John cleans his teeth, leaning against the wall, lost in thought.
He'd made Sherlock laugh, there at the end of the night—a full-bodied thing that rang on and on and filled the lounge. The joy in Sherlock's eyes had been bright and blinding and John still feels it sitting like an ember in his chest. The happiness spreads warmly out his arms and up into his throat, glee that overflows its banks and forces him to spit out a mouthful of toothpaste and grin into the basin. He can't breathe for a moment, and he couldn't force it all back down even if he wanted to, so with a quick rinse of his mouth and brush he gives up on finishing and leaves the bathroom.
He must look completely barmy, he thinks, stopping in the empty lounge on his way upstairs. Sherlock is in his bedroom with the door closed but the lounge remains heavy with his presence; it's filled with the joy of a case well solved and the whiskey-flavoured celebration of remaining unscathed. John takes a deep, slow, breath. The smile on his face stretches ear to ear as he steps up the staircase to his room and goes to bed.
The chill hanging in the air makes him shiver, and he rubs his feet between the sheets with brisk, friction-warm movements. He settles in and snuggles down and, lying in the quiet pre-dawn dark, lets himself be filled to the brim with quiet joy.
He remembers Sherlock's expression when John had made an off-colour quip about the close of the case. His eyes had gleamed, soft with pleasure, and scrunched up closed as he tilted his head back and laughed at the ceiling. John has always liked the way Sherlock's face changes shape with laughter, the way his eyes crinkle and the creases reach down into his cheeks. It's beautiful.
John is surprised by the thought and also by the pang of missing him. He's just downstairs, but with an ache that stretches down his limbs John again desperately wishes Sherlock were there, warming up his cold bed, shifting the mattress, stealing the covers, breathing. He'd like to fight over the duvet with Sherlock, he thinks. It makes him chuckle out loud. Sherlock could probably throw an elbow but John is wily. They both would enjoy that.
The craving steals over him with tidal force. He wants Sherlock here, now. He needs him. He wishes he were surprised about that, but the only thing he's surprised about is how it took so long for the desire to coalesce.
John turns over in bed and drapes his arm across the empty space and imagines. He can feel the warmth of Sherlock's body under his arm, smell his soft skin, feel his weight leaning along John's front, and when John dares focus on reality the absence is startlingly painful. The need is intense. The want, it hurts like a bruise. It feels empty without Sherlock here.
Oh god. Yes. this is really what he's feeling, so strongly it chokes him.
The emotion roils through his blood.
John's chest is tight. If you were here, you would roll towards me and lay your fingertips on the side of my face. We would look at each other with the very same affection we shared earlier tonight. Then you would kiss me, so slowly. And I would kiss you back.
The fantasy is so affecting it pulls a whimper from John's throat.
He imagines it, imagines the kiss pulling his heart from his chest and out his mouth, imagines a glowing hot red ball of light passing from his mouth to Sherlock's, imagines the needy noise Sherlock would make being kissed lovingly, tenderly, perhaps for the first time in his life.
The realisation rocks him and he makes a pained noise into the empty room. Christ, Sherlock, I love you so much. Oh my god. How did he not know? How had he hidden this from himself for so damn long?
He's breathing as if he's been running. The emotion wrenches something deep in his chest.
In his mind, he's lying with his front to Sherlock's back. He strokes his hand up the front of Sherlock's throat, and Sherlock stretches his chin up to bare his neck. John imagines he can feel the heave of Sherlock's chest under his elbow, and hear it, and it awakens something sympathetic in him that makes his heart race. He huffs out a breath and moans quietly. He imagines pressing slow kisses out along Sherlock's shoulder, the tenderness and affection for this sleepy man in his arms coming in almost overwhelming waves of emotion. He'd press his forehead against Sherlock's neck and just try to keep breathing through it.
Oh my god.
He traces his fingers in the air up to Sherlock's face and can imagine his lips there, warm and dry and chapped and soft. Fleshy. Thick. If he slips one inside Sherlock's mouth it feels wet and soft, his teeth even and rounded. John thinks about how much he loves Sherlock's teeth, how they look so incongruous with the rest of Sherlock's lean, angular form. It's rare to see them. It's like a gift, a gift of Sherlock’s true self, laughing open-mouthed and shining at John. He abruptly feels a pang of love so strong it hurts. How can he not have realised? What else has he been deluding himself about this whole time?
He imagines sliding his hand down Sherlock's chest, and with the gift of imagination can extrapolate what it would feel like to have that smooth chest under his fingers. His chest is less peppered with scar tissue than John's, but also finer, firmer. Sherlock has little hair on his chest, so his skin is smooth and uninterrupted as John glides his palm down Sherlock's sternum to his stomach to his…to his cock.
It would be different to touch another man's cock. Must be. John wonders if Sherlock's cock is long and lean like the rest of his body, if it's small when soft, if it curves or juts out straight, if it feels as heavy when he's aroused as John's does right at that moment.
There is a brief flash of surprise when John pulls out of the reverie just enough to find he's hard as hell. He rolls to his stomach to grind his erection against the sheets and imagine it's Sherlock's arse, but the cotton is a bit too rough and it ruins the fantasy. John slides his hand down so instead of feeling his sheets he feels the warm flesh of his palm. After a moment, with circulation cut off he can almost completely ignore the signal from his hand, so it feels as if his cock is now rocking against Sherlock's lower back, just above the crack of his arse, pressing and riding. He could slip it down between Sherlock's cheeks so damn easily. John groans into his pillow. He wonders if fucking a man's arse is anything like fucking a woman's. He wonders if Sherlock would even want that. He's unsure. This whole fantasy is putting the cart before the horse, in fact. He hasn't even told Sherlock he loves him yet.
He's in love. Being in love usually feels good, but this time it's world-shatteringly intense. He doesn't think he's ever been so emotionally intimate with someone before a relationship started. Truth be told, he doesn't think he's ever been this emotionally intimate with anyone, ever. It's a rush, though, and the joy and fresh blush of it are so blinding they nearly drown out the terror. This is Sherlock, who has always been categorised as something else to John, something special, and that reason is why the prospect of loving him is both mind-shutteringly terrifying and heart-stoppingly elating. This could either be the best thing in his entire life or the worst thing that could possibly happen. It's all down to Sherlock.
John blinks and his eyelashes catch against the pillowcase. Sweat has gathered against John's belly and hand as he lay there, and this time when he curls his fingers and rolls his hips his cock slides stutteringly but pleasingly, flesh against flesh. John presses his face into his pillow and moans. Oh Sherlock. John starts to thrust against his hand slowly, over and over, and his mind begins to spin out scenarios.
It starts out as he'd envisioned before, with Sherlock pinned beneath him, rutting against the smooth skin just above Sherlock's arse and feeling Sherlock's shifting muscles as he in turn grinds his own cock into the mattress in order to reach his own release. It's something animalistic, mammalian, warm skin and sweat and grunting and writhing. And in the fantasy Sherlock has turned his head sideways and is panting out words.
"Oh John, yes. Fuck. Unngh, yes, I can feel you. Please John, push harder. Push harder and come.” He groans. “I want you to come on my back."
In the fantasy this feels so good John bites down on Sherlock's shoulder, and then suddenly Sherlock is face-up and writhing, and each roll of John's hips is a thrust deep inside. It's not slick like a woman, but it's still wet and close and hot and it makes Sherlock tremble. His face contorts. For a moment John spends some time flicking through his mental lexicon of Sherlock's expressions to find one that most approximates what John thinks he looks like while getting fucked, and he settles on the one that transforms his face when he's just slapped on three nicotine patches. John thrusts against his hand, fucks into Sherlock and already he can feel his balls drawing up in preparation for orgasm. He imagines Sherlock's hand on himself, twisting his palm in circles around the head and making plaintive noises with the intensity of it.
"You want to come?" John imagines asking him, and relishes the desperate nod Sherlock makes with his eyes closed. "Want to know what it feels like to come with my cock inside you?" Sherlock moans, and John entertains the concept for a moment. What would it feel like? The last time he tried coming with a finger inside himself it felt amazing—an automatic pulsing, a squeezing as the muscles contracted repeatedly with orgasm. He wants to feel that with his cock.
John rolls over and fumbles for the bottle of lube in the bedside table. He stays on his back to pull slickly from the base to the head, shuddering.
He imagines Sherlock's larger, deft, long-fingered hands would envelop his cock more thoroughly, and there's barely any shame in the thought as it rides on the back of how much more sensation that would elicit. John brings his free hand and tugs at his balls as he jerks himself, and the look he dreams up for Sherlock's face is almost humorous. He's studying John as if looking at a thing to be dissected, zeroing in all his attention on the reactions his hands are causing on John's body. John bends his knees up then shoves his heels down the duvet, accidentally shovelling it to the floor as he arches his back and lifts his hips off the bed, pushing further into his hands.
"Yes, John," he imagines Sherlock hissing. "Look at you."
John rolls his head back and forth on the pillow, pleasure building tighter and tighter. Then he rocks up and it's into Sherlock's body again; Sherlock is now straddling him, thighs to either side of John's hips, and it takes little effort for John to see Sherlock's lithe torso bare above him, undulating with the rhythm of John's hips as Sherlock rides him with an expression of perfect bliss. It’s the look when the pieces all slide into place in Sherlock's brain and he's solved the case, and John hazily supposes that to Sherlock they might be nearly the same thing.
Sherlock's spine rolls as he grinds down onto John's cock, and then both his hands are on his own body. One is wandering over his chest and belly, pinching a nipple, teasing the skin at the base of his throat, but the other is stroking delicately at his cock, pushing at the retracted foreskin and painting slick circles on the head with his fingertips. It's dark red, flushed, shiny, and the longer he plays with himself the darker it gets. The imagined sensations mix up in John's head—Sherlock's fingertips on his own cock, and the tight fire of fucking up into him—and it lights off the fuse in John's brain.
"Oh yes," he gasps, feeling it just behind his balls. He imagines Sherlock moaning, imagines the attention Sherlock is paying to his cock doubling, tripling, until he's kneading his balls and pulling a hard fist from root to tip and back again, all the while rocking himself back and forth on John's cock in unabashed pleasure. "Are you going to—"
Sherlock nods, jaw tight, and John shoves up harder to watch Sherlock's mouth fall open and hear him cry out. John imagines his cock slapping against Sherlock's prostate as he pushes in and Sherlock rocks his hips, and he does it again and again and again. They fall into an instant, insistent, rhythm. Sherlock is shouting to bring the walls down and John's orgasm has just drawn up like a burning knot when he can feel Sherlock begin to come. It happens a split second before he sees it, a tightening that hits just before Sherlock's hands grip hard and he convulses with pleasure, ejaculating a thick stripe of come all over his stomach and fingers. At the sight of it, something inside John squeezes with shocking arousal and he arches off the bed, wrung by a massive orgasm that steals his breath and curls his toes into the sheets. He breathes out a silent cry and shakes. Absently, he can feel Sherlock's come landing on his chest as they both ride out their impossibly-long climaxes.
When John floats back to himself he's panting and alone. The semen on his chest is his, and when he realises this he swallows hard in anticipation of the crushing wave of disappointment that follows a good sexual fantasy. But it doesn't come. Instead, he imagines Sherlock collapsing on top of him, cuddling up with his head on John's chest, purring like a self-satisfied cat. John would like to run his fingers through Sherlock's curls, to press his face to them and breathe deeply, to feel the delight of Sherlock's presence and keen joy of loving him.
But he's sleepy, probably both of them are, and he gives himself a desultory wipe with a tissue before curling up onto his side and imagining spooning up behind a dozing Sherlock.
"I love you," he breathes against Sherlock's neck, and feels more than hears that low chuckle of his. Sherlock grasps John's hand down at their sides and pulls it to his front, wrapping John's arm around him and hugging it to his chest.
"Sleep," John imagines Sherlock whisper. John is wrung out enough to do as he's told. He nuzzles down into his pillow and decides—already just about asleep—that tomorrow he'll find a way to tell Sherlock he loves him. Tomorrow. He'll tell him all about it tomorrow.