finds its way to the top button of Sherlock's shirt, pulling it open. John works a trail downwards, pressing light kisses and licks against the swath of skin he's exposing, button by button.

When he gets to the middle of Sherlock's torso, he pauses, fingers hooked under the fabric of the shirt. His lips are hovering centimetres above Sherlock's skin, and John can feel his own warm breath against it as he exhales. The pained, needy noise Sherlock emits is like nothing John has ever heard from him before. He arches his torso off the mattress, his intention clear. He wants John to keep going.

Torn between the urge to tease and the urge to please, John hesitates, but Sherlock lets out another needy keening whine, and John takes pity on him. Quickly, he undoes the last few buttons and licks a trail down towards Sherlock's navel while pulling the shirt open with both hands. The smell of Sherlock is so much more pungent here - salt and sweat and heady desire. There's a faint trail of hair leading into his trousers, dark and fine, and John is reminded of the tiny hairs at the base of Sherlock's skull, the ones he was tugging at earlier.

Curious, he runs his fingers through the hair, trapping a couple between his knuckles, and pulls ever so gently. Sherlock gasps and writhes under him, the noises clearly ones of pleasure, not discomfort. It's incredible how sensitive and responsive he is under John's hands. Suddenly all the carefully tailored clothes and luxurious fabrics make a lot more sense.

John trails his fingers lightly over the waistband of Sherlock's trousers, across the front of his hips. Sherlock's prick is solid and warm, straining against his flies, and teasingly, John traces the outline of it with one finger. Desperately, Sherlock bucks up, seeking more friction and whimpering when he can't find it.

Sherlock's breaths are already coming rapid and ragged already, and John is growing impatient, so he hastily undoes the flies of Sherlock's trousers, tugging them down over his hips and exposing a pair of black cotton boxer-briefs. He pulls the trousers the rest of the way off and tosses them into a corner of the room. Sherlock's erection is pulling the fabric of his pants taut, a tantalising sliver of flushed skin visible behind the button on the front. There's a damp spot at the crown, almost alarming in its size. Sherlock is eager, leaking copiously, and clearly aching for more contact.

John brings his mouth to the damp spot, pressing his lips around it and stroking his tongue lightly over the cotton-covered crown of Sherlock's prick. There's a sharp intake of air from the head of the bed, and Sherlock's hand wraps encouragingly around the back of John's neck, fingertips tracing the fragile vertebrae there.

John strokes one hand across Sherlock's thigh and finds the muscle there taut with anticipation and rippling with tremors. He breathes out against the head of Sherlock's cock, warm moist air soaking his pants further. He's debating whether to draw it out longer when he hears Sherlock's voice, tremulous and broken.

"Please... John. Too much. Touch me..."

Hearing such fragmented, needy sentences in Sherlock's voice - which could be considered obscene at the best of times - proves nearly overwhelming for John. He nearly slides one hand down the front of his own pants to finish himself off, but right now he's got Sherlock to take care of.

Unwilling - or unable - to draw it out any further, John takes pity on Sherlock and pulls his pants down and off, biting his lip as he exposes the flushed length of Sherlock's cock. It's long and proud, nestled in a bed of dark curls. John runs one finger through the hair, shocked at how soft and delicate it feels.

Overwhelmed, John places one gentle, nearly worshipful kiss at the base of Sherlock's prick, and he feels the twitch in the shaft even before hears the whimper from Sherlock's throat. As much as John wants to continue drawing this out, there will be time enough for that later. He slides up the length of Sherlock's cock, leaving a trail of filthy, open-mouthed kisses as he goes. Every time his lips pull away from the velvet-soft skin, Sherlock keens quietly. The last noise he makes, as John presses one chaste kiss at the crown, sounds vague and muffled.

John glances up out of the corner of his eye to see Sherlock's face contorted in pained ecstasy, knuckles shoved into his mouth to stifle the noises he's making. And fucked if it isn't the hottest thing John's ever seen in his life. At this point, there's no more teasing, no more drawing it out. Eagerly, he parts his lips and slides Sherlock's cock into his waiting mouth. He swirls his tongue once over the head, and finds it leaking copiously.

He drags his tongue back and forth across the slit, eagerly lapping up the pre-come there. It tastes of salt and sweet and bitter and Sherlock. Desperate, Sherlock fists one hand firmly into John's short hair, guiding him deeper. Of course he'd be a pushy and demanding lover. John smiles faintly around the thick intrusion in his mouth and relaxes his jaw to take Sherlock in deeper.

As he begins sucking down Sherlock's length in earnest, the muffled grunts and whines he's been letting out blend seamlessly into anxious panting and a shockingly out-of-character string of blasphemes and curses. Somewhere in the back of John's mind, he feels pride at the knowledge that he's been able to reduce Sherlock to something so base and animal, if only for a moment.

He purses his lips, forming a tight seal around Sherlock's prick, and swallows him as deep as he'll go. There's a faint itch at the back of his throat, and the tickle of musky hair at his nose, and John can't help but gag a bit. He feels his eyes watering and blinks it away rapidly, pulling back up and rolling his tongue along the underside of Sherlock's cock.

Sherlock's cries have gotten sharper and higher, climbing the scales as his body gets more tightly wound up. John bobs his head a few more times, taking him in almost as deeply as the first attempt, before focusing on the head.

He traces the thick ridge of the crown of Sherlock's erection with the tip of his tongue before flicking back over the head and down to the fraenulum. Sherlock's grip on his hair tightens and his hips rise up off the bed, a coiled spring about to break.

John wraps one hand around the base of Sherlock's erection, sliding it up to meet the tight ring of his mouth. With each swirl of his tongue, each squeeze of his lips, he pumps his hand, the two motions working in unison to bring Sherlock closer and closer to the brink.

Soothingly, John strokes the long, lean expanse of Sherlock's thigh with his other hand as he increases the suction on the head of his cock and the speed of his fist, and it's not long before Sherlock is groaning and bucking, nearly fucking John's throat.

"Oh god, John. John.... I'm going... I'm going... to..."

Encouragingly, letting him know it's all right, John strokes his thumb firmly over Sherlock's hip bone. Somehow, Sherlock understands the meaning behind the gesture, and with a deep groan that goes straight to John's own aching cock, comes forcefully with a grateful sob. His prick twitches once, twice, inside the warmth of John's mouth, before splattering his release. John feels it coating his tongue, hitting the back of his throat, and swallows, repressing the instinct to gag. The taste is not dissimilar from the pre-come, only slightly more bitter and musky.

He runs his tongue once around the softening length of Sherlock's cock before releasing it before Sherlock becomes too sensitised. He crawls his way back up the bed, knees on either side of Sherlock's hips, and props himself up on his elbows. Sherlock's looking up at him with wide eyes.

"John, that was..." He pants, clearly still overwhelmed by the wave of sensations.

"That good, was it?"

Sherlock sucks in a huge gulp of air, which seems to bring him back down to earth. "Fishing for compliments, are we?"

His hand finds its way to the inside of John's thigh, and even through the thick denim John is sure he can feel Sherlock's fingerprints burning into his skin like a brand. When Sherlock's fingers drag over the aching prominence of John's erection, John gasps and lets out a low moan. Smirking, Sherlock closes his hand slightly, cupping John's cock, and he finds himself rocking his thighs, grinding against friction that helps, but will never completely satisfy.

"John." Sherlock's voice is a low rumble, deep in his chest. "May I?"

John's so fired up now, so desperate, that he simply nods and drops his head down onto Sherlock's shoulder. Deftly, Sherlock undoes John's trousers and drags them down to his thighs, along with his pants. He wraps those impossibly long fingers around the top of John's prick, and the contact is so glorious that John hisses sharply and thrusts his hips forward, driving himself through the loop of Sherlock's hand. He feels Sherlock's thumb sliding over the head, spreading the abundant moisture he finds there around to lubricate his fingers.

"Should I do anything specific, John?"

Knowing it's not going to last no matter what he tries, John grits his teeth and rocks his hips in time with Sherlock's fisting motions.

"Nnhgh, god, no, that's good. It's, fuck, it's -" he's panting now, gasping for air, and the corners of his vision are starting to dim. "Just keep doing that. Not gonna take much, god, sorry. Fuck!"

He cries out sharply as Sherlock twists his hand slightly on the upstroke, rolling John's foreskin gently over the head. Christ, it's unfair that he's so good at this so quickly. Sherlock pumps his hand a few more times and John feels a familiar pressure, his balls drawing hard and tight against his body as sparks crackle up his spine. There's a heat pooling low in his abdomen, rolling out in waves to his fingertips, and he groans loudly.

"Fuck, Sherlock. I'm... I'm..."

John never gets the words out, everything going dim as he climaxes, spilling out all over Sherlock's hand and stomach. His arms tremble in protest, and he does his best to roll onto his side before collapsing on Sherlock's torso. He can feel his cock twitching faintly, strange little aftershocks running through his body. Sherlock's shoulder, where John's head is still resting, is slick with sweat and John can't resist darting his tongue out to taste it. Salty, musky, and not entirely unlike his ejaculate. John giggles, and Sherlock turns to him, raising an eyebrow.

"Did I do something amusing?"

"No, Sherlock. God. That was fantastic. Thank you. Sorry it wasn't... more. I was giggling at myself, don't worry."

Sherlock leans forward and presses his closed lips to the corner of John's mouth in a strangely endearing and intimate gesture.

"It was more than enough, John. For now. There will be plenty of time for... more later." He pauses in the same place John did, gently teasing. John says nothing, but smiles at Sherlock's acknowledgement of later, of his confirmation that nothing's been ruined, nobody's going to panic and scarper off.

Contentedly, John wriggles the rest of the way out of his trousers and curls up next to Sherlock.

"Mind if I sleep down here tonight? I think I'm a bit tipsy, don't feel like going upstairs."

Sherlock merely wraps one long arm possessively around John's torso and turns the light out, which says everything John needed to hear.