John realizes he's in love with Sherlock on a Friday night.
Nothing in particular causes this revelation. No light hitting Sherlock's face a certain way or a shared look between them, no lingering touch of skin on skin. The only thing that’s any different from it being an ordinary Friday night is that John is finally able to put a name to the warm, full feeling in his chest. He simply looks up from the book in his lap to see Sherlock sitting across from him, mug of tea in hand, and realizes that he would happily spend the rest of his life with this mad, brilliant man.
Sherlock glances up and asks, “What?”
John smiles and says, “Nothing.”
John spent their friendship not knowing what to do with his hands. Sherlock was a tactile person by nature, and John was... not. Sherlock was always generous with his physical affections, offering a gentle hand on John's back to lead him to or from a crime scene, or giving his shoulder a squeeze when John worked on his blog. Some days it seemed like Sherlock forgot John was the doctor, leaning down and pulling him close to inspect the bumps and scrapes he received during cases.
John, on the other hand, kept his touches to a bare minimum, and only when it was absolutely necessary. He cleaned Sherlock's cuts and tended to a black eye here and there, gave Sherlock an awkward pat once in a while, but that was about it.
Sherlock never respected John's personal space — he never respected anyone's personal space. But with John, Sherlock seemed to think that, because they were close friends, he had every right to dig his toes into John's leg when they were watching television, or fall asleep in his bed when John was busy rearranging his clothes or his books. Those nights, instead of kicking Sherlock out, John usually passed out on the sofa.
Now that they’re sleeping together, Sherlock’s hands are never off of him, brushing along his skin and into his hair, petting him, or snuggling up against him. Reaching for him in the dark, keeping a hand on his shoulder, like he’s reassuring himself that John is still there. Despite Sherlock's apparent need for physical affection, John holds himself back, so used to toeing the very thin line between just-friends and not-just-friends. Even now that they’ve crossed it, touching Sherlock still feels dangerous and forbidden, like he won’t be able to control himself once he starts.
Sherlock shouts at him after John’s first week back in the flat. John finally clues in that he’s been avoiding physical contact outside of the bedroom; in this particular case, by taking the long way round into the kitchen simply because Sherlock’s in the way.
“Just push me aside, then!” Sherlock snaps. “You're wasting valuable time!”
John blinks at him, then laughs. They’re not on a case, and putting away the shopping isn’t exactly a pressing matter. Sherlock apparently doesn’t find it as funny. With a growl he stomps away to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
John makes Sherlock his favourite homemade pad thai by way of apology. They eat quietly, not a word between them. Sherlock helps John with the dishes, getting bored after washing one cup and wandering away. John doesn’t mind.
Later, when they’re curled up on the sofa together, Sherlock explains why he’s so irritated.
“You do understand that your continued aversion to touching me is absurd,” he says. “We’ve already slept together.”
John rubs his eye and says, “Sorry. Old habits, I guess.”
“That’s stupid,” Sherlock sniffs. “I suggest you break them, because I like it when you touch me.”
As if to prove his point, Sherlock leans against him, pulling the blanket tighter around their shoulders. John huffs out a laugh and shakes his head.
“Once you’ve found something you think you can solve you just get right to it, don’t you?” he says affectionately.
“Obviously,” Sherlock says. He tugs John’s hand down from off the back of the sofa and places it on his shoulder. John sighs, reaching with his opposite hand to scratch at the back of his own neck. He shifts slightly under Sherlock’s weight, but Sherlock refuses to move despite John’s squirming. John gives up with a sigh and hesitantly runs his hand up Sherlock’s shoulder and into his hair, brushing the curls back from his face. Sherlock presses up into his touch, practically purring.
John smiles to himself. Maybe it won’t be so difficult after all.
After a few minutes he rolls over, spilling Sherlock onto the mattress and sliding up against him. Sherlock’s mouth is soft on his, gentle and undemanding, his fingers running through John’s hair and over the back of his neck. John feels them circle the scar on his shoulder and trail down his arm, leaving goosebumps.
John slips his hand between them, ghosting it over the thin, dark line of hair that dips below Sherlock’s hips until he reaches his length. Sherlock hums against his mouth, his grip on John’s shoulder tightening when John wraps his hand around him. John hums back, building a rhythm as Sherlock presses sloppy, sticky kisses against his lips.
John stays quiet through-out. Sherlock moans breathlessly into the dark and comes with a shudder. He collapses against John's chest, John wrapping his arms around him and holding him close as he winds down.
“Give me a minute,” Sherlock pants. “I need to catch my breath.”
John scratches through his hair and says, “It's fine. That was just for you.”
Sherlock blinks at him and John kisses the bewildered look off his face.
Coming home soon?
As he sets the bag of food down on the counter, his phone chimes in his hand.
Not for a few hours.
Working at Bart's.
Chinese in the fridge.
Don't contract anything, idiot.
John grabs a beer from the fridge and his container of chicken fried rice. He settles in for a night of bad telly on his own, leaning against the arm of the sofa and turning the volume up on the television to block out the silence.
Sleeping in Sherlock's bed without Sherlock is strange, mostly because it should be uncomfortable for him, but isn’t. Some nights John wakes up feeling disoriented, from the walls casting weird shadows, or from the windows being in the wrong places. But after a minute, after the haze fades, he's able to recognize where he is. Sherlock’s posters and pictures on the wall, his cased bugs on his shelf bring an odd sort of comfort, and John easily falls back to sleep.
Tonight he doesn't wake up. Not until there's a warm, slender body slipping under the covers behind him, shifting against the mattress and getting comfortable. John feels a gentle hand trail up his spine, into his hair, and he sighs, feeling sleepy. The hand disappears, Sherlock shifting behind him. Then the bottoms of cold feet press against John’s legs, sending a chill running along his skin and causing him to yelp, instantly awake.
“Jesus Christ,” he hisses.
Sherlock chuckles behind him.
“You're lucky I wasn't in a deep sleep,” John says. Then he adds, “Cold bastard.”
Sherlock presses a kiss to the back of John's neck.
“I don't want you kissing me after you've spent all evening playing with a deadly Africanized virus,” John says, pushing him away but grinning despite himself. Sherlock grunts and rolls onto his back, giving up without much fight.
“Git,” John says. Sherlock hums in agreement.
John hasn't really thought about it before. He supposes he always assumed that kissing was the sort of thing Sherlock would normally scoff at, or consider a boring waste of time. Certainly not something he would be completely willing – enthusiastic, even – to spend more than five minutes doing, even without any intention to heat things up.
For a moment, John wonders if a day will ever come when Sherlock ceases to surprise him. He doubts it. For now, he enjoys the gentle treatment Sherlock gives his face, pressing his lips to John's jaw before moving up to his mouth again. John sighs against him.
“What?” Sherlock asks, breath warm on John's skin.
“Nothing,” John says. “You seem to be in a good mood.”
“Hmm,” Sherlock nuzzles him by way of agreement. Then pulls back and asks, “When you say 'good mood', do you mean a good mood or a good mood?”
“I don't know,” John says. “Just. A good mood. It's nice.”
Sherlock ponders this for a moment.
“All right,” he says.
They go back to kissing. John smiles against Sherlock's lips.
“Look,” Sherlock says, one morning over breakfast at Speedy's. He pushes the salt-shaker into the centre of the table and says, “Think of sex as salt.”
John grimaces. Sherlock sighs and replaces the salt with a packet of sugar.
“Better?” he asks.
“Much,” John says. “All right. So, sex is sugar.”
“Yes,” Sherlock says. Then he pushes his mug of coffee next to the sugar. “Think of coffee as a person. Every person – every cup of coffee – needs two things: One, coffee beans, and two, water. Without one you just have a cup of hot water and without the other you just have ground up coffee beans. I’m not different, in that sense.”
“Okay,” John says, not quite sure if he's following.
“Now, most people like sugar in their coffee, or else they can't enjoy it,” Sherlock wiggles the packet in front of John before putting it down again. “But some people – like myself – are perfectly content drinking their coffee black. In fact, some even prefer it.”
John frowns at Sherlock's coffee mug and says, “But you do take sugar in your coffee. All the time.”
Sherlock glares at him, turning to flip through the container of sugar packets. Finally he locates what he's looking for and tosses it onto the table.
“Now,” Sherlock pushes the new packet closer to John so he can read the label. “For some people, they do enjoy sugar in their coffee — at least, once in a while — provided it's the right kind of sugar, or sugar they've grown accustomed to.”
“Organic-grade raw sugar?” John asks.
Sherlock smiles and opens the packet, pointedly dumping the sugar into his mug. He adds another, then stirs his coffee with a spoon and takes a sip, still smiling at John from over the rim.
“Do you understand now?” he asks.
John says, “I guess it makes sense.”
Sherlock rubs his eye, frustrated.
“All right, look,” John says. “It doesn't matter, okay? You... I think I get it. And even if I don't... well, I'm still going to respect you and your choices, and I won't throw a fit if you're not in the mood. That's what matters, right?”
Sherlock looks up at him, surprised. Then he visibly relaxes and says, “Thank you.”
John smiles and goes back to his food.
John rolls over. Sherlock's eyes are closed, but he's still awake. John tangles his hand in his hair. Sherlock opens his eyes.
“You like kissing,” John says.
“Yes,” Sherlock says, frowning. There's a tilt to his voice, like there's a question hidden inside it. John smiles.
“I just mean, that's something you enjoy doing,” he says. “As in, you know... I'm just trying to figure out what you like, since you never told me.”
Sherlock hums. “It's more fun if you figure it out for yourself.”
John sighs and shakes his head, still smiling despite himself.
“You're still not going to tell me, are you?”
“Nope,” Sherlock says, wrapping an arm around his middle.
On the first page, he writes the title in thick, black pen:
The Unravelling of Sherlock Holmes – An Experiment (of Sorts)
He wanders into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. He splashes water on his face and tries to focus on his breathing, eyes closed and forehead pressing against the bathroom mirror. The door opens a minute later and Sherlock steps in.
“Knocking is good,” John says, not opening his eyes.
“How often does this happen?” Sherlock asks.
John licks his lips. “Often enough.”
“You must be good at hiding it if I've never noticed,” Sherlock says.
“This is the first one I've had in a while with you in the flat,” John admits. Sherlock bites his bottom lip.
“Ah,” he says. “Anything I can do?”
John shakes his head. Sherlock scratches the back of his neck, disturbing the curls. He leans against the counter, facing the wall, and watches John out of the corner of his eye. John inhales and exhales. His knuckles are white from where they grip on the counter. Carefully, Sherlock reaches out and touches the underside of John's arm.
John looks up and Sherlock tilts his head at him.
“I can feel your pulse,” he says. “Who taught you that breathing technique?”
“My therapist,” John says. Sherlock smirks.
“I hate to admit it, but Mycroft is right,” he says. “You should fire her. Here, stand up straight. There. Now, inhale quickly through your nose, exhale slowly through your mouth. Close your eyes, unclench your hands. Keep your shoulders back – there you go.”
It takes a few minutes, but soon the tingling sensation in his limbs melts away. Sherlock's hand is still wrapped around his arm, fingertips still pressed into his skin, along the artery. John feels his pulse slowing and the feeling return. He opens his eyes again and finds Sherlock smiling at him.
“Better?” he asks.
“God. Yeah, actually,” John says.
“Tea?” Sherlock asks.
“Are you offering to make it?” John asks. Sherlock snorts.
John rolls his eyes and flicks off the bathroom light. “Come on, then.”
Sherlock Holmes – Male, born January 6th, 1979.
6'1”, slender build.
Allergies: Mild allergy to pineapple and mosquito bites, skin sensitivity to most fabric detergents.
Consulting detective (the only one in the world), genius and perpetual man-child.
Sexual orientation: Still no idea.
John Watson – Male, born October 21st, 1973.
5'8”, average build.
Sexual orientation: Bisexual.
SherSubject A, though not particularly sexual, still agrees to engage in sexual activity with Subject B. However, Subject A refuses to inform Subject B on any of his sexual preferences, and tells Subject B to “Find out for himself.”
Which is exactly what
ISubject B plans on doing.
It leaves very little opportunity for John to get things underway. Thankfully, he's always been a patient man, and sooner or later the cases run dry and Sherlock abandons his latest kitchen experiment, leaving him bored and stretched out on the sofa.
John hands him a mug of tea – his third that morning – and bends down to plant a kiss on Sherlock's lips. Sherlock takes his mug with a frown.
“What was that for?” he asks.
John shrugs. “Do I need a reason?”
Sherlock takes a sip, eyeing John over the rim.
“I'm not the sort of person people go around kissing for no reason,” Sherlock says a few minutes later, after John's settled in to his armchair with the crossword puzzle of the day.
“Well, I should hope not,” John says. Sherlock scrambles off the sofa and moves to loom over him, still wary. John smiles up at him and continues to fill out his puzzle, drawing his pen over the clues.
“Bukowski,” Sherlock says.
“Sorry?” John asks.
“Four down,” Sherlock taps the page. “Charles Bukowski.”
John glances at the paper, then back up at Sherlock. “You read poetry?”
“No,” Sherlock says, eyes wandering down John's front. They settle somewhere in the vicinity of his lap. John swallows, and Sherlock drops to the floor. He doesn't shuffle, or use the arms of John's chair for support; he merely goes from standing to kneeling in one graceful swoop, folding down onto his knees with a grin.
“What are you doing?” John asks. Sherlock pushes his hands over John's knees and along his thighs.
“You want sex,” Sherlock says. John blinks, and Sherlock continues. “That's why you kissed me.”
“You know,” John says, voice catching when Sherlock presses his palm against his crotch. “You know, sometimes people just kiss because they like each other, and that's it. It doesn't always have to mean anything more than that.”
“Of course not,” Sherlock agrees. “But in this case, it does. You want sex. Yes or no?”
John looks up from his lap, where Sherlock somehow manages to work open the buttons of his pyjama bottoms one-handed.
“I wouldn't be opposed,” he says.
“Right then,” Sherlock beams. He gets the button-down fly of John's pyjamas open with minimal fuss, then reaches in to pull John out. John drops the newspaper onto the side table and watches as Sherlock wets his lips and bends over, gasping when Sherlock's mouth envelopes him in soft heat.
It's quick, and messy, which is just how John likes it. Sherlock hums deep in his throat and John arches into his mouth, grabbing on to the back of his chair. Sherlock's hands knead his thighs and trail up under the hem of his jumper, warm skin on skin. He pulls off to suck at the tip of John's erection, ghosting his teeth along the underside before taking him in again. John groans, his fingers scraping through Sherlock's hair. Sherlock's voice vibrates around him and John’s grip tightens. Sherlock grunts, pulling himself free with a cough.
“Don't,” he says, voice hoarse.
“Sorry,” John pants. “Er, don't what?”
“Don't pull my hair,” Sherlock says. “I don't like it.”
“Oh,” John blushes. “Um. Sorry.”
“It's fine,” Sherlock says, leaning in again. “You can play with it, just...”
“Right. Don't pull it,” John continues.
Sherlock smiles softly, then takes him into his mouth again. John plays with Sherlock’s curls and scratches his fingernails over his scalp, taking care not to pull. When he's close, he lets go to cling to the arms of the chair. He gasps out, “Now, Sherlock. Fuck, I—” and then goes tense, shuddering as Sherlock works him through it, using his lips and tongue.
Sherlock tucks him away and does up the buttons of his pyjamas. He leans forward and kisses John once, gently, then rises from the floor and makes his way back to the sofa. John watches Sherlock pick through the papers and case notes on the table, plucking a file out from a folder. He stretches out on the sofa with it, frowning as he reads over. John turns away, grabbing his newspaper and picking up where he left off.
A while later, Sherlock falls quiet. John glances at him, surprised to see he’s fallen asleep, the file on his chest rising and falling with each breath. John shakes his head, amused, and goes back to his newspaper. His tea has gone cold.
June 02nd, 2013 – Do not pull his hair
Subject B has been reliably informed (scolded, really) that Subject A absolutely does NOT enjoy having his hair pulled during oral activities. Scratching his scalp and playing with hair is perfectly all right, however. As of now, Subject B is still uncertain about hair-pulling in non-oral activities. Further experimentation may be required.
The last time John was here, over a month ago, he skirted around his relationship with Sherlock. It was hard enough talking to Sherlock about it; discussing it with his therapist was near-impossible. He's been here less than five minutes, and already he's eagerly counting down the time before he can leave.
Ella clasps her hands over the notebook resting in her lap.
“What have you been up to?” she asks.
“Nothing, really,” John says.
Ella's lips quirk and John draws patterns in the arm of his chair. He sighs.
“I moved back in,” he says. “With Sherlock.”
Ella waits patiently. When John doesn't respond, she asks, “How's that going so far?”
John licks his lips and looks down.
“It's – yeah. Good. Different, a bit, but still good.”
“That's understandable, considering your relationship,” Ella says. “It's bound to have changed after what you've been through – after what he put you through.”
John doesn't say anything. He glances at the clock again and wills time to speed up.
“Am I?” John asks, tapping his razor against the sink. “Sorry, hadn't noticed.”
“You had therapy today, didn't you?” Sherlock says. “You're usually quiet after therapy.”
“Didn't get the note I left you, then,” John says, tilting his chin to get the best light.
“That's what that was?” Sherlock asks. He squishes the bubbles on his chest between his hands and they gush out between his fingers. John finishes shaving and rinses the cream off his face, then dabs on aftershave. Sherlock continues to watch him. Silence stretches out between them.
“You're not going to tell me how it went?” he asks after a few minutes.
“Didn't know you were interested,” John says.
“Of course I'm interested.”
John looks at him. Sherlock's face is soft, open. Waiting. John sighs and puts the aftershave away.
“She thinks I shouldn't have forgiven you,” he says. “She thinks you're holding me back.”
“She told you this?” Sherlock asks.
“She didn't have to.”
“So when you say 'she thinks', do you actually mean 'I think'?” Sherlock asks.
“What?” John blinks. “No, of course not.”
“Maybe you shouldn't have forgiven me,” Sherlock says.
John shakes his head and says, “Shut up.”
He has another panic attack that afternoon, at work. Luckily it's during his lunch break, so he doesn't feel guilty about locking himself in the loo for fifteen minutes. When he emerges again, there's a cup of chamomile tea waiting for him on his desk.
Underneath it he finds a note in Sarah's handwriting that says, Sherlock dropped this off for you, with a smiley-face at the end.
Sherlock sighs from where he's stretched out on the bed behind him. He's wearing his dressing-gown and pyjama bottoms and nothing else. John shoots him a glare in the mirror, over his shoulder. They have to leave in six minutes and Sherlock is mid-strop.
“Why are we even bothering?” Sherlock asks.
“Because Greg is our friend,” John says.
Sherlock presses the heels of his palms into his eyes and groans. “He's not my friend.”
John smiles to himself and turns away from the mirror, adjusting the cuffs of his shirt. Sherlock kicks his feet in frustration and sighs again before sitting up, running a hand through his hair. John watches out of the corner of his eye, a blurry shape twitching and moving with frustration, then suddenly going still.
Sherlock is staring at him.
“What?” John asks, not looking up.
“I've never seen that suit before,” Sherlock says. John looks up to find Sherlock roving his eyes over him.
“It's new,” he says, going back to the mirror.
Sherlock stands from the bed and crowds John against the wardrobe.
“Indeed,” he says, running a hand up John's arm.
John pulls away, saying, “We'll be late.”
“Can't we just stay here?” Sherlock asks. “I'll make it worth your while.”
John smirks. He reaches behind him, into the wardrobe, and blindly pulls one of Sherlock's dress shirts out just as Sherlock leans in to kiss him. John presses the shirt against Sherlock's chest with one hand, reaching out with the other to affectionately pat his bum.
“Later,” he says, slipping away.
Sherlock swears under his breath and shucks off his dressing-gown.
“So congratulations are in order, Chief?” John asks, tapping his plastic cup of champagne against Lestrade's. Lestrade laughs and shrugs, taking a drink from his cup, cheeks pink. Sherlock gives Lestrade a tight smile and begrudgingly raises his cup, then wanders off to pick at the bite-sized tuna sandwiches.
“Wasn't expecting him to turn up,” Lestrade admits, nodding in Sherlock's direction.
“He made a bit of a fuss,” John says. “But I think he secretly wanted to come. He'll never admit it, but he's proud of you.”
“Really?” Lestrade asks, glancing at Sherlock again. “Well. That's nice, isn't it?”
John nods and finishes his champagne. Lestrade clears his throat and shuffles his feet.
“Look, John,” he says. “It's really none of my business, so tell me to piss off if you want, but... are you two all right?”
John frowns. “How do you mean?”
Lestrade offers a one-shouldered shrug. “I just mean, since he's come back.”
“We're fine,” John says. Then he smiles and says, “We're... we're good.”
Sherlock appears at his side with a handful of sandwiches.
“Who made these?” he demands around a mouthful of tuna.
John grimaces as waves him away, but Sherlock ignores him.
Lestrade beams at him. “Anderson.”
Sherlock stops chewing, and John laughs and laughs.
John's never done anything like this before. He's never thought about it, really, never thought people even did this sort of thing. He's completely dressed, shirt tails still tucked into his trousers – though just barely – with Sherlock on top of him, completely naked and hard, muscles tightening a little more with each push against John. Even through layers of fabric John can feel the heat radiating off of him. He lifts his hips on Sherlock's next slide against him and Sherlock whines into his ear.
“Ah, fuck, I'm going to come,” Sherlock breathes. “I'm – I'm going to come all over your nice – nice fucking suit.”
John moans in encouragement. He runs his hands down Sherlock's back and into his hair, and Sherlock comes all over his nice fucking suit.
June 10th, 2013 – Let him mess up posh clothing
A way to get Subject A interested in bedroom-activities is for Subject B to wear his best suit-and-tie. Apparently
SherlockSubject A gets some sort of enjoyment out of dirtying up mySubject B's one and only nice, perfectly-tailored suit. Have considered the possibility that Subject A has done this just to spite Subject B, or to prevent Subject B from taking him out to parties.
John closes his notebook and goes back to his breakfast. Sherlock smirks, reaching out to tug at John's arm.
“Don't,” John says.
“I saw my name,” Sherlock says.
“It's none of your business,” John pulls the notebook closer.
“I saw my name,” Sherlock says again. “It is my business if it has my name in it.”
“It's nothing,” John says. “I'm just... keeping track of something. For my own purposes. Doctor stuff.”
Sherlock watches him for a moment, eyes alight with a sort of mischief that immediately has John squirming in his chair. Eventually, Sherlock leaves it alone and turns his attention back to his bowl of grapes. From downstairs the dryer lets out a loud buzz, and Sherlock is out of his chair again, heading down the stairs.
For the time being, John is in the clear.
Sherlock wraps his whole body around John like a cocoon, arms loose over his side. Being a cuddler is another thing John hadn’t expected from him, but he can't say he minds it much. Sherlock is a warm, solid wall of skin and bones behind him. John feels the soft inhale-exhale of Sherlock’s breath against his back, and if he were to wrap his hand around Sherlock's wrist, he could feel his pulse.
It's reassuring to know Sherlock’s there, alive. John thinks about the time where Sherlock wasn't there, and he wasn't alive, and he's hit with the sudden urge to tell Sherlock just how much he cares about him.
He doesn't, because he doesn't think he can handle Sherlock scoffing at him and hissing, “Sentiment,” like it's a dirty word that leaves a foul taste in his mouth. Instead John closes his eyes and runs the pads of his fingers over Sherlock's knuckles.
“Case?” he asks.
“A woman’s husband-to-be didn’t show for the wedding,” Lestrade says. “No one’s seen him. She’s back at the station with Sally. Poor thing, distraught.”
“Shut up, shut up! I can’t concentrate!” Sherlock shouts, waving his hands about his head as though he can bat away the noise.
“Oh, I’m ever so sorry. Would you like me to face the wall again?” Anderson sniffs.
“Or just get out of the flat,” Sherlock says. “Better yet, off the planet.”
Lestrade sighs, unfolding his arms. John shrugs apologetically and heads back into the kitchen to put away the shopping. He won’t be much help if no one is talking. He’s just about finished with the vegetables when Sherlock practically throws his coat at him and forces him out the door.
“Station. Interview,” he says by way of explanation.
John makes sure to grab his keys on the way out.
“Ouch, fuck! Jesus.” He rubs at it as Sherlock laughs breathlessly against his mouth, tugging the tails of his shirt out of his trousers. Sherlock’s hands are everywhere, ripping off his clothing and groping him, hot on his skin. John chokes back a moan when Sherlock closes his mouth around his left nipple, nipping gently and shoving him hard against the table. John reaches out to grab the edge, sending an entire stack of files crashing to the ground.
“Holy Christ,” he says tightly. Sherlock yanks at his belt and drops it to the floor. It lands with a loud clunk, and Sherlock pulls away from John’s nipple to latch on to the other one. John’s hips arch of their own accord. Sherlock hums from deep in his throat and grinds back, pressing them together through their clothes.
“You were on fire,” John tells him. Sherlock tugs his jeans down to his thighs and John says, “God, I think that was the fastest case yet.”
Sherlock nudges him and says, “Turn around.”
John turns and leans against the table without a second thought. Sherlock slides his jeans further down, then off. John’s shirt is still on, splayed open against his chest and stomach, slipping down over his shoulders. Sherlock runs his hands over John’s chest, leaning forward to kiss his neck. Then he moves his hands away, John glancing behind him as Sherlock unbuttons his own shirt (Of course, John thinks. Heaven forbid they ruin his shirt.) Sherlock shakes his shirt off and pushes John further down against the table, onto his elbows and slides up behind him, bringing John tight against him, the fabric of his trousers digging into John's skin. The table wobbles beneath them and John grips the edge, heart stuttering in his chest.
“Shit, Sherlock. I don’t think this will—”
“It’ll hold,” Sherlock says, breathing into his hair. John can hear him — can feel him removing his belt and his trousers. Can hear Sherlock fiddling with something as he bites a trail up to John’s ear, takes the lobe between his teeth and nips gently. John grunts, pressing back. He tenses when he feels fingers, wet and slick, sliding against him.
Swallowing, John says, “Sherlock...”
“I’m not going to,” Sherlock assures him, nuzzling between his shoulders. Sherlock brushes him with his hand, spreads something cool and wet around him. Sherlock pulls his hand away again, spreading the rest over himself before tossing the tube onto the table and bringing his hand to wrap around John’s erection. John’s breath hitches as he leans into it, and from behind he feels Sherlock hot and slick, sliding between his cheeks and breathing hard into his ear.
“Fucking hell,” John gasps. Sherlock rocks against him slowly, and it’s messy, and hot, and so incredibly filthy that John feels his skin burn just thinking about it. Sherlock licks and bites and sucks at his skin, moaning loudly as he finds a rhythm with his hips, his hand keeping up on John’s length. The table starts to rattle under John’s grip. He swears loudly and Sherlock grits out, “Yes,” from behind him, dropping his head to rest against John’s neck.
“Keep talking,” Sherlock whispers.
“I — I don’t—” John swallows and Sherlock rubs against the head of his cock with his thumb. John groans, closes his eyes and says, “Sherlock, fuck. That feels — you’re brilliant. You’re — am-amazing. You — I — God, yes.”
John tries to say more, to tell Sherlock all the things he hasn’t said before though wishes he had. All he can manage are broken syllables and half-words that are lost amongst the table rattling under them. When John finds his voice again it comes as a loud shout, then a drawn-out moan that shakes apart with him. Sherlock grips his hips with both hands, pulling John flush against him. Sherlock thrusts hard along John’s sensitive skin until he spills out messily over his back, biting John’s good shoulder, muffling his sounds. It’s only after everything stops that John realizes just how loud they’ve been.
Sherlock shakes around him, overheated and slick with sweat. He shifts back and begins to rearrange himself as John stands straight again. There are papers everywhere — papers that were in perfect order before, and that Sherlock will undoubtedly be angry about later — and the table has slid several inches across the kitchen floor, leaving black marks in its wake.
John turns around and looks at Sherlock, who bites his lip.
Then John snorts, Sherlock bursts out laughing, and John seriously hopes Mrs Hudson isn’t home.
June 13th, 2013 – Compliment him (obvious), and put kitchen table to good use
Subject A was very eager to
have getshow his gratitude toward Subject B last night. Subject A requested they leave The Yard directly after solving a case (which, by the way, I Subject B needs to type up for his blog) and dragged Subject B into a cab where he proceeded to try and suck Subject B’s tongue from his throat, despite the poor cab driver’s obvious disturbance. Once home, Subject A tore Subject B’s favourite shirt, and then shagged him rather enthusiastically on the table. During said shaggings(?), Subject A requested that Subject B “Keep talking”. Subject B wasn’t sure what to say, but Subject A didn’t seem to mind.
Unfortunately, Subjects A and B’s landlady heard everything and had to have a chat with both Subjects, which was regrettably but understandably less pleasant. Subject A has been insufferably smug all afternoon. Subject B’s eye is still rather sore.
John sets down his newspaper and moves onto the sofa. Sherlock eyes him but doesn’t stop trying to massage himself. John rolls his eyes and gently pulls Sherlock’s hand away.
“Don’t give me that look,” he says. “Lie down, on your front.”
Sherlock does as he’s told with a put-upon sigh. John gives him a pillow to lie on, then pulls Sherlock’s dressing-gown off. Sherlock shifts against the sofa cushions, glancing over his shoulder as John crawls up his back and straddles his waist. John tugs at the hem of Sherlock’s t-shirt and huffs when Sherlock refuses to move.
“Shirt off,” he says. Sherlock rise himself onto his elbows and John slips his shirt off with more fuss than needed. Gently he pushes Sherlock back onto the cushions, running his hands up his spine, applying more pressure as he reaches the base of Sherlock’s neck.
“So is this from running after that woman’s fiance—”
“Father-in-law,” Sherlock corrects him. John shudders at the thought and continues.
“Right, or… the other thing?” he asks.
Sherlock presses his face into the pillow and says, “Running. I think.”
“Ah,” John says, kneading his fingers into tense muscle around Sherlock’s shoulders.
Sherlock hums. “Relaxing. Feels nice.”
“Well, it’s a massage. It’s supposed to.”
“Hmm. Haven’t had one, before,” Sherlock says. Then, “Lower, a bit.”
John presses lower, under Sherlock’s shoulder blades. Sherlock shifts, John’s feeling the movement from under him. He moves lower still, rubbing tight circles along Sherlock’s spine with his thumbs. The skin of his back is soft and littered with freckles. Sometimes, when John can’t sleep and Sherlock is facing away from him, John connects them in his mind, building constellations.
Sherlock shifts again and John glances up. Sherlock stares off into space, and with the way his head is angled to the side, John notices that his cheeks are slightly flushed.
John stops massaging. Sherlock looks back at him.
John grins. “You’re getting hard.”
Sherlock frowns. “What?”
“You are,” John says. “The way you’re squirming. You’re trying to get comfortable because you’re getting hard.”
Sherlock glares and John laughs.
“Shut up,” Sherlock says. “It’s normal. Probably. Don’t — it is normal! Right?”
“Well, it’s not unheard of,” John smiles.
Sherlock sighs and says, “Just do like me and ignore it.”
John shrugs and goes back to his work, dutifully ignoring it. When his hands grow tired, he gives Sherlock’s bum a playful slap — Sherlock glaring at him — before shuffling back to his armchair. Sherlock continues to fidget for several minutes, then mutters something about having a shower and wanders out of the room.
John smiles to himself.
June 13th, 2013 – Give him back massages
Subject A appears to be rather fond of back massages. Although he (rather obviously) became aroused, he refused to let Subject B take care of the matter, and told Subject B to “ignore it”. Subject B did and continued on with the massage until his hands became tired. Subject A left to have a
wank“shower”. Subject A then slept for five hours.
So if anything, back massages are, at the very least, a good way to get Subject A to sleep. Keep this in mind for the future.
“Haven’t seen you in that in a while,” John says. “Going back to Buckingham Palace?”
The last time, Sherlock had been in an incredibly sour mood and refused to change. His mood seems to have improved since then, at least.
Sherlock scoffs and takes another bite of his toast.
“You know what I was thinking?” John asks, getting out of his chair.
“How could I?” Sherlock asks around a mouthful of food.
“I meant when we were at the Palace,” John says.
“I don’t know,” Sherlock gives a one-shouldered shrug. “Presumably, ‘what on earth has he done now’?”
“Well, yes,” John admits. Then, “But it was around then that I was starting to realize I was attracted to you. I didn’t accept it until later on, but I had my moments where I just wanted to throw you over the nearest surface and have my way with you.”
Sherlock stops chewing.
“That was definitely one of them,” John concludes.
Sherlock swallows his toast.
“Really, Sherlock,” he says.
Sherlock pushes John’s head away, pulling his bed sheet tighter around himself and absolutely refusing to sit up. John feels like his skin is about to burn off from embarrassment. He clears his throat and makes his way into the kitchen to make tea, wishing the floor would open up beneath his feet.
Once Mycroft starts drawling on about some government information or other, John runs the tap and rinses his mouth out. The kettle clicks off and he begins to make three cups of tea.
He forgets the sugar in Sherlock’s, just to spite him.
June 14th, 2013 – (Almost) being caught
Let it be known, that what Subject B lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm. Let it also be known that above all, Subject B is brilliant at following orders. Sometimes — though very rarely — despite his better judgement. So when Subject B hears someone coming up the stairs for a nice little visit, and Subject A says, “Keep going”, in the future Subject B should NOT listen to Subject A and should, in fact, NOT keep going. Even if it seems to bring Subject A a rather perverse sort of pleasure.
John tries to not take it personally. He manages, for the most part. He used to be better at this, but now there's an added weight to it all that he can't get shake off – isn't sure he wants to shake off. But eventually the case is solved and they go about their usual routine of cheap dinner and walking home in the rain.
It's in a rare moment where John is talking and Sherlock is listening that it happens. Sherlock reaches out and slips his hand into the crook of John's arm, and John stops talking mid-sentence. Sherlock has never been one to display any sort of affection toward him publicly, at least not like this. For nearly five whole strides John forgets to breathe. It's only after Sherlock gives his arm a gentle squeeze that he remembers again.
“Right,” he says. “Where was I?”
“Your grandfather lived in the Yukon,” Sherlock says.
Sherlock doesn't pull his hand free for the rest of the walk back, and John finishes his story.
“Oh?” Sherlock asks, voice low. Obviously interested. Good, John thinks. This is good. He's only tried to initiate sex between them a handful of times, and each time Sherlock was busy with something else, or not in the mood. Tonight, the case is finished, they've eaten dinner, and Sherlock is calm, and quiet – quieter than John thinks he's ever seen him. John feels an overwhelming urge to change that, so sudden and strange it momentarily takes his breath away.
John slips his hands down Sherlock's sides, under his coat, gently pushing against Sherlock's lower back to draw him away from the wall. He sinks his hands into the back pockets of Sherlock’s trousers, squeezing. Sherlock's lip twitches upward, enough for John to see a glint of teeth against the light coming in from the street. John pulls his hands out from Sherlock's pockets, ghosts them across his thighs and up. With one hand he lowers Sherlock's hips against the wall again, and with the other he runs his fingers along Sherlock's fly, nudging past the fabric to feel the metal teeth of the zipper against his fingertips.
Sherlock's breath catches in his throat. John stands up straighter, lifts his hand from Sherlock's hip to wrap around his neck and pull him down. Sherlock closes his eyes, melts into the kiss. John smiles, nerves still shaking but confidence growing, and touches his tongue to Sherlock's bottom lip. Sherlock opens up and John slips inside, pressing his hand against the front of Sherlock's trousers. John feels the line of him growing hard and swallows the soft moan Sherlock breathes into him.
“Upstairs?” John whispers. Sherlock swallows and nods.
“Christ,” he gasps. Sherlock's legs tense around his hips and his fingers dig into his skin. John groans, feels warm, liquid pleasure settle somewhere along the base of his spine and a burning, tight heat wrap around him. It's perfect, and he starts to think they've waited far too long for this when Sherlock grunts from under him and says, “John, wait. I can't.”
John stops instantly, opening his eyes. Sherlock frowns, his expression tense and his skin no longer flushed, erection waning. John slips out as carefully as he can and sits up, rubbing a hand over his face. His cheeks burn hot and he feels something heavy sink into his stomach.
“I can't do it,” Sherlock says. “It's not... it's not working for me.”
“That's okay,” John says quietly.
Sherlock bites his lip. “You’re disappointed.”
John smiles. He doesn't want to lie, so he doesn't say anything at all.
“Maybe we can try it the other way?” Sherlock suggests. “You might have better luck than I do.”
“Yeah,” John says. “Maybe.”
Sherlock frowns and John sighs.
“Sherlock, don't worry about it,” he says. “A lot of men... it's fine. We'll find something else, okay? We'll try it the other way, next time.”
Sherlock nods and looks down at his hands. He pulls at a loose thread and stays quiet. John reaches out and ruffles his hair, smiling when Sherlock throws him a glare. Sherlock finally relents, returning the smile.
John clears his throat and says, “All right. I need a shower.”
June 29th, 2013 – Do not top him
Subject A expressed extreme discomfort while bottoming (later he even said, “I am NEVER doing that again.”) However, he also expressed something of an interest in topping, which Subject B is not against in the slightest, but does feel apprehensive about as he is prone to anxiety attacks, and imagines that going into a panic while having some bloke's bits up his behind is none too thrilling.
“Coffee. Black,” Sherlock says, flopping down in his chair. As an afterthought, he adds, “Please.”
John sighs. He restarts the coffee maker and goes back to his dishes. Sherlock reads the newspaper, one leg resting over the other, hair rumbled and one side of his cheek imprinted with the lines of his pillow. John swallows and looks away. Sherlock seems happy to wave off last night’s mishap, but John finds himself thinking of the whole ordeal as some horrible mistake on his part.
He hands Sherlock his mug a few minutes later. Sherlock smiles at him as he takes it. Than he turns his attention toward the news. John opens his mouth to say something about last night — to apologize, maybe — then thinks better of it. Sherlock sips his coffee, ignoring him.
John shakes his head, and decides he might as well move on. If Sherlock doesn’t mind, than he shouldn’t, either.
John wonders how many times he’ll have to tell himself this before it finally settles in.
He buys a block of cheese and fresh bread. He hums over the salmon before making his selection. Sherlock sighs and taps something out on his phone, nose wrinkling in disgust at whatever he’s doing, or whoever he’s talking to. He doesn’t put his phone away as they walk down the aisles, but still manages to side-step strangers in his way. John has no idea why he even bothered to come; he hasn’t chosen anything, and he hasn’t made a single comment.
That is until John picks up a can of whipped cream.
“No,” Sherlock says. John turns to look at him, surprised.
“Sorry?” he asks.
“Whipped cream? Absolutely not.”
John glances at the can. “I was going to make sponge cake.”
Sherlock snorts. “No, you weren’t.”
John runs his tongue over his teeth and puts the can back.
July 1st, 2013 – Absolutely no food in the bedroom
Subject B has been given an hour-long lecture as to why food is a Very Bad Idea in the bedroom. Subject B merely picked up a can of whipped cream at the shop, but Subject A has now apparently developed the power to read minds as he knew exactly what Subject B was planning. Subject B went back and bought a sponge cake, just to spite Subject A.
Edit: Subject B has just been informed that Subject A also hates sponge cake.
They just barely manage to fit in the shower together. Sherlock keeps adjusting the strength of the spray each time they change spots — John likes it pounding, Sherlock does not. It had taken them long enough to find a temperature they both agreed on, and John is fairly certain one of them is going to trip on the shower curtain sooner rather than later. But Sherlock had said, “I need a shower,” and John had said, “Me too,” and Mrs Hudson was about to do a load of laundry. So, really, it was only logical they share.
Sherlock carefully manoeuvres him under the spray. He reaches up to adjust the strength again, standing mere inches away. John puts his hand on Sherlock’s side, grips his slippery skin and stretches up to kiss him. Sherlock hums into it, still working the nozzle until the water beats down into the tub. John slips his hand down Sherlock’s stomach and between his legs. Sherlock breaks the kiss to laugh against his cheek.
“This could be dangerous,” he says.
“I thought you liked danger,” John says.
Sherlock swallows and wets his lips, and John pushes him back against the tiled wall to kiss him properly. He moves his hand in firm, confident strokes, and before long Sherlock is panting and arching into John’s fist. John grins at him, then lowers himself, somewhat gracelessly, to the floor of the tub. Once he's down there, though, he feels his confidence slip. His first attempt at giving Sherlock a blowjob was rudely interrupted, and unless Mycroft is the sort to barge into the bathrooms, John hopes he can see this through, this time.
Carefully, he takes Sherlock into his mouth, trying to ignore the pounding in his ears. His inexperience doesn’t help with his nerves, but Sherlock manages to stop himself from thrusting, muscles flexing under skin with the effort, fingers gently scratching over John’s head.
John licks at him experimentally, trying to remember what he likes, what Sherlock does for him. He sucks gently at the head of Sherlock’s cock and is rewarded with a moan that echoes against the shower walls. Encouraged, he takes Sherlock in further, applies more pressure. Sherlock shifts, trying to spread his knees further apart.
Instead he slips and falls half-way into the tub. John pulls away in surprise.
“Fuck!” Sherlock shouts.
John tries not to giggle as he asks, “Are you all right?”
“This is by far the stupidest idea you’ve ever had,” Sherlock growls as he struggles back onto his feet. Before John can react, Sherlock rips open the shower curtain and stomps out of the bathroom, leaving a trail of water in his wake.
John thinks he should probably feel guilty — and he will later, most likely — but for now he can’t stop laughing.
July 3rd, 2013 – Sex in the shower is the bad sort of ‘dangerous’
Subject B thought a little fun in the shower might be right up Subject A’s alley. It turns out it is very much NOT up subject A’s alley. At all. Not even up the same street as said alley. Subject A appears to have poor traction on wet porcelain. Subject A also prone to throwing a fit mid-blowjob if it doesn’t go according to plan. Sex in the shower currently off the agenda, though (Subject B
hypothehopes) not permanently.
Sherlock is curled up on the sofa, having what John assumes to be a pout of rather epic proportions. They’re not having much luck lately, it seems. Either that, or Sherlock is being particularly hard to please. Neither one would be surprising.
John awkwardly goes about his routine. He decides what to make for dinner, being sure to make extra just in case Sherlock decides to eat, and starts chopping vegetables. A few minutes later, Sherlock sweeps into the room, blue dressing-gown falling off his shoulders, hair a mess.
“What are you making?” he asks.
John sniffs and says, “You don’t have to apologize.”
Sherlock falls quiet behind him. John glances over his shoulder to make sure he’s still there. He is, looking perplexed. John turns back to his tomatoes, cutting them into thick chunks.
“You ask questions you already know the answer to when you’re apologizing,” he says.
John dumps the tomatoes into a pot and smiles to himself.
Sherlock sighs. Crossing his arms, he leans against the door frame.
“I understand my reaction earlier wasn’t entirely fair.”
“No,” John agrees. “Leaving when your boyfriend is just trying to get you off is rather poor etiquette.”
“Boyfriend?” Sherlock asks. John looks up at him, then away.
“Er, yeah,” he says. “Unless I’m mistaken?”
“It just sounds so…” Sherlock grabs for a word. “Pedestrian.”
John laughs. “Okay, well. What do you call us then, in that great, bloody head of yours?”
“Partners,” Sherlock says. “It’s appropriate, and it fits with everything else that we do: You’re my partner in work, you’re my partner ‘in crime’, as they say, and you’re my partner in life as well as in bed. It’s open for interpretation, so no matter what people assume, they’ll always be right. If you think about it, I’m being kind to everyone.”
John swallows. He dumps the pile of carrots into the pot and remains quiet.
Sherlock unfolds his arms and comes to stand next to him, invading his space. Here, in the small kitchen of their flat, John feels very little and Sherlock feels very big, both in size and presence. He’s a looming wall of sharp intensity. To some, it’s threatening and unnerving. To John, it’s comforting. For a moment he wonders if he’s gone mad.
John realizes he doesn’t care, and that’s when he knows that yes, he has.
Oddly enough, he doesn’t really mind it.
John runs his hand through Sherlock’s hair, thinks about sentiment, thinks about everything that Sherlock said. John wonders if it’s Sherlock’s way of saying everything else he means to, saying what he wants to say but can’t, because of who he is and what he's built for himself.
John wonders if this is how it’s going to be: A life speaking in code, because they’re both too stupid to figure out how to say, “I love you.”
He closes his eyes as Sherlock talks him down, kissing the centre of his chest and nuzzling his neck. John tries to remember to breathe: In through the nose, out through the mouth. Inhale. Exhale. Sherlock’s hands are warm against his skin, his hair tickling under John’s chin. The panic dissipates slowly until it’s almost gone. When John gives a small nod, Sherlock crawls down his body, wraps his lips around him as he gently opens him up with his fingers, taking his time. John finds he doesn't hate it, which is more than what he was expecting.
Then Sherlock finds his prostate, and John's hips snap upward into Sherlock’s mouth. Sherlock grunts and glares at him from over the ridge of his stomach.
“Sorry,” John pants. Sherlock pulls off with a pop and presses his fingers deeper.
“Good?” he asks. “Or too much?”
“Weird,” John says. “But... not bad.”
Sherlock rubs inside him again and John's back arches on its own accord.
“Jesus,” he gasps. “Okay. Um. Good. Definitely... definitely good.”
Sherlock smiles and says, “Right then.”
They go slow, at first, to keep the panic at bay. Sherlock leans back against the pillows, and John climbs into his lap. He’ll have full control of the pace this way, at least. John’s hands are steady as he works the condom over Sherlock’s length and slicks him up. Sherlock’s hands are warm, resting on his hips as he watches him with heavy-lidded eyes. John releases a low breath, positions himself and sinks down. He takes a minute to get used to it, to the feel of Sherlock inside him, Sherlock rubbing patterns over his skin. Carefully John rocks forward, testing the movement. Everything feels burningtighthot and stretched-full and weird, and his heart hammers in his chest so loud he can hear it in his ears.
Sherlock's fingers twitch on his waist. Voice quiet, he asks, “Good?”
“Are you going to keep asking me that?” John asks.
“I’ll stop,” Sherlock says. John rolls his hips again, using Sherlock's shoulders for leverage.
“It’s fine,” John says, licking his lips. “I don't mind. Just, maybe – if you could—”
Sherlock wraps his hand around John's cock, and that's significantly better, John thinks. Sherlock plays with the skin around the tip and leans in to nuzzle against the side of John's neck. John sighs, breath shaking.
“Good?” Sherlock asks, voice a bit tighter, a bit rough. It settles deep in the pit of John’s stomach.
“Good,” he nods. Sherlock hums and thrusts up into him gently, causing something hot to burn its way up John's spine from the inside. His grip on Sherlock’s shoulders tightens as he groans and says, “Oh, god.”
Sherlock moans into his neck, rubs his face against him and says, “Christ, I want to fuck you.”
“Yes,” John breathes. “I — yes.”
Sherlock takes his hand back to tighten his grip on John's hips. He drives up into him and John cries out, swearing under his breath. Sherlock bites his lip, shakes under him with the effort to hold back. There’s an overwhelming surge of heat, of emotion, or pleasure, or something in John’s chest, and leans forward to steal a kiss, to breathe, “Fuck me” against Sherlock’s lips.
Sherlock groans, his pace quickly falling into something fast, something brutal. It's all John can do to hold on and ride it out, Sherlock's loud, desperate noises filling the room until he goes completely silent, tensing. John can feel him everywhere, the rocking of his hips under him, the gentle pulsing inside him and Sherlock’s legs shaking behind him. With a quiet whimper, Sherlock falls apart.
“Bloody hell,” John gasps. “If that wasn't the hottest thing...”
Sherlock stares up at him, sheepish and fighting for breath. He runs shaking hands up John's thighs, over his hips and as John finishes himself off, kissing with sticky lips as he comes into his fist and over Sherlock's stomach.
For several long minutes, the only noise in the room is their heavy breathing. Then the room grows quiet, save for the flutter of birds fighting over rubbish outside and the distant sound of traffic coming in through the open window.
“Well,” Sherlock says. He clears his throat and tries again, “That was, um. Successful.”
“Yeah,” John agrees. “I'd say so.”
Sherlock looks at him and grins. John laughs and says, “Fucking hell.”
Eventually Sherlock falls back to sleep and John gets out of bed. He showers, shaves and gets dressed. In the kitchen he makes breakfast and waits for the tingling in his hands and feet to stop.
July 17th, 2013 – Let him top
Switching positions seems to produce great results for both Subject A and Subject B. Subject B still sceptical about whether or not he could handle a different position.
And Subject B thinks Subject B seriously needs to suck it up.Subject A has been very understanding. Well, as understanding as SherSubject A can be. Also, Subject A may or may not have displayed a slight appreciation for dirty talk — if you could call it that.
Subject B proposes an upgrade on the experiment: Apply all knowledge to a singular event.
John scratches his eyebrow and nods.
“Yeah. Fine,” he says. “I’m getting better at handling them, I think. Sherlock taught me a breathing technique.”
Ella nods and marks something down in her notebook.
“Are you still working at the clinic?” she asks.
“Occasionally,” John says. “Not as much anymore. Sherlock keeps me busy, and, well. They just hired a new doctor. She’s completely dedicated to the job, so. You know.”
Ella taps her pen against her notebook and looks up at him.
“Do you feel like you're isolating yourself again?” she asks.
John licks his lips.
Ella continues. “When was the last time you went out with a friend who wasn’t Sherlock?”
John stares at her shoes. His fingers tense on the arm of his chair. He knows where this is going, and he can't say he really disagrees. He's well aware that he and Sherlock spend more than enough time with one another – an unhealthy amount of time, at that. Living and working together is enough to cause strain on most friendships, and their relationship goes up and beyond. Despite that, John wouldn't give it up for the world. Sherlock makes him feel alive again. Sherlock makes him happier than he's ever been.
When he doesn’t reply, Ella sighs and sets her pen down.
“I’m concerned with how much of your time is dedicated to him,” she says. “It’s good that you’ve found a friend, John, but I’m still not sure if it’s healthy. He caused you a lot of pain, a lot of grief, and you forgave him very easily. Who’s to say he won’t do it again, and if he does, what then?”
John feels his nerves stretch tight, threatening to snap. It’s nothing he hasn’t already thought of himself, the possibility that he was mad for forgiving Sherlock so easily. Ella certainly isn’t the first person to voice her concern about it, either. Everyone seems to think John was insane for wanting Sherlock back in his life, for needing his company. John understands how it must seem to outsiders, but they couldn’t possibly grasp how it felt to go from nothing, from being boring old John Watson, sad and completely alone, to being someone. To being someone to the greatest, most brilliant man he had ever met.
“Working with him is one thing,” Ella says. “Living with him, spending all your time with him… do you think this is healthy?”
John’s temper breaks. He can feel it, a tight metal string in his chest snapping in two.
Through clenched teeth, he asks, “What about sleeping with him?”
John turns around and walks to the corner of the street. He hails a cab and heads home.
“Lestrade phoned,” he says. John just nods and waits for Sherlock to shut the door and lead the way. They manage to flag down a cab almost immediately, and Sherlock slides in first, pulling out his mobile. The cab pulls onto the main street and John buckles his seatbelt.
“So, you finally fired her,” Sherlock says, tapping his phone’s screen.
John looks out the window and says, “Yep.”
From the corner of his eye, he sees Sherlock smirk. They drive in silence for a few minutes, until Sherlock tucks his phone away and turns to face John. Their knees bump in the confined space.
“A woman showed up at the Yard this morning,” he begins. “Victoire Philemon, moved here from France last year with her younger sister, Aimée after her grandmother died, leaving her a substantial amount of money. According to Miss Philemon, an American man named Paul McKenzie, whom she met at her job, has been sending her threatening letters and trying to blackmail her into letting him marry Aimée.
“However,” Sherlock continues. “ Aimée currently resides in a psychiatric ward. She suffers from dissociative personality disorder, and it’s so severe that she needs to be under constant supervision.”
“Jesus,” John says.
“Yes,” Sherlock agrees. “Miss Philemon asked for us — well, me — specifically. She’s refusing to talk until I get there, apparently. Haven’t been summoned specifically by name for a while. That's a bit exciting, isn't it?”
John blinks at him and doesn’t reply.
Sherlock backpedals, saying, “I mean, as a case.”
“All right,” John smirks. “If you say so.”
“Ta,” John says, taking a sip and sighing. Lestrade smiles, tucking his opposite hand into his pocket. They look through the glass window at Sherlock interviewing Victoire Philemon, a girl barely out of her teens. There’s a digital voice recorder on the table between them, and Sherlock watches Victoire from over his clasped hands, eyes unwavering.
In the bright overhead lights Sherlock looks like a statue carved from marble. Untouchable, like he should be behind glass or a velvet rope in a museum. John has the sudden urge to run his hands down Sherlock's skin, mould him into different shapes under his fingers. It sends a warm heat into the pit of his stomach that he tries his best to ignore, taking another drink to distract himself.
“Poor girl,” Lestrade asks. “She didn't know what she’s getting herself into when she asked for him, did she?”
John shrugs. “At least he can turn the charm on when he needs to,” he takes another drink and adds, “She doesn’t look too uncomfortable. That’s saying something.”
Lestrade laughs and nods in agreement. Then they fall into a comfortable silence, watching as Victoire slips a photograph across the table. Sherlock looks at it, memorizes it, then tucks it into his pocket.
“It’s like old times again,” Lestrade says eventually. “You and him back here, solving crimes. It’s like he never left.”
John shifts awkwardly and says, “I guess.”
“He’s more patient, though,” Lestrade says. “Sort of. I dunno, maybe not. But something about him… it’s different. Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed.”
John drinks his coffee and doesn’t reply. Sherlock emerges from the interview room, glancing between the two of them. He settles his focus on Lestrade and begins spewing information.
“Miss Philemon claims McKenzie is violent, and heavily involved with drugs. She believes his intentions are to marry Aimée, then trick her into giving him money. He was fired from his job a few months ago after a dispute between himself and the manager, and no one has seen him or heard from him since,” Sherlock explains. “What’s worse is, apparently McKenzie is completely aware of Aimée’s condition, and one of Aimée’s personalities is in love with him.”
“Bloody hell,” Lestrade says.
“She’s described him for you, and there’s a photograph,” Sherlock says, digging the photograph from his pocket and handing it over along with the voice recorder. “I've got my Network on the look-out as well.”
Lestrade sighs and says, “Yeah, thanks.”
Sherlock flashes him a quick smile, then nudges John forward with a hand to his lower back. He manoeuvres them in the direction of the lifts just as Lestrade turns away, moving toward his office. The lift dings and the doors slide open, and John follows Sherlock inside.
“Why’d she ask for you, anyway?” he asks once the doors shut and the lifts begin to move.
“Because I’m brilliant,” Sherlock says, looking smug. “Her words, not mine.”
“I’m sure,” John says, just as the lift comes to a stop. Sherlock winks at him, and together they leave.
John slides along the bench, closer to him. Sherlock smirks and playfully nudges his thigh. John reaches down, underneath the table, and scratches his fingers over Sherlock’s kneecap. He pulls away just in time as Sherlock’s leg jerks sharply, hitting his knee on the underside of the table with a loud bang. The cutlery jumps, and a few heads turn to look in their direction.
John snorts and tries not to laugh. Sherlock smiles false-apologetically at the table nearest them.
“Didn’t know you were ticklish,” John says, rearranging their knives and forks.
“I’m not,” Sherlock says.
“Oh, really?” John reaches down again and Sherlock slides away to the end of the bench. John laughs again. Sherlock glares at him just as Angelo arrives with their drinks. He takes John's order with a knowing smile and wanders away.
John continues to try and tickle any spot on Sherlock that he can reach, Sherlock managing to twist away from him each time. It makes for a good distraction, John thinks. It could be hours, maybe longer, before Sherlock gets any news on the case from either his Homeless Network or Lestrade. At least this way Sherlock has something else to think about for the time being.
Angelo arrives with his food and John stops trying to grope Sherlock from under the table. Sherlock slides next to him again, stealing bits of pasta off his plate and nudging him again. It’s ridiculous, John thinks, spending the majority of their dinner trying to pin one another’s feet down to the floor. It starts off as childish flirting, but by the end John is certain Sherlock is actually trying to win.
John gives up in favour of ghosting his hand along the inside seam running up Sherlock’s thigh. Sherlock becomes fixated on his glass of water, eyes wandering around the room before carefully opening his knees. John nibbles on his meal while he slowly grinds his palm against the front of Sherlock’s trousers. He hears Sherlock inhale through his nose and John smiles to himself.
Sherlock excuses himself after a few minutes. John watches him carefully weave his way through tables and chairs, creating his own path to the loo. John wipes his mouth with his napkin, finishes the rest of Sherlock’s water, and smiles when Angelo drops off a handful of mints. After Angelo departs, John slides off the bench and follows Sherlock’s path.
The door opens just as John goes to enter. Sherlock blinks down at him, taking a step back.
“Something wrong?” he asks. John takes a step forward.
“Nope,” John says, letting the door close behind him. He grabs the front of Sherlock’s shirt and drags him into the nearest cubicle. There’s barely enough room for one person, let alone two. Sherlock leans against the thin metal wall, mouth agape, watching as John locks the cubicle door.
Sherlock closes his mouth, eyes wandering down John’s front.
John grins up at him and says, “Think you can handle being quiet?”
July 18th, 2013 – Experiment thus far: Successful
Subject B was able to reduce Subject A to a quivering mess of short-circuiting brain function. Subject B notes that anxiety stays well enough away when presented with an adrenaline rush instead. Subject A cannot stay quiet despite being told to do so — several times. Results so satisfying, Subject B thinks it hardly matters, in the end.
However, other patrons of Angelo’s may not agree. Subjects received a few odd looks as they were leaving. Subject B finds it hard to care, especially since Subject A has been uncharacteristically agreeable since the incident. May have found a way to get Subject A to do more chores around the flat. Further experimentation
John makes his way out of bed, stretching sore muscles and working a kink out of his neck. He finds his pyjama bottoms and t-shirt on the floor and lazily tugs them on, not bothering with a jumper as he makes his way into the kitchen. There’s fresh coffee gurgling in the machine, and pages of the morning's newspaper spread over the table. John leaves them be, not wanting to spark another temper tantrum should Sherlock have them in some sort of order.
As he’s fixing his breakfast, John hears a creak in the living room. He strains to hear, then Sherlock is there, standing next to him in his pyjamas. John smiles up at him, opens his mouth to say, “Good morning,” but the words die in his throat when he sees Sherlock’s expression.
Sherlock throws something onto the counter in front of him. It makes a loud slap as it collides with the surface, a gush of air rippling across John’s coffee. John swallows and looks down. His notebook gapes up at him.
“Care to explain?” Sherlock asks.
John stares wordlessly at the his notebook. He must have left it out on the living room table last night. He added a quick entry when Sherlock was in the shower, then had been dragged away to bed where he forgot about it. John glances up at him, ready to explain, but Sherlock is quicker.
“So, you’ve been conducting your own little experiment,” Sherlock says. He reaches out and flips through the pages. “Subject A absolutely does not enjoy having his hair pulled. Subject A appears to be rather fond of back massages. Subject A—”
“I was going to tell you,” John says.
John licks his lips and says, “Eventually. Soon. I’m sorry, I—”
“You should have told me,” Sherlock says. “I don’t appreciate being treated like a lab rat.”
John frowns at him. Sherlock turns to stomp out of the kitchen and John reaches out, grabbing his arm.
“Wait,” he says, holding Sherlock still. Sherlock growls at him and jerks his arm free. John tries again. “Wait. Let me see if I understand correctly: You’re allowed to manipulate me and experiment on me all you’d like, but as soon as I do it to you, that’s unacceptable?”
“This,” Sherlock says, grabbing the notebook and waving it at him before throwing it down again. “This is different.”
John laughs bitterly. “How the hell is that different, Sherlock? I — no. You know what? It is different. You know how? Because you lied to me, and then I was kidnapped and strapped to a bomb. You tried to drug me and then locked me in a lab. You stood by and watched while I thought I had been chased by a giant, glowing dog. You—” John closes his eyes and shakes his head. He gets his breathing under control before he says, “You made me watch you kill yourself and you — you made me believe it.”
“Oh for God’s sake, that again,” Sherlock huffs. “It was for your own protection!”
“Fuck you,” John spits. “And fuck your protection. For over a year, you let me believe that you were dead, Sherlock! Actually fucking dead. All I did was try to get closer to you, to see what you wanted out of our relationship because you refuse to tell me. God forbid you make anything easy!”
“I wanted to take our time and to not make a big deal out of it. I didn’t want this!” Sherlock shouts back, swiping the notebook off the counter. “This is exactly what I didn’t want. A perfectly good friendship getting muddled up with sex until it becomes the entire basis of the relationship. This is exactly why I don’t get involved with people.”
John seethes and looks at the floor, his skin burning from the inside-out. Sherlock lifts a shaking hand and runs it through his hair, leaning against the counter. For a long moment, neither one of them move beyond breathing.
“I want you in my life. I want things from you that I’ve…” Sherlock swallows, looking away. He moves to leave again, then stops. Turning to John, he says, “You can’t possibly understand how frustrating it is to want you so much, yet have absolutely no idea how to keep you from leaving me.”
“Actually, I do,” John says. “Then you left me, and it nearly killed me.”
John turns and leaves without a second glance.
Just as he’s finishing the third round, his phone buzzes in his pocket.
I left to keep you alive.
I will not apologize for that.
John feels another wave of anger. He deletes the text, and walks around the park another two times.
When he’s tired of walking, John sits on a park bench and watches people pass by. People with their own lives and their own problems. Their own stories, their own memories, their own heartbreaks. John thinks about Mike Stamford, and the day he bumped into him and they went for coffee. John wonders what his life would be like now if he had gone a different route. He wonders if he would have still met Sherlock, if that was a fixed point in time that couldn’t be changed. John doesn’t really believe in fate, but for a moment, he wonders.
Then the thought causes his chest to feel tight and his stomach to sink, so John stops wondering.
I did what I had to.
I can’t go back on that.
I wouldn't even if I could.
This is different. I chose this.
Despite knowing I could potentially lose you.
I don't want things to be complicated.
John, answer me.
I know I don’t always say the right thing.
I’m trying. Tell me what you want.
John’s breakfast is still on the counter where he left it that morning, his toast and his coffee cold. He dumps the toast in the rubbish bin and the coffee down the sink, then turns down the hall and heads into the shower.
By the time six in the evening rolls around, John’s stomach is growling and Sherlock still isn’t home. John wanders down to Speedy’s to buy a bowl of soup and a sandwich. John eats his dinner at a corner table, alone. The street lights turn on as the sun goes down.
John returns to a still-empty flat. He settles into his armchair with a cup of tea and reads until his eyes feel heavy. He turns off the lamp and tucks his book under his arm. He pauses for a moment just outside the kitchen, glancing down the hallway to Sherlock’s room.
Then he shuts off the kitchen light and heads upstairs.
“Jesus,” John grunts, flopping back down onto the bed.
Sherlock relaxes, shoulders drooping. In the dim light coming in from the street, John can see him nibble his bottom lip. For a long moment, neither of them move. John sighs and wipes his eyes, bones feeling heavy under his skin.
Sherlock says, “John—”
“Just,” John holds up a hand. “Go. Please.”
“Don't be ridiculous,” Sherlock says. “I explained myself clearly. You ignored it. I'm trying—”
“Sherlock, you can give me one bloody night alone!” John says. “Let me have that, at least.”
Sherlock huffs, turning away.
“Is this another part of your experiment, then?” he asks. “Seeing if absence makes the heart grow fonder, or whatever it is. Maybe if we stay apart for a night or two, I'll be more inclined to give you a blowjob, or let you try and fuck me again.”
“Right,” John says, yanking the blanket out from under Sherlock's weight. “Get out.”
Sherlock glares at him.
“Now, Sherlock!” John shouts. “Leave me alone!”
“Fine,” Sherlock spits. “If that's what you want, I'll leave you alone.”
John watches him get off the bed and march out the room, slamming the door behind himself. As soon as he's gone, the silence in John's room becomes overbearing, settling as a heavy weight in his chest that sinks into the pit of his stomach. Guilt washes over him, and John tries to push it away.
John rolls over, facing the wall. Eventually, he falls asleep.
Sherlock ignores him as John makes himself breakfast, fiddling with bacon and eggs and resetting the toaster to his preferred setting. Sherlock's eaten at some point, then. John glances over at him again as he waits for his toast to pop. Sherlock blows out a stream of smoke and stabs the butt of his cigarette into the ashtray. He doesn’t move from his chair.
John shovels his eggs onto a plate. He clears his throat and says, “Are you eating today?”
Sherlock stays quiet for another long moment. John briefly wonders if he’s going to be ignored for the rest of the day. Sherlock taps another cigarette out onto the arm of his chair as John digs the butter out of the fridge. He covers his toast and takes a large bite, moving to sit at the kitchen table. Sherlock flicks his lighter, and the air around him is filled with fresh smoke again.
John stops chewing and says, “Sherlock?”
“Just tea for me,” Sherlock says quietly.
John hesitates, frowning at the back of Sherlock’s head. With a sigh, he drops his toast onto his plate and gets up to fill up the kettle.
“You're looking well,” he says. Mike shrugs and waves away the compliment.
“Anna is keeping me healthy,” he says. “She's started cooking vegetarian meals. Bit of a shock to the system, that. Oh, and the girls. They're in constant need of attention. Balls of energy, they are.”
John smiles at him and lays his napkin over his lap. The waiter arrives with a pint and John thanks him.
“How are they doing?” John asks. “Last I saw, Claire was just a baby.”
“Yes, before you went off to become a hero,” Mike grins at him. “They're great, though. Obsessed with horses. I'll never understand that. It seems to be a girl thing, doesn't it? Anna was like that when she was younger, too. The girls want to take up riding.”
“A father's worst nightmare,” John sympathizes. Mike laughs.
“Until they start dating, God help me,” he says, folding his menu and setting it aside. John takes a drink from his pint and settles on a chicken sandwich. The waiter comes by again to take their order and wanders away. It's nice, John thinks, being out with someone who isn't Sherlock.
John avoids mentioning him as far as he can, but in the end it's inevitable. Once Mike has finished regaling tails of fatherhood, his attention turns to John just as their food arrives. Mike gives him a broad smile, and John knows exactly what's coming.
“So you're living with Sherlock again, I hear,” Mike says. “How's he doing?”
“You know,” John shrugs, nibbling on a chip. “Same as always.”
Mike smiles. “That's good, right?”
“Pretty good,” John agrees. “Most days.”
Mike nods, dipping a piece of bread into his pasta sauce.
“Some days I felt guilty, putting the two of you together like that. He can't be an easy man to live with,” Mike says. “But then I read your blog and it seems like it worked out for the better, for both of you.”
John nods in agreement. “Well, it's certainly interesting.”
“I can only imagine,” Mike continues. “I think he was lonely, before you came along – a man like that is bound to be. But he lights right up when you're in the room. It's rather charming, how fond of you he is. Anna says I have a gift, being able to pick out two people in a crowd who will compliment each other. I think you're my best match yet. Aside from Anna and myself, of course.”
John feels his cheeks burn. Mike beams knowingly and takes a bite out of his bread.
John shuffles past, filling the kettle and plugging it in. He pulls out his tin of tea, a packet of sugar and his mug. Then he hesitates, glances at Sherlock, and pulls down Sherlock’s mug as well, lining them both up on the counter. He drops a tea bag into them, dumps a packet of sugar into Sherlock's, and waits patiently for the kettle to boil.
Sherlock doesn’t look up when John sets his mug in front of him. John taps his fingers against the side of his, then pulls out a chair and sits down. He looks through a few pages nearest him, glancing over information about the drug cartel along the US-Mexico border, methamphetamine, chemical equipment and meth labs. John sets the pages down again, feeling slightly overwhelmed.
“You've got a lot here,” he asks. “Can I help?”
Sherlock grunts noncommittally, wiggling the cord of his printer, making sure it’s connected to his laptop. He clicks on something and the printer rumbles into life.
John sighs and sets his mug on the table. He tries again, saying, “Sherlock.”
“I'm fine,” Sherlock says. He bends down to grab the fresh page off the floor, then straightens it and sets it out on his laptop, reading over it before dumping it into the messy pile.
John rubs at his eye and says, “It would—”
“You wanted to be left alone, so go be alone,” Sherlock says, looking up at him. His eyes soften, and he adds, “It's fine, John. I don't need your assistance right now.”
“Right.” John says. “Fine.”
He stands from his chair, grabs his mug and shuffles out the flat.
Mrs Hudson refills his mug and smiles as she hands it to him. He thanks her with a nod and blows away the steam, taking a sip before the tea has even steeped. He’s eager for something warm, to hold something in his hands, for something to do so he doesn’t have to talk. Mrs Hudson slides a plate of biscuits onto the table between them and relaxes into her rocking chair, crossing her feet in front of her.
“That’s beautiful, isn’t it?” she asks, looking up at the ceiling. John nods, holding his cup tighter in his hands. They sit quietly for a few minutes, Mrs Hudson rocking in her chair, eyes closed, and John listening to the rain, listening to the cars drive through puddles.
Finally, unable to stand it any longer, John says, “I think I made a mistake.”
Mrs Hudson opens her eyes and looks at him.
“What do you mean, dear?” she asks.
John nods up to the ceiling. Sherlock’s violin playing has become frantic, loud and screeching and almost painful to the ears. It’s become less about thinking, less about trying to clear his head and more about getting his frustration out; John knows the sound well.
“John, love, I don’t think it’s possible for you to make much of a mistake. Not as far as where the two of you are concerned,” Mrs Hudson says.
John takes a drink of his tea. For a few minutes, he doesn’t respond. The violin abuse stops abruptly. A minute after that, Sherlock starts playing again, something softer.
“I don’t know,” John says. “I just – I knew it would be hard. Some days I feel like an idiot for coming back. Most days I'm happy. But some days... and then I feel guilty, for thinking that I should have gone my own way, found someone else to spend my life with.”
Mrs Hudson smiles softly, more to herself than to John. John continues anyway, finding that once he’s started he’s unable to stop.
“I just want to make him happy,” he says. “I just want to keep him from going mad from boredom. I just want to help, and make him feel good, and be someone that he can talk to and someone that actually listens to what he has to say. But... he makes it so difficult. Sometimes I think everything is all right, and I've forgiven him, and then... I start to question it. I wonder if it's worth it. Then I feel guilty about that, too. That I could ever think those things about him.”
John wipes a hand down his face and looks away. It’s still there, swirling around his head. The doubt. The fear that Sherlock will get bored of their relationship, bored of John. The fear that he'll one day leave all over again.
Mrs Hudson leans to the side and draws his hand away from his face, enveloping it between hers. She gives it an affectionate squeeze, then another until John turns to smile sadly at her. Gently, he squeezes back.
“John, dear. What Sherlock did to you was awful,” she says. “We know why he did it, and I guess in that funny old head of his it made the most sense. That's not an excuse. No one would have blamed you if you didn't forgive him. Not one soul.”
“I would have,” John says. He adds, “Sherlock would have.”
“Blamed you? No, I don't think he would have,” Mrs Hudson pats his hand. “Followed you around until the end of time? That, I'm afraid, is more likely.”
John laughs quietly. Because yes, that's true, isn't it? He remembers one afternoon in the park, after Sherlock's return and before John forgave him. John remembers the feeling of eyes on the back of his neck, a heated stare coming out from behind the trees. John remembers glancing over his shoulder to find Sherlock watching him, waiting.
John remembers saying, “You're following me.”
He remembers Sherlock saying, “Maybe.”
John remembers saying, “I forgive you,” a few days later.
He remembers the sound of Sherlock's relieved sigh coming through the phone.
Mrs Hudson squeezes his hand again, drawing him back to reality.
“You two will sort things out, dear,” she assures him. “In your own time.”
John gives her a small smile and finishes his tea.
John is far too tired to try and have a conversation now, and so he lets Sherlock sleep. He wanders down the hallway to brush his teeth and get ready for bed. When he’s finished he flicks off the bathroom light and leaves the kitchen through the side door, walking to stairs. There he pauses to look at the sofa. Sherlock hasn’t moved.
With a sigh, John steps back into the living room. He pulls the blanket off the back of the sofa and drapes it over Sherlock’s curled form, making sure it covers him from his feet up to his chin. John grabs the mug and sets it on the end table, then turns and heads upstairs.
“He’s been keeping a relatively low profile,” Sherlock says, handing Lestrade one of the news articles from his map when they arrive at the Yard. “I believe he's also connected with the drug cartel back in America. Now, according to some contacts of mine, he's dealing drugs quietly out of his own pockets. He was last seen hanging round outside an old block of flats in Hackney, selling meth.”
“Meth?” Lestrade asks, eyes widening. “I think a meth lab was just shut down, about two weeks ago.”
“Where?” Sherlock asks, digging out his phone.
“I don’t know,” Lestrade says. “In some old warehouse. I’d have to ask someone in Customs. I can—”
“Wait, shut up,” Sherlock says, thumbing through photographs. “Ah!”
Lestrade and John lean in to view the photograph on Sherlock's phone: An old, large factory with graffiti covering nearly every inch of its outdoor walls. The windows dotting the sides of the building are boarded up, though one or two have missing boards with broken glass peeking through.
Sherlock smiles and says, “Get your team together.”
“Quite an elaborate set-up,” he says. “Coming all the way to England from the United—”
“Are you going to talk the whole way?” Sherlock asks.
“I'm just trying to help,” John says.
“It would help if you didn't talk,” Sherlock says.
John blinks at him. They stare at one another for a long moment.
“Okay,” John says. “You want to keep acting like a child? Fine.”
Sherlock looks away, pulling his phone out again. John turns to face the window. The cab drives forward and takes a left. Sherlock sighs, and for a moment John thinks he might say something.
Sherlock doesn't, and the rest of the ride is in awkward silence.
Their footsteps echo loudly as they begin searching. John digs out a torch and shines it around, trying to find the best place to start. Sherlock is sniffing the air and pacing back and forth, tilting his head to try and pick up any sounds. When John steps close, Sherlock takes off again up a set of rickety stairs.
“Bloody hell,” Lestrade huffs. Then, turning to John he says, “Tell him to slow down, would you?”
John gives him an apologetic smile and follows after Sherlock.
Upstairs is even darker and more derelict than the first floor. There are dark brown puddles that John highly suspects isn’t just water trapped in dips and cracks in the floor. Overhead are large, rusted pipes that drip cold, sludgy water. John side-steps a pile of cardboard and joins Sherlock at his side.
“Anything?” he asks.
“Chemicals,” Sherlock mutters. “Distinct, but faded. We’re dealing with a cook.”
“Someone’s cooking meth here?” John asks.
“Yes, obviously,” Sherlock says, sparing him a glance. “Do keep up, John.”
“Sherlock,” John says, grabbing his arm. Sherlock rounds on him, eyes narrowed. He pulls his arm away and stands taller, staring John down. John sighs loudly and shakes his head.
“Look,” he says, trying to keep his voice from rising. “I know we're not on the best of terms right now, but can we put that aside? I’m trying to help, and I’m not going to be able to unless you tell me what’s going on. It might be obvious to you, but it’s not to me. We’re dealing with a cook. All right. What should I look for?”
Sherlock shifts a step away, lowering his torch.
“It has a distinctive smell,” he says. “The stronger the smell is, the closer to the cook site you are. If your nose or eyes start to feel irritated, you're getting closer. You search over there.”
He starts walking away. John grinds his teeth and follows.
“That's it? It has a distinctive smell?” he asks. “You're not going to go any further? You explain everything. All the time. It’s how you prove you’re smarter than everyone else. So why now are you suddenly—”
“John, wait — stop!” Sherlock shouts. John stops immediately and Sherlock shines his light onto the floor. John looks down, then exhales quickly. Under his feet the floor is dark brown, almost black, and spongy under his weight. John glances round himself, trying to find away back to solid ground. The black spot stretches out on either side of him. Somehow he managed to walk straight into the middle of it without noticing.
“Stay still,” Sherlock says, arms reaching forward. “It’s worse over here. I’ll come to you.”
“Sherlock,” John says.
“Just stay still, damn it!” Sherlock snaps, taking a cautious step forward. The floor creaks under his weight. John licks his lips.
“Maybe we can put a plank of wood across, or something,” John says.
“Do you see any wood?” Sherlock asks, taking another step. The floor groans louder. John holds his breath. Downstairs he can hear Lestrade and his team moving about, their voices hushed. There’s a gentle beat of water dripping, and John’s pulse pounding in his ears.
“We’re fine,” Sherlock says. “I’m almost there. We’re—”
The floor snaps loudly from under them and Sherlock disappears. John’s vaguely aware that he’s falling, but everything is dark, turning quickly, air whooshing past his ears. He lands in a pile of cement rubble, knocking the air from his lungs. He coughs and groans, shielding his head from more falling debris. Then he realizes he’s lying on something soft and warm, and barely moving.
He hears shouts coming from the other side of the warehouse, lights bouncing off the walls as Lestrade rushes to them. John pulls himself aside, his jeans ripped and bloody. Sherlock coughs loudly from under him.
“Are you all right?” John asks, voice straining.
Sherlock squirms and doesn't respond. There's blood in his hair and running down his face from an open gash on the side of his head. John tries to keep his breathing calm, tries to ignore the flashes of memories, of Sherlock lying motionless on the pavement, of the streaks of blood on the ground.
“Sherlock!” he tries again, trying to keep the panic from his voice. He searches for his torch but can't find it. “Does anything feel numb? Can you move your feet?”
“Yes,” Sherlock wheezes. “It's fine. I can move.”
Lestrade finally reaches them, throwing himself to the ground, heaving pieces of cement off of them. He shouts over his shoulder for Sally to phone an ambulance, then shines his light over Sherlock, into his eyes as John leans over him, brushing mud off his face. Sherlock coughs violently and grasps the front of John's coat, wincing in the light.
“Looks like he has a concussion,” John says. “Careful, keep him steady.”
The floor above them lets out another loud groan, pieces of concrete falling to the floor and splashing in the puddles around them. John feels his heart speed up in his chest.
“We have to get out here,” he says, struggling to stand on his feet. His leg gives out from under him and Lestrade catches him just before he falls. Once John's able to steady himself, Lestrade helps him heave Sherlock off the floor, out from the pile of cement.
Together they lead Sherlock out of the building, Sherlock coughing again, limping and leaning his weight against John. The other officers have left the building already, standing on the pavement. A few return to help. Sherlock waves the officers away, squinting in the daylight.
They make it outside just in time, the rest of the floor collapsing behind them.
When they arrive back at the flat, John helps Sherlock up the stairs. It takes a while, John murmuring encouragement as they go along, trying to keep most his weight on his good leg, but eventually they get there. Sherlock slumps into the sofa cushions and John immediately sets to making him tea and toast. Sherlock takes a few bites and drinks half of his tea before his eyes start drifting closed.
“No sleeping just yet,” John says.
“Mmm,” Sherlock agrees.
“I mean it, Sherlock,” John taps him gently on the knee. Sherlock opens his eyes.
“It's a minor concussion, John,” he says.
“A doctor,” John supplies. “Lie down. I'll run you a bath.”
“I don't want a bath,” Sherlock sniffs.
“Well, you're getting one anyway,” John says.
It's different with Sherlock, of course. John knows Sherlock better than he knows anyone else. He knows his body, and knows it well. Though John takes care of Sherlock with the same mechanical precision he would an injured soldier, he's unable to separate himself from the intimate act that it is. Part of it, he thinks, is because he knows Sherlock is capable of taking care of himself.
John also knows that, even though he'll probably never admit it, Sherlock likes it when John takes care of him. Despite that, the silence between them is awkward. They haven't said a word about their argument. At this point, John just wants to burrow under the covers and go to sleep with Sherlock curled up behind him.
Sherlock leans his head back against the tiles and closes his eyes. The gash on his face required stitches, but only a few. John dips a flannel into the tub again, wrings out the soap, then brings it up to gently dab at the scratches along Sherlock's shoulders. He picks at the matted blood in Sherlock's hair.
“You haven’t been sleeping well,” Sherlock says. His voice, a loud burst of noise in the silence, causes John to jump slightly.
“Not really,” John agrees. “It's weird being up in my room again.”
Sherlock opens his eyes and looks at him.
“You're not angry with me anymore,” Sherlock says. Then, he asks, “Are you?”
John lets the flannel sink into the water. He reaches out and pulls a towel off the rack, drying his hands. Sherlock watches him quietly, waiting.
“No, I suppose not,” John says after a moment. “Falling through the floor of a factory, landing on you and breaking your wrist kind of negates all anger, I think.”
“Good,” Sherlock says.
A minute later, John asks, “Are you?”
Sherlock sinks further down into the tub, the bubbles lapping at his hair.
“I suppose not,” he says.
“Good,” John says. “You're still an idiot, though.”
Sherlock smirks and closes his eyes again. “I guess that makes two of us.”
It’s only after they’ve sat down to eat that John realizes he didn’t go the long way round, this time. If Sherlock noticed, he doesn’t say anything. They eat quietly, Sherlock checking his phone every now and then for updates on the McKenzie case. John assumes nothing is forthcoming, as Sherlock eventually tucks his phone away and doesn’t pull it out again.
When he catches John watching, Sherlock gives him a small smile before going back to his food.
Lestrade phones with good news – Richard McKenzie has been caught and is facing charges. John is happy knowing Miss Philemon and her sister will be safe. Sherlock is disappointed that he didn't catch the man himself. He leaves his web of crime up over the mantel. It stays there for a day or two before John gets tired of seeing McKenzie's mug staring at him as he hoovers the rug.
Sherlock lies around and complains during the day. At night, he nuzzles the back of John's neck with his nose. John brushes his fingers over Sherlock's knuckles and leans back into him.
One night, when he thinks Sherlock's asleep, John taps out three little words in Morse code against Sherlock's cast. As he closes his eyes and starts to drift off, he feels Sherlock's hand move from under his. Sherlock taps his finger against John's wrist in the same pattern, those three little words.
John goes with him to Barts one afternoon, if only so Sherlock will stop complaining of boredom. Molly sits in the lab with them, helping Sherlock out when he needs a hand pouring chemicals. John stays out of the way, reading a book and occasionally handing Sherlock an object that's just out of his reach.
Molly doodles on Sherlock's cast in a red Sharpie as he looks through a microscope; little skulls and cross-bones, test tubes, anatomical hearts. John smiles at her when she glances up at him, cheeks pink with amusement.
Sherlock doesn't notice until they're on their way back to Baker Street.
Sherlock brushes his hand against John's stomach. He draws maps on his skin and murmurs, “John.”
John shivers and melts against him. Sherlock murmurs again, a string of hushed sounds vibrating on his breath, a soft lick against John's bottom lip and into his mouth. John groans and grinds down harder.
“Yes,” Sherlock breathes. Then he flashes a toothy grin, and John feels his heart flood, feels every inch of his body fill with overwhelming emotion and affection. He presses kisses to Sherlock’s lips, reaching down to wrap a hand around them both. Sherlock’s eyes flutter closed as John moves his hand along their lengths, rocking into his fist and sliding hot skin against hot skin.
John channels everything he feels, bundles up all the admiration and want and need he feels for this man, this man that he’s somehow fallen in love with. He wraps it up, then lets it out with each pull of his hand, with each roll of his hips, with each kiss he leaves on Sherlock’s face. Sherlock pants against him, whispers, “Yes, yes, yes,” his voice breaking with every word.
“Christ, you’re amazing,” John tells him breathlessly. He smiles and says, “You mad, brilliant, beautiful bastard.”
“John,” Sherlock whimpers, and together they fall apart.
John smiles. “What do you suppose I should do with it?”
Sherlock shrugs, one-shouldered, careful not to dislodge him.
“Haven't the faintest,” he says. “Publish it?”
John snorts and says, “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.”
Sherlock beams at him.
“Git,” John says, kissing his shoulder. Sherlock hums in agreement.
Sarah calls John in for a shift later that week. He’s happy enough to go, leaving Sherlock behind with his experiments again. It’s a nice change of scenery from the flat. Most people come in with summer colds, a little boy with a rash and an old man for his usual check-up. John spends his lunch break chatting with one of the other doctors and barely tasting his sandwich.
When he returns there’s a cup of coffee on his desk with a note underneath: Sherlock again. Tell him to book an appointment like a normal person!
John laughs and drinks from his cup.
Would not be opposed to Indian tonight.
Then get off your lazy arse and get it yourself.
Molly has barricaded me in the lab.
Apparently I can’t leave with a severed foot.
And Indian take-away.
John points to the fridge with the television remote.
“Knew you'd give in,” Sherlock grins. “No one can resist my charms.”
“Whatever you say, Romeo,” John says, laughing.
Despite that, John sleeps through the night, curled up under the covers in Sherlock’s bed.
Sherlock finishes with a loud groan just as Mycroft walks into the flat.
He sighs and says, “For heaven’s sake, Sherlock.”
Then he turns and leaves. Sherlock laughs breathlessly, collapsing against John’s chest in a boneless, sweaty heap. John feels sticky and gross and wishes the sofa would open up and eat him.
A few minutes later, Sherlock clears his throat and says, “To be fair, I didn’t hear him come up the stairs that time.”
Some nights, Sherlock rests his head against John’s shoulder when they’re watching television, running his fingers along the underside of John’s arm. Some nights, he leans in and kisses John’s neck and bites his ear, and laughs when John pushes him away playfully.
John still hesitates some nights before throwing his arm round Sherlock’s shoulders and pulling him close.
Most nights, though, he doesn’t.
“Watch it!” Sherlock hisses.
“Sorry,” John says, still breathing hard. “Where’s he gone now?”
“I can’t see him,” Sherlock says, craning his neck. He growls, glancing at their surroundings. John watches him search for something — anything — that would give them leverage over their suspect. If he watches carefully enough, John can pinpoint the exact moment the gears fall into place. Sherlock’s eyes light up and he turns, nodding to a large brick wall in front of them.
“We’re going to climb that and jump onto the roof,” he says.
John looks at the wall, then back to Sherlock, staring.
Sherlock gives him a lopsided grin. John splutters, his resolve breaking with a laugh.
“Christ, you’re insane,” he says, shaking his head. “You’re insane, and I’m madly in love you. So then, what does that make me?”
For a long moment, neither of them says anything. Sherlock blinks, swallows, and hesitantly peeks around the corner again. Eventually he breaks the silence with a shrug, saying, “Even more insane than I am, I suppose.”
Then he turns, grabs the front of John’s coat and pulls him into a hard kiss. It’s a messy slide of lips on lips and teeth knocking clumsily, Sherlock breathing hard against his face, and it’s perfect. They break apart with a gasp and Sherlock beams at him.
“Ready?” he asks.
John grins and says, “Whenever you are.”
The Unravelling of Sherlock Holmes
For a period of two months (June 02nd 2013 - August 01st, 2013) several experiments of a sexual nature were done on one Sherlock Holmes (Subject A) by one John Watson (Subject B). Some results were satisfactory, and some, understandably, were not. Here is a list of all my observations throughout this experiment:
● Biting → Surprised it took you this long to figure out. It was obvious.
● Having his hair played with → Who doesn’t?
● Ruining my suits → It has nothing to do with ruining clothing. If I wanted to ruin clothing I could do so in a far more creative way. It’s how you look.
● Being complimented (during sex) → No. I just like your voice
when you’re about to have an orgasm.Jesus, Sherlock.
● Shagging on the kitchen table → It was convenient.
● (Almost) being caught. Alternatively, public sex → Excellent adrenaline rush.
● Back massages → Shut up.
● Topping → Pleasantly surprising.
Sherlock Doesn’t Like:
● Having his hair pulled → Are there people out there who actually like this?
● Bottoming → It’s not for everyone.
● Food in the bedroom → What is the purpose of this?
● Sex in the shower → Too cramped and slippery.
● When John makes stupid assumptions about their relationship.
I also don’t like pain (obvious), not being able to see or hear, or being any more wet than I’m already going to get. Oh, and socks. Socks must be off, unless you’re in a situation where you’re absolutely unable to remove them. (See: Public.)
In conclusion, Sherlock Holmes may, in fact, one day cease to surprise me. However today is not that day, and tomorrow isn’t looking like it, either. He need not fear becoming boring, normal or predictable, as he remains something of an enigma, both in and out of the bedroom, and a gigantic tit everywhere (so he can stop reading over my shoulder now.) In the end, Sherlock is surprisingly not all that hard to please. He doesn’t seem to care WHAT we do, so long as it doesn’t violate the
fournine points above. — Or involves sponge cake.