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Guilty Secrets

Chapter Text

John stares at the drumstick in his hand.

Embarrassment prickles his scalp, blood pooling, heavy and warm, in his cheeks.

He hasn’t stopped blushing since he left the surgery.

 

“How long have you been drumming?” the man in the store had asked him at checkout. John had fumbled his wallet, almost dropping it, before he recovered.

“Ever since I could hold the sticks, mate,” John lied, laying his chip card on the glass countertop. Guitar picks in a kaleidoscope of colors stared back at him.

“Interesting choice for a lefty,” the man commented as he slid the receipt over to John with a biro weighting it down.

John picked up the pen and forced out a laugh, fighting down the urge to flee. To vomit. To toss this nosy bloke a right hook. “I’m trying to relearn it.” John swallowed against the lump in his throat, his pulse a tight pressure in his ears. “Haven’t been able to play since I got shot in Afghanistan.” John clenches and unclenches his left hand for emphasis as the man’s mouth drops open and all the color drains from his face. “I need to favor my right hand now, but ta for your help.”

There, let the shopkeeper chew on that. Insulting a wounded veteran. He’d think twice next time. John smiled politely and picked up the plastic bag as the man stammered out an apology behind him.

John held the bag tightly on the tube. Every time someone glanced at him it felt like they knew what he was going to do with the drumsticks once he got home. It must be written clear as day on his face. It must be visible from Mars. They know, he kept thinking, hysteria bubbling at the back of his throat, a burning carbonated fizz. They know I’m going home to stick them up my arse.

 

John is forty-two years old.

He is a doctor.

And a soldier.

He has been to war.

He has been to the brink of death and has been dragged screaming back.

More than once.

How is it even fucking possible that he has missed this about himself?

The look on Dr. Howard’s face when John had moaned loud and uninhibited as he slid his finger inside John’s arse and stroked over his prostate…John is sure the man almost died of acute asphyxiation from trying not to laugh.

“Don’t worry,” Dr. Howard had said, his voice choked, his face a deep scarlet. “That’s a completely normal reaction, John.”

Mortified, John had hidden his face in his arm and pulled down the tails of his shirt to hide his bobbing erection, praying to any god who was listening, that it would be over soon. John wanted to erase it from his memory immediately. That the best erection of his life had happened inside a physician’s office with his GP’s finger up his arsehole was simply impossible.

The universe had tilted in that moment. It turned out, that after all this time, John didn’t really know himself at all.

He had sat outside the office building until the sun had just begun to set, his cup of coffee long since gone cold beside him on the concrete wall.

And then he had Googled the nearest music supply company and purchased a pair of size 7A drumsticks before he could talk himself out of it.

One thing John knows himself not to be, is a coward.

So.

There is really only one thing left to do.

John stares at the drumstick. Tests the heft of it across his palm. Runs his thumb over the smooth wood, getting a sense of the grain. It smells faintly of cedar and some kind of varnish, resinous and sharp in the back of his nose. There is a small acorn shaped bulb attached to one end, just the exact size and shape of a fingertip.

A nurse in John’s unit, Tom Russel, had sworn by drumsticks. Had evangelized about them in the mess tent and everyone had laughed at him. John had laughed at him, and later, in private, had warned the idiot about the very real danger of getting splinters stuck up his arse. Tom had shaken his head at John as if John was the mad one. He’d grinned beautifically and squeezed John’s upper arm. “You don’t know what you’re missing mate.” He’d leaned closer as if he was imparting some sort of revelation, some sort of religious dogma that was meant to make John see the light. “It doesn’t make you a pouf you know. Just try it. You can thank me later.”

Christ.

John scrubs a hand down his face.

It turns out Tom Russel had been a bloody prophet.

The universe really had tilted. The earth must be spinning off it’s axis.

John stands up. Toes off his shoes. His fingers, gone numb, make clumsy work of his jumper, his button down, his trousers. The air in his garret room is cold, the late September chill seeping in through cracks in the roof. John gulps it down. Standing half naked in the middle of his room, trembling like a virgin. John strips the rest off, adding his vest and pants and socks to the pile collecting inside his empty laundry basket.

He jerks open his bedside table and retrieves the bottle of lube he keeps tucked away in the back behind whatever paperback he’s reading at the moment. Not that that would be enough to deter Sherlock from finding it, but it’s the semblance of privacy that matters to John.

John shoves the duvet down to the foot of the bed and lies down, punching the pillows with perhaps too much force before settling. Shame and anger are vying for primacy inside his chest.

He’s sweating. His palms. Under his arms. In the backs of his knees. He shifts against the sheets. They stick to his back, his buttocks, his calves.

Thank god Sherlock isn’t home, he thinks for the thousandth time as he slides the thick end of the drumstick inside the finger of a latex glove and secures it by tying it off around the center.

John’s heart is thudding against his ribs. His breath is coming in shallow pulls. He feels faintly light headed and he wonders, detachedly, if he is about to have a panic attack.

He sets the drumstick aside and picks up the bottle of lube. He gives himself a few cursory warm up pumps, but he’s already hard. It’s as if his body is kilometers ahead of him, the memory of the surgery still shimmering through his blood stream. That sudden shock of pleasure so intense John had thought he might pass out. Anticipation and adrenaline spike his blood, heady as any drug.

John slides his hand lower. Fondles his bollocks a bit. Rolls them in his palm. His thighs fall open. The light through the window above him stains the ceiling a pale anemic blue.

He moves a finger down to his perineum. It’s safe territory, already intimately explored. John’s a doctor after all. He understands the mechanics of prostate stimulation. He’s just never sought it out internally.

He swallows.

Rubs.

Feels the cinch around his chest loosen a notch as a familiar ache starts to build at the tops of his legs.

He breathes out, exerting subtle pressure. Touches himself with his left hand. Long, slow strokes. He builds a rhythm. Tries to lose himself in it. It’s just a wank, he tells himself.

But he can't seem to relax. The room watches him; the flat utterly silent below. Cold blue light illuminates John’s naked body like a spotlight. John feels exposed. It’s not rational. He’s home alone, in his room. He’s done this millions of times.

Rolling over onto his side John switches on his bedside lamp. The light is warmer and forces the blue back to press against the window panes. Lying back down he pulls the flat sheet up over his legs.

John breathes, draws the air deep into his lungs. Uncurls his fists, rests his fingertips against the mattress. John’s heart in his chest, thud, thud, thud.

The lube is chilled and he takes a moment to warm it against his palm before he slips his hand back down between his thighs. This time he sets a slower tempo, drawing larger and larger circles, dipping down below his perineum to circle his anus which draws up taut and shriveled every time he glides across it.

Nerves tingling John slides the tip of his index finger just inside, squeezing his eyes shut as he feels the ring of tight muscle contract around the digit. Air presses against his diaphragm and John realizes that he is holding his breath. He lets it go and the sound rushes out into the quiet of the room.

Moving in and out slowly, John bears down and his finger slips deeper. The ache in his thighs intensifies and he writhes against his bed, a high whine trapped at the back of his throat.

It’s. Not. Enough.

Panting, John fumbles at his side and, hands shaking, slicks up the drumstick. Before he can catalogue all the reasons why he shouldn’t, he arranges it, pressing the blunt end just against himself.

Breathe, breathe, he thinks, as he pushes

                                           

                                                                  pushes

                                                                               

                                                                                      pushes

 


Lightning struck, John cries out. Hips jackknifing up. Hot stinging blood like nettles in his veins.

He looks down the heaving planes of his body, breathing hard.

His chest is flushed and his cock is leaking. Clear fluid pools in his belly button. The tip is bruised a deep purple, the slit, a glossy blood red. John’s never been this hard. Sweat smarts in the corners of his eyes. He blinks it away and reaches down. God. Exquisite jolts of pleasure bordering on pain rack him as he strokes himself a few times.

He’s trembling again. He lets go. He doesn’t need it, he realizes. Doesn’t even need porn or one of his standby fantasies. He could come like this. He will come like this.

Christ.

Any last vestiges of doubt melt away. Gripping the stick John starts to move. Tentative at first and then, then he is shoving himself down, fucking it even as he is thrusting it deep inside him, hard and slick, unyielding. All coherent thought abandons him. He is pure sensation, mindlessly chasing the bright white light that pulses through his bones each time he hits his prostate.

The ache coils in his belly, his balls drawing up close to his body. He breaks out in a chill, all his hair standing erect, as John braces his feet against the bed and with one last push he disintegrates into sparks and comes so hard that he screams.

When John comes back to himself he is lying curled on his side in the fetal position. Come is drying in tacky patches across his chest and stomach and the drumstick is stuck to the inside of his right thigh. He is tender all over, skin pulpy and raw.

Thump, thump, thump.

Footsteps on the stairs.

Fuck.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Sherlock.

John just has the presence of mind to pull the sheet up his body to tuck it around his shoulders before Sherlock bursts through the door, his face white, his eyes wide. He looks…scared.

I screamed, John thinks, his brain fuzzy.

When Sherlock realizes that John is not injured or in mortal danger he relaxes, but it only lasts for a second before his eyes narrow, his gaze scraping over John’s prone form, searching for clues. “What happened?”

“A mouse,” John says, his voice cracking. A mouse? He clears his throat. “A mouse was in my bed.”

Sherlock’s eyebrows do a complicated sort of dance.

“A mouse,” Sherlock repeats, drawing the word out. He knows that John is lying, but John finds that he doesn’t care. He should be making more of an effort, but he can't muster the energy. John's just had the best god damned orgasm of his life and he's not about to let Sherlock ruin it. The berk can learn to knock for God's sake. Let Sherlock draw his own conclusions; it would serve him right. In fact John would have loved to be there when Sherlock does. The look on his face when he realizes that John had been buggering himself with a piece of musical equipment just moments before he walked in, well, that would have been priceless.

John yawns. His blood is a drowsy tide tugging at him. His eyelids feel heavy. “Sorry to have frightened you.”

One hand on the doorjamb, Sherlock’s eyes sweep the room—taking in, no doubt, the single drumstick lying on his bedside table and all of John's clothes shoved into his hamper, his shoes lying half under the bed from where John had left them—before landing back on John. “You’re…are you…going to sleep?” Incredulous.

John glances at the clock. It is only 7pm.

John nods, letting his eyes slide closed, awash in the languid glow still suffusing his entire body.

“Do you want me to order a takeaway?” Sherlock sounds completely at sea and it makes John smile into his pillow.

“Sure.”

The door squeaks on its hinges as Sherlock starts to pull it closed.

“Thai?”

John hums.

The sound of the door clicking shut is the last thing he hears before he’s sucked under.

 

Chapter Text

One week later, just home from work, John takes the seventeen steps two at a time.

Pauses on the landing.

Listens.

Nothing.

John toes off his shoes, hangs up his coat. He’s grinning like a madman. His heart a tight throb in his throat. Above him the siren calls, as inexorable to John as a riptide. He will gladly risk Scylla and Charybdis, will gladly dash himself against the rocks or drown in the whirlpool to have it. He’s a convert, a zealot; he’s turned into Tom bloody Russel and he doesn’t even care.

Just as he’s rounding the second staircase that leads up to his room he feels his mobile buzz in his pocket, a burr against his thigh, vibrating against the tip of his burgeoning cock.

Bugger.

So close.

John stops, fishes his mobile out, and tries, unsuccessfully, to catch his breath.

Emergency. Bart’s. Come at once. SH

Emergency.

That could mean any number of things to Sherlock Holmes. It could mean he was casually bleeding out in the A&E or it could mean that he was out of coffee and needed a refill, too lazy to get up and leave his experiments for even a moment.

John only hesitates for a second before he sighs and turns around. Puts on his shoes and coat and, outside, hails a cab.

This better be good, he thinks, the fingers of his right hand drumming against the windowsill as he types out a text with his left, Where do I meet you?

Molly’s Lab. SH

John grits his teeth and almost tells the cabbie to turn around and take him home.

Case?

John can feel his erection start to wane and he adjusts himself accordingly. The promise of his impending orgasm grows weaker the further they get from Baker Street.

It better be because of a case.

9 dead. Mass suicide by poisoning. Doomsday cult. Or so it seems. SH

John goes completely still. A wash of cold breaks down his body as if he’s just been doused in a cup of freezing water. Goosebumps rise on his arms, his hair pricking against his sleeve. Bloody hell.

Did people really do that anymore? Kill themselves, sure in the fact that the world was going to end and that they would be catapulted into immortality on some other celestial plane? And wasn’t that an…American thing? John can’t name one doomsday cult from the UK. Or so it seems…Sherlock might be an arrogant git, but he had the goods to back it up. If there was room for doubt then Sherlock would be the one to find it.

So much for having the night to himself. John can’t help but feel a tad resentful and has to remind himself of the nine corpses currently rotting in the morgue.

John drops his head back against the cab’s leather seat and lets his eyes slip shut. He’s not tired; he’s been averaging 9-10 hours a night since the madness began, but the swaying motion of the cab lulls him after a long day on his feet. The scent of cinnamon air freshener and the acrid body odor it’s trying to mask fill his nose. He breathes through his mouth instead. Shifts against the lumpy cushion below him, his pants dragging a bit against his arse, where he’s still sensitive, still achingly aware of the slight burn from the night before.

He hasn’t been able to think about anything else all day.

Between patients. While making conversation with Raj, the other locum, over tea. While he was finishing up his charting for the day. On the tube ride home.

He feels it again, as if it were the first time, the breach and the sudden fullness, the way his body draws the drumstick inside, so eager, so hungry for it, wanting it harderfastermoremoremore before John’s brain can even catch up. The gathering heat at the base of his spine and the way it radiates out through his limbs until he’s saturated with it, limbs heavy with longing. John’s cock twitches in his pants and he brushes up the swelling curve with his thumb, mindful of the cabbie on the other side of the partition. He has time. 20 minutes on the A40 without traffic from Baker Street to Bart’s. John lets his knees fall wider. Licks his lips.

That first brush over his prostate…God. No wonder his cock has the tendency to look like it’s been dragged five rounds through a bout of fisticuffs, strangled a deep engorged purple at the head. And leaking all over the place. John had occasionally gotten wet before, but nothing like this. All week it had been pulsing out of him with each pass of the drumstick.

He bites down on his lip as he feels himself harden further and he shifts again just to feel the cotton rub against his cock. He can feel the wetness he leaves behind, a cool spot against his hot straining skin.

Stop, he thinks. Opens his eyes. Fists his hands at his sides against the seat.

Tina, one of the temp nurses who fills in occasionally, had chatted him up a bit at the surgery today and the old John, the John of one week ago, he would have pounced. Would have invited her for a drink after work. Tina was pretty, plump with long dark hair and a first rate arse. But he hadn’t. He’d been too distracted by the thought of what he could get up to. On his own.

John’s always taken care of himself, but it’s typically felt more like a stop gap measure. Something to get him through until his next real sexual encounter. Quick, furtive wanks in the shower or porn driven furious slapdash race to the finish type wanking, and sometimes, very rarely, a leisurely Saturday wank when he woke from a particularly vivid dream to a bit of morning wood and he had time to indulge.

This is something else entirely.

John leans forward, elbows pressed to his knees, and buries his face in his hands.

When he thinks about tonight he can imagine himself taking his time. He can imagine running his hands over his chest, rubbing his nipples between his fingertips. Following the silky trail of dark hair from his belly button on down. Letting the anticipation build. He can imagine touching the inside of his thighs, exploring how the hair there is a different texture. Rougher, springy and coarse. The way his fist, slick with lube, would feel like a mouth, lips stretched out around him, wet and gliding. Working himself open with his fingers. Could he take three this time? Four? Christ, fisting was a thing wasn’t it? Not that that was something he could get up to on his own, but…

The next thing you knew he’d be lighting candles to set the mood or some other such poncy nonsense.

A chuckle rumbles up his chest and escapes before he can swallow it down, shattering the quiet of the cab. His shoulders start to shake. The cabbie’s eyes meet his in the rearview mirror and John loses himself, curving forward and giggling, eventually wiping tears from his eyes and gasping for breath.

He ignores, successfully for the most part, the hot ember of shame that flares to life every now and then.

When he gets home John knows what he’ll be doing. And he knows what it’s going to lead to and all he feels, if he's being perfectly honest, is excited.

Light the bloody candles. Warm up the lube. John Watson has a date with a drumstick.

 

**************

 


“John!” Molly exclaims when John walks through the lab door, flashing John her sunniest smile. John almost takes a step back as the force of it hits him.

Sherlock is bent over a microscope next to her. He looks peeved.

“You look great!” she says and John has to look away from the blinding purity of her sincerity. “Have you got a new girlfriend then?”

“No, it’s not a girlfriend,” Sherlock murmurs, a look passing between him and John that makes John's heart clench inside his chest. He knows, John thinks, the ember blazing to life inside his belly. It rises to burn, black and bilious, on the back of his tongue, before Sherlock finally turns his eyes back down to peer through the microscopes lenses.

“How are you Molly?” John segues, not wanting to talk about his non-existent girlfriend or the actual reason he looks so pleased, which apparently Sherlock knows all about. The cavalier attitude that John had felt on that first night has dissipated. It makes him angry at Sherlock for no rational reason other than that it’s exhausting not being able to keep any secrets from his flatmate.

John takes a moment to look around the room, anywhere but at Sherlock, nodding politely, as Molly tells him about her new boyfriend. The room is uncharacteristically full of people. Med students from the look of them, harried and feral. There are about ten of them, all bent over identical microscopes, all jotting down notes as they go.

“So what’s on?” John asks Sherlock once Molly has thankfully moved away to chat with one of the med students further down the counter.

“You could be nicer to her you know,” Sherlock says, not bothering to look up.

“Who? Molly?" John snorts. "That’s rich. Coming from you.” John looks at Sherlock’s hands for lack of anywhere else to look. Long, elegant fingers curled around the knobs, his touch light and deft, as if he were handling something extremely delicate. Sherlock keeps his nails trimmed and filed, buffed to a dull shine. John watches as the tendons in Sherlock’s wrists jump and flex with each subtle movement, the veins standing out, blue striations against the white. They’re one of Sherlock’s finest features, eloquent and skillful.

The next thought drops like a match inside his brain and John jerks backwards, his whole body scorched.

“What’s going on with you?” Sherlock asks, looking personally offended, as John sidles further down the counter, until he’s safely around the corner, putting some space between him and Sherlock so that he can breathe, breathe.

“Nothing, I just don’t see why you’ve called me all the way down here when it’s clear you don’t actually need me.” It comes out more annoyed than he feels, but he’s shaken and all he wants to do is get as far away from Sherlock as he can.

“I require your assistance,” Sherlock says, his gaze strafing John. A knife whet against a strop. After a single blistering moment that seems to stretch on forever Sherlock glances meaningfully at the room full of people.

John raises his eyebrows. Tucks his fingertips in towards his palms.

“There’s a mutiny brewing John,” Sherlock hisses a moment later and John feels nothing but relief when he can laugh at this. “They’ve a ringleader and everything. I need them to get this analysis done tonight, but there’s grumbling about leaving before 9 o'clock.”

John looks at Sherlock.

Sherlock looks at John.

“9 o'clock, John!”

John sighs.

“Which one is it?”

Sherlock, looking thoroughly cowed, points to a girl sitting near a window on the opposite side of the room. John has to resist the urge to shake her hand. Anyone who can stand up to Sherlock is all right in John’s book.

Instead he says, “Right.” He turns to face the room. “Excuse me, attention please!”

A Pavlovian wave of heads turn to him, all wearing identical expressions of robotic obedience.

John shivers.

“We’re going to split you into two teams.” John makes a cutting motion with his hand, indicating a line being drawn down the center of the room.

“The first to…” John glances at Sherlock.

“To identify the type of poison!” Sherlock provides, standing up and raising his voice. The girl narrows her eyes at him from across the room and Sherlock sits back down. Sherlock’s eyes widen in John’s direction as if to say, See?

The corner of John’s mouth twitches, a warm burst of affection in his chest. “The first group to identify the poison gets pizza and beer courtesy of Sherlock Holmes.”

Sherlock scowls and glares at this, but John can only grin as there is a smattering of applause. “All right, back to work.”

He walks back over to Sherlock. “There you have it. Give them a little motivation and a little friendly competition and…” John spreads his hands.

“Yes, yes, very good Captain,” Sherlock grumbles, looking irritated again.

“Is that all you needed?”

“I suppose.”

John raps his fist against the tabletop and turns to go.

“I received the deed in the mail today,” Sherlock adds a moment later, sounding for all the world as if he is bored, but John can hear the way Sherlock’s voice breaks a bit on the word ‘deed’.

John looks at him over his shoulder. “Are we going down to Sussex this weekend then?”

Sherlock swallows. It catches. The soft click is just barely audible in the space between them. “If you wouldn’t mind.”

“I don’t mind,” John says, the back of his own throat suddenly hot.

The urge to reach over and lay his hand on Sherlock’s shoulder is overwhelming, but John stops himself. Sherlock wouldn’t appreciate it, he doesn't think. Even if the reason why they were heading down to Sussex was to go over the cottage that Sherlock’s mother had left to him in her will. Even if, six months ago, Sherlock had come home from the reading of the will and asked John if it would be all right—Sherlock still dressed in bespoke black wool, his curls finger-mussed and wild, his eyes distraught—would John like to retire to Sussex with him whenever that time should present itself? And when John had said yes—unthinking, reflexive, reckless, true—Sherlock had nodded and texted Mycroft to draw up a new deed with John's name added.

And now here they were.

Planning a trip down to Sussex to see the home that they would eventually spend the rest of their lives in.

Together.

Sherlock drops his eyes back down to his slides. John turns around and flattens his hand against the door, still hesitating.

“Did you remember to pick up mouse traps?”

The door is halfway open. It leans, heavy against John’s palm.

He drops his hand and turns back to face Sherlock. The door swings shut behind him with a quiet woosh. John squares his shoulders, settling his weight into his hips, hands sliding behind his back. At rest. “What?”

“Mouse traps.” Sherlock repeats as if John is an idiot. There are two red blotches burnt into Sherlock’s cheekbones. “For the mouse. In your bed.”

“Ah, yes. Mouse traps.” John knew that Sherlock wouldn’t bring it up, but was this his way of…? He’s watching John in that singular way he has. It’s intense and charged and just for John. Sherlock doesn’t look at anyone else like this, not since he came back from the dead. It’s like he wants to lay John out beneath his microscope, get beneath his skin, study his DNA. It’s scapular in it's intent, but it cuts through John in jagged serrated slashes, like teeth rending flesh. The thought from before forces it’s way into John’s brain, flashing like an electric sign. John blushes, the tips of his ears pinched hot, cheeks stinging. “Good idea. I’ll stop by the shops on the way home. Need anything?”

“Milk.”

“But I just bought milk yesterday!”

Sherlock lifts one laconic shoulder.

***************


At home John turns off the porn after three minutes.

He’s on his knees, forearms pressed into the mattress. He stares at the pilled cotton of his navy blue sheets.

His cock hangs heavy between his legs. Thick. Swollen. Throbbing. Dripping. John’s leaving sticky fingerprints all along the inside of his thighs in his haste.

He was wrong.

He can’t take his time.

Two fingers two knuckles deep, curling down. His bollocks a soft rolling weight in his palm. Not enough. It’s not enough. He needs more. Whining. Moaning. Sherlock’s not home; John doesn’t have to be quiet. John can, for instance, add a third finger and let the wet squelch echo through his room as he speeds up. It’s filthy. Positively obscene.

Sherlock’s not home so John can push back, trying to get as deep as he can, reaching, reaching for that tiny knot of tissue that will set him shaking. That will reduce him to a quivering, desperate thing. John shuts his eyes tight.

Sherlock’s not home. He’s stuck in the lab, surrounded by med students. John knows why he was so peevish now. Sherlock hates to depend on anyone else for information. But nine bodies. Nine blood samples. Time of the essence.

Sherlock.

In the dark John can’t hide.

Neon strobing light scouring him.

He sees Sherlock’s hands.

Sherlock’s strong, capable hands.

And the thought that had made John recoil inside the lab: Sherlock would be able to reach where John can’t.

The drumstick goes in easy, easy in a way Sherlock isn’t. In a way Sherlock never will be. Those icicle eyes. The way Sherlock smells; scrubbed clean and pink in the morning, burnished dark and coppery at the end of the day. The way he stands too close. Always too close. The way he takes up space inside John’s head, inside his body. The way John was relentlessly aware of Sherlock like a phantom limb when he was dead, and now even a year on, how, each time John sees him unexpectedly, coming around a corner for instance, it sends pins and needles shooting straight into John's heart. A rush of blood into a limb that had fallen asleep.

Sherlock’s hands. Coaxing music from his violin with a devastatingly sensual grace. Making John feel each note snap along his bare skin like sparks falling. Sherlock’s hands. Striking through the air as he speaks. Cupping and caressing it. John—panting, on his knees, rocking back to meet the hard length inside him—jealous of the air.

The first pass of the drumstick over John’s prostate and all John can see is Sherlock’s fingers crooked inside him. Those slender white digits slipping in and out of John’s greedy hole. Knuckles catching and dragging against his rim. Fucking him and fucking him and fucking him until John can’t breathe.

Can’t breathe.

Oh fffffuck, Sherlock.

John comes so hard he hits his pillow.

*************

John showers.

Changes his sheets.

It’s not as if I imagined Sherlock here, John prevaricates, unable to shake the feeling that he has done something wrong. He feels like something vital ruptured in that moment, some wall he had built for self-preservation stripped away. He feels strangely weak, dizzy, as if he’s suffering from blood loss.

It was only a fantasy. It’s not as if I imagined Sherlock actually fucking me. It was just his hands. It could have been anyone’s hands! John shifts on the balls of his feet, frowning, as he shakes out his duvet and settles it over the bed, turning back a corner as he climbs underneath.

In a triage situation you have to quickly assess the damage. Stop the bleeding. Stabilize the patient. Prioritize the care.

John’s currently at a priority 3. High trauma score; not currently in need of immediate medical attention.

I need to get something different, John decides.

Something that isn’t made out of pale wood.

Something that doesn’t remind him of his friend’s fingers.

Something a bit thicker too while he’s at it.

Chapter Text

John has the package sent to his work.

He finds it sitting on his desk when he returns from lunch on Tuesday. His stomach lurches when he sees it. He stares at it, frozen in the doorway, knuckles white on the knob. Broadcasting to anyone who really bothered to look close: Dr. John Watson, Captain of the Royal Army Medical Corps, likes to take it up the bum! Look at this gigantic purple cock he just ordered from LoveHoney! He’s going to bugger himself silly with it tonight!

At least LoveHoney uses discreet brown packaging with a return address label reading: LH Trading, Bath, BA1 3EN, UK. John stashes it underneath his desk, grateful for small mercies.

All day long it rests against John’s right foot. Rattling each time John accidentally kicks it. It’s a constant reminder. A torture. A tease.

A giant purple promise.

All day long John tries to master himself: There’s that true crime documentary on telly tonight and I need to write up the doomsday case. I’ll wait until tomorrow to open it. I could even wait until this weekend…

He shouldn’t feel like he needs this thing.

As he walks towards the Underground after work he bins it.

He makes it two blocks before he goes back to fetch it. Jogs really, heart racing. Someone has placed a banana peel on top. John wipes it off with disgust, but tucks it under his arm all the same.

On the tube ride home he prays that Sherlock will be out. He focuses his entire consciousness on it. Please, John begs silently, the box perched on his knees, the scent of rotting banana sticking to the inside of his nose.

Please.

Sherlock is sitting on the sofa in pyjamas and dressing gown, his prehensile toes gripping the edge of the coffee table, his fingers steepled beneath his nose, his eyes closed.

John sets the package on the bottom step of his staircase, his other mail sitting on top, safe as houses. Better to hide it in plain sight, he thinks, than for Sherlock to think I've got something to hide. I can always just tell him I ordered mousetraps.

 

**********

 

It’s bigger than John expected. Longer. Much, much wider. John can wrap both his fists around it and the nice fat head still sticks out at the end, the wide flange of the suction cup flaring out the other. It’s also circumcised and thickly veined, with a pair of oddly realistic bollocks hanging beneath. Not to mention, the truly visceral color. It makes John’s eyes throb a bit when he looks at it too long.

It’s entirely surreal.

An alternate reality.

John is in his bedroom, but it’s also not his bedroom. Can't be.

That is not his reflection in the mirror. The man looks like him. Silver fringe over a pale haggard face. Bags under his eyes, the poor sod. Thin lips. Not much to look at all things considered. His eyes move lower, to the man's ruined shoulder. His scar, a starburst of white puckered skin knit with fine threads of pink scar tissue. Bit soft round the middle too. Should probably take up running again soon if he's smart. The man looks like him, but this man, this mirror John, he is about to stick a massive purple dildo up his arse.

John looks away.

Looks down.

He had thought the purple would remind him less of a real cock, but it isn’t working. He licks his lips, his mouth sapped of moisture.

John looks at the wall across from him. Then at his headboard. Assessing the logistics with a detached calm he doesn’t really feel. Panic crackles at the edge of his vision.

He should have brought up one of the kitchen chairs, he realizes belatedly. He could have stuck the dildo to the seat and ridden it.

For a moment John’s mind whites out: John’s thighs spread across the seat, lowering himself down until his arse was stuffed full. He would really be able to move then. Could hold onto to the back of the chair for leverage...

The thought sends a hot pulse sluicing through him and John stands, his mind made up.

There is no way that John is going to be able to bugger himself against the wall. Even with his heels pressed flush against it, his bum doesn’t quite get close enough to take it deep. And really, that’s the whole point of the damn thing isn’t it? His desk, on the other hand, has four thick, sturdy legs. It’s an antique, according to Mrs.Hudson, something original to the flat. John believes it. He’s tried to budge it before and got nothing but an almost dislocated shoulder for his trouble. It’s a behemoth.

It’s perfect.

John’s thighs, already slick with lube, slide against each other as he kneels and pushes his ancient desk chair with it’s cracked green leather seat and it’s squeaky copper wheels out of the way.

The sharp, dissonant sounds of Sherlock tuning his violin cut through the closed bedroom door. The flat still smells faintly of grease. John had made him and Sherlock a pair of bacon butties for dinner, for lack of anything else edible in the flat. While Sherlock had done the washing up, John had turned on the documentary, fully committed to having a normal night in and doing nothing whatsoever to arouse Sherlock’s suspicions as to what he would rather be getting up to. John decided that he would go to bed at 9:30 as usual, but then it had turned into one of those rare occasions where Sherlock had walked out of the kitchen, drying off his hands on his pajamas and then, as if on a whim, turned to the cupboard where they kept their scotch and had poured out two fingers each before crouching down in front of the hearth to lay the fire.

They had sat, armchairs pulled in tight like elbows, legs extended, toes curling towards the warmth, and chin wagged like girls for hours.

Telling tales.

Of public school and muddy rugby pitches and torched chemistry labs and the names of the stars in Arabic.

The scotch, a cinder burning in the back of his throat, Sherlock’s voice, scuffed velvet in his ears, contentment licking warm and bright inside his chest, John had felt happy, simply happy, for the first time in months.

“You’re going to like Sussex.”

“Oh?” John was slouched in his chair, the soles of his socked feet pressed together, knees splayed wide. They knocked companionably against Sherlock’s every now and then.

“It’s rather secluded and close enough to the sea to smell it, but not see it,” Sherlock murmured, staring at the embers smoldering in the grate. “I can see you there.”

“I can’t,” John admitted, leaning his cheek into his palm. “I can’t imagine not working. Can you? Sherlock Holmes retired. Now there's a concept. What are you going to do without The Work?”

Sherlock had shrugged, as if this wasn’t something to be concerned with, however John found that it concerned him a great deal. “I’ll set up my chemistry lab. Maybe I’ll become a distinguished horticulturalist in my old age.” Sherlock's mouth tugged wider and wider, into that charming, boyish smile he had sometimes when he was at home, guards down. “Or we could raise chickens perhaps.”

John had laughed and laughed at that. And then, compulsively, unable to let it rest, had needled, “Yes, but what will you do without all the dashing about? What will you do without Molly providing you with the leftover parts of dismembered corpses? What will you do without Lestrade summoning you at all hours of the day and night? Hmm? You’ve got another twenty years ahead of you yet before you become a quiet country squire.”

Sherlock’s gaze had shifted then, affixing itself to John’s face. He had looked strangely vulnerable in that moment. Curls falling softly across his forehead. His watercolor eyes uncharacteristically clear and open. It made John’s breath catch in his chest.

“We’ll get on fine,” Sherlock had said at last. “We always do.” Tearing his eyes away from John to brood contemplatively on the empty crystal glass in his hand. Those unprecedented second and third ‘we’s’ of the night made something inside John loosen that he hadn’t known was knotted. After a moment Sherlock blinked back over to him. “We need to have the deed notarized by the way. Can you meet me tomorrow after work at my solicitor’s?”

“Don’t have work tomorrow,” John reminded him. “I’ll stop by after I’m done at Ella’s shall I?”

Sherlock had nodded and looked back at the fire. Pensive. John, knowing exactly what that look signaled, had finished his scotch and gone to shower before bed.

Upstairs John positions the dildo, tests the height, and with a loud smack that makes him wince, attaches it to the mahogany leg. The head droops slightly towards the floor, but it doesn’t fall. John is mildly impressed by this marvel of engineering.

He wraps one hand around the base to steady it and wonders…well, why not?

Shuffles forward on his knees and ducks his head down.

Licks.

Tastes: bitter silicone. Smells: acrid lube and his own sex soaked fug of musk and sweat. Touches: the raised spines of the faux veins running up and down the hard dick in his hand.

John opens his mouth and kisses at the tip, working his tongue underneath, rubbing against the frenulum.

His whole body blushes as he catches sight of himself in the mirror out of the corner of his eye. A flash of hot and cold that tingles along his scalp and prickles down his spine.

Look at him.

The poor man is gagging for it, he thinks, aware, on some level that he is dissociating himself from this experience in a not so good way perhaps. Ella would shake her head and look worried, scribbling something like sexual identity crisis on her notepad. John knows already that tomorrow he will blame it on the scotch.

Look at him, he’s an absolute slut for that cock. Look how he sucks it. Like he’s starving for it. Christ, he’s a bloody natural.

John, still watching, takes the dildo deeper, letting it loll on his tongue, letting it stretch his lips, his mouth flooding with saliva. It overflows and tracks down his chin. John doesn’t care.

He leans forward until the crown prods the back of his throat and, gagging, John draws off, only to return to it a moment later, working it in and out.

That poor bastard in the mirror’s not deep-throating a dildo. No, that man is most certainly imagining something very different beside the cold floorboards beneath his palms.

It’s scratchy soft wool stretched tight over hard muscle. Flesh and blood beneath.

It’s hot silky skin wrapped around bone, not silicone, that man is working so vigorously with his fist. It’s mouth-watering salt smearing the length of his tongue, not plastic bleeding sour all over the inside of his cheeks.

John moans and slurps off. His face is drenched, but he doesn’t take the time to wipe it away as he turns around.

The man’s eyes, in the mirror, look back at him, dark indigo and wild.

John positions his pillow beneath his elbows and backs himself up until he can feel the dildo drag against the inside of his thigh. His legs straddle the desk leg as he reaches back and positions the head against his entrance, holding it steady as he slicks it up with lube and then, rocks back…

Buggering motherfuckering fuck.

It’s enormous.

And it’s just the tip.

John had got four fingers up himself in preparation, but that was nothing compared to this.

John pushes back just a hair and fists both hands in his fringe, a burning sensation spreading down his body as his anus stretches to accommodate the dildo’s exceptional girth.

Every muscle in his body is clenched. Locked down.

It is unthinkable that it will fit.

It is fucking inevitable that it will fit.

John holds his breath and bears down, drawing the head inside.

Blood pounding in his temples. In his wrists. In the tips of his fingers and toes.

Violin music plays in the background; a reminder that John must be quiet.

But how?

John wants it all inside him. He wants to shove back and take it to the root. He wants to let that gigantic cock take him apart, wants to let it carve out a place for itself inside him.

John squirms, wriggling his hips, and it slips an inch deeper.

He sobs.

There’s nothing for it.

Rearing up on both hands he pushes back and in one agonizingly slow glide it fills him and fills him and fills him, until, finally, it’s fully seated.

Panting, John looks over at the man in the mirror.

His whole body gleams in the lamplight, shiny sleek with sweat. His hair is sticking up in tufts where he’s been gripping it, going out of his damned mind for the massive cock currently buried balls deep inside his body. His lower back is bowed, arse tipped wantonly up, his cock hanging thick and flushed dark with blood below his stomach.

The man rocks forward and though his mouth drops open, no sound emerges. The huge round head catches on the tight ring of muscle and the man shivers. His face turns an uncomfortable shade of red as he thrusts himself back and only then, quite obviously wrecked by the experience, lets loose a long, broken moan torn from somewhere deep within him as the dildo disappears once more, swallowed by what John can only assume is his stretched and gaping hole.

Behind him the desk leg groans in protest as John fucks himself on the dildo’s ruthless length. He can't hear it. He’s been reduced to a single point in the universe: the feel of the cock dragging inside him, the head hitting his prostate with relentless precision each time he presses back. His borders waver, then dissolve. His cock slapping against his belly in tiny bursts of intense sensation is the only thing that momentarily cuts through the haze.

The man in the mirror is muttering incoherent nonsense, “God, yes, just like that. Oh fuck, Sherlo—ck, fuck me. Harder. Yes. Harder. Oh, God, oh please, please.”

Music flows all around him. Below him Sherlock is building towards the crescendo and John let’s himself be carried along with it until

swelling surging cresting

                    

                               b r       e a k          

                                                      i n g

 

it shatters him on the shore.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

John wakes late.

Showers.

Dresses.

Avoids Sherlock.

He feels ill. Feverish. He sweats despite the autumn chill as he walks through Regent’s Park.

He walks.

He walks and walks.

Ella’s office is familiar. Safe. Soothing. Water babbles from a fountain on her desk. The walls are painted a dusky rose. Her voice is soft and measured.

“How are you?”

The words spill out. “I think I have to move out.”

For a fleeting instant Ella looks taken aback and she waits a beat before asking, “Is this about Sherlock asking you to retire with him? Have you reconsidered?”

John shakes his head.

“I know that at first it was hard for you to process the fact that you were committing to spend the rest of your life with him.”

“I’m not afraid of that anymore.”

Ella waits.

“That’s not it.” John’s voice wavers just a bit and he hates himself for it. Hates this weakness. This jangling unsteadiness. “I…I’ve discovered something new about myself this past week.”

“Oh? Why don’t you tell me about it?”

“I think…” John takes a deep breath. “I might be…bisexual.”

Ella, bless her, doesn’t react to this. Doesn’t seem surprised or vindicated. Just cool, calm, collected. Business as usual. “Is this in reference to Sherlock?”

“Yes and no.” John pinches the skin between his eyes together.

“All right, just sit with that for a moment. And when you can, explain it to me.”

John breathes.

He has no idea how to begin. With his doctor’s visit? The drumstick? The giant purple dildo?

“Have you met someone?”

John shakes his head.

Ella puts down her pen and folds her hands on top of her notebook. She waits.

John breathes some more and tries not to throw up on her shoes. Saying the words out loud makes it somehow more real.

After a few more minutes of labored breathing Ella throws him a line. “What prompted this discovery?”

John smiles despite himself. It’s all ridiculous. If he can’t laugh about it, he’s doomed. He decides to go with the truth. “I had a prostate exam.”

“I see.”

John chuckles. “No. I don’t think you do.”

Ella smiles and it completely transforms her face. Brightens her eyes and softens the serious lines around her mouth. “You’re right. I don’t. You had a prostate exam.”

“And I…liked it. Maybe a bit too much.”

“Ah.”

“So I started experimenting and one thing led to another…”

Ella nods.

“I’m not homophobic.” John’s voice is thick and earnest. He wants…no he needs her to understand. “I’ve never cared about that. I used to think it would be easier if I was. Then I wouldn’t have cared when everyone always assumed that Sherlock and I were together. That we were a couple.”

Ella nods again, encouraging.

“I got over that a long time ago. You know. You were there. When Sherlock was…” John stops himself from completing that sentence. “I’m not homophobic. And it’s not just having grown up with Harry. I don’t…look, I’m as married as I’m ever going to get and it’s to Sherlock right? I want to be with him. When he asked me to retire with him…we’ve talked about this…it felt like a proposal…it was a proposal…and I said yes. I said yes to forever with him and I haven’t had any reason to doubt that decision until…”

“Until?”

Best to just get it over with.

“I’ve been having fantasies about Sherlock.”

John swallows. The next words push against his diaphragm, jostling elbows in his windpipe, crowding forward.

Sexual fantasies,” he clarifies.

Ella looks faintly relieved and John shakes his head. She obviously doesn’t understand if that is her reaction.

Her relief turns into confusion. “No?”

“No.”

“No to what, John?”

“It’s not ok.” John holds up his hands to prevent Ella from responding. “I know you’re going to tell me it’s normal. That it’s…just thoughts. But I feel sick. I feel wrong. He doesn’t feel things like that. He doesn’t want things like that. I shouldn’t…”

John shakes his head, pressing his fingertips to his lips.

“I don’t think I can live like that. It feels like a violation.”

Ella hums. “Interesting word choice, John. A violation of what?”

“Him! I can’t look him in the eye without remembering what I was doing to him the night before in my head.”

“And do you think that he would be upset if he knew about this?”

John nods.

“Have you ever spoken with Sherlock about this? About sex? Since that first night you met?”

John shakes his head.

“No, but he’s always been disdainful of it. Dismissive. He’s above it.”

“Above what?”

John shrugs. Gestures. “Love. Sex. Relationships. The lot of it.”

“Do you think that might just be a defense mechanism?”

“Does it matter if it is? It’s what he feels.” It comes out defensive. Protective.

“But he has a relationship with you, John. He loves you.”

John squirms inwardly. It’s hard for him to acknowledge this.

Ella uncrosses her legs and leans forward.

“John, what are you afraid will happen if you tell Sherlock how you feel?”

John’s stomach roils. “He’ll be disgusted. He’ll probably throw me out. That’s why it’s better if I do it for him.”

John closes his eyes.

“John.”

He squeezes them tighter.

“John.”

He opens them reluctantly. “What?”

“He asked you to retire with him. He asked you for forever too. Do you really think he isn’t capable of accepting this new part of you?”

“He may be a genius, but this sort of thing isn’t his area. And coming from me…”

“Coming from you?” Ella prompts when John doesn’t continue.

“It feels like betrayal.”

“A betrayal of what?”

“His trust? God, I don’t even know. It feels a bit like I’m molesting a priest inside my head.”

A moment passes.

“You’re angry.”

“God yes.”

Ella, who knows John by now, pushes him a bit. “You’re angry that you’re just finding this out about yourself right now.”

John groans and covers his eyes with his hand.

“You’re angry about what that means. About what you’ve missed out on. It makes you second guess yourself and the relationships you’ve had. With Major Sholto for instance.”

John doesn’t rise to the bait—they have been through it well enough before, when Sherlock was dead; the fact that John sleeps with women, but falls in love with men is well established—but a hot feeling spreads throughout his entire body, rising to burn behind his eyes.

“You’re angry that this might mean the end of your life with Sherlock. You resent it.”

Tears roll down John’s cheeks and he swipes them away.

“You’re angry that you’re angry. You like to think that you’re tolerant and accepting, but you’re finding it harder to extend yourself that same courtesy.”

John holds up a hand. He’s reached his limit. “All right.”

Ella, thankfully, desists.

“So what will you do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can I make a suggestion?”

John nods.

“Sit with it.”

“Sit with it?” John repeats, incredulous. “That’s all you’ve got for me? I’ve just told you that I’m in love with my best friend and that I’m fantasizing about having sex with him and all you can suggest is that I ‘sit with it’?”

“Yes. Don’t do anything drastic. You’ve been through a lot of personal changes in the last year. Sherlock coming back from the dead and you moving back to Baker Street. Sherlock’s mother dying and him asking you to stay with him, to live with him once you two are ready to retire. And now…this…” Ella spreads her hands, encompassing John’s latest earth-shaking revelation.

“It’s a lot for anyone to handle, John. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself some time to figure out what you want.”

John shakes his head.

“And I think…” Ella takes a deep breath as if what she is about to say she knows John won’t like. His hands curl around the armrests. He braces himself. “I think you should be open with Sherlock about your feelings. You might be surprised to find that he feels the same way. Or that he is, at the very least, accepting of them.”

John knows, he knows, that this can’t be true. He knows it in his bones. And that’s why it makes him feel so sick. “He doesn’t. I would know by now if he did.”

“What would be the worst case scenario if Sherlock found out?”

“He wouldn’t want…” John finds it difficult to contemplate, let alone voice his fear. He wouldn’t want me, he doesn’t say. Says, “It would be over,” instead.

“And right now you’re willing to blow all that up without even giving Sherlock the chance to reciprocate your feelings?”

John nods.

“What are you ashamed of John?”

“I’m not ashamed!” he says, only realizing a moment later that he had yelled it. Seeing the startled look on Ella’s face, John crumples forward to bury his head in his hands. Scrubs them down his face. Feels the blood pound to the surface. “Christ. Sorry. Look I’m not ashamed I’m just not used to it yet. What am I’m supposed to do if Sherlock kicks me out? Start pulling blokes now?”

“It doesn’t sound like you want just anyone, John,” Ella says, gently.

Ah.

And there was the rub.

The one person he couldn’t have, was the only one he wanted.

“What do you want, John?”

John can only shrug, because it is the honest thing to do. He just really, really doesn’t know.

Or rather, he does. But he wishes that he didn’t.


A morning, two weeks ago, John had stood in their kitchen, a cup of coffee steaming in front of him, reading the newspaper through one eye as he rubbed the other with the back of his fist. He was dressed in only a pair of blue boxer shorts and a white vest, feet bare on the lino. Light from the kitchen window shimmered across the green tile, lending the room a surreal underwater quality. Sounds from the street were muffled, diffuse, his mind muzzy from sleep. His fingertips had felt thick and ponderous as he pressed them to the newsprint, the words swimming a bit before his eyes.

John could smell Sherlock before he saw him; the saline sear of sleepy sweat and the prickle of spice from his posh shampoo. John had breathed it in through his nose as Sherlock settled against him, shoulder to shoulder, propping each other up. There were pillow creases etched into Sherlock’s cheek and the silky curls at the nape of his neck were standing out in errant cowlicked coils. John must have woken him up with the sound of the coffee grinder. They had both gone to bed late. It was nearly 11.

The hem of Sherlock’s dressing gown had tickled the hair on John’s ankle, sending tiny shivers up his spine, as Sherlock swayed a bit, still waking up. Their pinky toes bumped together, rubbing, skin to skin, one of Sherlock’s knees bent and brushing John’s thigh, but neither of them had moved away. Sherlock had yawned, his jaw cracking as he reached up into the cupboard directly in front of him and drew out a mug, which he set down on the counter and nudged towards John. John, his eyes still skimming the Times, had added two spoonfuls of sugar and poured for him too.

They had stayed that way for a few long minutes, just leaning into each other. Their amorphous sleep-softened edges touching, overlapping. The sea glass light flowing over them. Sipping. Coffee bright like citrus on their tongues.

 

That is what John wants.

I just want to be with him.

It feels impossible now that he will get it.

He got Sherlock back, got 221B back, and now...now he will lose them all over again.

John doesn't meet Sherlock at his solicitor's as he promised. He goes to the pub instead. He sits with it.

Before John puts his name on that deed he needs Sherlock to be sure that he still wants it there.

John nurses one lager, searching for the right words.

He's not sure there are any.

How do you intentionally set fire to your own home?

Chapter Text

Sherlock doesn’t look up when John enters the kitchen.

He is standing on the other side of the table, goggles on, pipette in hand. Glass beakers are lined up in a neat row before him. One of them smokes faintly. The room reeks of sulphur.

John crosses to the window and opens it. The September night rushes in, breaking over him in an icy wave. John breathes it in. Lets it sting his mouth. His throat. His lungs.

“You could have called,” Sherlock says as John passes by him to resume his position near the door. Just the possibility of an exit eases his shoulders down from where they’ve drawn up by his ears. John assumes parade rest, pulling courage around him like armor.

Sherlock still hasn’t looked up.

When he does, the shave of silver eyes over John’s body is close and meticulous. John is sure it does not miss one single hair. The razor of Sherlock’s mind knows every curve and contour, every freckle, every scar. He will know what John had for lunch by the dirt on his shoes, and exactly where he had been and who he had seen by the way John’s collar lies.

John weathers it. Tips his chin up, bares his throat to the blade.

“I waited there for nearly an hour. I texted.” Crisply enunciated. His tone dry and cold.

“I’m sorry. I—“

“I was minutes away from calling Lestrade .” Sherlock smacks his lips as if even the suggestion is distasteful. His eyes, slaked, fall back to the table. A brown package lies to the right, opened, but with the edges tucked into each other. A listing stack of files threatens to spill off one edge.

“I know, Sherlock, look—“

“You’re not usually so inconsiderate, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything.”

“Sherlock, we need to talk.”

The fluorescent light buzzes above them, the white light striking through Sherlock’s black hair like lightning bolts through a thunder cloud.

John lets his eyes feast for a moment, unsure if he will ever get the chance to do so again. He takes in the insouciant curls and the unruly brows and the Sherlockian crinkle between as he focuses on the pipette in his hand. The cut glass crystal of his eyes framed by the dark spindles of his lashes, the archer’s bow of his lips, and the moles dotting the fair skin of his throat. The rise and fall of his chest, too thin, always too thin, making the buttons on his shirt strain nevertheless. John’s fingers twitch against his thigh, the longing to slip between those puckered openings and touch the tender milky skin beneath, making them fidget and dance. The auburn hair glinting on his forearms, shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows, the white ropes of ancient (and not so ancient) track marks marring the inside of his left elbow. Hands crooked on his slender hips after he’s laid the pipette aside, a few crumbs, from his figgy toast that lies forgotten on the table, dusting his trousers. He would taste of tea and jam and Sherlock, John thinks.

And John will never, ever know it.

He aches.

He aches and aches and for a moment he cannot breathe for the tragic loss of it all.

John would throw himself in front of a bullet, cover Sherlock with his body to protect him from a bomb’s blast. He would kill and burn anyone or anything that threatened him. But how does he protect Sherlock from John himself?

He can hear Sherlock’s voice inside his head, Romantic drivel. Melodramatic. How dull. How ordinary. 

The real Sherlock breaks in on his thoughts, no less condescending than the one in John’s head, “Oh, aren’t you done having your little crisis yet?” Hands thrown up in exasperation, curls flouncing.

John stares at him. Licks his lips. “I’m sorry. What?”

Sherlock pushes his goggles up into his curls. “Your little mid-life crisis? You know, the one where you’ve finally discovered your prostate and are worried about what it means ?”

John feels all the blood in his body flood up, biting hot in his chest and face. He grits his teeth. “Sherlock.”

“Better late than never, John, but you don’t have to throw a wobbly over it. It doesn’t make you gay you know. I hope your therapist had the gumption to tell you that at the very least.”

“How do you—“

Sherlock’s gaze flicks up and down John’s body again. “Obvious. You had a prostate exam one week ago. Your first. You came home from that exam with a pair of drumsticks from a musical supply company. A drumstick, John?” Sherlock scoffs. “What are you? Sixteen?”

“Sherlock.”

Sherlock picks up the package and sets it on the table in front of John.

“I took the liberty of buying you the proper tools for the job. These are much more appropriate for prostate stimulation. You can thank me by kindly accompanying me to my solicitor’s office on Monday to have our deed notarized.”

John flips the box lids open.

Inside is a colorful assortment of anal sex toys.

Beads. Three different types of butt plugs. A vibrator. Something that looks suspiciously like a large rubber washer. A bottle of expensive lube.

John picks up one of the plugs. It’s made of sheer blue glass and is shaped like a Christmas bulb with a heavy base on the end. He clenches his fist around it and realizes that Sherlock is still talking.

“—really should know better than to start with a dildo of that size. You’re lucky you didn’t tear anything.” A pause. “You didn’t did you?”

“I’m in love with you.”

The words crash between them.

The subsequent silence rings in John’s ears.

Sherlock, when John hazards a glance at him, is frozen still. His face devoid of any reaction. He blinks at John in incomprehension.

“I’ve…um…felt this way for some time.” John forces himself to speak. There’s a sharp metallic taste on the back of his tongue. Like iron. Like blood. “But recently…” John gestures to the box on the table. “I’ve started…wanting…more.”

Sherlock blinks.

Blinks again.

And again.

God , John thinks, feeling mildly panicked. I broke him.

John runs a hand through his hair and grips the back of his neck. Tight. “I know that you don’t want that. You’ve always been clear on that point. So I think it’s best if I go stay with Harry for a while. Until this sorts itself.”

The white light sizzles. Flickers. Sherlock doesn’t say anything.

John turns to go.

“But,” Sherlock says at last, stopping John in his tracks. “You’re not gay.”

He sounds completely flummoxed.

John turns around in the doorway. Smiles, ruefully. “No, I’m not, but I’m not exactly straight either.”

Sherlock licks his lips. “But…you don’t like men. You’re not attracted to them. You—”

John shakes his head, agreeing. “No, I’m not. It’s just one person I want, it turns out. Just one person I’m in love with. And it has bugger all to do with his gender.”

More blank blinking.

“Look. I’m going to pack a bag. I’ll stay with Harry. Just.” John presses his hands together. In supplication. He would beg. Anything to wipe the pained expression of utter confusion off Sherlock’s face. “Don’t worry all right? This isn’t about you. You didn’t do anything wrong, ok? It will sort itself. I just need some time.”

John flees.

Like a bloody coward.

John cut his teeth on emergency surgery in the A&E at Bart’s, earned his scars on the front lines at Helmand. He has bartered with God for men’s lives as they bled out beneath his hands, and he has watched the love of his life throw himself off a roof. He has survived all that and it’s a simple confession of love that turns him into a sniveling milksop.

Upstairs he stands just inside his room. Tears burn at the backs of his eyes. John sniffs and blinks them away.

He goes to his wardrobe, opens the doors, fishes his old rugby bag from the bottom, walks over to his dresser, and starts shoving clothes into it from his drawers.

There is a loose board at the top of his stairs that squeaks when you put your whole weight on it.

It’s effective as a burglar alarm unless you know to look out for it.

Sherlock knows that it’s there.

When John hears it sound he freezes. Listens.

Soft padding footsteps moving across the room behind him; the low groan of the mattress as Sherlock sits down on the bed.

John continues to fill his bag. He does not turn around.

And then…

Because sometimes, on passingly few occasions, life surprises you with a modicum of grace instead of running you over and leaving you for dead, Sherlock starts laughing.

Giggling really.

No.

Chortling.

And John knows that when he turns around Sherlock’s chins will be folded up and his shoulders will be shaking and he will be snorting before the fit has passed.

John can’t help it. He feels the corners of his mouth twitch and his eyes roll up to the ceiling.

“What are you laughing at?” He tries to school his expression when he turns but one glance at Sherlock, already red in the face, lips wobbling, chins jiggling, and they both lose it. John joins him, helpless, bending forward, hands on his knees.

All the tension leaves his body with the laughter. It shakes it out of him. Without any oxygen to fuel it, there’s nowhere for it to go, so it just leaches out into the air.

John’s not even sure why they’re laughing but he supposes that it has something to do with the fact that Sherlock decided to gift John with a box full of sex toys on the night when John had decided to declare his love for him.

Christ, they’re a right pair of loons.

And they really do have the worst timing.

But then, they always have.

The mirth eventually dries up and they’re left just looking at each other, Sherlock perched on the edge of John’s bed, hands clasped loosely in his lap, John leaning back against his dresser wondering how on earth they’re going to get through this.

Sherlock’s gaze is steady. Soft. A smile lingers on his lips.

John’s heart: a bud torn open; a surging, blooming, hoping thing.

He drops his eyes.

He turns around and picks up the bag at his feet. He holds it open, staring in incomprehension at it’s jumbled contents.

The bed groans again. A signal. A warning.

John closes his eyes.

He can feel Sherlock behind him. His presence, his body heat, tingling along John’s spine, making the hair on his head stand on end.

One more step forward and the warm graze of Sherlock’s breath brushes the back of John's neck.

“Every day when you were dead I wished you weren’t,” John says, quietly.

“Every day I would wake up and it would be like the first day. I just kept losing you. Over and over. And it never got easier.”

The bag slips from his fingers and drops to the floor with a muffled whumpf. John grips the edge of the dresser, digging his fingertips into the wood.

“I moved out. I got a different job. I had girlfriends. None of it mattered.”

“John—“

“I found this piece of paper in your bedroom on the day I left Baker Street. It was a list. Must have been from the first month I moved in. Do you remember it?”

A beat passes before Sherlock says, “Yes.”

“Course you do. It was tucked inside a book of Poe’s detective stories.”

"You walked in on me while I was composing it. I had to put it somewhere where you wouldn't see it. I forgot."

John can see it in his mind’s eye. He recites from memory:

Knowledge of:

Literature: Abominable

Astronomy: Inconsequential

Politics: Informed

Botany: Medicinal

Geology: Nil

Chemistry: Medicinal

Anatomy: Brilliant

Law: Limited

Gossip rags/telly/popular culture: Astounding

Human nature: Empathetic (useful)

Blog: Dull (romantic prose, tends toward the hyperbolic and the mundane)

 

Family: Estranged

First rate marksman.

An excellent scrum half in college by all accounts. Keeps self in fit shape. Muscular. High pain tolerance. Inordinately brave.

A rational, practical man. Loyal. Ethical. Moral (to a point).

Addicted to adrenaline and dangerous situations.

Porn preference: heterosexual.

“Well, I admit I wasn’t working with a complete data set on that last one, but in my defense it has been a rather recent development,” Sherlock quips dryly and John huffs a laugh. Humor as deflection, that is Sherlock to a T.

John rubs the pad of his thumb over his left eyebrow. Against the grain. Smooths it back. Says, “You never said anything. I never knew how you felt. I took that list and it helped me accept the fact that I loved you. That I am in love you. And it made me think that I wasn’t alone in that and then you came—”

“You weren’t.”

The words punch the air from John’s lungs.

“You aren’t,” Sherlock adds quietly, so quietly, and something brittle inside John snaps.

“Don’t do that. Not unless you mean it. And I know you don’t. Please.” He knows that Sherlock can be cruel, but this seems beyond the pale, even for him.

“Stay,” Sherlock says softly, shuffling even closer. John can feel Sherlock’s breath brush the edge of his ear. He shivers, shivering-trembling-shivering, all the way down to his toes.

“I can’t.” John’s voice is hoarse. His throat scraped raw. “I want…”

I want to kiss you, you mad genius. I want to kiss the frown the smile the smirk the scowl the laugh from your lips. I want to take you to bed and learn every inch of you. I want to know the sounds you make when you lose all control. I want to be the one who made you lose it in the first place. I want to lie with you on the sofa and listen to your heart beat. I want your mornings. I want your evenings. I want to be your right hand, your partner, your man. I want moonlit chases and takeaway at midnight. I want your strops and your sulks and all your black moods. I want nicotine patches and body parts in the fridge and formaldehyde and the detritus of your myriad experiments littering every surface in the flat. I want gun residue on my hands and you breathing, home, safe and sound. I want your mind, your body, your soul. I want now and I want forever and I want all the in between.

I want.

I want.

I want.

“Stay.”

John shakes his head.

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

“Sherlock.”

“It is impossible that I don’t love you.”

Sherlock doesn’t touch him, but it’s as if he does. The words crackle along John’s skin like an electric current. His nerves lit and sparking and endlessly aware of the man standing behind him. It’s that feeling again, of coming gloriously, painfully alive.

“It is impossible that I don’t want you. Therefore it logically follows that…”

“You don’t have to do this.” John feels desperate. He was so sure of the fact that Sherlock would be outraged and betrayed that he is having a hard time accepting what Sherlock is saying. He hadn’t even considered this option. Hadn’t allowed himself to imagine it. He is still clinging to the edge of the dresser as if it were a life raft.

“John, have you ever known me to do something I didn’t want to do?”

John pinches his eyes shut.

“Stay.”

John shakes his head. “I can’t. I can’t go back from this.”

“Then let’s go forward .”

John turns around, forcing Sherlock to take a step back. John stares up into the sun-bleached sky of Sherlock's eyes and sees only earnest sincerity. It is unfathomable that John was wrong about this.

“Sherlock—”

“John, be quiet.”

John presses his lips together and glares at the floor.

Sherlock takes a step forward until his stockinged feet enter John’s field of vision, budging up against the toes of John’s shoes.

“I am going to kiss you now.”

It is John’s turn to blink.

“I am going to kiss you now because if I don’t we will spend another decade dancing around each other and I don’t particularly fancy that. Do you?”

John shakes his head.

“Good.”

Hands sliding up John’s forearms, to cup his shoulders. Tentative. Shy.

John’s heart drums harder and harder. Faster and faster.

“John.”

What if this is it? What if this is the moment? Does John want to throw it away? They can still turn back. Right now. They could. John could say no. Nothing would have to change. He could go to Harry’s. Get himself sorted. He could come back. And they could go on as they always have.

“John,” Sherlock whispers. “Look at me? Please?”

What are you ashamed of? Ella had asked him...

...and he had yelled at her.

How many times had he screamed, “I’m not gay!” over the years?

John knows what he wants.

He wants Sherlock.

And nothing—not time, not distance, not gender, not even death—is going to change that.

This is it.

There is only one direction to go.

Forward.

John sets his feet, squares his shoulders, and tips his head up.

Oh.

 

                      Oh.

 

Chapter Text

A brush of lips.

Dry and warm and rough at the edges.

Another.

The room is dim and quiet around them, lit by the gauzy golden glow of John’s single lamp. The silence broken only by the soft sounds of their mouths parting and the sough of the wind through the trees outside John’s window, like water rushing over stones.

They touch.

Carefully.

Slowly.

The moment feels delicate. As if one wrong move could shatter it.

An exhalation, relief cascading through them, and they sway, joined only by the gentle caress of their mouths and the pressure of Sherlock’s hands resting lightly on John’s shoulders. A glancing skim. Back and forth. Back and forth.

And then.

A subtle shift, a leaning in. Breaths shaking, pulses racing.

Sherlock’s hands: moving up the slope of John’s neck. Fingers sliding into John’s hair, cradling John’s head in the cup of his large warm hands.

John’s hands: curling against Sherlock’s ribs, kneading into the seam of his shirt, rising and falling with the tide of Sherlock’s breath.

John is the first to part his lips. The first to lick at the swell of Sherlock’s bottom lip, the first to capture it between his own and

                                                             suck.

Gently.

Gently.

And then,

harder.

Worrying it between his teeth. Biting down.

The change in intensity ripples out through them; a stone breaking water.

Sherlock makes a helpless noise and John, wanting to hear it again, chases him back, one hand flat against the hot plane of Sherlock’s chest, one hand on the hard cut of his hip, turning him, pushing him, until Sherlock is pressed flat against the wall to their left.

Their eyes meet with a crack. It flays John like the lash of a whip. He smarts and burns.

Burns.

Burningwantinglongingkeening.

“All right?” John asks, breathless. His hand splayed on Sherlock’s heaving chest, the fabric cool and satiny under his fingertips, the percussive thump of Sherlock’s heart beating hard against his palm.

Sherlock nods, the pale blue of his irises reduced to a thin sapphire nimbus limning the black orbs of his dilated pupils.

John’s gaze drops to Sherlock’s lips. Just barely swollen, pinked up and velvety.

What I could do to you, John thinks, desire spiking through him, hard and bright.

John places his other hand on Sherlock’s chest, cupping his pectorals, thumbs brushing, just teasing at the sensitive edges of Sherlock’s erect nipples. John rocks up onto his toes.

Reaches up.

And up.

This time Sherlock meets him with his tongue, and John groans, opening his mouth and leaning in until their bodies are flush against each other, John resting in between Sherlock’s legs, his back bowed as Sherlock arches over him. Sherlock’s mouth is hot and wet, his tongue silky and insistent against John’s own. He tastes of figs and milk tea; sweetly sharp. John threads his hands into Sherlock’s hair. Holds on. The soft skin of Sherlock’s cheeks juxtaposed against the sandpaper strafe of the stubble along his jaw is sending tiny thrills scintillating along John’s nerve endings. It’s new. Different. And more than a little exhilarating.

Sherlock’s hands move over him. Manic. Restive. Stroking at John’s body as if he wants to touch all of him at once and can’t decide which bit to focus on first. Petting his back, his thighs and hips, just skating over the top of John’s arse to rest for a moment in the small of his back before sliding up again to frame John’s face.Tiny after-shocks of pleasure ricochet down John’s spine as the kiss turns deep.

John’s skin, touch starved, lights to the merest shift of Sherlock against him. They have been orbiting each other for so long, never close enough to collide. Repelled like magnets turned on their heads. Their poles forever reaching outwards for their mate.

And now…

Kiss as cataclysm.

If John looked over his shoulder he is sure he would see the wreck of some stellar devastation. Their past smoldering in ruins.

There is only now.

There is only them.

There is only forward.

John breaks away. Panting. Skin thrumming. His fingers tangled in a chaos of black curls.

“Fuck.”

Sherlock laughs. Giddy. Kiss drunk. His thumbs smoothing over John’s cheeks.

John’s heart: incandescent.

Sherlock’s drops his head, resting his forehead against John’s.

“Again,” Sherlock murmurs.

Sherlock’s lips are bitten red by the time they stop to catch their breath a short eternity later. John peels himself off of Sherlock, getting his feet under him, just to see if he can. His back protests, making it’s objections to being bent in half like some kind of sapling known in no uncertain terms.

“No,” Sherlock says definitively, shaking his head and catching John’s hands to keep him from moving away.

John grins and tugs until Sherlock allows himself to be pulled upright.

He doesn’t get far.

Kiss.

Kissing.

Hands groping. Grasping. John finally gets his hands on Sherlock’s pert little arse and squeezes and, God, the sound Sherlock makes.

Sherlock’s breath tearing fast against John’s cheek as John works straining buttons through their holes. He wants Sherlock’s skin, every alabaster inch of it. He wants to watch it blush, grow red from want and touch. Sherlock’s stomach jumps beneath his hands as John parts Sherlock’s shirt and pushes it off his shoulders. John’s heart pounding in his fingertips as they trace across Sherlock’s bare skin.

He’s bloody gorgeous.

Especially with kiss-bruised lips and his hair a marauded mess and his eyes lust-black and positively ravening.

John takes a step back. Sherlock follows. Their poles finally aligned, exerting an inexorable pull, keeping them ever in range. John's jacket hits the floor with a thud.

“Wait.” John puts a restraining hand on Sherlock’s chest.

Sherlock pulls his head back to look down at John. Quizzical. The crinkle in full effect.

“Are you sure?”

“Jesus, John,” Sherlock curses. “How else can I show you I am?”

“I just want you to be…” John’s not sure how to finish that sentence. Sherlock is a grown man. “We don’t have to do anything. More. We can just…”

Sherlock rolls his eyes and crowds John backwards until his knees hit the edge of the bed and he sits down hard. Sherlock drops into a crouch and begins untying John’s laces. John starts work on his own shirt feeling if not fully, at least partially, mollified.

“That was an impressive array of…er…gifts…that you bought for me. Have a lot of experience in this area do you?” John teases, feeling awkward and off balance and like he needs to fill the silence.

He is about to go to bed with Sherlock.

He is about to go to bed with Sherlock.

Bloody hell.

Sherlock looks up at him through his lashes. “I’m celibate, John. Not dead.”

He finishes removing John’s shoes and socks and rises, liquid, feline, predatory, over John and John goes. Lying down. Pinned by the hungry look in Sherlock’s eyes.

Sherlock braces himself over John, hands and knees, bracketing John at head and hips.

Leans down.

Tongues sliding slick into dark, wet heat.

When Sherlock lowers himself John can feel him for the first time, a hard ridge rubbing against his own straining cock through two layers of trousers. John gasps into Sherlock’s mouth, “Sherlock.”

“You like my hands,” Sherlock says, apropos of nothing, so close his features blur, his voice pitched low and soft. A rolling, rumbling purr.

John nods, confused, his attention divided. He rolls his hips, seeking friction.

“You’re always watching them.” Panting. Shoving himself down to meet John’s thrusts. Rubbing. Grinding. They both groan.

“They’re lovely,” John says, his voice broken, hoarse.

Sherlock lifts himself up and away a moment later and John feels bereft. The cold air rushing in to prickle over his hot skin.

Sherlock shifts his weight onto his left forearm and reaches with his right.

Down.

Knuckles lightly grazing John’s belly. John’s whole body jerks at the touch.

“And your prostate.” Sherlock pauses and John, tilting his head up a fraction of an inch, rubs the tips of their noses together, waiting for Sherlock to get to the point. “It’s sensitive.”

Thud, thud, thud.

John’s heart, a fist knocking against the cage of his ribs.

Sherlock’s fingers on the button of John’s jeans.

John licks his lips. “Very.”

Pop.

“But you can’t quite reach it yourself.”

The grating bzzrrtt of the zipper drawn down.

“No,” John says, his breaths coming in shallow puffs.

“You need something a bit longer.”

John is making noises. It should be embarrassing, but he can’t quite bring himself to care as Sherlock rubs the heel of his palm against John’s cock. Dragging it up and down, rough and hard. Just a thin cotton barrier separating him from Sherlock’s hand. John’s so worked up he’s worried he could come just from this. John grips Sherlock’s wrist to stop him.

“Fuck, Sherlock, stop. I—“

“Yoo-hoo! Boys!”

They both freeze. Both caricatures of shock. Their eyes wide, their mouths open.

Sherlock is the first to move, scrambling off the bed and pulling John’s bedroom door open.

“Go away Mrs. Hudson!” Sherlock roars.

“What are you two doing up there?” And that’s Lestrade’s voice because of course it is. Life is patently unfair and horrible. John hadn't even managed to get Sherlock out of his shoes yet. He sits up and fishes their shirts up from the floor. He tosses the white one to Sherlock and begins to put on his own.

“John’s room has been infested with mice,” Sherlock calls down, his eyes on John, his fingers making quick, nimble work of his buttons.  “I’m helping him set the traps.”

“Well, hurry up would you? I’ve got a murdered teenager at the Dorchester and we’re all a bit baffled.”

“Shocking,” Sherlock says under his breath, but his eyebrows twitch with interest and his eyes go fuzzy with something that is akin to the lust that had been there a moment before and John sighs. Puts on his socks and shoes. Tucks in his shirt.

He shrugs on his jacket as he comes around the bed and joins Sherlock in the doorway.

“It’s a murder,” Sherlock says, by way of an apology.

“I know,” John says, canting his head up. “I’m not an idiot. I know better than to stand between you and a case.”

Sherlock bends down.

Christ, John thinks a moment later, reeling, his mouth should be illegal.

“Can we finish this later?”

“Oi, are you two coming or not?”

“Bugger off Lestrade!” Sherlock snaps.

“We’ll be down in a minute,” John calls and he can hear Lestrade muttering something rude and his footsteps stomping off the riser at the bottom of John’s stairs.

Sherlock gives John one last lingering kiss before he pulls away. “Later?” he asks again, just a hint of uncertainty in his voice that makes John's heart catch. John smiles and nods.

“Later.”

And with that they clatter down the stairs and follow Lestrade out into the fog torched night to catch a murderer, the promise of later an ember pulsing in the back of their minds, a fire banked, but still glowing.

Chapter Text

John's back hits the door with a bang.

The sharp report cracks through the quiet hallway like a gunshot.

"Fuck, Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson—"

Sherlock shoves his knee between John's legs and presses up and John loses all powers of cognition.

Cool fingers sliding along John's jaw, dipping down to cup John's nape. A scratch of fingernails—electric— through the short hairs and then...

"Do you know what it does to me when you tackle a gunman who is bent on my imminent demise?" Sherlock says, gravelly and low, into John's ear, stones scraping against each other, scraping up John's spine, rough.

"No, but I'm learning. Ah!" John gasps as Sherlock nips at his earlobe before pulling back. John's hands on Sherlock's hips, squeezing tight. "And besides, he was just a kid. I don't think he actually would have shot you."

Sherlock, his eyes two dark pools laced with moonlight, lowers his head.

John's mouth opens underneath him. Their tongues slipping against each other and John can't hold back the breathy moan that escapes him.

Longing purls through him, sweet and warm. The feeling melts down the backs of his thighs to loosen his knees. When Sherlock moves back to pull in a breath John follows, licking at Sherlock's top lip, and then, between.

"Christ, the way you use your tongue. John."

John, encouraged, spins them, pinning Sherlock to the door. Hands braced on Sherlock's shoulders, John holds him still.

"Are you going to tell me how you figured it out?" John asks, rubbing the pad of his thumb over Sherlock's bottom lip. It catches. Sherlock's tongue darts out, slicking the way, and when his lips part, John slides it inside.

Tight, wet suction that makes John's cock ache and both of them are breathing hard when Sherlock releases him a long moment later.

"It was the beeswing," Sherlock says, as if John should know what that is.

"In English, if you don't mind, Sherlock. How exactly do bees come into it?"

"Potassium bitartrate."

John looks at him blankly.

"Cream of tartar."

"In the wine? Don't you use that in—"

"Yes. In the wine. Tiny crystals, you know what, sod it. It's unimportant. Kiss me again, please."

 

**********

 

The suite at The Dorchester is in shambles when they arrive.

The sitting room, luxe and modern and done up in tones of cream and virdian, looks as if a band of squatters has taken up residence inside it. Open suitcases spilling clothes sit propped across the arm chairs. Trash and Fosters beer cans litter the floor. A smear of coke lines on the marble countertop in the bathroom, reflecting in the mirrors above the sink; more beer cans rattle about in the shower.

“S’pose when you’re famous you don’t need to worry about the bill at check out,” Lestrade says as he and John follow Sherlock out of the bathroom and into the bedroom.

“Famous?” Sherlock asks, no inflection in his voice as they take in the scene of carnage before them.

A man lies draped over the bed’s edge, dressed completely in black, his head bashed in. The 1,000 count Egyptian cotton sheets, once a pristine white, are stained a livid crimson. The Art Deco wall paper behind him is sprayed with blood and bone and brain. A crystal ashtray lies on the carpet, winking rubies on one side.

“What, you didn’t notice the paps outside?” Lestrade says.

Sherlock just looks at him.

“You can’t tell me you don’t recognize him.”

One arched brow of cool disdain.

Lestrade looks to John for help.

“It’s Billy Brack,” John says, as Sherlock shakes his head, still uncomprehending. His eyes rake the room, flicking rapidly, left and right, before coming to land expectantly on John. “He was a rock star,” John explains, crossing his arms over his chest and nodding towards the poor bloke on the bed. “In that band, Abbey Grange. He was only nineteen.”

“Bloody tragedy,” Lestrade says, shaking his head. “Boy had a voice like Lennon.”

Sherlock gives him A Look and Lestrade, cheeks growing red, holds up his hands. “What? I’ve got a fifteen year old daughter at home.” He gestures at John. “What’s his excuse?”

Sherlock glances sidelong at John and says, silkily, “John’s astounding knowledge of what passes for entertainment amongst the hoi polloi is extremely helpful to me.”

Lestrade snorts at this and John shrugs, but he can’t help smiling at the private reference.

Was this it then? Was this the new normal? Them flirting corpse-side? Case as foreplay?

Hell, who is he kidding? It's always been foreplay, except now there's going to be an after.

John can’t look at Sherlock’s mouth without thinking of how it had felt moving against his own.

Soft.

Wet.

John’s mouth still feels a bit raw, scraped up from the abrasion of Sherlock’s stubble. John wonders how it would feel, rubbing over his belly or, Christ, up the inside of his thighs. Images flash through his mind. Sherlock hovering over him on all fours. The drag of Sherlock’s palm over his clothed cock. John sucks in a sharp breath at the memory and beside him, Sherlock looks down.

Heat splinters down John’s spine, driving down to lodge in his cock, which throbs with intent. The outline of his growing arousal is clear through the fabric of his jeans.

John turns slightly aside and discreetly adjusts himself.

Rein it in, Watson.

Can’t go getting erections at crime scenes. That’s not on.

“So you said something about a robbery?” John asks Lestrade, turning his back on Sherlock's smirk.

“Yeah. They took a few pieces of jewelry. Witness says that there were three of them.”

“You're thinking it’s that gang from…" John snaps his fingers. "Where was it?”

“Lewisham,” Lestrade says, nodding his head. “It’s looking that way. They’ve hit two other hotels in the past month. Her descriptions match.”

“Well, they would wouldn’t they?” Sherlock says, moving into the room, sidestepping smoothly around the blood stains on the pale blue carpet. The thick pile sinks beneath his shoes as he squats down and takes out his magnifier to look more closely at the ashtray. John thinks it looks like the one Sherlock nicked from Buckingham Palace ages ago.

“What do you mean?” Lestrade asks.

“Their pictures are all over the papers. If you wanted to frame someone for murder they’d be a convenient mark wouldn’t they?”

“You think she’s lying?”

Sherlock hums, straightening and bending over the bed to study the body.

Lestrade laughs and shakes his head. “There is no way that girl could have done that. She’s a wee wisp of a thing.”

“Doesn’t mean she didn’t have help.”

Lestrade considers this.

“She certainly couldn’t have tied herself up,” Sherlock says, moving quickly over to the other side of the room where an armchair sits beside a sideboard, a circle of cut ropes lying around it.

“Where is she by the way?” Sherlock asks.

“The wife? She’s in her mother’s room. Next door.”

Pulling on a pair of latex gloves with a snap, Sherlock picks up one of the ropes from the ground. Strokes it. Sniffs it. For one wild moment John thinks he is going to lick it, but instead Sherlock tilts his head back to look up at the heavy drapes that lie over the window to his right. The ropes, John sees now, are made of the same robin’s egg blue velvet. The knots which the assailant had secured the woman to the chair still intact. Someone had cut her free with scissors.

“Take me to her,” Sherlock says a moment later and then stops in his tracks, his eyes zeroed in on three wine glasses sitting on the sideboard, one still containing claret colored dregs. A bottle, two-thirds full, sits beside them. This time Sherlock does taste. He picks up the glass, which has already been dusted for fingerprints, and dips his pinky finger into the depths and brings it to his mouth. Sherlock’s eyes flare, a flash of starfire there and gone, as he smirks and sets the cup back down.

Pulling off his gloves, he turns to Lestrade and says, smug as God, “Lead the way, inspector.”

He’s solved it, John thinks, with that familiar burn of pride and awe hot in his chest. John ducks his head and smiles into his chest as Lestrade leads them to the connecting door set into the bedroom wall.

 

**********

 

They kiss.

And kiss.

And kiss.

John forgets that they are in the foyer. He forgets that Mrs. Hudson could walk in on them at any moment.

Some time later, for want of air, they surface. “You smell like rubbish.” John wrinkles his nose and tries not to think about whatever it was that just slimed it’s way across the tips of his fingers when he brushed his hand over Sherlock’s hair. Revulsion shudders down his body.

“Well I did spend a rather unpleasant amount of time stuck in a skip this evening.”

“Yes, did you hurt yourself by the way? It was quite the jump. What were you, eight stories up?”

“Five.”

John is able, with the reassuring pressure of Sherlock, alive and against him, to shove aside the queasy nausea he feels when he sees once more in his mind’s eye, that billowing coat and the pinwheeling arms, reminding him of a very different leap all together.

John swallows it back down.

Asks, “And how did you know he was a sailor?”

John can almost feel Sherlock roll his eyes. “The knots. Obviously.”

 

**********

 

They find Brack’s wife in the next room. Another sitting room, equally resplendent. Mary Fraser is a pretty Australian girl of just eighteen, blonde, blue-eyed, with a painful looking bump darkening on the crest of her forehead. She’s wrapped in one of the hotel’s fluffy white bathrobes. A lab technician is folding a blue and silver silk nightgown, the hem of one side steeped in blood, into a plastic evidence bag as they enter.

John knows the Cinderella story, but they all listen politely as Mary recounts how she and Brack met. He pulled her up on stage at one of his concerts and let her sing along with them. They got married the next day. Love at first sight, etc. One year on and the tabloids are full of stories of Brack’s descent into cocaine addiction and there’s been endless speculation on domestic abuse. A photo of Fraser currently circulating where the hint of a bruise on her temple can be seen beneath her sunglasses as she’s getting into a car.

Mary babbles about how Brack was a good man who sometimes had too much to drink. And could sometimes get rough with her. Her mother, Theresa, who travels with the pair while Brack is on tour, stands stoic and silent behind her daughter. One red knuckled hand on Mary’s shoulder. Her face care-worn and wrinkled at the edges.

Sherlock listens.

Paces the room.

Hands clasped behind his back.

John can see him growing impatient with the girl’s ramblings.

There is a muscle that flickers in his cheek. A tightness in his jaw from where he clenches his teeth. His fingers, restless, tap, tap, tap against each other. John knows the signs.

The Sherlock pre-The Fall wouldn’t have been able to help himself. He would have been barely able to conceal his contempt. He would have cut Mary to the quick by now. Ruthless. Brutal. But something had shifted when Sherlock returned. He’s a bit…softer now. John finds it hard to explain. He can’t quite put his finger on it, but his friend changed while he was away. He’s a little more tolerant, a little more patient now. And it’s not all just for show, as it had been before, the crocodile tears just another tool wielded to get the information he wanted. It made John’s heart hurt to think of what had happened to Sherlock to make him get in touch with his more human side, but now, thinking of what they had been doing not an hour past, John is thankful for it as well.

“Yes, but what about what happened here, Mary?” Sherlock interrupts, but gently. Crouching down beside her chair so that he can look her in the eye.

“It was those robbers,” Mary says, her eyes glossed over with tears. “Those ones in the dailies. The Lewisham gang that keeps breaking into hotel rooms! I saw them! They tied me up and they did…they did…” She points a shaking finger at the adjoining door to the bedroom next door. “They did that to Billy. They took all of my jewelry and cheers’d over Billy’s body before they left out the window.”

“No.” Sherlock shakes his head.

“No?” Mary looks up at Lestrade. Shocked. Outraged. And maybe, John thinks, just a little afraid.

“No, Mary. It was not the Lewisham Three who was here tonight,” Sherlock goes on. His voice calm and steady. Soothing. “It wasn’t them who killed Billy and it wasn’t them who drank that wine and it wasn’t them who tied you up.”

Mary sputters, “It…it was!”

“It will be better for you and for him, if you tell us where he is.”

“Him?” Mary’s face is turning a mottled purplish-red to match the bump on her head. “I don’t have any clue who you’re talking about!” The girl looks up at her mother for support, but Theresa’s eyes are closed and she’s blanched white. “Mum?”

“Your sailor, Mary. Where is he?” Sherlock presses.

Mary gapes at him a moment before her eyes rolls up into her head and she slumps backwards into the seat, senseless.

Sherlock stands and says rapidly to Mary’s mother. “Where is he Theresa? It was self defense, that much is clear. The boy didn’t come here to hurt anyone. Tell me where he is and we’ll see that he’s treated fairly.”

Theresa, her eyes still shut tight, whispers, “The roof. He’s on the roof.”

The room erupts into a flurry of activity at the news. Lestrade calls for back up on his walkie talkie.

Sherlock stops John at the hotel room door.

“You go down to the alley behind the hotel. If the boy runs he’ll go down the fire escape. Wait for me there.”

“You’re brilliant, you know that, don’t you?” John says, gazing up at him in what, he is sure, looks like pure and unadulterated adoration to everyone else milling about them.

Because it is.

John wants to snog him long and hard. Press him up against the wall. Get him pink and gasping for it.

Sherlock’s lips twitch and his eyes glow and he drops his head an inch so that only John can hear him.

“Tell me that again later will you?” He growls and then a second later, in that preternatural way he has of reading John’s mind, he answers a question John had asked, but hadn’t voiced, and adds, “And it isn’t because of anything that happened to me while I was away. I learned how to be a better man from you. It’s all your doing so chin up a bit will you? There’s a murderer waiting for me upstairs. And then I’m going to shag you just absolutely silly. It’s a beautiful night, John!” And in a swirl of coat he’s off, jogging towards the bank of elevators and John’s left standing in the hallway with a half-hard cock and a half-mad grin before he shakes himself, gathers himself, and heads off towards the staircase at the other end of the hallway. They’re only on the fourth floor. It’ll be quicker.

 

**********

 

“Sherlock.”

Sherlock doesn’t answer. His mouth is preoccupied, sucking-licking-kissing down the side of John’s neck. John has practically climbed inside Sherlock’s coat he realizes, his mind muddled with lust and exhaustion. His arms are wrapped tight around Sherlock’s waist, and the sides of the Belstaff have tucked themselves over John’s shoulders, the edges floating free around him.

“Sherlock,” he says again, firmer this time.

“What is it now?” Sherlock grouses. “If you want to know John, yes the boy was Mary’s ex. He’s a fisherman from Wales and he works on his father’s boat and he met Mary on a vacation in Australia. They broke up when he left to come back home. When he saw the photos of Mary in the press, with the conjectures of physical abuse, he tracked her down to try and help her. She told him not to bother, that Brack was the jealous type and owned a gun and could be unpredictable. The lad didn’t give up and came to the hotel tonight to try and get her to see reason and leave Brack. Brack, who was supposed to be out partying with friends, came home early and found them together, drinking wine and possibly in a position which was suggestive of intimacy. Brack threatened him with his gun and the boy cracked him over head with the thing nearest to hand, which unfortunately for Brack, turned out to be an extremely heavy crystal ash tray. Together with the mother’s help they came up with the story to frame the Lewisham Three who had been in the papers, so they hid a few pieces of jewelry and they poured off the two glasses of wine into a third glass to make it seem like there had been three people there. That is where the beeswing—“

“Sherlock, if you’ll shut up for a minute, you pompous cock, I was going to suggest that we move this upstairs, considering that it’s…” John looks at his watch. “1:03am.”

“Oh.”

John pushes himself back and pulls his shirt back down from where Sherlock had rucked it up by his ribs. Sherlock fixes his cuffs and smooths his hair, as if he isn’t covered head to toe in rotting garbage.

Truth be told, he still looks good enough to eat.

“I’m going to need a shower before bed, but you’ll probably need three to get that stench off you.”

Sherlock looks down his body with a grimace of distaste. “Two at least,” he agrees.

When they reach the top of the stairs and have hung up their coats John turns and tilts his head back, intending to give Sherlock a good night kiss. “I’ve got work at 9. Maybe I—"

“Stupid.”

“You know usually that’s what passes for a term of endearment between us, but—“

“Idiot.”

John sighs, his hands curling against his sides.

“Five years,” Sherlock says. “Five years, John. Do you really want to wait another night?”

John’s throat grows tight. A stone lodged in his windpipe. He tries to swallow around it.

“No.”

“Good. Then once I get this refuse washed off of me will you please, for the love of God, come to bed with me?”

 

**********

 

There’s barely any hot water left by the time Sherlock is done, but John doesn’t mind overmuch. He just wants a quick rinse and a shave.

When he’s done he pauses for a moment at the sink, looking at the fogged glass panes of Sherlock’s ensuite door. The air swirls around him, thick with steam. It clings to John’s skin, sticky and warm.

The light is off in Sherlock’s bedroom.

So.

John opens the bathroom door and steps out into the hallway, the chill of the bare floorboards a shock spiking up his shins through the soles of his feet.

“John.”

John glances at Sherlock’s bedroom door and sees that it’s open a sliver. John puts his palm to the wood and pushes.

It swings inward on silent hinges.

John steps inside.

A shard of light from the hallway cuts across Sherlock’s body, lying on his bed. He’s wearing his dressing gown. The blue silk.

The digital clock glows red on the bedside table. 1:58am.

“Come here.”

John sits down on the edge of the bed.

Fiddles a bit with the tie on his robe.

He feels expectant.

Like a match waiting to be struck.

When Sherlock’s hand settles on John’s knee, that's all it takes.

He lights.

And bends.

Joins his flame to Sherlock’s.

Their mouths, so softly touching. John makes an involuntary sound. A sound of dissolution, of surrender. He presses closer. Letting Sherlock in. And in.

They blaze.

Singed.

Scalded.

Consumed.

Before John knows it he is straddling Sherlock’s hips, his hands sunk into a mass of roiling wet curls that snake around his fingers, sleek and cool.

“Wait.”

Think.

Think.

“Wait.”

“What is it now?”

Irascible bastard.

“You said…” John had prepared a speech in the shower and now he can’t remember a single word of it. Sherlock reaches for him, hands curling around John’s shoulders. He tugs.

John holds himself rigid. Sits up. Putting distance between himself and the irresistible lure of Sherlock’s mouth.

“You said earlier that you were celibate, not dead.”

“You know, your powers of recollection really are dazzling. Truly. Now please if you will be so kind, shut up and come back down here.”

John chuckles and catches Sherlock’s roaming hands which threaten to slip beneath the collar of John’s rapidly loosening robe. John pins them above his head. Which, unfortunately puts him back in range of those damnable lips.

“Let me get this out will you?”

Sherlock huffs, but desists, going still and pliant beneath John’s hands.

“You haven’t been…dating since I’ve known you. For all I know you haven’t been shagging either. Is that a correct assumption?”

“Yes.”

“All right. So. It’s by choice then. And. Not by…a lack of, er…interest in that area in general?”

“Ninety-nine out of one hundred people bore me to death, John. Relationships are, therefore, out of the question. To use the colloquial, ‘hookups’, take time and energy and carry what I consider to be an unacceptable amount of risk. As a result, I take care of myself. In an imaginative number of ways and with the aid of a diverse set of toys. I enjoy sex. What I don’t enjoy is the human drama that so often attends it.”

John licks his lips. “Ninety-nine out of a hundred, huh?”

“Yes, you can take that as a compliment. Now, did that sufficiently answer your questions?”

“I think so. If I let you go will you promise to behave for a minute?”

“Joohhhnnnn…” Sherlock moans, shifting restlessly beneath him.

“Sherlock…”

“Yes, all right. I promise.” Sullen.

John releases him and sits back.

“I want you to touch me. Anywhere.” John pauses. Breathes. “Everywhere. Wherever and however you’d like.”

Sherlock nods, the petulance giving way instantly to eagerness.

“What do you want?”

“That,” Sherlock says, pushing himself up, so that John is now sitting in his lap. Sherlock’s arms winding around him, his hands cupping John’s shoulder blades. “All of that. I want that. That’s. Good.”

John runs the tip of his nose over Sherlock’s cheekbone to nose gently at his temple. Rubs his fingers over the fretted silk tie of Sherlock’s dressing gown. Whispers, “What’s it to be tonight then? You get to decide.”

“My mouth,” Sherlock says, right away, without any deliberation. “And my hands.”

Fucking hell.

The appendages in question are currently resting on top of John’s thighs, his thumbs brushing the crinkly hair on the inside of John’s legs, where his robe is parted. The sensation fizzes, crackling under John’s skin like static.

The higher they slide the more the robe gapes, the tie, knot unknit, slithers down his sides.

John presses his forehead against Sherlock’s. Bone to bone. Breathing, panting, into his open mouth.

His blood an ocean in his ears. A tidal roar.

And John, drowning, drowning, in it's thunder.

Sherlock’s reached the seam now, fingers tracing, tracing lightly where John’s legs meet his hips. His thumbs drawing small dizzying circles into John’s flesh. It brands him. John flashes hot and cold. The top of his head tingling. He breaks out all over in goosebumps.

The robe is falling off his shoulders.

Soon, the barrier will be gone.

“Can I?” Sherlock asks, lifting his hands to John’s lapels.

John’s breath stutters. Falters. Trips. Tripping. Catches. Breaks.

“Yes. God, yes.

Please.”

 

Chapter Text

The robe puddles at his waist and he is laid


                                                                                            bare.

 

All his raveled ends unspooling. He is fraying at his edges; unmade.

Heart beat beat beating and blood rush rushing and, lightheaded, John breathes. Breathes.

In.

And.

Out.

Lips on his collarbone: a soft tickling. John’s hands in Sherlock’s sticky-damp hair, the pads of his fingers dug into Sherlock’s skull; seeking anchorage. Sherlock’s hands moving up his waist, so light, that when Sherlock thumbs over the aching peak of John’s right nipple, electrocuted, John moans, low and deep.

He trembles.

“Shit.”

Sherlock smiles against John’s throat and murmurs, “It’s good?”, into John’s too-thin, too-hot, throbbing skin and John can’t help but laugh at the sheer inadequacy of that word to convey what he is feeling.

“It’s.” He swallows back giggles. Nodding like an utter moron into Sherlock’s fragrant wet curls. “Good.”

The intimacy of this moment, of being allowed to touch Sherlock and to learn how to please him—and God how John wants to please him—of being allowed to gather these tiny kernels of ultimate privacy: of what Sherlock smells like—in the tender space underneath his left ear, in the notch of his collarbone, in the fluttering hollow of his throat. He smells so good, soap and skin and just the stirring hint of musk rising—of what sounds he makes when John trails his hands over his chest, working his fingertips through the fizzy hair, up and over the curve of his shoulders and down the seam of his spine—it makes John’s chest grow taut.

As John is touching him, learning him, Sherlock’s hands stroke down the edges of John’s poorly defined body, re-shaping him, and John knows where he’s heading, knows where this goes next, and he can feel his lungs seize.

Sherlock.”

John leans back, just a little, just far enough to roll his forehead against Sherlock’s. The position forces their eyes down. Down into the shadowed cup of their bodies. Down to where John is hard and straining and caught in the strip of white light jutting in from the hallway.

Sherlock’s hand slides between them and inside John freezes.

For an instant he is transported back to the night he had buggered himself on the dildo.

The man in the mirror who had wanted it, had been gagging for it, had loved every second of that giant dick in his mouth, of it stretching him wide and fucking him until John came so hard he saw stars.

And John remembers the shame and humiliation that had come with it. The way he had wanted to separate himself from that John in the mirror.

For an instant he can’t breathe.

Sherlock’s full length mirror stands behind them.

If John looked over his shoulder right now he would see himself: naked and sitting in the lap of a man with that man’s hands all over him.

And John would see himself enjoying it. Going out of his damn mind for it.

Fuckfuckfuckfuck.

His lungs burn. His forehead throbs.

He can’t breathe.

John, what are you ashamed of?

John hates himself for it. Hates this part of him that has been so thoroughly conditioned to fear this that it is holding John back. He wants to raze it, burn it all to the ground.

Just then Sherlock looks up.

Cool blue eyes on John’s fevered skin.

Oh, how John loves this man.

Air floods John’s mouth, a draught spilling down his throat, filling his chest.

He looks and looks.

There is a vivacity to him that John has only witnessed in works of great art. He was made to be sculpted, drawn, seen, admired. His chiseled features and his skin that drinks moonlight, his ethereal eyes and his body’s graceful lines. He has always seemed otherworldly, untouchable. Complete unto himself.

This is the myth of Sherlock Holmes.

But there is another side to him that John is privy to, the man peeking behind his mask. This is the man John fell in love with. The mischief and the boundless enthusiasm, the passion and the ego, the ennui and the addict, the intellect and the delighted wonder, the curiosity and the selflessness. Sherlock holds back from the public these parts that are vulnerable to ridicule. The parts that people denigrate him for.

Freak.

He doesn’t hold back those parts from John. Sherlock gives all of himself. Has done, from the very first day.

He is doing it again.

He is giving himself to John freely. Enthusiastically. Passionately. Completely.

The enormity of the realization, of what John is gaining and of what John now has to lose, hits him square in the chest and knocks the wind out of him.

Sherlock pulls back his hand with a jerk, obviously struck by something in John’s gaze. “Do you want to st—“

“No.” John shakes his head.

“You look—“

“No,” John says, more firmly this time, taking Sherlock’s head between his hands. “I love you is all. I’m just really bloody gone on you and it scares the shite out of me sometimes. I don’t want to mess this up. I can’t lose you again.”

“Oh.” Sherlock relaxes, his hands coming to rest on John’s waist.

They kiss.

Soft, soft, soft.

“Is that all?”

John laughs. It may or may not be edged in hysteria. “Yes, that’s all.”

“Well, if it’s not completely obvious by now, I’m suffering from the same affliction.”

John pulls back a little to look at him. “Really? You still haven’t exactly said…”

“John, you’re it. You’ve always been it and if you had been paying attention that would have been blatantly clear.”

“How come you never said anything?”

“You repeatedly made it clear that you were not attracted to men. Those were the facts and I never act without having all the data before me. I thought I had all the data. When I came back and you, thankfully, forgave me, I was content to just be with you. That was more than I ever expected to be granted. Why do you think I asked you to retire with me? Because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you?”

John shrugs. His insides all akimbo. His smile lopsided. All of him thrown off kilter after that confession. “My mediocre skills as your chronicler? My crack shot? My occasional moral turpitude?”

Sherlock kisses him to shut him up.

By the end of it they’re both breathing hard.

This time, when Sherlock reaches between them, John arches into the touch, surging up through the loose fist of Sherlock’s left hand, as he pumps John once, twice, three times.

Four.

His plump shiny head appearing each time Sherlock pulls John’s foreskin down and sweeps his thumb over the crown.

“That’s it, get nice and wet for me. I want you absolutely dripping when I get you in my mouth. God, you have a gorgeous cock, John.”

His voice. Those words.

“Fuck.” John gasps for air. “How did I not know you were like this?”

“Like what?”

“Fucking filthy.”

Sherlock laughs softly.

“You really should have guessed.”

“Clearly I should have. Sherlock Holmes, who is good at everything else he does, would, of course, be smashing at shagging too.”

“Yes, well, I’m not the one who’s had to live downstairs from John “fuck-the-headboard-through-the-wall” Watson for all these years.”

John winces. Shame flaring hot across his cheeks. “Ah. Sorry ‘bout that.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Sherlock puts his mouth right next to John’s ear. Breathes, “So long as I’m the one you’re fucking through the headboard from now on.”

Jesus.

“Done.”

John leans in and fits his mouth to Sherlock’s. Tears the groan from his throat. Sucks his tongue. His lips. John’s hands fumble at the listing opening of Sherlock’s dressing gown and rips it apart. Shoves it down and off, wanting skin, wanting warmth, wanting every hard-soft inch of Sherlock to be touching every hard-soft inch of him.

The first time their cocks touch, they both lose the plot and, holding their breaths, move in tandem: a slow roll of their hips.

“Oh, bugger, bugger—“ John’s hands spasm around Sherlock’s shoulders.

Sherlock has a beautiful cock. Long and thick and dusky red. When John wraps his hand around it, it glides through his hand, hot and hard and silky.

The sound that Sherlock makes is extremely gratifying.

John strokes him again, the back of his thumb rubbing against the underside of his own prick, sending tiny shivers racing up and down his body.

“You like that?” John says against Sherlock’s smooth, cleanly shaven cheek. Sherlock, mute and breathing raggedly, nods. John, feeling the chafe of skin on skin as he works Sherlock a little faster, asks, “Where’s the lube?”

Sherlock flops backwards, almost dislodging John from his lap, and flails a hand out towards his bedside table. He switches on the light and they both flinch at the sudden brightness. A minute later he produces a bottle identical to the one that he had ordered for John.

Concentrating, Sherlock pops it open and wets the fingers of his right hand. John holds out his left and Sherlock squirts an obscene amount into John’s palm.

“Sorry,” Sherlock says, closing the lid with a snap and laying it beside him on the bed. John fits his hand around both their cocks.

The slick makes a world of difference and they both jerk and moan at the new sensation.

“Keep.” Sherlock presses his lips together as his eyes roll up into his head, his lashes fluttering shut. “Keep doing that.”

John is only too happy to oblige him.

After a few minutes of fantastic rutting, Sherlock opens his eyes and reaches between them.

Knuckles at John’s balls, rubbing at the scratchy hair, before moving behind to knead at John’s perineum.

“What did you think about when you were buggering yourself with that drumstick?”

Oh,

God.

A twist of his wrist and the flat of Sherlock’s fingertip is gliding over John’s hole. The light touch sizzles along John’s thighs.

“Nothing.” John laughs. Unsteady. “I…at first it…it just… Sherlock.”

How is he supposed to string two words together when Sherlock is about to put his fingers inside him?

“Yes?”

Smug git.

John, needing clarity, and maybe, if he’s being honest, needing to get a little of his own back as well, lets go of them and places his hands either side of Sherlock’s head.

Sherlock whines at the loss, which only makes John grin.

“You want to know what I thought about?” he asks, leaning down to kiss Sherlock, soft and slow. “At first I just felt it. I had never experienced anything like it before. I had never come that hard. Never. Not by myself and not with a woman. It took over my brain. I was a fucking prostate monk. I practiced every day. I couldn’t think about anything else, besides when I would be able to put something up my arse again.”

“You must be extremely sensitive,” Sherlock growls, his interest piqued, his eyes sharp and glinting.

Two fingers now, circling.

Circling.

John: a spring coiling. Winding him up; tighter and tighter.

“Yeah.” John’s breathing quickens. “Yeah I am.”

“No one’s ever touched you here?”

John shakes his head. “No.”

Circling.

An ache begins to build in John’s thighs as he holds himself above Sherlock on all fours.

“I’m the first?”

“Yes.”

A drop of fluid rolls off the tip of John’s cock and onto Sherlock’s belly. They both watch, rapt, as another joins it. And another.

“Budge up here, would you?”

Unsure, John sits up.

“Why?”

“Just…” Sherlock cups John’s arse and pulls.

John goes. His body ungainly and clumsy, heavy with blood. Settling his knees into the crook of Sherlock’s armpits, John sits back, keeping his weight off of Sherlock’s chest. His arms draped over John’s legs, Sherlock runs his hands up the backs of John’s thighs, gentling him.

John cannot be soothed. His heart pounds; he breathes in short truncated bursts; his skin feels two sizes too small. His erection bobs between them, hovering just below Sherlock’s chin. It’s absurd how hard he is. Sherlock has barely even touched him.

“Tell me what happened next,” Sherlock says. His eyes dark, his voice husky.

John tries to gather his scattered wits. “I…that day I met you at Molly’s lab.” Sherlock’s hands drift over John’s arse, raising goosebumps in their wake.

“Yes?”

“I…” John falls momentarily silent as Sherlock cups each cheek and pulls them apart. The words leave John in a rush, “Your hands. Your hands on that bloody microscope and then I couldn’t stop thinking about you putting them inside me. How you would be able to reach where I couldn’t. I—“

Sherlock, leaning forward, licks out.

Draws the tip of his tongue around the fat exposed head of John’s leaking cock.

His fingers tucking in, and in.

John leans just a tiny bit forward, bracing his hands on Sherlock’s headboard, and slides along the flat of Sherlock’s long pink tongue, and, lips closing tight around him, Sherlock sucks him inside. The sight of it: the heart of Sherlock’s lips stretched out around John, his eyes black and hungry, almost does John in.

“Oh, God. Oh, fuck. Sherlock you look so good with my cock in your mouth. Ffff—“ Incoherent, John closes his eyes and rocks just the tiniest bit forward. Sherlock, jaw relaxing, let’s him slide.

Somewhere behind him John can hear the bottle of lube snapping open and closed.

A moment later Sherlock’s hands return to John’s arse.

His touch sends a cold shock trilling through him and John's muscles clench reflexively, his shoulders curling up towards his ears.

“Ah, ah.”

Sherlock, using three fingers on each hand, strokes the length of John’s crack, just skating over John’s arsehole on each pass.

“Do it,” John says, looking down his body to meet Sherlock’s eyes. A frantic feeling is building inside him, begging for release. “Do it. Oh, please. Please.”

Pressure.

A stretching, pulling, aching breach.

John groans.

Shaking.

Hands gripping the top of the headboard he pushes back.

Sinking down. Bearing down.

One graze over his prostate and

crash

John comes.

Surprised, Sherlock’s eyes flare wide as John floods his mouth with thick hot pulses. It spills over his lips and tracks down his chin and John can’t look away from where his cock is slipping out of Sherlock’s brimming mouth. He reaches down and scoops up the dribbles, painting them over Sherlock’s red swollen lips and then, pushes them inside.

Sherlock sucks, hard, his eyes squeezing shut. John can feel Sherlock’s moan vibrate around his fingers and John’s cock jerks.

The sounds reach John’s ears a minute later.

The wet slapping of flesh moving rapidly over flesh.

John looks over his shoulder to see Sherlock’s fist flying over his cock.

He’s close by the looks of things.

An idea strikes John.

“Sherlock, stop.”

John lies down next to Sherlock and turns on his side, facing away.

“Here, quick.” John opens the lube and slicks up the inside of his legs. “Fuck my thighs. Come on.”

Sherlock doesn’t take any convincing. He plasters himself against John’s back and groans directly into John’s ear as he slides into the tight slippery space. John flexes his muscles as Sherlock thrusts and he wins another broken moan. John reaches back and grips Sherlock’s hair, twisting as he tugs Sherlock down. John kisses him, hard and wet and off center, tongues tangling, teeth scraping.

“That’s it,” John says, his nose smashed against Sherlock’s, his fingers wound up tight in his curls. “Fuck me. Fuck me hard Sherlock. Just think how good it’s going to be when you’re inside me. I’m going to be so tight for you. God, I want that. I want you to fuck me so hard that I’ll be walking funny for a week. I want your come to be dripping out of me all day you put it in me so deep. Fuck me, Sherlock, fuck—“

Sherlock shatters.

He cries out and John can feel Sherlock’s cock throbbing between his thighs, come splattering the sheets in thick lashes and trickling down John’s legs in hot tracks that quickly cool and dry.

Sherlock collapses against John, his arm heavy around John’s waist, his nose tucked in against John’s neck.

“Is it always like that?” Sherlock murmurs into John’s hair some indeterminate amount of time later.

“Always like what?” John asks, his tongue thick, the words slightly slurred. He feels like he could fall asleep at any moment, mess or no mess.

“So…intense.”

John rolls over, the hair on his legs peeling apart in painful strips. He slips his knee between Sherlock’s and presses himself against Sherlock chest to chest. Their arms wrap around each other, tight, tight, tight.

“It’s never been like that for me before,” John admits, tilting his head up. Sherlock has turned off the light at some point and pulled the duvet over them. He can't quite make out Sherlock's face in the dark.

Sherlock hums. Rubs his nose against John’s.

The kiss they share is sweetly tender; just lips touching.

“Is it the love part do you think?” Sherlock asks, the innocent question making John's heart swell.

“Yeah,” John says, smiling. “Yeah I think that’s probably got something to do with it.”

John tucks his head under Sherlock’s chin and lets his body relax.

“John?”

“Mmm, yes?” Just barely surfacing.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

 

 

Chapter Text

The first time John wakes it is to the black waters of early morning.

Sherlock lies in front of John, on his side, facing away.

Carved from moonlight, his pale skin glows, lucent. The night eddies around him.

The duvet has slipped down, has bunched and gathered, over the curve of his hip.

The simple beauty of it takes John’s breath away.

His eyes draw down the groove of Sherlock’s spine. Across the delicate wing of his shoulder blade. John wants to dip his fingers in the midnight shadows that pool in the small of Sherlock’s back. Wants to trace the distance between his freckles. Wants to taste the salt on his skin. He wants to kiss the silvery scars, the ones Sherlock got while he was away and the ones John was there to treat.

It reminds John of another time, not so long ago, when he had sat and watched Sherlock sleep under very different circumstances.

When Sherlock had first come back from the dead (interrupting him during a date at a restaurant no less) John had refused to see him.

He had been so angry.

He had been so hurt.

It had seemed impossible that he would ever be able to forgive Sherlock for leaving him behind. Sherlock being alive was almost as devastating as his death had been.

And then, one night in the middle of August, John had received a text from Mycroft:

Sherlock has overdosed. He was brought to Bart’s.

And then, shortly on the heels of the first:

Please.

Mycroft never said please.

John had gone.

It turned out that while Sherlock was in Serbia, hunting down the last of Moriarty’s crime syndicate, he had infiltrated a ring of drug lords and had been forced to start using again. To blend in. If not for Mycroft’s incredibly invasive— incredibly wrong— surveillance, Sherlock would have died that night.

John had sat in Sherlock’s hospital room and he had begged for Sherlock’s life to be spared.

Someone, somewhere, had listened. Sherlock had lived. And once he had made it through the requisite three months of rehabilitation, John had agreed to meet him for coffee.

The sight of him had filled John with equal parts rage and gratitude. The fist around his heart opened and there, there, was his blood. There were his limbs. His skin. It hurt. It smarted and burned. Made him want the numbness back.

Sherlock had looked like hell. Gaunt. Skeletal. Brittle. Like a stiff breeze was liable to bowl him over.

Or snap him in half.

That indefatigable light in him was almost completely snuffed out.

It had cut John to his core.

They had gathered their drinks— tea for Sherlock, coffee for John—and found an empty table tucked into the back corner of the cafe.

The windows had been fogged with moisture. The air thick with the scents of cinnamon, espresso, and wet wool. Outside, Christmas lights twinkled. Inside, sprigs of holly leaves, dotted with ruby berries, lined the counters.

“Thank you for agreeing to see me,” Sherlock had said. Polite. Nervous. His eyes had flitted about the room. Landing briefly on everyone but John.

John had wanted to meet in public to lessen the blow which he was about to deliver.

I’m glad you’re alive, but I don’t want to see you anymore. Forget you know me. Forget my number, my face. I never happened. We never happened. Delete me. Delete us.

When Sherlock’s eyes met his briefly he could see that Sherlock expected it. He had flinched as if struck. He had looked away.

The words were on the tip of John’s tongue.

He wanted to see the punch land. He had wanted to hurt Sherlock. Wanted to break him the way that John had been broken. On purpose.

The words were on the tip of his tongue.

And then, well, then he had started crying.

Noisily.

Messily.

There had been sobs and snot and hiccups and a great deal of carrying on.

It was not John’s finest moment, but he found that he had absolutely no control over it. The blood was rushing out. The fist had opened. The limb was waking back up.

The cafe had looked on in horror.

This was the British equivalent of losing one’s honor. He would be expected to fall on his sword when he was done.

People began to duck out. John couldn’t blame them.

Much to his surprise, Sherlock had stayed.

He had budged his chair over and patted John’s back and had fetched him napkins.

And the entire time he had kept saying, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, John. Please forgive me for all the hurt that I caused you.”

When the fit had finally passed, they were the only patrons left.

An irritated barista, sweeping the floor pointedly nearby, had let them know that it was five minutes to closing. They had put on their coats, binned their trash, and walked out to the kerb together.

“John.” Sherlock had stuck his hand out and John was sure that if he didn’t stop him, Sherlock would say something inane and ridiculous like, “To the best of times,” and he would walk out of John’s life. Forever.

John had looked at him, for the first time since his resurrection, without anger.

He saw the suffering his friend had endured.

No one punished Sherlock harder than Sherlock himself. That wasn’t his job, he realized slowly.

Sherlock’s hand hovered in the air between them. There was a sadness in his eyes that John recognized.

It was one of those seminal moments. One of the ones you could look back on as being a turning point.

The future balanced on a fulcrum, ready to tip either way.

John had said the only thing he knew.

Ineffable.

True.

It had brimmed and overflowed.

He took Sherlock’s hand in his.

“Sherlock, I want to come home.”

And Sherlock…Sherlock had dropped to his knees in the middle of London and pressed his forehead to their joined hands and he had wept.

 

*********

 

The second time John wakes it is to the still dove gray light of dawn.

It laps at the fuzzy edges of things, things slowly resolving into the shapes of Sherlock’s bedroom. It is a calm slate sea sort of light; one with the rain heavy clouds brooding above.

It is a London sort of light, John thinks, his mind honey-thick with sleep.

Mist drenched; cool and damp.  

It makes him burrow deeper into the duvet. To nuzzle his nose into the pillow.

He drifts.

But,

despite the effort,

it doesn’t pull him back under.

John opens his eyes.

The clock on the bedside table reads 6:04am.

No, he thinks. No. Definitely not.

“Mm. No.” Mumbled into the skin of John’s nape.

“Definitely not,” John agrees, closing his eyes.

Pressing back.

Into the nook of Sherlock’s warm body.

Arm heavy around John’s waist. A hand sliding up John’s chest.

It washes up just above John’s heart.

Thump, thump.

John can hear it in his ears.

Thump, thump.

Beating into the palm of Sherlock’s hand.

I love you, John thinks.

Ineffable.

True.

It brims and overflows.

“I love you”, he says. Quiet.

The hand on his chest twitches. Fingers curling in. Knuckles rubbing the staticky hair. Spark to tinder, John’s body wakes.

Curls, glossed with cold morning air, tumble against the back of John’s neck.

“I love you too,” kissed into the river of John’s spine.

They fell asleep with those words carrying them down into sleep.

It seems fitting to let them burn away the dark.

Buoyant on the gray silk sea,

they drift.

Eventually the gray light trembles and fades to pearl and then dissolves completely. The sounds from the street grow louder. A lorry trundles past blaring it’s horn.

There is some restless shifting at his back. John glances at the clock.

6:11.

He has at least an hour before he needs to start getting ready for work. He could, he thinks, fall back asleep despite the growing fullness of his bladder.

“Go back to sleep you berk,” he mumbles, turning over onto his stomach and sliding his arms beneath his pillow.

A humming thrum vibrates against the back of John’s ribs as Sherlock presses close once more, ignoring him.

Kissing.

Licking.

The blanket goes with him, exposing John’s back to the unforgiving chill of the room.

The pad of Sherlock’s tongue leaves cool spots behind that freeze and blaze before they melt away.

John shivers and burns.

Shivers and burns.

Fingers follow in their wake, trailing light. John can feel the catch of ribbed callouses on the tips. Etched by violin strings into Sherlock’s flesh.

When he has reached John’s coccyx Sherlock turns his head and rests his cheek on the swell of John’s arse.

“I want to fuck you with my tongue.” The words come out soft and hoarse, and, John can’t, John, god help him, snorts.

Giggles.

Twists and, looking down the length of his body, meets Sherlock’s confused and—crap—hurt expression.

“Come here,” John croaks, remorseful. Once Sherlock has lain down next to him, tucked close against him, John kisses the pout of his lips. Sherlock’s hair is a mess. John puts his hands in it, lets the raw silk of it wind and tangle around his fingers. Sherlock pulls up the duvet and covers them. Their limbs slip against each other, leg hair scraping, stubble grating. The edges of John’s mouth spark and sting. Their erections, cupped in the space between their bellies, rub against each other, eager, needy.

“I’m sorry,” John says, his mouth against Sherlock’s ear. Sherlock’s right hand pets up the outside of John’s leg as he settles it on top of Sherlock’s hip. “But it’s quite the request.”

“I want to,” Sherlock says, sounding petulant. Sore. John has hurt his feelings.

“Are you sure? Because—“

“Has anyone ever done that to you before?” Petting. Soft.

John huffs an uneven laugh. “Ah, no. It’s usually me going down on my girlfriends.” John thinks about it for a minute. He almost laughs again, just imagining the look on their faces if John had asked them to lick his arse, but Sherlock nuzzles into the curve of John’s neck and the impulse dies.

“While I’m entirely tempted to test out what I’m sure are your exceptional oral skills what I really want is for you to sit on my face. Now.”

Sherlock’s hand slides underneath John’s arse cheek.

He squeezes.

It’s…

enticing.

John’s body is heavy, his blood pulsing in his balls, in his cock. He can feel the pressure of his bladder making it worse. Intensifying things in an urgent way that borders on painful.

John pulls back, just far enough for him to look Sherlock in the eye.

“All right,” he says slowly. “But first I need the loo.”

Sherlock groans and rolls his eyes. “Fine. But hurry would you?”

John goes. He’s brushing his teeth with one of the extra toothbrushes that Sherlock keeps stored underneath the sink—apparently he buys in bulk, which John finds oddly endearing—when Sherlock stumbles through the en suite door.

John grins.

Can’t help it.

The man has been thoroughly debauched.

His pale skin is mottled red. The ends of his hair are sticking up every which way in startled, electrified spikes.

A feeling, a ribbon, unfurls inside John’s chest. It swoops and dives.

Love is an endless falling.

“Stop it.” A rockslide rumbling through the tiny space.

“Stop what?” John asks, continuing to brush his teeth. Continuing to grin.

“Being so…” Sherlock squints at John through the slit of his left eye.

“So?” John prompts. Helpful. He likes to be helpful.

“Cute.”

Is that…is Sherlock Holmes blushing?

“Shut up.”

A bit of a flirt and he’s all rosy pink.

“It’s distracting!” And flustered too.

John glances down at Sherlock’s erection and, if possible, grins harder.

John points his toothbrush at him, holding the toothpaste foam in his cheek.

“You think I’m cute.”

Sherlock’s forelock falls over his eye as he lets his head roll onto his shoulder. Cheeks flushed.

God.

He’s adorable.

“Infinitely. Now will you please desist? I’ve got to piss.”

John falls and falls. He doesn’t think he will ever land.

He turns to the sink and spits. Rinses his mouth. When he turns back to face Sherlock there’s still no movement on that front and John pats him on the arm in commiseration.

“I’ll just…wait in here then,” he says, brushing up against Sherlock as he shuffles behind him.

“Menace,” Sherlock murmurs, eyes shut tight, head tipped back, the corner of his mouth inching up. And up. John wants to press his lips there, but lets him be.

Gets back into bed and pulls the duvet up to his chin.

He thinks about the intimacy of being able to brush your teeth in the nude while your lover uses the loo.

It surprises John, how easy it is.

To slip into this new space.

I trust him, John realizes with a jolt. He wonders when that had happened.

He can remember, clearly, the conversation that they had had before John would agree to move back in.

No drugs. No lying. No leaving. No dying.

For the last six months Sherlock had been trying to earn it back.

Even with the unexpected passing of his mother. There had been no relapses. He had been trying.

And somewhere along the way John had started to trust him again.

John tries to think back to the person he had been before he shipped out for Kandahar. He had seen the world in strokes of black and white.

He hadn’t known how pain and loss forged you.

In fire.

He didn’t know all the gradations that lay between.

The riot of color that lurks within the white.

He wonders if that person would have been able to take this in stride. He thinks about how oblivious he had been about his feelings for Sholto. How intense they had been, and how they had manifested themselves similarly to the way they had in his early relationship with Sherlock: unwavering loyalty, a deep abiding respect, and a sense of almost reverent awe. These men were the best and bravest and wisest men he had ever known, but no one but John seemed to see it. It had made him latch on with an even fiercer hold.

But both of those relationships had been lopsided. John had often felt like nothing more than a dog begging his master for scraps. There had been no emotional fulfillment, no physical consummation of the devotion he felt for them. He had chosen two men who were closed off. And back then he hadn’t had the language or the emotional maturity to realize what was really going on.

He knew that he often felt angry and dissatisfied. Like he couldn’t settle into his skin. He couldn’t hold a relationship for longer than a month. He chased after Sherlock and chased after Sherlock and chased after Sherlock until Sherlock went somewhere that John couldn’t follow.

Ella had given him his language back.

She had given him the words for what he was, for what he wanted, for what he needed.

So when he had been ready to move back into 221B he had made sure that he wouldn’t be returning to the old status quo. Sherlock agreed to help with the shopping, the cleaning up. He would make dinner twice a week and when John cooked he would do the washing. He got a mini fridge for specimens.

Last night when John had finally been able to silence that voice inside him that told him to run, when he had looked into Sherlock’s eyes and met him with desire, instead of fear, John had finally settled fully into his skin.

He could stand at a bathroom sink, completely starkers, with Sherlock beside him, and feel nothing but lucky to be there.

He could touch Sherlock’s naked body and kiss him and want Sherlock to put his tongue up his arse and it was all fine.

It was all fine.

“What’re you thinking about?”

John turns onto his side as Sherlock slips back beneath the covers. Says, “You.” Sherlock’s skin is cold and he burrows into John’s heat. His leg sliding between John’s, his arm winding around his waist, his nose nudging just below John's ear.

“I think," Sherlock says, "I’m going to send your GP a thank you card.”

John hums as he strokes the soft hair at Sherlock’s nape.

“And I’m going to frame those drumsticks and hang them over the mantle.”

John chuckles.

“That could make for some uncomfortable conversations. People will talk.”

“Well, they do little else.”

Their smiling mouths find each other. Cool, minty tongues meet and slide against each other.

When they break apart a few minutes later they are both breathless.

“Kneel up here. Face my feet.”

John licks his lips.

Sherlock’s eyes flick back and forth between John’s. His eyebrows arched. His mouth tugging down at the corners the longer John hesitates.

John rolls on top of him.

He rests, for a moment, between Sherlock’s legs. Sherlock’s cock caught against John’s stomach. John rests his chin on Sherlock’s chest so that Sherlock goes crosseyed for a moment, looking down the bridge of his nose at him.

John almost dies from a rush of affection so strong it wrings his heart out.

Says, uncertain, “Talk me through it.”

He’s giving something away here, but it’s new, it’s all new and maybe if John asks, Sherlock will—

“Come here and I’ll show you.” Sherlock’s voice is sleep-rough and crackly, his smoke and coal eyes hot on John’s, his skin creamy and warm. John complies, sliding up until his forearms are bracketing Sherlock’s head. Sherlock resettles the blanket across John’s shoulders.

“Close your lips. Keep them shut.”

Sherlock kisses him, just a teasing brush of lips.

John’s eyes slip shut.

“I’ll kiss you just like this until you relax for me.”

Soft touches.

Just the suggestion of a kiss, really.

A susurration of hot breath and skin.

And then, a hint of moisture as Sherlock parts his lips and tongues lightly at the seam of John’s mouth.

John sighs and his mouth opens reflexively, letting Sherlock inside.

Sherlock pulls back.

Reprimands him, gently, “Keep your mouth closed, John.”

John presses his lips together, but whines a bit as he does it.

Sherlock chuckles. His hands stroke up John’s back. “You’re going to be tight John. It’s not going to be easy for me.”

His hands stroke down.

“I’m going to have to lick.”

A flicker of tongue.

“And lick…”

Harder.

“And lick.”

Harder, pressing John’s lips against his teeth.

“I’m going to have to get you so wet John.”

Running his tongue along John’s top lip. His bottom.

His stubble bristles at the edges of John’s mouth, making John’s blood fizz and snap to the surface of his skin.

Sweat beads between them, the air under the heavy duvet growing humid and warm. John pulls back to shuck it off. The cold air floods over them. John’s back rounds up. Below him Sherlock’s pale skin is growing pink in the spill of white light coming in through the window. His gaze is dark and hazy, heavy lidded. His lips are red and swollen. There is a thin film of sweat shining on his chest. John bends and licks at the slick hollow of Sherlock’s flushing throat, tasting salt and skin. Opens his mouth and drags it up. The tendons flex and taughten beneath his tongue. Sherlock’s pulse thudding against his lips.

John.”

Somewhat reluctantly he moves back to Sherlock’s pillowy lips.

Says, softly, against them, “You were saying.”

Sherlock eyes open slowly. It takes a minute for the dreamy pools of ink to refocus, sharpening on John as Sherlock remembers where he was.

John presses his lips together. He arches one brow.

Sherlock skims a hand up the back of John’s neck. Light. He draws John down.

“I think I was here…” Sherlock licks at John’s lips. Long, languid glides that make John melt, his body flowing down to meet Sherlock’s. Their legs tangle and twine. The sole of Sherlock’s foot resting against the back of John’s calf.

“I was getting you ready.”

Kissing at the slight pucker of John’s lips. Coaxing.

“I was getting you wet.”

Broad, slippery strokes that John wants to give in to. Wants to feel that tongue moving against his own.

“Until you open for me.”

A gentle thrust.

“Open for me, John. Let me inside you.”

John groans and opens for him.

He expects to be plundered.

But Sherlock isn’t in a rush.

He slides just the tip of his tongue into John’s mouth. Runs it along the inside of his upper lip. Silky and slow.

“You’re going to be so tight for me. So hot,” Sherlock whispers, before he delves back inside. “I’m going to have to suck a bit, just like this.” Sherlock draws John’s upper lip between his own and oh, God, there is no way John is going to survive this.

He shifts, and, inadvertently, brushes the tip of his hard, hanging cock against the hard, straining tip of Sherlock’s and for a moment John whites out.

Sherlock, his hands on John’s hips, says, slightly breathless as their bodies move in slow rocking waves, into John’s ear, “Do you want that John? Do you want me to suck and lick at your tight little hole until you come?”

The deep timbre of his voice makes John tremble.

“Yes.”

“Then come up here.”

It takes some maneuvering. John’s body feels awkward. Vulnerable. It is his turn to blush.

John’s heels push under Sherlock’s bottom pillow, toes curling against the cool wood of his headboard.

His palms pressed to the tops of Sherlock’s thighs.

He’s breathing hard.

Sherlock’s hands on John’s calves.

They slide.

Up John’s trembling thighs. Broadwarmrough palms smoothing over John’s arse.

Sherlock turns his head and John can feel his breath tickling the hair on the inside of his thigh, just before he presses a kiss there.

John stares at Sherlock’s belly button. It’s his fixed point. Everything else recedes.

Heart pounding in his throat. In his forehead. In his cock.

London waking up outside.

6:34.

John, dizzy with desire, breaks out in a cold sweat. It gathers at the base of his spine and at his nape, prickles in his fringe.

Wet open-mouth kisses teasing up John’s thighs.

Oh, Jesus.

That mouth.

That clever fucking mouth.

John shifts on his knees. The sensation is almost too much. His body feels sluggish with blood. “Sherlock,” he gasps. Air like jagged rocks scraping up his throat. John drops his head against Sherlock’s belly. “Please.”

Sherlock doesn’t answer.

John turns his cheek and rests it against the leaping plane of Sherlock’s flat stomach. The shape of Sherlock’s half hard cock, curling against his hipbone, is visible out of the corner of John’s eye. John licks his lips and thinks—

But…

Hands spreading his arse. Wide.

Fuck.

The first kiss is dry. A brush of plush lips against John’s hot aching hole. The pinprick of stubble bristling bright at the edges.

Everything inside John draws up tight in anticipation. He sucks in a breath.

Holds it.

The first swipe of Sherlock’s tongue punches it from his lungs.

A wall of heat slams up his spine.

He groans.

Sherlock works the flat of his tongue over John’s opening. Holding John in place even as he tries to push back. Two big handfuls gripping mercilessly hard. Fingers digging down into bone.

Then, oh, then.

Then Sherlock is running the sharp tip of his tongue around the rim of John’s arsehole. Tracing it. Drawing circle after circle after circle until John’s whole body is tingling, until he feels mad with it. He shoves himself back, wanting to get it inside him. Craving it. Needing it.

Sherlock, as if sensing John’s desperation, relents and John gets his hands underneath him. Elbows wobbly as he pushes up to kneeling. And, slowly, slowly lowers himself until Sherlock’s face is buried between John’s cheeks.

The broken sound that John makes fills the room.

He moves his hand down; fists it in Sherlock’s curls. Holds Sherlock there.

Firm wet strokes, getting John soaked.

Just positively sopping.

It drips down his thighs.

He doesn’t care.

His cock stands straight out from his body. Wine red and shining.

Sherlock, John notices for the first time, is in a similar condition.

Sherlock’s cock is long, just like him. Thick. It makes John’s mouth water to look at it. When John wraps his hand around the hot rock hard length of it, it rests heavy in the crook of his thumb. John strokes it, the foreskin sliding through his fingers like heated satin. He pulls it down and exposes the fat red head. Thumbs across it. Sherlock writhes beneath him, his hips jerking.

Leaning forward John lets the saliva pool on his tongue before he opens his lips and let’s it fall, coating Sherlock’s cock, slicking him up.

John’s fist glides, wet and fast, up and down the curving shaft. Cinching tighter at the head. When Sherlock moans John can feel it vibrate inside him.

“I want you to.” John is panting. His hand tightens in Sherlock’s hair. He tugs at Sherlock’s prick with the other. “Put your tongue in me.” John is mindless. Incoherent. “Fuck me. Fuck me with your tongue. Sherlock.” He needs more and he needs it now.

He swivels his hips and grinds down and in a long pulse of bright white light he feels Sherlock’s tongue push

just

inside.

John’s heart stops. He freezes. Shudders. Wracked by uncontrollable shivers. He shakes.

There is a deep ache in his thighs as he holds himself completely still.

Then Sherlock opens his mouth and sucks and all the blood in John’s body rises up in a single stinging wave.

Suck sucking at the tight rim of John. His tongue thrusting inside John. Opening him up, John stretched out all around him.

Sherlock inside him.

John lets go.

He rides him. Hips rolling forward and back. Sherlock lets him move. His hands on John’s arse cheeks, pulling him open, wider and wider.

Sherlock plants his feet flat against the bed and bends his knees, pushing up. Sherlock’s cock moving through his fist, John fucks himself as deep as he can on Sherlock’s tongue. Screwing himself up and down.

He’s so close.

He needs…

just…

“Sherlock.”

And because the man is a bonafide genius, Sherlock’s slides two fingers inside and presses down on that tiny bundle of nerves and John bucks and comes.

Comes so bloody fucking hard.

Breathe.

Breathe.

He gulps down oxygen like he is drowning.

Below him Sherlock is moving.

John, realizing that he is still holding Sherlock’s prick in his hand, snaps back to attention.

Bending, John uses one hand to brace himself on Sherlock’s hip and one to steady Sherlock before he closes his lips around the plump head.

The effect is immediate. John barely has time to process the feeling of having got his mouth around Sherlock before Sherlock’s cock swells against his tongue and come spurts, hot and thick and bitter down his throat.


*********

Sherlock is in the kitchen when John comes down from getting dressed.

His curls are still wet from his shower, but he’s dressed in pajamas and dressing gown.

Leaning against the counter, eating Weetabix.

“Big plans today I see,” John says, crossing the lino to the coffee pot. He pours out a mug.

“Don’t have to meet Lestrade until 6 o’clock.”

“Statements?” John asks, leaning his hip against the counter beside Sherlock.

“Yes. Your presence is also required,” Sherlock says, low, leaning down.

He tastes of flax and milk and just a hint of sugar.

John keeps his eyes closed for a moment even after Sherlock has pulled away.

When he opens them again Sherlock is smiling. Chewing. His cheeks just a bit pink. Looking pleased as punch.

John, knees a little weak, walks over to the table and sits down.

He sips.

Falling, falling.

The box of sex toys sits on the table in front of him.

Reaching inside John pulls out one of the vibrators.

“Ambitious,” Sherlock remarks from behind him. “I thought you had to leave for work in ten minutes.”

John turns to face him.

“So,” he says. An idea forming in his mind. “You didn’t just buy these on a whim.” Sherlock’s eyes narrow on John’s face. John’s throat is thick when he says, “Personal experience was it?”

Sherlock’s eyebrows rise.

“See, it just seems like you knew an awful lot about prostate stimulation. I figure you must know how to use these.”

John watches Sherlock’s throat as he swallows.

“I do.” It comes out the way John feels.

Rough.

“And this one? What does this one do?”

Sherlock sets his bowl down on the counter. It rings brightly through the room.

“That one is remote controlled.”

Oh, John thinks.

Perfect.

“You don’t say.”

Sherlock is watching him very carefully. John feels the attention like the keen edge of a knife.

“So if, hypothetically speaking of course, you were to put this up your arse…” John pauses to let this suggestion sink in. Sherlock floats towards him. His robe billowing around him. John tilts his head back, and back. “If you were to spend some time this afternoon while I was at work, let’s say, working yourself open. Getting your fingers inside…” He’s backlit by the sun streaming in through the window behind them. John can’t see his face. John spreads his knees, let’s him settle between them. His hands, move up the back of Sherlock’s thighs.

Between them Sherlock’s hand rises.

He presses his fingers against John’s lips.

“You could,” John says, against them. Hushed. “Make yourself take this.” His tongue darts out to touch Sherlock’s fingertips. "You could, for instance, make sure it's nice and deep."

Sherlock rubs across John's bottom lip.

Wet.

John swallows.

“And when I get to the Yard?” Sherlock asks. More of a growl really. His face in shadow. The scent of him all around John.

“I’d have the controller…”

“It’s an app,” Sherlock corrects him. Too fast, John thinks. Eager. John wonders if he’s blushing.

“I’d have the app,” John says.

He parts his lips and Sherlock dips two fingers just inside. John fastens loosely around them. Suckles a bit.

“You want to play?” Sherlock asks, his fingers slipping out of John’s mouth. They trail down his throat. Come to rest in the hollow of John’s throat.

“I think—“ Salt on John’s tongue. “I think it’s what you like.” Sherlock bending down. “I want to do what you like.”

The kiss is deep.

It lasts, John thinks, for hours maybe.

“I like you.” Murmured against John’s mouth.

“I know, but..” Tongue. “But, we’ve already done me and I want…” Desperate. “I want to—“

“All right,” Sherlock says. Nodding. Pulling back. “All right.”

“Tonight?” John asks, his hands still wrapped around the back of Sherlock’s firm thighs.

“Tonight.”

The next kiss is soft.

Sweet.

Ineffable.

True.

John brims and overflows.

“I thought you had work.”

“It’ll keep. Come here.”

Chapter Text

John stands dripping on the rug, just inside the door of New Scotland Yard, and runs a hand through his hair. Raindrops scatter from his fingertips, a spray of gold flakes winking as they catch the light and fall.

Behind him the storm beats against the glass.

Sherlock stands across the atrium and at first glance he is as imperious as ever. Poised and hewn from marble. His popped collar echoing the chiseled contours of his cheekbones. Kitted out in suit and wingtips, he is the very epitome of elegance and hauteur.

Beneath the fluorescent lights he straddles the floor, gloved hands clasped behind his back, dissecting the room with his gaze.

And yet, upon closer inspection: the petal softness of his skin, smoothly shaven. The rich sheen of his hair, whorls of black, brown and auburn. The flicker-flash of his eyes, like a flare of sunlight off silvered fish scales, they dazzle.

John finds himself moving across the space before he fully realizes that he is moving.

Helplessly drawn.

His champagne blood rising, sweet and dizzying.

Sherlock, watching John approach, smirks, god damn him. Eyes pleating at the corners, his chins folding up, tripling up and oh, John’s heart.

Bump, bumping about in his chest. Clumsy. Giddy.

What he would do…

Ah.

Well.

Right.

John pulls his mobile from his pocket.

Thumbs it on.

He taps the ((())) icon.

The one he had downloaded at work on Sherlock’s instruction.

He turns the screen around to show Sherlock.

The prat is utterly self-possessed except for one eyebrow arching.

John wants to see that composure shattered.

He flips the bluetooth to on and a circle appears on the screen. It pulsates in mesmerizing neon blue waves moving outwards. John had read the instructions on the cab ride over. He drags the tip of his finger clockwise from twelve to three and in front of him Sherlock tenses.

The tells are small.

A frisson.

A tremor.

A hitch of breath.

A flutter of his eyelashes.

Open.

Closed.

Open.

Pupil flooding his irises like a spill of ink.

John rocks back onto his heels.

Cants his head.

There’s a supply closet off the men’s bathroom just down the hall.

He used it once at a Yard Christmas party with a pretty young detective named…named…well, in his defense John had been sozzled is what he had been and if he can’t remember the girl’s name it’s not entirely his fault is it?

John turns and walks away, leaving Sherlock to follow.

Phone in hand, he turns the dial from three to six.

They haven’t said a word since John walked in, but John can feel the energy building between them. It’s palpable. It must, he muses, be glaringly apparent to anyone who sees them together. It must, he thinks, be apparent from Mars.

At the end of the hallway he opens the nondescript door to the right of the men’s loo. He steps inside and after a split second spent deciding whether or not to turn on the light (not), Sherlock has joined him.

One hand on Sherlock’s chest, John pins him to the wall.

The door snicks shut and they are cast into darkness.

The shallow husk of their breaths fill the quiet space.

John can smell him. Spice and soap and the slightly metallic scent of rain underneath. John slides his hand up Sherlock’s chest to curl around the back of Sherlock’s neck, his fingers threading themselves in the hair curling at his nape, still damp from the storm.

“So,” John says, quiet. They need to be quiet. He licks his lips. “You used to do this?”

“Do what?” Quick. Hoarse. “Have a clandestine shag in a supply closet at the Yard?”

He sounds…nervous.

Excited.

It makes John smile. “I mean,” he says, taking a step closer so that the borders of their bodies brush against each other. The rough woolen edges of Sherlock's coat hemming them in. “Did you used to have a plug up you sometimes when we would get called out to crime scenes?”

For a moment Sherlock doesn’t answer and John tugs, lightly, on his hair.

Breathed out, “Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes. Sometimes I would have something up me when we went…out.”

John’s thumb strokes along his jaw.

Soft.

He feels, against him, Sherlock tremble.

“Was it a game?” John asks, following his thumb with his lips. Sherlock’s fond of games and puzzles. “To see how long you could last? Before—“ John kisses down the taut column of his neck. “Before you had to get a hand on yourself?”

“Yes.” Sherlock’s hands settle on John’s hips. They tug him forward until John is leaning into him, bracketed by Sherlock’s preposterously long legs. He’s taken his gloves off at some point; his fingers are slightly chilled when he slips them beneath John’s jacket and untucks his shirt.

“I’m trying to imagine it,” John says. “All those times you were on your phone…”

“Well, not all the time. Obviously.” The eye roll is practically luminescent.

“But…”

He reroutes. Dragging his mouth up. He takes the lobe of Sherlock’s ear between his teeth.

Worries it.

Sucks it.

John.”

Sherlock’s belt clatters a bit as John undoes it.

“You take those long showers.”

The button pops free with ease.

“And go into your room afterwards.”

John rests his forehead on Sherlock’s chest and Sherlock’s hands float up to cup the back of John’s head.

His breathing is ragged.

John can’t see a thing. He’s mapping Sherlock by feel alone.

“I used to wonder why it took you so long to get dressed.”

The zipper parts, the metal teeth scraping the back of John’s hand as he slips it inside.

“But you were just getting yourself ready weren’t you.”

He rubs the heel of his hand down the length of Sherlock’s hard cock through his pants.

Sherlock gasps, the pads of his fingers digging into John’s scalp.

John lifts his face.

The darkness is complete but he can feel the warm feather of Sherlock’s breath on his face as he reaches up.

He tries to keep the kiss soft, but Sherlock is having none of it. He opens his mouth and crushes John to him. They both groan as their tongues meet.

Easy, John thinks over the roar of his blood.

Easy.

The plan, follow the plan.

The plan is simple: take Sherlock apart. Slowly and completely over the course of the evening.

Getting off in the supply closet is not a part of the plan.

“Tell me,” John says, breaking away and moving his hand between them again.

His fingers slip behind Sherlock’s bollocks and John can feel it. Can feel the hard base of the plug through the thin material of Sherlock’s pants. It vibrates faintly against John’s fingertips. If he strains, he can just hear it: a deep, purring hum.

“Tell you what?” A strafe of stones on John’s over-sensitized skin.

“Tell me how you used to do it.”

John drops to his knees and pulls out his mobile. The screen momentarily blinds him and he blinks away the white spots. Pointing it up, Sherlock is painted in the eery undulations of blue light as John turns the dial to seven.

Eight.

Nine.

“Fuck.” Sherlock’s head thuds against the wall. The sound grows louder. The hum becomes a muffled drone. A bee hive.

John pockets his mobile and the black floods back in. He tugs Sherlock’s trousers down until they drop and puddle around his ankles.

The smell of Sherlock is strongest here.

Distilled to it’s essence: salt and musk.

Dark and heady.

John sucks it down.

Leans closer. Blind. Nuzzling.

He runs the tip of his nose up the curving line of Sherlock’s shaft. Opens his mouth and does it again, letting the heat seep through the thin cotton, getting the fabric damp. It drags against his lips and he tastes detergent, floral, like perfume, on his tongue.

“John—“Panting. “Lestrade is waiting for us.”

“Then you had better hurry up and tell me, hadn’t you?”

John hooks his fingers into the band of Sherlock’s pants and pulls.

Oh,

God.

Sherlock springs free and bumps against John’s cheek. John takes him in hand and guides him forward. With a long, slow slide Sherlock slips thick and hot between John’s lips. The round head heavy on John’s tongue.

“I—“ Sherlock’s hands close around John’s head once more. Urging him, gently, forward. “I would imagine you hearing the—Christ, don’t stop.”

John is only too happy to comply.

Working his tongue on the underside of Sherlock’s cock as he leaks all over John’s tongue. It’s bitter, but John finds he doesn’t mind.

He squeezes Sherlock’s thighs. Keep going.

“Right…God…” Breathing hard and fast. Then, all in a rush: “I would imagine you heard the plug. You would discover the app on my phone and you would make some excuse to get Lestrade out of the room. And then…then you would…” Swallowing. Thick. “And then you would bend me over his desk to see…”

John groans, his own cock throbbing in response, and Sherlock’s hips snap forward, shoving hard across John’s tongue to prod at the back of his throat. John chokes and Sherlock pulls back.

“Sorry.” Gasped out. “Sorry. I—“ John squeezes his thighs again. Sucking at his crown. Tonguing at his slit a little. “You would see, you would see what I had inside me and you would—“ Cut off, his hands spasming in John’s hair. He’s close, John thinks. “You would tell me how naughty I was and you would…Jesus, you would take the plug out and fuck me.”

John pulls off.

Wipes his face and stands. His knees crack and he winces as he pulls his mobile out of his pocket. He flicks the level back to two.

Sherlock makes a desperate, despairing sort of noise and John licks it from his lips.

Kiss.

Kissing.

John’s hands in Sherlock’s rain slick hair.

He pulls back after a short infinity and flips on the light. Smoothes his hands over Sherlock’s shoulders as he puts his trousers to rights. He can’t help but feel a little bit smug when Sherlock tucks his still hard cock away with a grimace.

When he’s done John smiles up at him. “Hi.”

“Hello.” Shy. Happy. His cheeks still flushed. He reaches up to ruffle his curls, trying to tame them, but it’s hopeless. John has fluffed them beyond repair.

Sherlock leans his head towards the door. “We should…”

John nods, stepping back. He pulls open the door and as Sherlock pauses on the threshold, peeking out into the corridor to make sure it’s all clear, John murmurs, “You should start thinking of an excuse.”

Pale eyes cut down at him. John prickles all over under the intensity of that gaze.

“An excuse…”

“To get Lestrade out of his office. We’re going to see how long you can last when someone else is in control.”

Fish-hook tugging at the corner of Sherlock’s mouth.

Helpless.

“Consider it done.”

 

***********

 

“…And sorry about the mess. It’s absolute chaos here because of the move. I can’t find any buggering thing I need. I could have sworn I had some on my desk. Hold on a sec’.”

Lestrade’s office is packed with boxes.

The move to the Yard’s new building at Whitehall has begun in earnest it seems.

As the DI digs through a box sitting precariously perched atop a listing tower of its fellows, John sits in the only seat available: Lestrade’s swivel desk chair. The sofa is only partially full of stacked picture frames wrapped in brown packing paper, but Sherlock doesn’t sit. He stands before a bank of windows to John’s left, looking out into the dark. The rain streams down the glass, making the city lights melt and run.

Before they had entered John had set the vibrator to seven and had added a sequence. Two long pulses followed by a brief reprieve.

Frankly, John is astounded that Sherlock is able to stand so still. What must be his body’s tumult only betrayed by the tightness of his jaw.

It makes John want redouble his efforts.

He flicks the level to ten.

“Are you telling me that we came all the way down here and you don’t have the proper forms?” Sherlock drawls, his tone bored and disdainful. No hint of what is going on inside him. John can’t help but admire his dedication.

“I’ll have to go down and see if they’ve got any at the front desk,” Lestrade says, shrugging. He looks tan and John wonders whether his trip to the Seychelles with his new girlfriend had gone well. They’d have to go out for a pint soon.

John, flipping the level up another notch, suggests this to his friend.

Out of the corner of his eye he can see Sherlock sway. His eyes pinching shut.

When they are done discussing Lestrade’s holiday and have settled on a day and time to meet at the pub, Lestrade stands in the doorway and says, “Anyone fancy a coffee while I’m down there?”

"No, Lestrade. No we do not want a coffee. We want to go home. Now will you please fetch the papers so that we can be on our way?” Hissed through clenched teeth it’s the strangled plea of a man clinging to the last shreds of his sanity.

Finally.

Lestrade folds his arms across his chest and looks at John. “What’s with him?”

John presses his lips together to keep from smiling at Sherlock’s little outburst. He shrugs. “What’s ever the matter with him? He’s always a bit of a bastard when he’s bored.”

Lestrade simply shakes his head at Sherlock’s back and sighs and shuts the door behind him.

Sherlock immediately wilts, bending forward at the waist, his hands braced on the windowpanes.

John is out of his chair and at the door, sliding the lock to.

The boxes are, thankfully, stacked four high in front of the windows that look out on the office where a few detectives sit at their computers.

John turns and walks over to Sherlock.

He’s got his trousers open, pushed down with his pants pulled tight around his thighs. One hand is splayed wide against the pane, one is working furiously fast over his erection. His naked buttocks peak out from beneath his shirt tails and the hem of his suit jacket, the firm flesh clenched tight.

John goes to him and leans his front into Sherlock’s left side. Covering Sherlock’s racing hand with his own, until Sherlock stills and releases himself, pressing it back to the rain-streaked glass.

“You’re doing so well, Sherlock,” John whispers into his ear.

John’s quiet hands on Sherlock’s urgent flesh.

He runs his left hand up beneath Sherlock’s shirt, up his chest to the tight bead of his nipple. He rolls it between his thumb and forefinger.

Tremors cascade down Sherlock’s back as he moans, low and deep, inside his chest.

John draws his hand back down, trailing his fingers through the soft silky hair that runs below Sherlock’s belly button and takes him once more in hand. Heavy and long and beating blood hot against his palm.

John strokes up.

Sherlock’s fingers clench against the glass.

With his other hand, John smoothes over the globe of Sherlock’s buttock and reaches beneath. Taking a hold of the base of the plug, John tugs.

Stricken, Sherlock jerks, hips pushing forward into John’s hand.

“John, I’m—“ the last word is bitten off, but John gets the gist of it. He moves his hand down to the base of Sherlock’s cock and circles it tightly, stemming the flow of blood.

John waits a beat for Sherlock’s breath to slow and then,

                                                                                                    twists

                                                                      and

                                      pushes

and Sherlock shudders and moans.

Shuddering.

Moaning.

The thunder of his pulse hammering against John’s thumb circled tight, holding tight, at the root of him.

John feels it resonate in his own cock. Trapped and hard in his jeans he pushes up against Sherlock’s hip and holds them both fast. His cheek pressed to the pitch and roll of Sherlock’s heaving back, they breathe. The pilled stipple of his suit jacket rasping against John’s jaw and the velvet heat of his cock still pounding in his hand.

John rests his hand, now slightly tacky with lube from the plug, in the small of Sherlock’s back and feels the sweat seeping through his shirt.

He smells of the sea, a brine-thick burn in the back of John’s nose.

“All right?” John’s voice is thick. “Do you want me to turn it off?”

Sherlock shakes his head, curls obscuring his face, head sunk between his arms.

“I want you to sit on that sofa over there and I want to climb in your lap and I want you to put your cock inside me.”

John swallows.

Rock lodged in his windpipe.

He can’t quite… “I—“

“I want to ride you until you come inside me and then I want you to stick that bloody plug back up my arse and I want you to take me home and then I want you to do it again. F-uck.” His voice cracks and John rubs his hand up Sherlock’s back.

He takes out his mobile and dials it down to a two. Rubs. Rubbing up and down Sherlock’s arched spine. When he reaches the top he digs in his thumb, wanting to help Sherlock come down just a bit. Just enough for him to settle.

When Sherlock’s breathing has calmed his body is still achingly tight, all his muscles coiled. John whispers, “What do you think would have happened if Lestrade had walked in on that little scene, hmm? Walked in and saw you bouncing on my cock? Saw you moaning my name? Saw my come dripping down your thighs as I shoved a plug in to hold it so that I could eat it out of you later?”

Joh—“

“Do you think he’d even be surprised?”

That does it.

All the tension rushes out of Sherlock’s body and he slumps. His palms skittering down the glass pane, screeching, then catching, preventing them both from tumbling to the ground.

Sherlock’s shoulders start shaking and they both begin to laugh together.

“Don’t worry, love,” John reassures him, “the game is still on and I’ve got big plans for you yet. I’m going to take you home after this and I’m going to remove every stitch of your clothing. I’m going to lay you out on your bed Sherlock and I’m going to touch every beautiful inch of you. I’m going kiss you all over. I want to know everything about you. I want to know what noises you make when I rub your thighs. I want to know what sounds you make when I suck your nipples. I want to know what you feel like inside. I want to know exactly what you look like when you come apart. I’m going to take you apart tonight, Sherlock, and I’m going to do it so slow you’ll be begging me to end it and fuck you.”

Beneath him Sherlock pushes back, getting his feet squared beneath him. John straightens, dropping his arms as Sherlock turns to face him.

“Promise?” he says, bending down to press his forehead to John’s, as, for the second time that evening, he tidies his kit.

“Promise.”

They spend the next few minutes kissing, slow and wet and sweet.

“Lestrade will be back soon,” Sherlock says, drawing back reluctantly.

“Yeah, we should— hey, what’re those?” John catches sight of a sheaf of papers rolled up and sticking out of Sherlock’s right coat pocket which is draped over the arm of the sofa.

“They’re the statement forms.”

John grins.

“You clever bastard.”

“You said to manufacture some kind of excuse…”

“You’re a genius.”

Sherlock’s smile is rueful. “Not genius enough to buy us enough time to fuck on Lestrade’s sofa though.

John goes to unlock the door. “There’s always next time,” John says over his shoulder, “in his new office. We can christen it for him if you like."

When he sits back down in Lestrade’s desk chair and spins to face Sherlock, he’s sitting on the sofa, looking only faintly disheveled. The color is still high in his cheeks and his curls lick the air like black flames.

“Feeling better?” John asks, folding his hands in his lap.

Sherlock hums. “Lots.”

“Well brace yourself.” John glances at his watch. “We’re not even half done here and I mean to make it as hard on you as possible. By the time I’ve got you home I’ll place ten to one odds that you’ll be on the verge of coming in your pants.”

Sherlock’s mouth opens in a silent O and then curves slowly upwards. He spreads his arm across the sofa back and reclines back into the cushions. He looks positively feline.

The man cannot resist a challenge. In fact, John is counting on it.

John can feel the burr of Sherlock’s voice in the pit of his stomach when Sherlock says, “Do your worst, Captain.”

Oh, John thinks, just you wait.

Chapter Text

The door hasn’t even shut before they are tearing at each other.

Coats on the stairs.

Shoes in the kitchen.

Sherlock trapped against the hallway wall.

Buttons scatter; bells tinkling across the floor.

Shirt, ruined, pushed down to his elbows. Pinioned.

John’s hands flat against the cool, smooth wallpaper, either side of Sherlock’s face.

A rake of teeth down his jumping throat.

Nails across his nipples.

A moan.

Guttural.

Bestial.

Trousers and pants ripped down and off. Socks next.

John raises Sherlock’s right thigh and holds it up and out.

Spreading him. Opening him.

John’s knees digging into the hard floorboards.

The hum has reached a fever pitch.

Nocked at twelve.

John grips the base.

Slides it almost all the way out.

Slow.

John rises; holding it still.

His mouth next to Sherlock’s ear.

“Don’t come,” he whispers. “Don’t you dare come, Sherlock.”

Slams it back inside.

Sherlock jerks against him. Landed. Gasping for air.

John can hear Sherlock’s teeth grinding against each other as John turns his wrist.

The plug glides. Stretching Sherlock’s rim at the thick middle. The base judders in John’s palm as John pauses there. Wave after wave of strong vibrations echoing out through Sherlock’s quivering flesh, an echo reverberating through John’s bones.

“Wrap your leg around me,” John says. “I’ve got you.”

Sherlock does and John presses forward, pinning Sherlock against the wall with his weight. The muscles in his arms are locked and tense. For all he looks like a string bean, Sherlock’s at least two stone heavier than John, all sinew and bone.

Sherlock’s cock is leaking against John’s button down. His breath hot on John’s cheek. His hands white knuckled around John’s shoulders.

John wants to remember this moment.

Sherlock in his hands.

Sherlock giving himself over.

There is no hesitation. Sherlock trusts him implicitly.

The power buzzes in John’s brain, heady.

John licks the fluttering skin beneath Sherlock’s jaw. Tastes his frantic heartbeat. Blood and salt.

John’s own heart: wild, animal, teeth and claws. He wants to devour Sherlock.

Fuck.

John lowers Sherlock back to the ground.

“What’s,” Sherlock pants. “What’s wrong?”

His hair is tumbling down over his brow.

“Go get in bed.” John’s voice sounds strange. Unusually gruff. Ravaged. His hands curl against his thighs to keep from throwing Sherlock to the ground and having him there in the hallway.

He made a promise and he has every intention of keeping it.

Sherlock’s hands are still caught in his cuffs. He unbuttons them as he walks towards his room, studying John over his shoulder.

John watches, trying to get himself back under control. The shirt drops and he’s treated to a brief glimpse of Sherlock as he snaps on his bedside lamp: naked, his pale flesh streaked in watery green light from the storm-lashed window to his right. Sherlock’s hair a black cloud, an ebony corona, floating around his face.

Outside: thunder claps. There is electricity in the air, lightning gathering it’s charge. Sherlock’s window is cracked open. Static raising the hair on John’s arms. The scent of wet stone rides in on the breeze. Raindrops pearl on the sill.

John goes to shut it.

When he turns around he finds Sherlock laid out on his bed. Like some Greco-Roman god. One leg drawn up, left foot curled around the inside of his right knee. One arm thrown up above his head, black curls twining around his slim white fingers. One hand resting on his stomach. He sprawls, languid and relaxed. Sex incarnate. Christ.

Leopard eyes track John as he crosses to the side of the bed. He watches as John takes out his phone and turns the bluetooth off. The hum stills and dies. All that’s left is the patter of the rain against the glass; Sherlock’s even breaths; John’s staccato heart.

He sits.

Down by Sherlock’s bent knee.

Sherlock’s bare skin; John, still clothed.

John reaches out and traces the path from Sherlock’s hip bone down the vee of his pelvis.

“John.” Velvet. Brushed against the grain.

John looks up at him. “Yeah.”

Sherlock’s eyes slipped almost completely shut. A flirtation of dark lashes.

“You want me to help? What’s it been now? Nearly two hours? What’s your personal best?”

The shush of the car tires on the street. Muffled. The rain making seaweed patterns on the green walls. Dappling Sherlock in light.

“One hour forty-two minutes.”

The furred dip of his stomach.

“You did so well. You want me to take care of you?” Soft.

Tracing.

Sherlock nodding.

His bottom lip caught between his teeth.

John scoots over and Sherlock shifts his legs to make room and then lays them over John’s thighs when he settles between.

John petting him now with both hands. Over his hips. Down the outside of his thighs.

Sherlock spread open for him.

It pushes an ache into John’s chest.

He cups the bottom of Sherlock’s right calf and lifts it. Rests Sherlock’s ankle on his shoulder.

John can see Sherlock stiffen.

“Shhh,” John soothes. Rubbing his palm up and down Sherlock’s shin. The coarse hair springing up beneath his fingertips. Sherlock’s heel digs into John’s shoulder for a moment. His whole body wracked with a vibrating anticipation. John turns his head and kisses the inside of Sherlock’s ankle. “You have to relax. I can’t do anything until you relax. Talk to me. Tell me about…about Sussex.”

“Only you could be thinking of Sussex at a time like this. And why in God’s name do you still have your clothes on?”

“Don’t get stroppy,” John admonishes him gently. “And we’re heading down tomorrow anyway. I’d like to know what to expect.”

Sherlock looks at him a moment before rolling his eyes.

Interlocks his hands over his sternum as if he’s settling in for a bit of a chat.

“The house is called Blackthorn. It was my mother’s, left to her by my grand-mère. We summered there.”

John nods. Encouraging. Rubbing Sherlock’s leg and keeping an eye on his body. John wants him at ease. Pliant.

Sherlock, warming to his subject, continues, “It’s named for the eastern perimeter which is delineated by a border of blackthorn trees, but it’s most pleasant attribute is the orchard of heirloom apple trees Mummy planted in the back. You like apples, John.”

John can feel his brow furrow. “Do I?”

“Yes, you do,” Sherlock insists. “The day you moved in you were eating one, green I think, but it’s the yellow ones you’re partial to.” John listens, feeling the familiar feeling of awe he gets when Sherlock is deducing something about John that even John himself is not aware of, fuzzing his brain. “I’ve studied your patterns for years now, John. For instance, you really can’t stand the Red Delicious. And you absolutely detest the Fiji.”

“Sherlock—”

“You eat them at night while you’re watching telly. Sometimes when you’re reading the papers in the afternoon. Sometimes you grab one on your way out to the clinic in the morning. I don’t think you’re even aware of it.”

“I’m not,” John admits, and the brilliant amazing fantastic must be clear on his face because Sherlock’s mouth curves into his proud smile.

“Well, anyway, Mummy planted all sorts. They had splendid names. Like spies out of a Bond novel or place settings in a gothic romance.” His voice is wistful, soft and sleepy. “The scarlet pippin. The black gillyflower. The pendragon. The pink pearl.”

John likes the way Sherlock forms his p’s. So precise. He likes the way he’s soft and open with John here in his bed. He likes the way he smells, musky sharp and peppery.

“It’s almost time for apples isn’t it?” John asks, slipping his right hand down to take hold of the plug. “Autumn, I mean.”

Sherlock inhales a shaky breath.

Exhales.

“We’ll have to bring some bags with us. Pick a bushel. Mrs. Hudson will be pleased.”

“That should—“ Sherlock swallows. His back arching ever so slightly off the mattress. “That should keep us in pastry for at least a fortnight.”

Slowly

carefully

John slides the vibrator out.

“Ah ha ha.” Sherlock collapses back against his mattress, a goofy smile contorting his mouth, his eyes squeezed shut. His whole fair body flushed like sherbet skies at dawn.

The back of John’s throat is hot.

One hand splayed over the shallow bowl of Sherlock’s belly. One hand on the sharp jut of his hip.

John allows himself a moment to just look.

At the soft dark pile of his genitals nestled in the thatch of curly hair. At the arched buttresses of his ribs. The pebbled pink nipples. The sharp blades of his collarbones. The vulnerable hollow of his throat.

And there…

there…

those ever changing, ever constant eyes.

Sherlock slides his foot behind John’s head and hooks him.

Pulling him up.

Up the pink-red-white expanse of warm enthusiastic skin that leaps and flickers at John’s touch.

Hands either side of Sherlock’s face, stroking Sherlock’s impossible cheekbones with his thumbs. Over the wild black thicket of his brows. The cool marble arch of his brow.

“What are you thinking about?” Sherlock’s voice pared down to it’s essence. A timbre only reached in that quiet reverent space between his mouth and John’s, when they are pressed close like this, trying their best to get closer.

John shakes his head.

The backs of his eyes stinging hot.

How do you put it into words?

It would take a more eloquent man than John, so, instead, he kisses Sherlock.

Pours the gratitude into him that way, heated honey, sugary thick and golden.

Sherlock’s hands clutch at him.

Closer, closer.

Come closer.

John kisses down.

His hot mouth on Sherlock’s trembling skin.

John’s fingers fitting into the notches of Sherlock’s ribs.

He pays attention to each change in Sherlock’s breathing.

The way it grows rapid when John flicks at his nipples with the tip of his tongue.

The way he holds it when John is nuzzling his way around his groin. The black coils damp with sweat. He’s still soft and incredibly silky against John’s lips. A brush of John’s stubble over his sac and Sherlock contracts, his heels digging into John’s back. His cock throbs under John’s mouth, a rush of blood and bone and desire.

Not yet.

John moves on.

Sherlock’s breathing grows stilted as John rubs his prickly cheeks up and down the inside of Sherlock’s thighs. There is a whine trapped in the back of Sherlock’s throat and when John looks up Sherlock’s eyes are shut tight, his mouth is hanging open, and his hands are clenched in the sheets.

John opens his mouth and sucks and Sherlock moans John’s name.

He leaves a string of red marks up and down Sherlock’s thighs, his skin scraped red with the burn of John’s stubble, and by the time he leaves off Sherlock is hard again and shifting restlessly against the mattress. John’s name a supplication on his tongue.

Enough.

It’s time.

John kneels between Sherlock’s legs, his knees bent over John’s shoulders and he uncaps the lube he fishes from his pocket. He’d brought it with him to the Yard, just in case.

“You run all around London,” John says, voice low. “Sherlock Holmes, the world’s only consulting detective.” Sherlock twitches, fingers flexing against the sheets. Staring up into John’s eyes, pupils blasted wide open, all of him blown wide open. John braces one hand against the bed and reaches with the other. “Everyone keeps their distance. The great mind, the genius, the giant unsociable dick.” John smiles as he says it, erasing any rancor, and Sherlock’s mouth ticks up, his eyes nicking shut as John skates two wet fingers over his entrance.

“What if they could see you now?” John says, circling. “What if they could see you like this?”

“John.” Graveled with need.

“That’s what you wanted didn’t you? That’s part of the thrill? You wanted me to find your little toy. You wanted me to see how naughty you are. You wanted the chance that someone would walk in and see me taking you. You play the part of the sociopath so well, but oh, if they were here they’d see how good you are for me,” John says. “How loose and hot you are for me, how you open up for me to push—” Two fingers pressing against Sherlock’s hole, which opens, opens, “—right in.”

John follows the silken path of Sherlock’s body. The sleek arc up to the tiny furled bud.

John strokes it.

“Your little act would be up. You’d never be able to show your face at the Yard again.”

“It’s not—“ Breathing hard. “—an act.”

John just smiles.

“Kiss me, John.”

Sherlock’s fingers slip between John’s buttons and tug.

John licks in.

Draws back.

Again.

Licks at the pink pad of Sherlock’s tongue.

The corners of his mouth.

The plummy swell of his bottom lip.

His fingers rubbing back and forth inside. Relentless.

His blood singing in his veins as Sherlock starts to unravel below him.

The dark dreamy pools of his eyes. The way he pushes down onto John’s hand. The way he gasps when John sucks on his top lip.

John ignores his own body. Focuses all his attention on Sherlock. He can feel it building inside Sherlock in a way he can never really pay attention to when he’s chasing his own pleasure.

When Sherlock pulls taut, a bow string ready to snap, and his legs float off John’s shoulders, like he’s levitating, John knows he’s almost there.

Three fingers, slippery and constant. Pressing. Pressing. Circling. Circling.

“That’s it,” he says. Their foreheads pressed together. “That’s it Sherlock. Come for me. Come for me, my love. Oh, let me see. Let me see—“

Sherlock groans. The string breaks and...

John watches as come spurts, thick and white, out of Sherlock’s cock. Sherlock’s hand stroking it tight and slow, in time with John’s fingers.

It goes on for a full minute, John thinks.

John’s not sure he’s ever seen so much semen.

It coats Sherlock’s chest. Hits as high as his chin.

When he stops pulsing John removes his fingers and leans down and kisses him.

Licks the fluid off his chin. His throat. Smears his hands through it, down his stomach. Takes the tip of Sherlock’s red cock in his mouth and Sherlock twitches and shakes. His hands close around John’s head and pull him up and off.

“Jesus buggering Christ, John. Give a bloke a minute.”

John kisses the laugh from his lips. The taste of Sherlock still hot on his tongue.

Sherlock’s hands stroking down John’s back. Untucking John’s shirt and sliding his hands over John’s arse, he squeezes.

“It’s your turn next. What do you want me to do to you?” Leopard growl, leopard eyes, dangerous and low.

“I need a shower,” John says, ruefully, sitting back on his heels and looking down at the state of his clothes. Most of the mess has been transferred to the front of John’s shirt. “I’ve been at work all day. I need a wash.”

“Well, then it won’t matter if I dirty you up a bit first,” Sherlock says, reaching for him.

“I also haven’t eaten in nearly twelve hours. Skipped lunch. Grabbed a scone on my way over to the Yard, but I’m starving.”

Sherlock scowls.

“See? Transport is a bloody nuisance.”

John stands up. Smiles as he looks down at Sherlock, disheveled and completely relaxed below him.

“Surveying your conquest?”

“I’ll just toss you a wet flannel shall I?” John says, ignoring the feeling of pride that swells in him, as he opens the door to the bathroom. “I think we’ve got eggs and bacon in the fridge. Want to fry them up for us?”

A noncommittal hum from the bedroom as John switches on the taps.

John wets a clean flannel and tosses it to Sherlock who is now sitting on the edge of his bed.

John pauses before turning back. Can’t help it. “All right?”

“Smugness doesn’t suit you,” Sherlock says, with an impressive amount of dignity for a man covered in his own come. “I’d stick to doctorly concern if I were you.”

“Oh, you would, would you?” John murmurs. Walking over to him and tipping Sherlock’s chin up with one finger. Without looking away, John takes the flannel from Sherlock’s hands and presses it to his chest. “In need of a sponge bath are you?”

“Oh, God, yes.” Kiss bruised lips. Red and plump.

Devour.

John could…

“Too bad. We’re fresh out of doctorly concern tonight. The spoils go to the conqueror, isn’t that right?” John says, leaning down. “I’ll expect dinner when I get out of the shower then.”

Sherlock’s mouth might as well be a narcotic.

“You’re a bastard, John Watson,” Sherlock growls to John’s back.

“That’s Captain Watson to you, spoils. And I like my eggs over easy.”

The door snaps shut on Sherlock’s soft chuckle.

 

***********

 

When John gets out of the shower and wraps himself up in his robe, the flat is filled with the scent of frying bacon.

Entering the kitchen he finds Sherlock, clad in pajama pants and a grey vest, at the hob with a pot of water boiling on one burner. A saute pan sits beside it, bits of chopped up bacon sizzling. There’s a package of fettuccine and a wedge of Parmesan sitting on the counter top. The table has been cleared and scrubbed.

“Carbonara is it?” John asks, rooting around in the refrigerator until he finds the half full bottle of white wine he had opened a few nights back.

“Mm, the poor man’s version at least. Is that all right with you, Captain?” Sherlock asks when John hands him his glass. The bacon grease pops. The steam curling up. Making Sherlock’s curls deflate and cling to his forehead. The heat firing his cheeks with color.

“Who doesn’t like carbonara?”

The kiss is short. Just a lazy slide of tongues that still manages to leave John tingling all over.

He goes back to the table and sits on top, sipping.

Grinning.

The wine’s cheap. Bought at Tesco more as a mode towards inebriation than anything else. Like an unripe peach it’s brash and astringent on his tongue.

Sherlock grates the Parmesan into a bowl and then beats the eggs into it. Adds the fettuccine to the water. Stirs the bacon.

John pours out another glass, finishing it off. They’ve got a bottle of red somewhere, he thinks.

He’s too content to go in search of it though.

Watching Sherlock, barefoot and humming, as he cooks John dinner.

Sherlock catches him at it. “What?” Chin resting on his shoulder, wooden spoon poised over the pan.

“Just counting my riches.”

Sherlock merely has to lean across the space to reach John’s mouth.

“And what, may I ask, happens when the riches lose their luster?”

John pulls back.

Sees only sincere concern in Sherlock’s gaze.

“Are you serious?” John asks, truly flabbergasted. “You’re much more likely to grow bored of me before that would ever happen.”

Sherlock brow knits as he straightens and returns his spoon to the pan.

“Sherlock, hey, look at me.”

Sherlock turns off the left burner and removes the saute pan from the heat.

When he turns around he leans against the counter and doesn’t meet John’s eye.

John swings his right foot out and touches Sherlock’s thigh with his toes.

“It’s not entirely absurd. You, better than anyone, know how I am. I'm likely to bollocks this up within the week.”

“Come here.”

When Sherlock hesitates, John says, “Now.”

John slides his arms around Sherlock’s waist and draws him close between his legs.

Whispers, “It’s only been two days.”

“I—“

“You said yourself, we’ll figure it out. We always do.”

“Yes, but—“

“But nothing. So far you’re a fantastic boyfriend. Truly spectacular. I’m not worried about it.”

Sherlock blinks at him.

“Boyfriend?”

Damn it.

“Shit, sorry. We don’t have to…that is—”

“Shut up.”

His mouth is cool and bittersweet with wine.

Behind them the timer sounds.

“The pasta is done.”

“Sod the pasta.”

More insistent beeping.

“Sherlock…”

“Oh, all right.”

John watches, affection warm in his chest, as Sherlock finishes preparing the carbonara.

“You want me to lay the table?” John asks as Sherlock pours the lot of it into a big ceramic bowl.

“No, just budge over, will you?”

“What do you—“

But Sherlock has set the bowl down in the middle of the table and is pulling two forks from the drawer to the right of the sink.

Before he knows it, Sherlock is sitting across from him on the table top, his long legs folded up like a colt’s, and is twirling his fork through the steaming pasta.

“Picnic is it?” John chuckles as he picks up his fork and leans forward.

It’s delicious. The sauce is rich and silky, salty and sharp, the pasta cooked perfectly al dente, the bacon crunchy and smoky.

They eat in companionable silence for a few minutes. Just the clink of their dueling forks against the rim of the bowl and the rain outside.

“You didn’t want me to take care of you,” Sherlock says, once they have polished off nearly half the bowl. He sits up straight, swiping the back of his hand over his mouth.

Oh.

Well, that explains the luster comment then.

John is an idiot.

“And that had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I wanted you to.”

“Please have the courtesy not to lie to me.”

“I’m not.” John sets his fork down. “Look, you’ve been…taking care of me the last two days. I wanted…to return the favor.”

Blood rushing to his cheeks.

“It’s not a competition.”

John rubs his hand over the back of his head.

“I know it’s not. Look.” He glances up at Sherlock, squirming a bit inside. “You get me…worked up, all right? I can’t focus when you’re touching me. Bloody hell, I had to have it off with myself at work today just to make sure I was going to be able to play along tonight.”

Well, there was that little embarrassing confession taken care of.

“Really?” Smirking.

“Yes. Now shut up please.”

Sherlock picks up the bowl and sets it down on the chair to his right. Does the same to their wine glasses. Leans in, across John’s lap. Hands bracketing John’s hips.

“I get you worked up?”

“You know you do, you prat.”

His moonlight eyes on John’s hot skin.

“And what about right now?” His nose nuzzling John’s temple.

“I’m pretty worked up, yeah. You want to feel?”

With a deft flick of his hand Sherlock undoes the tie on John’s robe.

He reaches inside.

“Fuck.”

“You really do have a beautiful cock, John. It’s so…big. So thick. And you get so so wet.”

“Sherlock.” His head thrown back. Doesn’t care, can’t care, what he looks like as long as Sherlock doesn’t stop doing what he’s doing.

“I’m still ready, John.” His voice is a physical presence inside John’s chest. Sandpaper rubbing up John’s nerve endings. “I’m still open. I think you might be able to just…just slip right inside.”

“Jesus.” John might have a legitimate heart attack. He licks his lips. “The lube. Is it still in the bedroom?”

“Take this off. I’ll take care of it.”

John shrugs out of the robe.

“What here on the table? Sherlock, we eat here.”

But John loses the need to protest as Sherlock proceeds to strip in front of him.

The god is back. Hopping about on one foot as his pajamas get caught around his heel.

He’s a clumsy gorgeous bastard and John loves him, every gangly god-like bit.

John, overflowing with fondness, bites back a laugh as Sherlock finally shucks them into the corner, glaring at them.

When Sherlock climbs back on top he straddles John’s thighs and brandishes a bottle of olive oil.

He’s hard.

Again.

It’s a wonderful sight.

“You have the refractory period of a thirteen year old,” John says, not without admiration and not without a tiny bit of jealousy as well, resting his hands on Sherlock’s bare hips.

Sherlock hums in agreement. “The libido too.”

John loves this part of the relationship. The beginning. When everything is new. When you can’t take your hands off each other. When the impulse to touch and fuck and kiss can’t be resisted.

Propped up on his forearms John watches as Sherlock slicks up his hands with the oil.

And wraps them both around their cocks.

Lights snapcracklepop up John’s spine.

Their foreskins catch against each other, their heads pushing up through the top of Sherlock’s fist, red and shiny.

The scent of olives, the scent of sweat.

“You want me to sit on your cock John?”

“Nng,” John moans, incapable of coherent speech.

“You want me to take it all inside me and ride it? Bounce on it a bit?”

Sherlock’s bedroom voice. Bedroom eyes. John feels like he is scrabbling for purchase on a smooth cliff face.

“I believe that’s what you suggested we do in Lestrade’s office yes?”

Sherlock lets go of them and grips John at the base. Steadying him.

The wet tip of John’s cock nudging against Sherlock’s entrance.

Sherlock lowers himself.

Slowly.

John can feel his cock stretching Sherlock out around him.

He’s tight.

God, he’s so tight.

Even after the plug. Even after John fucking him with three fingers.

John’s fingers dig into Sherlock’s skin, hard, as he glides slowly slowly slowly down.

Fully seated, Sherlock does something with his hips that John is certain must be illegal on at least three continents.

It makes John see stars.

On powerful thighs Sherlock rises. Up, up to the point of breaking and then sinks back down.

They both moan.

“Sherlock, come here. Give me your mouth.”

Closer. Closer.

Come closer.

“I love you,” John breathes against Sherlock’s ear, his hand wrapped around the back of Sherlock’s neck, as, below, they move together, desperate. “I’m never going to get tired of you. Does that mean it’s going to be easy? No. Neither of us are easy men, but we fit, Sherlock. There’s no one else for me.”

They cannot get any closer. Not even the air can part them.

John plants his feet against the tabletop and thrusts. Burying himself deep inside Sherlock, as deep as he can get. Over and over again until he feels Sherlock spill against him, blood hot, his body clenching tight around John, carrying them over together.

When they both come to a few minutes later John is dimly aware of a deep groaning sound emanating from somewhere close by.

He is vaguely aware that it is not human.

It sounds like trees being bent before the wind. Wood straining towards it’s breaking point.

It is only a second before it happens that he realizes what it is.

“Oh, fuck, Sherlock, the table—“

One of the legs snaps then and they’re unceremoniously dumped onto the ground in a pile of entertwined limbs.

John extricates himself from Sherlock’s lap, giggling like mad, and surveys the capsized mess of splintered wood.

Sherlock is shaking against the cabinets, laughing silently, tears streaming down his cheeks.

John finds that he is also having trouble breathing as he scoots back to sit beside Sherlock.

“I—“ he starts to say when at that moment they both hear the footsteps sound on the stairs.

“Boys, is everything all right? I heard a crash!”

“Go away, Mrs. Hudson!” Sherlock bellows at the same time John yells, “We’re fine, Mrs. Hudson!”

"Are you sure?"

In unison, "Yes!"

“Well, all right, but you don’t have to be so rude about it!” Comes the shrill response as her footsteps carry her back down to the first floor.

“We’re going to have to tell her,” John says, wiping his eyes and leaning into Sherlock’s shoulder.

“Yes, I suppose I can’t keep shouting ‘go away’ every time she’s about to walk in on you buggering me.”

John stands and extends a hand down to Sherlock. “Yes, that could get rather tedious as I plan to bugger you as often as is humanly possible.”

“Oh, really.”

His palm is still slightly sticky with oil when he takes John’s in his own.

“Mm, yes, every day if you’ll have me."

"Oh, I'll have you." Murmured. His eyes smiling at the corners.

"It's going to be hell on the furniture.”

“Then, I suppose, we'll just have to buy more.”

“Well, that’s a relief.” John leans down and kisses him once before pulling him up.

Sherlock yawns and scrubs his hands down his face. “Let’s go to bed. I’ll deal with this in the morning before I pick up the car.”

“Yeah, all right.” John follows him down the hallway, relishing the sight of Sherlock's naked bum. “You're just angling for a bit of a cuddle aren’t you?”

“It’s called after care, John. We’ve just been through a rather harrowing ordeal. I find I’m in need of your doctorly concern.” Lips quirked as he pulls back the covers and clambers in.

“Big spoon or small?”

“Big, John. Christ, get in.”

Chapter Text

Wake.

W

a

k

i

n

g.

The thin, quivering surface of the membrane pops and John opens his eyes. Blinking.

Floating beneath the bathwater warmth of the duvet.

Cocooned.

He rolls over, painting himself over Sherlock in a messy splash.

Buttery naked skin melting against each other.

He nuzzles his nose against Sherlock’s sternum and down, into the soft flesh of his belly. Breathing him in.

Underneath the blanket the air is close and smothering. Thick with carbon dioxide and sweat and musk. All sound reduced to the murmuration of his blood in his ears.

He presses his face into the space where Sherlock’s thigh meets his hip and noses at Sherlock’s femoral pulse.

The duvet lifts and, glancing up, John meets Sherlock’s slit-eyed, sleepy gaze.

“G’ morning,” he says, the sound of stone splitting open.

“G’ morning,” John whispers, his lips pressed against the throb of Sherlock’s heart.

“Want to come up here?” Sherlock asks, his chins pleating up—John counts at least six—with pillow creases on his right cheek.

John shakes his head, nestling closer. His hands on Sherlock’s waist, their legs tangled together.

“No?”

“Mmm, no.”

“Going to stay down there for a while?”

“Planning to, yeah.”

Sherlock reaches down and runs his fingers through John’s hair. John’s eyes slip closed, enjoying the feeling. It sends delicious splinters of sensation shooting down the back of his neck. Down his spine. His thighs. His calves. Down to the tips of his toes.

“I…” Sherlock starts and then stops. John can hear him swallow.

The sharp click of his throat. His hand stills in John’s hair.

“Yeah?” John prompts, butting his head into Sherlock’s palm to encourage him to continue.

“No. It’s silly.”

“So say it anyway?” John squeezes his hand around Sherlock’s ribs, gently, as Sherlock resumes stroking his hair.

“It’s absurd really.”

“What is?”

“How much I adore you.”

Stricken by this sudden admission, John opens his eyes and looks up.

Pale winter sky eyes crinkled at the edges. Cheeks pinked up.

Sherlock rushes on, “Your mouth probably tastes of last night’s dinner gone to rot and your hair is sticking up all over the place, which shouldn’t be adorable, but somehow it manages it quite stunningly, and you smell like come and body odors I’m not familiar with, but find deeply intriguing, and despite all of that I could not think of any place I’d rather be than right here.”

John’s heart: a flood.

“I have no need to check the website for clients or start a new experiment or text Lestrade. It’s completely absurd.”

Love courses through John. A deluge. It knocks his knees out from under him and sweeps him away.

“It’s the love thing again, yes?”

He sounds, bless him, genuinely curious, so John nods, physically incapable of speech, and Sherlock smiles, the satisfied smile he reserves for the end of a case, when the mystery has unraveled. His fingers curl against John’s scalp, knuckles scratching lightly.

“Thought so.”

Sherlock pulls his hand away and cranes his neck towards the bedside table, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he has just knocked John into the stratosphere. Sherlock’s stomach muscles flex and pull beneath John’s cheek. “You’ve got to be at work in fifty-three minutes.”

“It’s just charting,” John says, voice thick, looking up the white slopes of Sherlock’s body. What the hell does he say after that? The truth, he supposes, is the only thing that will do. “And besides. I’d quite like to suck your cock.”

Sherlock’s mouth closes.

Soft.

Surprised.

Pleased.

His eyes pinch at the corners, smiling down at John.

John grins.

“I’m going to need a bit of help though.”

“Oh?” Sherlock says, affecting indifference, but his chin goes wobbly and his lips are twitching a bit so it’s mostly ruined.

John pushes himself up onto all fours and crawls up Sherlock’s body to slide his arms beneath Sherlock’s shoulders, laying himself against Sherlock, chest to thigh.

Sherlock’s right of course, their mouths do taste awful.

But John wouldn’t have it any other way either.

Between kisses, which start to taste, eventually, just of skin and saliva, “Remember the other night?”

Fingers tousling the satiny curls at the nape of Sherlock’s neck. Sherlock’s arms warm and heavy around John’s back.

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to be more specific.”

“The night when you put your tongue inside me…”

“Oh, yes, I think I remember that one.”

John tugs on his hair.

“Vaguely.”

Git.

“I want you to teach me how to do it.”

“Teach you how…”

“Yeah,” John says, kissing him, eyes open. “I want to know what you like. Everything you like. All of it.”

In a flash he is on his back, pressed down into the mattress with Sherlock sitting astride his thighs, looking smug.

“What the hell, Sher—“

“This lesson requires a more practical demonstration.”

“What do you…

Oh.

Fuck me.

Sherlock.”

The torrent of black curls currently writhing over his belly does not answer him as Sherlock settles down between John’s legs and wraps a hand around the base of John’s half-hard cock.

“Watch.”

John’s heart hammers against his chest as Sherlock’s eyes meet his.

“Learn.”

Sherlock bends down until his mouth is just hovering over the tip of John’s, now fully erect, cock. Sherlock’s breath, hot and silky, glides over John’s sensitive skin and he jerks in Sherlock’s hand. Eager.

“You know how I loathe to repeat myself.”

“You’re a bastard, you know that?” John says, but it comes out a bit breathless and loses it's edge.

“It starts out a bit like kissing.”

The sight of him pursing his plush, pink, velveteen lips and then pressing a soft, God, so fucking soft, kiss to the underside of John’s crown, makes John gasp. His muscles clench, toes and fingers digging into the sheets.

Sherlock kisses down.

Sweetly.

But there is nothing fucking sweet about the look in Sherlock’s eyes.

The look in his eyes is a warning.

John’s heart is beating rabbit quick inside his chest.

When Sherlock reaches the base of John’s cock he opens his mouth and

wet

he slip-slide-glides back to the top.

Where he stops.

And breathes, lips wet and plump and, Jesus, John wants to push up, shove inside, and fuck that pretty mouth until he’s spilling down Sherlock’s long white throat.

They’re both staring down at John’s penis, at the foreskin pulling back to expose the head. Sherlock thumbs it down and reveals it, red and round, the slit gleaming.

Sherlock leans forward and rubs his bottom lip against John’s frenulum. Slow drags back and forth that make John’s eyes roll back in his head. Sherlock’s top lip brushing against the top of John’s cock where precome begins to well.

Sherlock kisses him.

A wet sucking smack against John’s slit and John’s hips thrust up instinctively.

Sherlock’s right arm slings itself across John’s middle, holding him down.

“Sherlock.”

His hand sinking into cool curls.

Sherlock ignores him, opens his lips, and mouths loosely at John.

“Sherlock.”

His hand tightening, pulling Sherlock up and off.

“What?”

John sits up.

Chills racing along his skin.

Heart pounding.

“I want to do it for you.” His voice is thin, reedy. “Please.”

Sherlock studies him for a moment, sitting back on his heels, his cock arching up towards his stomach, his lips swollen, flushed and glistening.

“Please.”

“All right.”

Sherlock shifts around, sprawling onto his back behind John.

John twists, kneeling up between Sherlock’s legs.

Sherlock gives himself a few strokes, his eyes on John’s.

“So, from what I gather,” John says, “you fancy a bit of teasing first.”

Sherlock nods, the tip of his tongue peeking out of the corner of his mouth, brows furrowed as his hand speeds up. His gaze fixed on John’s mouth.

“I think you better stop that now,” John says, nodding towards Sherlock’s hand. “It’s my turn.”

Sherlock moans softly and releases himself, his hands opening and closing against the sheets.

John shuffles forward. One hand sliding along the edge of Sherlock’s warm body. He braces himself.

Arches his back.

Runs the tip of nose down the arc of hard silky skin.

Up.

Down.

Up.

Down.

Over Sherlock’s bollocks, coarse hair bristling against John’s chin. Drawing down the stiff thread of Sherlock’s perineum, and, briefly, into the crack of his arse.

Oh,” Sherlock exhales, sharp above him, as John moves on, nosing down the inside of Sherlock’s left thigh.

He smells amazing, dark and metallic and underneath just a hint of the earthy scent of olives still lingering from the night before.

John opens his mouth against the elastic coils of Sherlock’s leg hair.

He breathes out. Warm.

Inhales. Cool.

As he moves back up gooseflesh rises in his wake, a fine shiver making the muscles in Sherlock’s thigh tremble slightly.

When John arrives back at Sherlock’s groin, he’s begun to leak. A tiny translucent droplet collecting at the tip.

John dips his finger in it.

Eyes locked with Sherlock’s he brings it to his mouth and

sucks.

“John.” Hoarse. Desperate.

Sucks.

He groans for good measure around his finger. Closing his eyes at the saltbitter taste like it’s the best thing he’s had in weeks.

Sherlock's breathing bottoms out, shallow and loud.

John smiles and opens his eyes.

“You taste so good, love. I think I want some more.”

Tongue out, John dips back down.

Tracing the red slit with the sharp pointed tip.

Flicking lightly as Sherlock pulses against him, offering up bead after bead of pearly liquid.

“Oh. Fffuck.”

Sherlock’s foreskin is fully retracted now and John runs his tongue around the fat crown, circling it slowly, before pulling away.

“No. No,” comes the immediate whimpering response and John can’t help but grin as he moves back to the base of Sherlock’s cock.

He looks up.

Through his lashes.

Coy.

Sherlock’s hands are locked in the sheets, knuckles straining, bone white on bone white. His head lifted off the pillow to watch.

John lays the flat of tongue against the root of Sherlock’s hard dick and drags it up.

The veins bulge against him, hard ridges standing out in sharp relief as he does it again.

When he reaches the top on his third pass, John closes his mouth and kisses back down. Soft. Chaste.

Sweet.

Sherlock is making small whining noises now. Breathing through his nose. Sweat shining in his hairline and across his pectorals. His nipples drawing up into tight rosy nubs out of the dark red pools of his aureola.

John pauses at his frenulum and, remembering how good it had felt when Sherlock did it to him, rubs his bottom lip across it.

When Sherlock’s head drops back against the pillow, eyes squeezed shut, John flickers his tongue over the same spot.

Fast.

Like he would with a clit.

The thought crackles through him.

Oh.

Inspired, he increases the pressure, rubbing vertically across the tender spot.

And then, when Sherlock is moaning his name, his hands now pressing against the headboard, John sucks at it. Takes the vee of erectile tissue between his lips and suckles.

Sherlock bows off the bed.

John pulls back.

“You’re a god damn liar, John Watson,” Sherlock says, panting. “You’ve sucked cock before.”

John shakes his head. “Wrong. But I have licked my share of pussies.”

Sherlock scrunches up his nose in distaste and John laughs.

“What do you want now?” John asks, rubbing his thumbs across the tops of Sherlock’s creamy white thighs.

“I—“ he stops.

“Tell me,” John says, moving his palms up to cup Sherlock’s hips, poised to dive.

“I want you to…” Sherlock licks his lips. Blushing. “I want you to suck me.”

“Oh, yeah?” John says, leaning down. “Like this?”

He opens his mouth and lowers it, taking Sherlock’s cocktip just inside.

“Yeah. Oh, fuck, yeah.”

John seals his lips around it and sinks lower.

This is the part that admittedly makes him the most nervous. He’s unsure what his gag reflex will be. He’s concerned with how to breathe properly.

There seem to be too many variable to pay attention to.

John, feeling unsure, bobs up and down for a minute. Panicking.

“Go slow,” Sherlock says, his hand settling, light, on the back of John’s head.

John’s back prickles up. Is he so obvious? How fucking humiliating. John has to fight the impulse to just give it up and tell Sherlock to suck his own damn cock.

“You don’t have to take me all the way,” Sherlock soothes. “All that deep-throating in porn? It’s unrealistic. Forget it. Focus your mouth on the head,” Sherlock murmurs. “And use your hand.”

You don’t make it through med school and basic training without learning how to rein in your pride and take instruction from your betters. John does as he’s told. Sucking at the tip and letting the saliva run down, slicking up the shaft for his fist.

“Good.” Sherlock’s voice catches. “So good, John. So good.” He reaches down to cup John’s face, thumbing across his erection through John’s cheeks. John tightens his hand and pumps Sherlock in time with his mouth. “Ch-christ. I’m going to come soon. I’m going to come, John. If you don’t want me to—“

John shakes his head and moans. The accompanying vibrations make Sherlock gasp and tremble.

“Do that again.”

John takes Sherlock deeper, as deep as he can go, so that Sherlock’s cock is just nudging the back of his throat, and moans again, swallowing against him for good measure and Sherlock goes tense underneath him, fingers gripping John’s head, holding him in place, hips thrusting up once, pushing thick across John’s tongue, toes kneading into John’s sides, as he comes down John’s throat in thick salty bursts.

When John has swallowed the last of it, he scrambles up, his own neglected cock hard and aching between his legs.

He sits across Sherlock’s stomach and wraps a hand around himself.

He looks down at Sherlock, chest and face flushed red, his eyes two liquid black pools.

“That’s it,” Sherlock murmurs, his voice roughed up. His broad, warm hands stroking up John’s sides. His fingertips toy with John’s nipples sending tiny shocks of light cracking through him. “Come for me. Come all over me. I want to feel it. Fuck, John, your cock is gorgeous. Look at how big you are. How hard. You’re amazing. You sucked my cock like a God. That’s it. That’s it. Oh, oh.”

John comes, his orgasm cutting through him, sluicing up his spine hot and bright, and shuddering, John watches as he paints Sherlock’s chest in wide white stripes.

He collapses forward against Sherlock’s chest and tries to catch his breath.

Sherlock shifts beneath him and John feels more than hears him say, “You have thirteen minutes.”

“Bugger.”

 

***********

 


“—But he wouldn’t listen would he and now he’s in for it. Oh, look, there’s your flatmate!”

John jerks his head up at that, squinting into the sun.

His heart does a flip.

Plummets down into his stomach.

Keeps going.

Falls and falls.

“He’s a handsome devil isn’t he?” Nancy murmurs appreciatively beside John.

John can’t disagree.

A sleek silver Land Rover is parked at the kerb. Sherlock leans against the driver’s side door, ankles crossed, hands in his pockets. Looking for all the world like a model posing for the camera. Wind tousled curls. Cheeks bitten pink by the wind. Slate gray irises in the glowering light of a heavy fog choked sky.

Complete with a first rate scowl directed in Nancy’s direction.

“Have a nice weekend, Nancy. I’ll see you on Monday then?” John says, turning, as Nancy takes him by the shoulders and reaches up to plant two waxy lipsticked kisses on his cheeks, which she then proceeds to wipe away (smear all over) with her thumbs.

“Have a nice mini-holiday, John.”

The scowl only intensifies as Nancy, perky in her red heels, tan trench, and platinum page boy, hops off the pavement and trots across the street to the Tube station.

“The answer is no,” John says as he approaches, scrubbing the rest of the lipstick off his cheeks with both hands.

Sherlock’s nose scrunches up in what looks like outrage. He opens his mouth, but John gets there first. “No, I’m not interested in that pretty young girl who is at least ten years my junior. No, I’m not ever going to be interested in her and no, I don’t think you’re a handsome devil, as Nancy so astutely observed.”

Sherlock’s lips purse, his eyes bright and full of mischief. How John loves him.“You don’t?”

John shakes his head, grinning helplessly.

“No, I think you’re a gorgeous bastard with a large cock and a great big intellect who is keeping me so sexually satisfied that I feel like my prick might fall off from overuse soon.”

The wind blows between them, lifting the hem of Sherlock’s coat.

It ruffles John’s wet hair, sending a few water droplets rolling underneath the collar of his shirt.

They trickle.

Tracking down his spine, electric cold on his warm, getting warmer, skin.

Sherlock’s eyes, sharp and hungry.

John shivers.

Sherlock tips every so slightly towards John. “Can I kiss you?” Whispered. Well, growled, really. Rumbly delicious.

The wind catches the words and tosses them away; like so many bright petals, they scatter.

No, John’s brain shouts. What if someone should see what if—

John acknowledges it.

Let’s it boil down to his stomach.

Let’s it boil off into the ether.

Exhales.

Hands on the lapels of Sherlock’s coat, tugging him down. “Course. Course you can.”

Fingertips drawn down Sherlock’s cheeks.

So soft.

Soft lips.

Brushing.

Mint on the tip of Sherlock’s tongue, lightly tracing against John’s top lip.

Teasing.

Slipping in.

Tingling out.

Out and out and out.

Until John is bristling all over, goosebumps and bee stings.

“You smoked,” John says, a minute later, swaying slightly on his feet.

A pause.

John opens his eyes.

“Did you do as I asked?” Sherlock says.

“What happened? Did something—“

“Did. You. Do. As. I. Asked.”

John looks up at him, frowning. Unimpressed with his tone. Sherlock merely glares back at him.

The lingering taste of Sherlock in his mouth, spearmint, and beneath that, what he had been trying to mask: tar and smoke.

How long has it been since he’s snuck a cigarette, John wonders. He tries to do the math and comes up empty.

Sherlock is looking at him expectantly. A look in his eyes that’s willing John to let it go.

John let’s it go.

But…

it sticks.

“Did I shit, shower, and douche?” John asks, instead of asking what he wants to ask, and laughs when Sherlock’s head jerks back, offended, no doubt, by the crass language. John lowers his voice, mindful of pedestrians nearby. “Yeah, I did as you asked. Now what the bloody hell did I need to do all that for, and at work I’ll remind you, when the car ride is only about two hours and we’ll be in Sussex by tea time?”

“You said,” Sherlock says, his cheeks growing red. “You said you wanted to…” He swallows. Pulls his shoulders straight. “That you wanted to. To…”

God, he’s precious.

“To do what you like,” John finishes for him.

“Yes.”

“So this is another game is it?”

John looks at the tinted windows on the Land Rover. They’re almost opaque. No one can see in. It rides higher off the ground. No prying eyes.

A surge of adrenaline leaves his mouth parched and burning.

He licks his lips. Looks back up at Sherlock.

“Well?” Sherlock asks, eyebrow arched. “Do you want to play?”

It’s a fair approximation of a man propositioning his boyfriend for some inventive car sex.

But…

There’s something there.

John can’t quite put his finger on it.

Something off.

His mind worries at it; a loose thread.

His mother’s funeral.

That was the last time Sherlock had smoked.

That morning John hadn’t had time to shower before he had to be at work to finish up his charts for the week before they left for Sussex. He’d kissed Sherlock goodbye amid the shipwreck of their kitchen, their table capsized at their backs. John buttoning his shirt from the top down, while Sherlock followed behind, undoing them. He’d carried the scent of him and Sherlock on his skin all morning.

That is, until he’d received the text from Sherlock to…prepare himself…thoroughly.

What had happened between now and then? What had happened in the span of time between when he had kissed Sherlock goodbye and now?

He turns to walk around the front of the car, but Sherlock stops him.

“No. I need you in the back.”

John stares at him.

There’s a joke on the tip of John’s tongue, something about role play and chauffeurs, but he stops himself before he lets it out. Sherlock seems…vulnerable somehow. John’s not sure if that’s the right word, but there is something telling him to be careful—the char of ash on his tongue—so when Sherlock opens the door to the backseat, John walks over and peeks inside.

Sherlock’s fluffy white bath towels are laid out on the back seat to protect the leather. On the far side the brown postal box sits.

The brown postal box full of sex toys.

The opaque windows take on an entirely new meaning.

John straightens and meets Sherlock’s eyes over the door.

“I affixed my phone to the dashboard. It’s set to the camera function, but I won’t record anything.”

Sherlock’s cheeks lashed in red.

Jesus.

Sherlock was going to make this as hard as possible on John wasn’t he?

“Can’t exactly watch me through the rearview,” John agrees, nodding. Rubbing his fingertips over his lips. His heart thudding against his ribs.

Sherlock nods, the blush moving up to burn in the tips of his ears. “Exactly.”

“Won’t be able to touch me either. Seems a bit.” John pauses. “Unfair.”

Sherlock swallows. Hard. Says, “Therein lies the challenge.”

John nods. Glances into the backseat.

He wants to get in that backseat and do whatever kinky thing that Sherlock has dreamed up.

He’s hard for it.

His cock is pressing insistently against his flies.

But.

He tugs on that loose string.

“What if,” he says, stepping closer to the car door that separates them. John’s hands coming up to rest on top of Sherlock’s where they grip the top of the door. Fingertips rubbing into the spaces between Sherlock’s knobby knuckles. Light. “What if we waited?”

“Waited,” Sherlock repeats, sliding his hands out from under John’s. John drops his to his sides, fists them.

“Yeah.”

There is a flash of something in Sherlock’s eyes, there and gone.

“What if—”

“Don’t.” Sherlock starts to push the door closed, forcing John to take two steps back.

“You don’t even know what I was going to say.”

“I don’t have to. It’s fine. You don’t want to. It’s fine.”

“I know it’s fine, but that’s not—“

Sherlock is turning. He’s opening his door.

“Sherlock.”

“I’m in a no parking zone. Get in.”

And with that John is left on the pavement.

He curls his hands in tight tight until his nails bite into his palms.

Looks up at the sky.

Stretches his neck.

And walks around the side of the car to get in on the passenger side.

Inside, the car smells of expensive leather. The seat is cold so he turns up the heat on the seat warmer.

Sherlock signals and pulls smoothly away from the kerb, into traffic.

As they make their way towards the A626 John thinks of what he wants to say, but just then they pass by the musical supply company where John purchased the drumsticks and the laugh is barking out of him before he can contain it.

It cracks through the silent car and out of the corner of his eye John can see Sherlock flinch.

“Sorry,” John says. “Sorry, it’s just that store there, the one with the blue awning? That’s where I…where I—“ He breaks off into chuckles again.

“Ah,” Sherlock says, ducking his head to look where John is pointing, diagonal to where they are stopped at a red light.

“I was a right idiot,” John says, shaking his head at the memory. “I was so nervous. I was standing there and a bloke came up and started chatting with me about drumming, asking me all these questions and I was just arsing my way through it, claiming I was in a band and all this utter, utter shite. Just, just trying to get away as quick as I could. I grabbed the first pair I could find and then went to go pay.”

The corner of Sherlock’s mouth tucks in and up ever so slightly and so John goes on.

“When I got up to the counter the owner asked me a few questions, he had obviously overheard me proclaiming my expertise, and he said something like: ‘those are an interesting choice for a lefty’ and I, God, I was a complete tit. I made him feel horrible. I told him about my injury in the bloody war in Afghanistan that had made me have to learn to favor my right hand and then I left.”

Sherlock is smiling now. Well, no, he’s smirking.

“You know there’s no difference between drumsticks for a right handed person and a left handed person, right?”

John looks at him in surprise.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. He must have known you were full of shite too.”

John laughs then. Doubling over.

He didn’t think it could get any more ridiculous, but he’s wrong.

Sherlock huffs a small laugh.

It’s small.

Barely thawed.

But John will take it.

“Hey, are you hungry?” John asks, wanting to keep the momentum going. “I could murder some fish and chips right now. What do you think?”

Sherlock glances over at him. Pins John with his gaze.

“I know what you’re doing.”

John doesn’t look away. Meets him head on.

“And what’s that?”

Sherlock’s eyes drag away, back to the road.

“There’s a pub I know of. It’s about thirty minutes away. Can you wait that long?”

John’s heart sinks a bit, but he nods. “I can wait.”

The silence, uncomfortable, settles over them.

Smoking, John thinks, is never a good sign.

Chapter Text

John dips his chip into the translucent vinegar which pools, viscous and oily, on the wax paper beside his strips of freshly fried cod.

He lifts it

and slides it

deliberately

                                               s                          l o w


onto his tongue.

Sherlock’s eyes, flitting around the packed chippy, are drawn, magnetically, back to John’s mouth.

To the drag of John’s tongue over his bottom lip. Salt crystals lapped up and dissolving.

To John’s fingers as he breaks apart the fish, his fingers dripping golden grease, the flesh flaky and white as he takes it between his teeth. The fish is thick and muscular, the batter crisp, the vinegar bright, tart like lemons on his tongue.

John groans. Pitched low and soft. Just for Sherlock. It vibrates in the back of his throat and John watches as, across from him, Sherlock swallows.

“What are you doing?” Sherlock asks, lips parted. Pink and plummy. His eyes dark, half lidded, fringed in thick black lashes.

He’s so bloody beautiful.

John’s chest aches.

Aches.

He shakes it off.

Get it together, Watson, he chastises himself, you’ve a Holmes to outwit.

“What did you have planned?” John asks, ignoring Sherlock’s question. He dips another chip and eats it. His eyes locked with Sherlock’s as he chases a trail of vinegar down the side of his hand with his tongue. He catches it, the silvery bead, just as it reaches his wrist and Sherlock, audibly, inhales.

“What?” Sherlock blinks.

Blinks.

John grins.

“What did you have planned?” he repeats. Holding a piece of fish up. Sherlock’s eyes zero in on it. “For me. In the car.”

He bites. Chews. Swallows.

Elbows on the table. Hands aloft. Shirtsleeves rolled up.

The grease tracks and runs down to his knuckles.

Shiny.

Thick.

Sherlock’s eyes on him, eyes boring into him, gaze hot on John’s skin, as John sucks them inside his mouth.

Sucks them.

Lips closed tight around them.

Sucking.

He pops off with a sound that is just bordering on obscene and Sherlock makes an involuntary noise, almost a squeak, his eyebrows twitching, his lips pressing against each other.

“Well?” John prompts, picking up another chip and hovering it above the vinegar. Sherlock’s gaze stutters down to watch John pull it through the puddle.

Watches John raise it to his mouth.

Where he pauses.

Sherlock’s foot slides against John’s under the table.

Leather on leather. Flexing.

His knee, pressed to the inside of John’s. Warm skin pulsing through two layers of cloth.

John wants him bare.

“John,” Sherlock says, slighting breathless. The resonate timbre of his voice thrumming under John’s skin. Sherlock’s seashine eyes, pupil blown and hazy.

John licks out.

One slow flick of his tongue.

A burst of acid sparkling across the inside of his cheeks.

Another flicker.

Salty-starchy perfection.

John pops it in his mouth.

Licks his fingers and sits back in his chair.

His fish and chips finished.

Only crumbs remain inside the styrofoam container.

Sherlock’s sits in front of him, barely touched.

John raises a brow.

“Let’s go.” Sherlock is up and out of his seat, wallet in hand, before he has finished speaking. He pays as John zips up his jacket.

Hand on John’s elbow, Sherlock steers him out of the restaurant, propelling him through the parking lot.

Around the side, the body of the car between them and the restaurant windows, Sherlock crowds John up against the driver’s side door and in one smooth cat-like motion has caged John in, hands bracketing John’s face.

“I thought you didn’t want to play,” Sherlock murmurs, dipping his head down, his lips just brushing beneath John’s right ear.

John tips his head back, eyes sliding shut as Sherlock kisses the sensitive skin, soft lips drawing down the line of his throat.

“I’ll play,” John says, sliding his hands into the floating folds of the Belstaff and clutching Sherlock’s hips. Tugging him closer.

“What changed your mind?” Sherlock asks, the words muffled by the underside of John’s jaw.

John swallows hard, his body lit, a live wire, frayed and raw.

“You’ll tell me eventually,” John says, lost to the simple pleasure of having Sherlock’s mouth on him, the tip of his nose nuzzling John’s pulse point, his warm body close against him.

“Tell you what?” Sherlock asks, pulling away and looking down at him curiously.

John straightens a bit, his back sliding against the glass window with a squeak. He licks his lips, nervous suddenly. “Why you smoked.”

Sherlock’s chin jerks back and he looks away. Two twin spots of red pricking his cheeks.

It was a gamble, John’s willing to admit. Sherlock’s never been one to share his feelings. Hell, neither has John. They’re both bollocks at it, but… John can’t let it go. He’s seen Harry relapse too many times to not worry. Sometimes it started out innocently enough, just a few cigarettes. Something to occupy her hands when she was out with friends so that she wouldn’t drink.

Sherlock’s eyes are sharp when they swing back to pin John where he stands. His voice low and grating when he growls, “Get in the back.”

It washes down John’s spine in a wave of heat and pools in his belly, liquid hot.

Christ.

Sherlock steps back and allows John to move out before he opens the door, holding it.

John looks in.

There are the towels and the box.

He pulls his shoulders back and nods at Sherlock before climbing up and in.

The door closes behind him as John settles down on the center seat.

The towels are Sherlock’s, from home.

He runs his hands over them. They’re white and plush, luxe. His fingers sink into the thick nap. He caresses them absently as Sherlock climbs into the front.

Directly across from him, attached to the dash by some feat of engineering on Sherlock’s part no doubt, is his iPhone. For the drive to the chippy it had remained off.

Sherlock presses the home button and the screen lights up.

It’s already set to the camera function.

Reflecting John back at him.

“It’s not recording,” Sherlock says, quickly.

John tears his eyes away from the screen. Meets Sherlock’s gaze in the mirror.

“I won’t be able to see you,” Sherlock rushes to explain. His cheeks still singed red.

“Can’t exactly watch me through the rearview,” John agrees, nodding. It’s what they had said before. Outside the clinic. They’re starting over. John rubs his fingertips over his lips. His heart thumping hard in his chest.

Sherlock nods.

John remembers his lines. “Won’t be able to touch me either. Seems a bit.” John spreads his legs. Rests one hand on the top of his thigh. Palms his erection through his jeans with the other. “Unfair.”

Sherlock’s eyes flicker down to the camera screen.

Watching as John rubs.

Flattening his flies over his thickening throbbing cock so that the outline is clear. Unequivocal.

Sherlock makes a small high pitched noise. Almost a whimper.

Almost.

Sherlock clears his throat. Says, roughed up, but on cue, “Well, there in lies the challenge.”

John smirks. “I would have thought it would be you not wrapping our car around a tree while I have a wank in the back seat.”

The breath huffs out of Sherlock’s mouth and in the mirror his lips curve up. “That too.” Sherlock starts the car.

“What do you want me to do first?” John prompts, pressing his damp palms to his knees. The small Sussex town seething past the windows. People walking, driving, carrying on. John inside, his dick hard in his pants, ready to do anything Sherlock wants.

“Your jacket.” Sherlock’s eyes are on the road as he makes a right turn.

John slides it off. Drapes it over the seat back.

He’s sweating. His vest is sticking to him, to his chest and underneath his arms. It’s cold in the car. When his sweat dries tiny chills begin to tremor beneath his skin.

“Turn up the heat a bit would you?”

Sherlock presses some buttons and then John can feel the barest stirring of air on his face, warm and dry.

“Thanks.”

“Shirt next.”

John raises his hands to his top button. He’s down to the third when Sherlock says, thick, “Slower.”

John meets his eyes in the rearview.

On the screen John slides the fourth button slowly through it’s hole.

They’re just merging onto the A626 when John has reached the bottom.

He leans back against the seat, his shirt parted, waiting for further instruction.

“Are you still cold?” Sherlock asks, a moment later.

John shakes his head. “No. Why?”

“Your.” Sherlock licks his lips. John can see the pink tip of it flicker into the corner of his mouth. “Nipples.”

John looks down.

Oh.

“They’re hard aren’t they?” John observes.

“Very,” Sherlock says, fast, and John’s heart kicks in his chest.

“They’re hard for you, Sherlock,” John says, reaching up and taking the right between his fingertips.

He rolls it through the thin cotton of his vest and gasps as the feeling, just bordering on pain, strikes through him, bright.

“I’m so fucking hard for you.” He drops his other hand back down to his erection, neglected and making its displeasure known. He spreads his legs and slouches down a bit.

Pinching his nipple.

Gripping his cock.

He moans.

“Your shirt,” Sherlock says, choked. “Take it off. Vest too.” A second later. “Please.”

John obeys. Laying them both on top of his jacket.

When he resettles he meets Sherlock’s eyes in the mirror and John feels it as a fist to the solar plexus, punching the air from his lungs.

“I think.” A pause. “I think you should get your fingers wet.”

“You do.”

“Yes.”

“Like this?” John licks at the pads of his fingers and then lowers them back down to circle around his nipple, the hair prickling against his skin, the hard bead rolling.

God, it feels good.

The slick makes a difference and he pushes up, arching into his own light touch.

In front of him, on the phone’s screen, Sherlock watches as John tips his head back, baring his throat.

“Both, John,” Sherlock says. “Do both.”

John sucks the fingers of his other hand into his mouth and then does as he’s told.

His cock is rubbing against the fly of his jeans. Leaking through his pants. The wet fabric chafing against the head.

“Sherlock,” he pants, desperation building. “I need—”

He can’t get anything out more than that simple statement.

Sherlock seems to understand. “Jeans,” he says, and John is already thumbing open the button and unzipping, pushing them down his thighs before Sherlock can say anymore.

“Not your pants,” Sherlock reprimands sharply, as John hooks his fingers into the waistband of his boxers next. “Socks.”

John groans, his blood pounding urgently against his skin, but he complies. Tossing his socks into the corner where his jeans lie in a messy pile.

John sits back, the leather cool against the fever of his skin. Sticking to him where’s he’s sweating.

The air is thick with the smell of his musk, mingling with the leather.

“You are hard aren’t you?” Sherlock says, his voice rumbling.

“So hard,” John agrees, his hands clenched on top of his knees, waiting for the next order.

“Would it help if you touched yourself?” Sherlock asks. “Or would that make it more difficult?”

John shifts against the towels. Restless. Skin tingling. “Please.”

“Yes, go on then.”

John presses his palm flat against the base of his cock and drags it up.

The feeling is exquisite.

Crackling through him to spark in his fingertips and toes.

“Oh, God.”

He does it again. Canting his hips up so that Sherlock can see. Can see the dark spot at the tip, where his precome has soaked through. He fists his hand around the head, letting the fabric rub over the glans, rough and wet. John shudders.

Hears, far away:

the distinct sound of a zipper opening.

“Are you,” John looks up, into the rearview and meets Sherlock’s gaze. “Are you touching yourself.”

“Yes.” Thick.

“You’ve got your cock out?” John rasps, his hand tightening.

“Yes.”

“Can’t help it can you?” John murmurs, rubbing, molding his pants to the shape of himself.

“No.” Broken.

“Me either. You drive me mad. Absolutely barking mad.”

“You can take your pants off now.”

They’re both breathing hard. The ragged sound of it fills the car.

John slides them down his hips and his cock springs out, red and gleaming and Sherlock groans, heartfelt, as John pushes them down and off. Leaning back, completely bare. He grips himself. Gives himself a few strokes. Tilts himself forward so that Sherlock can see where he’s hard and swollen and leaking. The flushed rosy head of his cock reflected back on the phone’s screen.

“There’s lube.” The slapping sound of flesh on flesh floats back from the front seat. John smiles and then traps it, biting his lip. Sherlock, breathless, “There’s lube in the box. Please retrieve it.”

John flips open the box’s lid and pulls out the white bottle.

He holds it up.

In the rearview Sherlock nods.

“Can you recline the seat? Just a bit? The lever is there, yes, under. Thank you.”

John’s reclining now, the seat angled back, his body on display. His hair prickles and he blushes.

But he doesn’t fucking care.

“Heels up.”

Fuck.

John pulls his feet up and braces them on the edge.

“I want you to get yourself ready,” Sherlock says.

“For what?” His voice is husky, cracked with longing.

“You’ll see.”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

John wets his fingers and tucks them into his palm for a minute to warm it.

When he reaches between his legs his body seizes in anticipation, his muscles tightening.

“Relax John,” Sherlock soothes.

Two fingers, circling.

His bollocks heavy against his thumb.

He slides one finger inside.

Pushing past the tight ring of muscle.

He bears down.

Draws it further in.

God, he’s pounding for it.

He adds another, aware, on some distant level that he is making sounds.

Sounds that might be embarrassing.

But he just doesn’t fucking care.

“Good John. So good.”

“Sherlock.”

“There’s a string of beads in the box,” Sherlock says in one breath. “Fetch them please.”

John fumbles, blind, his eyes closed, going by touch alone. When his hand closes around the line of hard silicon beads he pulls them out and opens his eyes.

He stares at it.

Shocked.

It’s…

shocking.

Long.

Black.

Unyielding.

Beads increasing incrementally in size towards the handle.

“You want.” His breath catches. “You want me to put this inside me?”

“Yes.” Sherlock changes lanes. How are they still on the highway? “Only if you want to, of course.”

John…

who is he kidding…

is absolutely going to put it inside himself.

He is absolutely going to bugger himself on this string of ridiculous anal beads while Sherlock watches.

While Sherlock drives them, hands clenched on the wheel, cock standing up from his unzipped fly, dripping probably, aching probably, all over his bespoke trousers. The only thing separating them from the other people on the road, four tinted windows and a few extra inches off the ground.

Two adrenaline junkies chasing a high.

John squirts more lube into his palm.

And then passes his fist down the knobs, making sure the first two beads are well coated.

Heels dug into the leather, knees spread wantonly, on display, John adjusts them, positioning them against his opening.

His whole body flushed red. Up his stomach and across his chest.

He pushes.

The first bead, about the size of his fingertip, goes in easy.

“Oh,” John exclaims, surprised.

“Fuck,” Sherlock says, under his breath. His eyes flicking back and forth between the phone screen and the road.

Encouraged, John aligns the second bead.

Watches, as, reflected back at him on the phone’s screen, the bead, a bit bigger than the last, pushes, pushes back the thin pink rim and then, pop, disappears inside his body.

Air rushes out of his lungs in a thin, shallow stream.

“Thank you,” Sherlock says, suddenly. “Thank you. You’re so fucking beautiful right now, John. I—“ he cuts himself off, swallowing hard, and John smiles up at him in the mirror. Mouths, I love you. Sherlock, looking relieved, eyes crinkling, mouths it back.

John pauses to squeeze some more lube into his hand and slicks up the remaining beads.

Three more.

The next one is considerably larger.

About the width of two knuckles.

It burns. A hot sear down the backs of his thighs. John hisses at the stretch.

“Oh, my god. You’re perfect.”

John breathes.

Inhales.

Exhales.

He shifts and the motion sends the beads jolting, sinking deeper, just brushing the edge of John’s prostate and he cries out.

“You’re doing so well, John. So well.” Sherlock is murmuring encouragement. He’s also touching himself again. John can hear the furious sound of his fist.

“Sherlock, I want you.” He’s panting. The words are forced out through clenched teeth. “Please. I want your cock inside me. Now.”

“That wasn’t—“

“I don’t care what the bloody buggering plan was, just get back here and fuck me. Please. I need you.”

“All right. All right. Hold on.”

John laughs.

Giggles.

Where could he go?

Completely starkers with three beads up his arse.

Gagging for more.

Fuck.

The car slows as Sherlock pulls off the A626. There is muttered cursing as Sherlock looks for somewhere to park the car. Somewhere, John hopes, where they won’t be arrested.

The car rocks and tips around a corner. John retrieves the lube.

John: breathing hard.

Another turn.

Another.

His arsehole stretching.

Stretching.

Out and out. Around the fourth bead. Swallowing it. Taking it all inside.

John shudders and shakes, shudders and shakes. His skin burning, burning up.

And then, the car stops.

There’s trees all around, pressing in close against the windows.

John’s heart: a thunder in the silence.

He hears, as if from afar, Sherlock’s door open and close. The crunch of stone. The squelch of mud. The air pours in, cold and shocking, over John’s body when Sherlock opens the door.

“Oh, my god. John.”

John doesn’t say anything. Can’t. He shifts, up onto his knees on top of the seat to make room for Sherlock. Hands pressed to the cold glass of the passenger window. Knees spread, arse in the air, his hole stuffed full, stretched wide. Gravity pulls them lower, he can feel the largest bead resting against his body’s entrance.

What he must look like.

There’s some shuffling at his back as Sherlock climbs inside, then the click of the door closing.

The shush of clothes being discarded. Sherlock’s shallow breathing, John’s frantic heart.

John’s back prickles. With awareness. With the cold. He shifts. Restless.

And then…

Sherlock’s big warm hands on John’s back. Stroking.

“You’re so good to me.” Murmured into John’s nape as Sherlock drapes his long bare body over John’s. His hands resting on top of John’s against the glass, his fingers stroking between John’s. “Why’re you so good to me?” John twists, torn open.

The angle’s awkward. He can’t quite reach Sherlock’s mouth. He pushes back and Sherlock winds his arms around John’s chest, pulling him up until John is sitting in Sherlock’s lap, pressed against the length of his warm, milky body. Sherlock’s cock slid into the slick seam of John’s arse. Pressed hot and close; hard.

John slides his hand into Sherlock’s hair and pulls him down.

Mouths open, tongues meeting.

The sounds they make together.

“Please,” John whispers. Trembling. Sherlock’s fingers circling his right nipple. One hand on John’s belly: open.

“Shhh, I will. I will.”

John eases himself back down. Knees and hands.

The snap of the lube opening. Closing.

The first touch of Sherlock’s fingers against John’s straining rim makes all the hair on John’s body stand up. Erect. All of him erect and straining.

“Yes,” John pants, rocking back. “Yes, get me ready for you. Put those long gorgeous fingers in me. Pry me open for your big hard cock. Sherlock.”

Two fingers up to the second knuckle stretching him, impossibly, wider. Around the beads and further still.

“You want to take us both at the same time?”

Yes.

John moans.

And moans.

Ripped open.

Burst.

All of him leaking out all over.

Lube down his thighs. Begging for it.

“Please. Do it.” Hand fisted in his fringe, down on his forearms. He slides his knees wider, as wide as they will go on the seat, back bowed, presenting himself. He has no idea what he’s saying anymore. “Put it in. Just fuck me. I want you to. I want you to. Fuck me. Please.”

“John.” Shaken.

“Yeah. Yeah.”

The fingers leave him and are replaced almost instantly by the soft round huge head of Sherlock’s wet cock.

Sherlock hesitates, but John can’t. He needs.

So he pushes up, hands and knees. Pushes back and

                                 

                                                                                                      split.

 

Broken open, pierced and halved.

Blood pounds in his forehead.

His cock.

His fingertips.

His toes.

And then, inexplicably, Sherlock pulls out.

“Shh,” he says to John’s indignant whining. He sits down on the seat, on top of the towels and from the box pulls out a condom. Which he quickly rolls onto his erection. “Come here.”

John stands. Wobbly knees knocking. Bent over, hair brushing the ceiling.

“Face the windshield.”

John turns.

“Sit down.”

John lowers himself slowly onto Sherlock’s lap. Awkward. His body disjointed. Like a puppet.

The movement jostles the beads, pushing them deeper as Sherlock moves underneath him and fuck, John isn’t going to last much longer.

“Sherlock. I’m not—“

“I know. Just…let me…”

John hears the crack of the lube opening and closing.

“John, open your eyes.”

John peels them open, his head lolling on Sherlock’s shoulder. His back pressed against Sherlock’s chest, his arse cradled in the nook of Sherlock’s hips, his legs dangling to either side of Sherlock’s knees.

He blinks up at Sherlock.

Sherlock nods towards the front of the car.

“Look.”

God, he had forgotten about Sherlock’s phone.

John sees and feels Sherlock’s cock lining up behind the string of beads. Sees and feels his fingers holding John open, opening him, pulling him open.

“Are you sure?” Sherlock’s velvet voice in his ear.

John’s never been more sure.

He wants to be filled.

“Yes.”

The first push is intense.

It’s too slow.

It’s making him feel everything. Every burning stretch of his skin. Every thought-obliterating rub of the bead against his prostate. Every piece of Sherlock’s skin slipping against John’s skin.

And it’s too much.

It’s too much.

John wraps his hands around the seatback and shoves himself down, taking the entirety of Sherlock’s large cock in one slide.

Sherlock’s hands grab his hips. “John, fuck. Don’t. Don’t. I don’t want to hurt you. Christ.”

“You’re not going to hurt me.”

There.

It’s done.

Sherlock is in. John can feel his sac brush against his own.

It makes him shiver.

He feels full, it's strange. But, at the same time, he feels safe. Loved. Held together by Sherlock's hands.

John watches them in the phone.

It’s quite the sight.

Sherlock tucks his chin over John’s shoulder and presses a kiss there. Soft.

“Can I move?”

John turns his head, running his nose through Sherlock’s glossy curls.

“Or…not. I don’t have to. You feel so good. You’re so tight for me. So tight on my cock, John. And the beads. Oh, oh.”

John rolls his hips.

Out.

And in.

Sherlock opens his mouth over John’s clavicle and bites down.

Rock gruff, “Do that again. Please.”

So John does.

And then…finally…Sherlock starts to move.

His fingers digging into John’s skin. So hard John hopes they leave marks.

Bruise me. Brand me. Own me. I’m yours.

“Watch me. Watch me take you.” Sherlock’s voice growling in John’s ear. John awash in waves of light, he tries to do as Sherlock says. Tilting his chin down against his chest. Watching Sherlock’s cock pounding into him, below and in front of him. Each thrust sets the beads rocking right over his prostate with precision every time. “Watch me, John. Look how you’re taking us both. You’re taking us both so well. But you’re mine. You’re mine, John. I’m inside you. Oh, God.”

“I’m close. I’m so close, Sherlock, I—“ John buries his nose in the sweaty curve of Sherlock’s neck, his hand anchored in Sherlock’s hair, overcome.

His hips still thrusting Sherlock grunts and hooks his finger into the base of the plug and tugs.

And

Motherofallthatissweetandholy

the beads bump and slide their way out of John’s body, one tiny explosion detonating at a time until Sherlock’s other hand closes around the head of John’s cock and strokes up and…

a cymbal struck.

Singing.

Ringing.

Flesh stinging.

John comes.

Sherlock follows him a moment later and for a second John laments the fact that he can’t feel him. Can’t feel Sherlock fill him up with his come. Can’t feel it on his skin. But he understands. They are in a rental car. An expensive one at that.

There will be other times for all that.

John slides off Sherlock, but he stays close. His legs bent over Sherlock’s thighs, his arms wrapped around Sherlock’s neck, his forehead resting on Sherlock’s shoulder.

Breathing.

The reverberations of his orgasm moving through him in warm languid ripples.

“That was…” Sherlock starts to say a few moments later, his lips against John's hair, and then stops, shaking his head as he ties off the condom and sets it aside.

“Amazing. It was completely fucking amazing,” John finishes for him, tilting his head back and grinning. Drunk on endorphins. Drunk on love.

Sherlock smiles and it makes John ache to see it. “Yes. It was.”

They kiss.

Soft lips, sweet tongues, gentle hands.

Happy.

The loose thread still dangles.

John hasn’t let it go.

But in this moment he can let it be.

He doesn’t have to pull it quite yet.

Sherlock is smiling at him.

Sherlock is kissing him.

Sherlock is touching him.

They’re happy.

It’s enough.

Chapter Text

“God damn it Mycroft, you knew we were coming this weekend,” Sherlock growls into his mobile as they complete their walk through the house. Their footsteps echo off the hardwood floors as they come to a stop in the front room, which, John assumes, must have been the dining area from the pink paisley on the walls. At least now he knows why Sherlock was drawn to Baker Street. His mum had the same taste in wallpaper as Mrs. Hudson. He must have felt right at home.

John leans up against the wall and covers his mouth with the back of his hand, trying to stifle a laugh as he thinks of the look on Sherlock’s face when they had walked through the front door to a completely empty house.

It's a charming cottage. Ivy drenched brick with a bright cerulean front door. Large casement windows that let in loads of natural light, gleaming hardwood floors. Two bedrooms upstairs and one large, beautifully renovated bath between, with a dining room, kitchen, and den on the lower floor.

But not a stitch of furniture. Someone had obviously come in to tidy, the house was scrubbed and sparkling, but there wasn’t anywhere to sit, let alone sleep.

Sherlock looks up and catches John trying to hold back his laughter.

He narrows his eyes.

John’s shoulders start shaking.

“You think there might be some things that were left in the attic for me. Perfect.”

Sherlock rings off with an emphatic jab of his fingertip, his brow thunderous, his mouth pulled thin.

John walks over to him as Sherlock begins typing rapidly with his thumbs.

“What’re you doing?” John asks, coming to a stop directly in front of him.

“Sending a strongly worded email to my solicitor. I told her that Mycroft wasn’t to be allowed to take Mummy’s things until after I had a chance to go through them…”

John tugs the phone out of Sherlock’s hand and slips it into his back pocket.

Hands on Sherlock’s elbows, he ignores the indignant stream of words directed at him, and steers Sherlock backwards until his back is flat against the wall.

“What are you—“

“It’s going to be all right,” John says, leaning into him, until they are pressed together. John strokes his fingers down Sherlock’s forearms until he finds his hands and tangles their fingers together, loose. “We can stay in town tonight if you’d like. I’m sure there’s a bed and breakfast and…”

“I don’t want to stay in a bed and breakfast,” Sherlock bites out. “I want to stay here, in our home, and I—“

“Then we’ll camp out on the floor,” John says, running the tip of his nose along Sherlock’s jaw before tipping his head back to meet Sherlock’s gaze. “Were you planning on us keeping your mum’s things?”

“Well, no.”

“I didn’t think so. You know what I think?”

“What?” Sherlock’s arms wind around John. Pulling him even closer.

“I think I’ll go into town and pick up some things. Food and tea and a kettle. Bits and bobs. You’ll go up to the attic and see what the state of affairs is. If we need bedding you’ll text me and I’ll find it. What do you want for dinner? Pizza? Indian?”

Sherlock thinks for a minute. “Curry.”

“Curry it is.”

They kiss.

Slow.

Lazy tongues, soft lips.

“See, that wasn’t so bad was it?”

“You know it really is a disadvantage.”

“What?”

“You being so adorable. I have no defense against it.”

“I’m not adorable. I’m just right.”

John pushes himself away and takes two steps back. “Oh, and I’m going to need to take a long bath in your mum’s ridiculously gigantic tub when I get home. I feel like you’re still inside me and it’s bloody disconcerting. I keep wanting to look over my shoulder to see if you’ve snuck up and stuck your cock in me or something.”

Sherlock chuckles, but his eyes go dark when he says, “Is that an invitation or…”

John points his finger at him. “You’ll keep your hands to yourself, sir, thank you very much. There is no way you are going to be able to wring another orgasm out of me today. I’ve high hopes for tomorrow, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Sherlock’s smile. The way the corner of his mouth tugs. Up. And up. Tugs at John’s heart as it goes.

God, why did they wait so long?

“The tub is all yours then. It is enormous. The master bath is the only thing that’s been renovated in this entire house. It was her one luxury.”

“Well, maybe I’ll convince you to join me. There’s room for four in that thing.”

Sherlock scrunches up his nose. As it so happens, John is not the only one who can pull off adorable. “You know I detest baths. You’re just soaking in your own filth.”

“Don’t underestimate my powers of persuasion. The cute thing seems to work wonders on you.”


***********


When John arrives back at the house, it takes him three trips to bring everything inside.

Sherlock is no where to be found.

John checks the upstairs and the attic before putting his coat back on and going out onto the back patio.

The air slaps at his cheeks and knuckles and he tucks his hands into his pockets before setting off toward the opening in the low garden wall that leads out into the orchard.

The trees are heavily laden with apples. Red and gold and pink globes pull the boughs down towards the ground. John picks one as he walks.

It’s delicious. Crisp as wine on his tongue.

The air is slick with mist and biting with salt from the sea. Woodsmoke teases on the breeze. It had rained off and on during John’s journey into town. When he reaches the perimeter of the property John turns back around and studies the lay of the land for a moment, trying to parse Sherlock from his hiding place. Finally, he gives up and just calls his name.

The answer comes from the direction of the trees bearing yellow fruit and John ducks between them until he comes up against a paddock fence that separates them from their neighbor to the east. Sherlock stands a little way off, on the crest of a small rise. Smoking. Below them the downs roll out to meet the sea and John’s breath catches in his chest for a moment. The waves glint silver, the chalky white sand sparkling, caught in the rays of the setting sun. The town itself, where John had been just a half hour before, sits nestled between the green and blue.

“God, it’s gorgeous,” John says, leaning his elbows on the fence.

Sherlock hums and flicks away his cigarette butt.

John watches it flare red, a firefly igniting, there and gone, before Sherlock grinds it beneath his heel.

“I got you patches,” John says as Sherlock approaches.

“Thank you.”

He dips down to give John a kiss, but John ducks away.

“What?”

“I don’t fancy kissing an ash tray again. Here, eat this and then we can snog.”

John hands him the partially eaten apple.

Sherlock studies it for a moment before shrugging and taking a large bite.

For a moment they both watch the glitter of the waves. Petrels careen, black gashes in the seamless white cloth of the cloud choked sky.

“I don’t know what it looks like,” Sherlock says softly a few moments later, and although it’s seemingly apropos of nothing, John can tell where he’s going. He feels a stab of fear low in his chest, hot as the ember from Sherlock’s discarded cigarette.

“What what looks like?” John asks, looking up at him.

John’s pulse striking, striking against his skin.

“Love.”

John feels the word land in his gut.

Sherlock’s eyes flicker away, fixing on the house behind John.

“My parents stayed married, but they weren’t in love. Not by the time I came along at least. My mother resented us, resented my father, for the loss of her career. She tried to get it back once I was in school, but she had been away too long. My father and her existed in separate rooms. They did not show affection. With Mycroft and I, my mother was more of a teacher. She taught us to reason. The way to please her lay through our brains. Not our hearts. My father was absent at best. He carried on an affair with Mrs. Noor, a widower who lived down the road, for decades until she moved away to be with her grandchildren in New York. My mother, if she had lovers, was more discreet.”

Sherlock speaks in measured tones, but all John feels is a sort of sick panic steal over him. He runs his hand over the back of his neck and he gets his feet under him. Spread. At attention. Why does it feel like he is bracing for a hit?

“I’ve no idea what an actual functioning, healthy relationship looks like. The detritus that washes up in our sitting room has done nothing to assuage my theory that it is utterly impossible to find an example of it. I have been led to believe on countless occasions by my brother that sentiment is the root of all suffering. That it is the enemy of fact and reason. I have had no cause to doubt him. The only other experience I have was…disappointing. I did not desire another one when it was over.”

John’s chest tightens.

When he swallows his throat closes up and he almost chokes.

Sherlock’s eyes meet his and it is like a physical blow.

“Are you…” John licks his lips, his mouth dry and burning. “Are you saying—“

“I’m not making much sense am I?”

John shakes his head.

His eyes, at their backs, prickle.

The loose thread unravels, a helix spinning down into darkness, and John goes with it. Down and down.

If this is it…if this is the end…

He folds his hands behind his back. Squares his shoulders.

“Being here, in this house where we used to spend summers away from my father, made me doubt that I could do it. Mycroft is very rarely wrong about anything, after all.” John closes his eyes against it: the sight of Sherlock, about to break John’s heart. He feels Sherlock step close, pressed up against the fence that separates them. His voice is low and earnest when he says, “And that’s why I’ll certainly make a mess of it because I’ve no idea what I’m doing,” and here, Sherlock’s voice breaks just the tiniest bit, “but, God, John, I want to try.”

Sherlock’s hands come to rest on John’s shoulders and John sways beneath their weight. Dizzy. His blood smarts in his cheeks. When Sherlock leans down to rest his forehead against John’s the tips of their noses, rough and bristly with cold, brush.

Sherlock whispers, “It’s easiest when I’m touching you. I feel like I can say things when I touch you that are impossible otherwise.”

“Then touch me,” John says, his voice thick.

When Sherlock’s mouth slips against John’s it’s like he’s breaking the surface after swimming somewhere dark and deep. He is giddy with oxygen and sunlight. His lungs bursting. It feels like relief. It feels like living. It feels like joy.

Sherlock touches him and touches him and touches him.

And the undercurrent beneath it is this: I want you. I choose you. I want the black days and the good. Come storm or sun. I want the failures and the celebrations. I want to be by your side and meet them both. I want you. I choose you.

I choose you.

Sherlock’s mouth is fierce against John’s. He kisses John like he’s laying a vow on him. It mantles John in love, sinks down into his bones. Laying claim, accepting the risk. Sherlock’s hands hold John’s face between them like something cherished, something precious, something he wants to keep and protect. John feels it. He doesn’t need Sherlock to say it.

John touches him and touches him and touches him.

Drawing love onto his skin.

Scoring it with his fingertips. Wanting to brand it, make him feel it, write it on him in inedible ink so that he never forgets.

All the words he cannot say, all the words he would feel stupid saying out loud: You are my home. You are my heart.

John meets him and makes his own vow.

I choose you.

I want you.

I love you.

He feels raw when they part. Tender. Bruised.

Sherlock’s thumbs on John’s cheeks. His eyes clear and impossibly blue.

“Curry,” John blurts out, embarrassed. He feels like he has just bared a bit of his soul.

“Yes,” Sherlock agrees, kissing John one more time before dropping his hands to his sides.

“I got the Massaman and the green. No peppers.” John is talking for lack of anything better to do. They both know it. They’re both grinning like complete idiots. But that’s all right. It feels like they just got fucking married under the apple trees on a perfectly ordinary Friday in September with only the downs and the channel and the wheeling seabirds as their witnesses. “And the soup you like, the coconut with the mushrooms,” John babbles as Sherlock comes around the fence. He feels like all the blood in his body has surged to the surface. It churns to bubbles, fizzy and light.

When Sherlock takes his hand, John’s cheeks ache, but he can’t stop smiling. Couldn’t if he tried.

The sharp scent of crushed grass rises from their feet as they make their way back to the garden wall. Twilight settles over them, blue and trembling. It will be dark soon.

The house before them, windows glowing.

Just as the door swings shut behind them John’s mobile pings.

“Who’s that?” Sherlock asks, hanging his coat on a hook in the mudroom wall.

John reads the message and smiles up at him. “Our neighbor Fred.”

“Fred.”

“Mhmm.” John takes Sherlock’s coat off the peg and holds it out for him to shrug back into. “Fred’s just pulling into the drive.”

“And why,” Sherlock growls, “is Fred pulling into the drive?”

“Because his dad just died and he’s having an estate sale.”

Sherlock’s eyebrows are climbing his forehead. “John. Why do I care whether or not Fred is having an estate sale?”

“Because,” John says, opening the door to the sound of a truck crunching the gravel in the lane. “He’s selling us a bed.”

 


***********

 

“You look very relaxed.”

John doesn’t open his eyes, just lets the deep burr of Sherlock’s voice scrape over his skin.

“I am.”

He hears the shush of Sherlock’s bare feet against the tile and the creak of the toilet seat as he sits down. Then the sound of a spoon scraping against a cardboard rim.

“Found the ice-cream did you?” John smiles and opens his eyes.

Christ.

A tousle of silky black curls. Crystalline eyes. Barefoot in his pjs.

Throat tight, John asks, “Did you make up the bed?”

Sherlock nods, his pink lips wrapped around the spoon.

“You’re very devious, you know,” Sherlock says, dipping the spoon back into the carton. “Sneaking around town buying up beds and mattresses and tea cups and duvets.”

John shrugs, grinning. Heat from the water blooming all over his skin. Seeping in until he can feel it in his marrow. “Bits and bobs.”

“Bits and bobs indeed.”

“I think,” John says, sitting up and leaning his forearms on the edge of the tub, “that I’ve earned a bit of a reward don’t you think?”

“What did you have in mind?” Sherlock asks, leaning forward, bringing the carton just within John’s reach. John kisses him first, because he can’t help it. Slick tongues that taste of coconut and curry and strawberries and cream and then he nabs it.

“Mrs. Hunter makes this herself, you know,” John says, sinking back down into the water. “They had already sold out of the chocolate by the time I popped in, but she assured me that the strawberry was just as good.”

Sherlock scowls. “I thought by reward you meant, defile our new bed, or something equally interesting.”

John motions at the tub with his spoon. “So join me.”

Sherlock perks up a bit at that.

“I thought you said I wasn’t to lay a finger—“

“You’re not,” John says, laughing. “But I didn’t say anything about me laying a finger on you.”

“Oh.” Sherlock’s eyes widen. “Oh.”

“Yes. Oh. Now, come on. In you get.”

Sherlock is naked within seconds and clambering in with a splash, settling back against John’s chest, his long pale body cradled between John’s legs, the water swelling up his chest to lap at his collarbones.

“Christ, John, it’s hot enough to melt your skin off.”

John passes him the carton and the spoon.

“Yes, well, I am a bit sore you know. I was quite thoroughly fucked earlier.”

Sherlock makes a satisfied noise deep in the back of his throat. John can feel it rumble against his ribs.

“Bastard,” John murmurs into his hair.

“Remind me to find out what the melting temperature is for epidermis later would you?”

“Jesus.” John reaches for the ice cream.

“What? That was the logical question to ask after that specific observation.”

“Logical maybe, but feel free to keep those to yourself from now on.”

They lie there in silence for a moment and John relaxes into it. The steam licks at his cheeks, raising blood to the surface and he can feel his muscles start to loosen.

“How long do we do this?” Sherlock asks, after a little while, turning his head to look up at John.

“As long as we like.”

“Are you going to wash my back?”

“I can if you want.”

“Where’s the soap?”

“It’s on the back of the toilet. I didn’t get it out of the box yet. There should be a flannel there too.”

Sherlock hands him the carton and sits forward.

He ends up having to kneel up to retrieve it and John enjoys the view, the ice cream melting cool and sweet on his tongue. He’s admiring the elegance of Sherlock’s back, the line of his spine, the folded wings of his shoulder blades, the freckles dotting his ribcage, the dimples just above his arse, when he hears a splash.

“Bugger.”

And just like that Sherlock’s arse is two inches in front of John’s face as Sherlock bends over to fish the soap bar out from beneath the water’s surface.

John loses his grip on the spoon momentarily and it tips, dribbling ice cream onto Sherlock’s right cheek.

Sherlock twitches, but doesn’t move away. “Not funny,” he mutters, running his hands along the bottom of the tub.

John watches as the drop rolls down the lush swell, heading for Sherlock’s thigh, and, without thinking too much about it, John leans forward to catch it with his tongue.

That gets Sherlock’s attention.

He goes completely still.

Like he’s waiting to see if John is going to do it again.

So John does.

He drags his tongue up. One long wet stripe until all of the ice cream is gone.

John leans back.

Waits.

“Again,” Sherlock says quietly.

“God yes,” John says, dipping the spoon into the carton where the ice cream has begun to melt and turn soupy in consistency. John drizzles some over Sherlock’s left buttock and then leans forward.

The juxtaposition between the ice cream and the heat of Sherlock’s skin is stark on John’s tongue, alternating between freezing and hot. Freezing and hot. Goosebumps break out down the backs of Sherlock’s thighs and he trembles agains John’s lips as John kisses a line up to his hip.

“Can I keep going?”

“Yeah.”

Sherlock rocks back, his arms braced beneath him, his search for the bar of soap forgotten.

This time John paints a lines of droplets across both of Sherlock’s cheeks and opens his mouth, smearing his lips across them before sucking gently at the sticky sweet mess he has made.

Sherlock’s skin is flushed red by the time John has finished, darker where his mouth has been, and he’s breathing hard.

“More.” Sherlock pushes up, wrapping his hands around the edge of the tub, pushing his arse back into John’s left hand. “Please.”

John takes the spoon and then trails the bowl of it up and down the inside of Sherlock’s thighs, dragging the cool metal along the sensitive skin. John watches as the fair hairs rise in it’s wake.

“Fuck.”

Sherlock shifts restlessly on his knees. His shoulders rounding up by his ears.

Between his legs his cock hangs heavy, the wine-red tip hovering just above the waterline.

John pulls the spoon away and sets it down on the ledge. The sound rings in the silence, bell bright.

Water beads on Sherlock’s back. The hair at the nape of his neck is coming uncoiled in the steam, snaking over his creamy skin. His shallow breaths are loud in the quiet of the room, rebounding off the white tile. John tucks the fingers of his left hand into the crease where Sherlock’s hip meets his thigh and he can feel the throb of Sherlock’s heart, pulsing rhythmically.

John’s own body feels heavy. The echo of Sherlock still inside him from earlier. A memory. A pressure building under his skin, but he knows, he knows, that even if he’s hard, there is no way he’ll be able to come again. Not three times. And he wants…he wants to take care of Sherlock.

John tilts the carton over the shadowed crack of Sherlock’s arse and pours.

Sherlock gasps as the ice cream hits his skin and then, louder, moans, low and deep, as John leans forward.

He hasn’t, he is thinking, technically done this before.

The smell of Sherlock’s body mingles with the scent of strawberries and the faintly floral scent of the lavender oil John had added to the bathwater, which floats in hazy spirals on the surface.

Milky sugar on his tongue and the salty musk of Sherlock’s skin beneath.

John licks and licks.

Nuzzling his nose into the slippery seam as Sherlock spreads his legs as wide as they will go, his toes splayed under John’s thighs, curling, kneading. Blind, John sets the ice cream down on the ledge and pulls Sherlock open with both hands.

He runs his thumb through an ice cream trail and spreads it in a circle around the outside of Sherlock’s hole. Rubbing it into the coarse sparse springy hair before he leans forward to lick it clean.

He stays.

Sucking the sweetness away until it’s only Sherlock he tastes.

When he pulls away Sherlock’s skin is shiny and soaked and flushed with blood. He watches as Sherlock’s swollen rim pulses slightly and John reaches out to touch it. Sherlock jerks forward, as if electrified, and John puts a steadying hand on his lower back. “All right?”

“Yes.” Sherlock’s head swings between his shoulders. “Don’t stop.”

John presses the tip of his finger just inside and watches, mesmerized as Sherlock’s body swallows him up.

Shivers wrack Sherlock as he pants, “Your tongue. Please. Please.”

The noises Sherlock makes when John pries him open and licks him wet and messy make John’s heart speed up. He digs his fingers into Sherlock’s cheeks and holds him open, pulling him closer so that John can work the tip of his tongue just inside the hot silky passage of Sherlock’s body. For a startled moment Sherlock tightens around him, clamping down, and then, opening, opening, let’s John push inside.

The water is sloshing up the sides of the tub as Sherlock begins to rock, fucking himself on the sharp tip of John’s pointed tongue.

He’s getting close, John can tell, and he wants to touch Sherlock, wants to feel Sherlock spill against his hand.

“Sherlock,” he gasps, pulling away. Sherlock groans. “Can you sit up and give me your hands?”

Too far gone to protest, Sherlock straightens and, shaking, reaches behind him. John positions Sherlock’s hands on his arse cheeks and instructs him to hold himself open, while, slouching down further into the water, John reapplies his tongue.

Hands free, John reaches between Sherlock’s spread trembling thighs and wraps his fist around Sherlock’s hard throbbing cock. Stroking in time to Sherlock’s movements as he raises and lowers himself, riding John’s tongue, until he’s there, clenching around John so that John can feel the moment his orgasm barrels through him, shuddering out through him as he comes, blood hot and thick, over John’s fingers.

 

********


They shower.

The suds pushing between their fingers, tracking down their chests in white satiny ribbons as they kiss and kiss. Touch and touch.

They dry off.

And climb into their new bed.

Sherlock lies on his side facing the windows and John wraps himself around him, his nose resting at the base of Sherlock’s neck, their hands wound up together in the center of Sherlock’s chest.

They fall asleep like that.

Just touching.

Sherlock’s heart, held in the cup of John’s hand.

Chapter Text

John is awoken the next morning by Sherlock plastering his freezing cold body up against John’s back.

“Ennnggg.” John tries to roll away, onto his stomach, but Sherlock’s arm is locked around his waist, holding him still, so John does the only thing he can, which is to curl up into a ball and whine.

“Good morning,” Sherlock says, his arctic lips pressed to the back of John’s neck.

“Oh, bugger off would you?” John grumbles, burying his face into his pillow, trying to get away from the frozen tip of Sherlock’s nose as it nuzzles into the curve of his neck.

“I turned the heat up,” Sherlock says placatingly. “Wake up, John.” His tone is playful. It’s much too cheerful for John’s taste. At this hour, it’s unseemly.

“I said: Bugger. Off,” John bites out, thoroughly annoyed.

He had imagined a lie in. Waking late. Making slow sleepy love.

God, John loves a lazy morning shag.

This is the opposite of that.

This is bloody outrageous.

People have committed murder over less, he thinks.

“Jo-ohn,” Sherlock wheedles, his fingernails scratching through the hair on John’s chest.

“Wanker,” John grumbles, just as Sherlock slides his hand down to John’s waist and squeezes .

John doubles over, the air knocked out of his lungs.

John tries to keep the laugh behind his lips. He really does. He doesn’t want to give Sherlock the satisfaction.

But Sherlock does not relent. Long fingers digging into John’s side and dancing across his belly, tickling him, and before John knows it he’s giggling.

Giggling and squirming and trying valiantly to catch Sherlock’s hand with his own, but it eels away.

“Oh, fuck you,” John gasps, twisting. “Fuck you,” growling and laughing and slinging his leg over Sherlock’s and levering up, pushing Sherlock over and trapping him beneath him. John squeezes his knees into Sherlock’s waist and pins his wrists over his head. He’s about to tear him a new one, but one look and John stops.

This man.

This infuriatingwonderfulbeautifulmaddeningbeloved man.

His man.

Sherlock’s mid-giggle when John pins him, his cheeks rosy pink, his chins pleated, his curls spilling over the pillow, wet with morning light.

His eyes:

crinkled up.

Half moons smiling.

This man.

His man.

“Hi,” John says, soft.

A sharp pain in his throat, he bends.

All of him opening.

Unlocked,

so that Sherlock can

                                               slip

                                                                    right

                                                                                                in.

“M’ morning,” Sherlock says, low and breathy, between kisses. John breathes in the sharp milky scent of him, rubbed rough at the edges with sweat and musk and spice. He kisses Sherlock’s throat. The stubbly hinge of his jaw. Nosing at the velvety lobe of his ear and into his satiny hair. He makes his way back to Sherlock’s mouth, drawing from him bone deep, thunderous sounds, Sherlock’s body molding itself to John’s, arching up.

John sucks gently at his pulse point and Sherlock tips his head back. His eyes slipped shut.

John lets go of Sherlock’s wrists and shifts down, Sherlock’s nipples beading against his tongue.

Sherlock gasps and trembles. His hands opening and closing on John’s hips. Squeezing.

John runs his nose down Sherlock’s side and into the fragrant shadow of his armpit. The smell smarts in the back of John’s nose as he breathes in, copper and salt.

John opens his mouth, seals his lips against Sherlock’s heaving ribs, and

                                                                                                                                  blows .

Sherlock contracts, curling around the place where John is making raspberries up and down his side.

John digs his fingers into Sherlock’s belly, holding him with his knees so that he can’t get away and Sherlock practically shrieks, twisting about desperately below him.

“Mercy,” Sherlock pants, writhing, hips bucking, trying to unseat him. “Mercy, John.”

“Never,”John says, his mouth against Sherlock’s belly button.

“Don’t you dare,” Sherlock says, eyes wide, but, oh,  John does dare.

John is pretty sure he will remember the sound of Sherlock’s laughter forever. The uninhibited sweetness of it. The raw happiness. Raucous and hoarse and pure. John collects them like sea shells, storing them away for later.

Sherlock finally gets hold of John’s shoulders and, without really trying to stop him, John lets himself be rolled over onto his back.

Sherlock is breathless. His curls in disarray. His face red. His cock hard.

So is John’s.

Desire, a sharp, insistent pounding under his skin.

John licks his lips.

Sherlock’s eyes track the movement.

Threading their fingers together Sherlock slides John’s hands up until they bracket his face.

Lips against John’s ear, murmuring nonsense, murmuring love, Sherlock’s body caging him in, above him, around him, there is only Sherlock. They kiss dreamy slow. Sherlock’s fingers in John’s hair. John’s hands cupping the arc of his ribs. Their bodies rocking together down below. Time moves slower, a string of moments, delicate as spider silk, spun out. The light changing, blue to white, the morning stealing in, the only sign of its passage.


*********

 

The rest of the day unspools in the same manner, slow and leisurely.

They walk into town, enjoying the bright sunshine and the bite of the autumn wind, nipping at their cheeks and ears.

They eat breakfast and take their time. Enjoying the scones and the coffee and each other’s company. They walk around the town of Fulworth and upon the revelation that Sherlock had recovered his old record player from the attic the day before, they both purchase one record each: a secret kept until later. John has a few glasses of wine with his pasta at lunch and his cheeks grow warm and his joy overspills. They speak of old cases and soon Sherlock, who has not had a drop, is just as flushed as John and his lovely mouth is wibbly-wobbly with laughter again and there are tears bright in his eyes and John loves him, loves him mightily.

Utterly.

Completely.

After lunch they find a bookstore and settle into armchairs with tea for a few quiet hours. Supper is eaten standing up in the pub, one shepard’s pie split between them, and cold frothy glasses of dark ale to wash it down. Pressed together at shoulder and hip and thigh. Leaning in. They bicker flirtatiously over the book John bought, another spy novel whose plot Sherlock claims is ludicrous, but Sherlock can’t stop looking at John’s mouth as they argue so in the end John wins.

It’s a gift.

And John is grateful.

Sherlock hates people, hates shopping, loathes eating, but he has done all three and actually managed to be his normal scintillating self without one strop or sulk.

It’s a gift.

And John doesn’t take it for granted.

They hold hands on their way back home and if they linger beneath the apple trees to watch the sun set over the Channel and snog a bit, can anyone blame them?

Inside Sherlock sets up the record player and John lays the fire and, due to what can only be an aftereffect of the perfect loveliness of the day, Sherlock graciously consents to allow John to play his album first. Which is good because John has been looking forward to slow dancing to Billy Holiday’s rock rough, smoky voice in socked feet, pressed as close as he can get to Sherlock in their empty sitting room while the firelight moves over them all day.

When the B-side has finished Sherlock goes over to switch them out and when the first unmistakable notes of Claire De Lune fill the room, John can’t help but smile.

“You despise Debussy,” he whispers into Sherlock’s ear as Sherlock once more takes him in his arms. John’s fingers splay in his curls. Sherlock’s hands tuck into the small of John’s back.

“Yes, but they had no Chopin or Bach, and I wanted to teach you how to waltz and this one seemed to match the overall tone of the day. So.” Sherlock takes a breath. “Will you?”

John pulls away. “Will I what?”

“Waltz with me?”

Perfect, perfect man.

John’s man.

“Yeah,” John says, throat tight. “Yeah. Course I will.”

Sherlock holds his hand up.

At first, it’s clumsy. They bumble about. John’s body is not allowing itself to be led. But after a few circuits he lets himself relax into it—as so much of the last week has been a matter of John just letting himself relax into it, of allowing himself the space and the permission— he finally just lets Sherlock wheel him about the sitting room.

They end up just swaying at the end. John’s cheek resting against Sherlock’s chest, nose tucked into the open collar of Sherlock’s shirt, their arms wound loosely around each other’s waists. As they make their hundredth (thousandth?) turn, John notices the stack of boxes that the record is sitting on for the first time.

“What’s in those boxes?” John asks, his lips making their mazy way up toward Sherlock’s mouth. Wending this way and that. Uncharted. Unhurried.

“Comics,” Sherlock says, as John kisses over his right cheek.

“You read comics?” John teases.

“My grand-mère,” Sherlock says, his voice wavering a little as John moves down his neck.

“Yes?” John encourages, moving on, to kiss over the freckle on his throat.

“She wanted…” Sherlock’s hands slip underneath the hem of John’s shirt, stroking up his back. It makes John shiver. “She wanted me to learn French.”

“So she bought you comics?”

Sherlock hums, dipping his chin down and then, well, then they’re kissing.

It goes on for quite some time.

“I liked pirates,” Sherlock says at last, breathless. “When I was a boy.”

“Yeah,” John says, smiling into his skin. “Mycroft told me.”

Sherlock snorts. “Of course he did.”

“Go on.”

“My grand-mère gave them to me when I turned seven. They were about a pirate named Redbeard.”

“So you learned French in order to read them?”

“Well, of course I did.”

“Of course you did,” John says, laughing softly.

He imagines a boy barefoot in the garden just behind them, brandishing a wooden sword at the roses. He has a wild thatch of auburn curls and mischief in the one eye that isn’t covered with a black eye patch and is shouting at brigands and rapscallions hiding in the hedgerow.

“He had a ship named The Black Falcon, which was always sinking or getting blown up. There were three or four different ones I think. Redbeard had dastardly luck. He had an adopted son, a French nobleman’s orphan, named Eric LeRouge, and a sidekick named Tripod, on account of his wooden leg.” Sherlock shakes against John, giggling a bit. “He was a surgeon who kept weapons and other odds and ends hidden in his hollow leg. He was incredibly useful in a tight spot. Actually, he was quite a lot like you, John,” but John socks Sherlock hard on the shoulder so that he shuts up, his chest still vibrating under John’s cheek as he chuckles silently to himself.

“All right, you git, go on. And this time without any slights to my character please.”

Sherlock draws in a shaky breath, the laughter abruptly gone from his voice. “When I was nine my parents took in a neighbor’s Irish Setter who they were too old to care for any longer and I named him Redbeard…” Sherlock trails off.

“What?” John asks, sensing Sherlock’s hesitation.

“He died when I was eleven.” John can hear the sorrow in Sherlock’s voice and he squeezes his arms around Sherlock’s waist. “Hit by a lorry in the street outside our house. I was…distraught.”

“I’m so sorry,” John says, pulling back to look up at Sherlock.

Sherlock’s smile is rueful. He shrugs. “It was used as an object lesson in the perils of sentiment. By both Mycroft and my mother. It became a sort of code word for them. If I was getting too attached to someone, they would remind me of Redbeard.”

“That’s horrible,” John says, horrified and disgusted. “Sherlock you know there’s nothing you did wrong. It’s perfectly…”

“I know.”

“Do you?” The fierce, overwhelming urge to protect Sherlock and that inherent vulnerability he tries so hard to hide, tries so hard to bury in his intellect, rising up in John. He wants to get Mycroft on the phone and yell at him. Would go to his mother’s grave and give her what for.

But Sherlock’s not finished yet. “When I was eighteen and was away at uni I roomed with a boy named Victor Trevor. He was an Earl’s son who dealt cocaine to the upper echelons of our dormitory.”

John runs his hands over Sherlock’s back, trying to comfort him.

“He was my chemistry partner as well. One night when we were studying he offered me some so that I might stay up all night to study for our midterm…and the rest, as they say, was history.”

“Were you…that is…did you and him…” John trails off, his cheeks heating. It feels invasive.

“Yes,” Sherlock says, a little bitterly. “We fucked for a year before I had my first overdose and I was forced to take a break for rehabilitation.”

“Just fucked?” John asks, feeling sick at the thought of Sherlock shooting up.

“We were high most of the time. Not much chance to form a bond, and while I was exclusive, Victor definitely was not.”

“Jesus.” John feels cold. No wonder Sherlock had been chain smoking yesterday. The prospect of getting close to John must be terrifying. It must go against every instinct he has. It must—

“Stop.”

“Stop what?”

“Stop thinking all those things you're thinking. They're not true."

“Yes, they are. You said so yesterday. Christ, Sherlock if I had known—“

“Don’t be ridiculous. How could you have known?”

“I—“

“It doesn’t matter now. Look—“  Sherlock takes a deep steadying breath. “It was worth it. It was worth never knowing what love felt like, if it means that I get to have it with you. From the very first time we met you saw me. And you accepted me. Even the parts of me that aren’t…normal or correct.”

John shakes his head and feels terrifyingly close to tears.

“Only you. Just you. John.”

“All right,” John says, stroking his back, unable to make eye contact yet. “It’s all right.”

The piano swelling in the background.

A hot pain in John’s chest.

Sherlock’s nervous fingers fidgeting with the hem of John’s untucked shirt.

“Did I do it wrong?”

That stops John cold. He pulls back so that he can look into Sherlock’s eyes.

“Did you do what wrong?”

Jaw clenched. “I’m trying to tell you how I feel .”

John shakes his head, his throat closing up. “Sherlock.”

“Yes.”

“There is nothing you can do that would be wrong. You’re perfect. Today was…is…it’s the happiest I can remember being in a long, long time.”

Their foreheads pressed together. Their bodies wound up tight, tight, tight.

“It would be easier if I could show you. I want to make you feel it,” Sherlock whispers. “Will you come upstairs? I’ve…been doing some research and I—“

“Hold on, research about what?”

Sherlock chuckles, brushing his nose against John’s. “Come up and see, hmm?”

As if John would say no.

As if he could.

They can’t stop kissing.

Can’t keep their hands off each other.

John tries to walk backwards up the stairs, but they only make it so far as the first landing before he stumbles.

Sherlock picks him up and, despite the embarrassed heat in his cheeks, John allows it, wrapping his legs around Sherlock’s waist and burying his hands in Sherlock’s curls, wrist deep, and sucking on Sherlock’s plump perfect lips.

Once they reach the bedroom John slides down the front of Sherlock’s body. His knees almost buckle when his feet hit the ground and for a moment Sherlock supports them, leaning against the door, kiss, kiss, kissing the breath out of John.

“Bugger, I forgot to turn up the heat,” Sherlock murmurs as John sucks at his throat, his fingers undoing Sherlock’s buttons. “Will you.” John interrupts him with his tongue, licking, slick, into Sherlock’s mouth. “…lay the fire…” John’s hands slip inside, parting Sherlock's shirt, his palms pressed to Sherlock’s warm flesh. “…while I gather a few things?” he finishes, holding John at arms length.

“Lay the fire,” John repeats, dizzy with blood, dizzy with longing. He shakes his head to clear it. “Yeah. Yeah, I can do that.”

Sherlock disappears.

John listens to him clatter back down the stairs before he adjusts himself in his jeans and turns to regard the fireplace.

He’s still kneeling in front of it, feeding logs into the small blaze when he hears Sherlock re-enter the room behind him.

John watches him over his shoulder:

Folding the duvet and top sheet down so that they both hang over the foot of the bed.

From the pile at his feet Sherlock begins laying down the fluffy white towels he had brought with him from home. They release the scent of lavender fabric softener into the air. John wonders when Sherlock had had time to throw them in the washer.

“It’s going to get a bit messy?” John asks, his voice creaking high as a teenagers at the end, as Sherlock smoothes the fourth one out over the mattress. The thought makes John’s skin stretch taut over his bones, his heart racing.

“Might.” Sherlock says, setting a small bottle down on the bed, before he reaches over and snaps the overhead lamp off. John blinks, his eyes adjusting to the low light. The burgeoning fire casts the room in a deep saffron. Sherlock turns to face John and begins to unbutton his cuffs.

John places the last log inside the fireplace and wipes his hands on his jeans. They smell of newsprint and pine sap. Resin and ink. He stands and watches as Sherlock shrugs of his shirt, letting it drop to the floor behind him.

John’s fingers rise to his shirt front as Sherlock unbuckles his belt.

John’s heart starts to thud harder in his chest as they continue to undress.

Pieces of skin revealed in slow motion.

Once he's naked John stands for a moment trying to catch his breath. Flexing his toes against the floor, gripping it. Behind him the fire flushes against the backs of calves and thighs, buttocks and shoulders.

His blood beats close to the surface.

“Come here.”

The words strafe over John’s bare skin.

Rough.

The flames flicker over the walls as John steps forward. The night pools in the corners and covers the windows in black sheets. The house is quiet but for the sound of the wind outside and the crackle of the logs in the hearth.

Sherlock’s eyes track John as he walks, tracing up and down his body in open admiration. John feels invincible under that gaze. Handsome and strong and desirable. That Sherlock Holmes chose him to love: surely that means something, right?

John returns the look. Taking in the masculine beauty of Sherlock’s body. The fair hair that glints on his arms and chest, shading darker at his groin and down his legs. The curve of his muscles and the sinew of his tendons. The veins that stand out against the tender white skin on the inside of his wrists. His narrow feet, his slim thighs. The size of his hands, loose, hanging at his sides. Those long elegant fingers.

“Hi,” John says, quiet. Smiling.

The corner of Sherlock’s mouth tugs up. “Hi.”

John’s eyes trace lovingly over Sherlock’s face.

“What now?”

“Will you lay down on your stomach?” Sherlock asks, his body swaying a little, as if he is fighting the urge to touch John.

John tips up onto his toes. Fingertips resting light against Sherlock’s stomach. Sherlock’s mouth opens above him. Petal soft lips parting for John’s tongue. 

When John pulls away the firelight floods back in, gilding Sherlock. Sparking crimson in the silken sable folds of his curls.

“Lay down,” Sherlock says, voice pitched low. Eyes dark. “Please.”

John lies face down on top of the towels. The room stands empty around them, the bed dominating the space, the white walls bathed in a pulsing citron gold. He looks up at Sherlock and smiles as Sherlock climbs up to kneel beside him.

John slides his hand between Sherlock’s legs and bends it up to stroke along the outside of his thigh.

“Close your eyes.”

John does, letting his hand drop back down to the bed.

“Relax. Breathe.”

John tries.

He focuses on the the smell of woodsmoke and the clean soapy scent of Sherlock’s skin as he takes in deep breaths through his nose. He shifts a bit until he finds a position he’s comfortable in. Once he stills, Sherlock’s hands settle in his hair.

At first he just smoothes his fingers down John’s head, petting gently.

The simple touch makes John’s breathing slow further. He can feel the tension in his shoulders release fractionally, sinking down into the mattress. His hips follow. His legs.

After a few minutes of this Sherlock delves his fingertips into the strands, pressing the pads into John’s skull.

He starts at the top of John’s head and then pushes them out, dragging against John’s scalp, slow, slow.

Slow.

Each pass melts down John’s spine, suffusing him with a drowsy warmth.

John breathes in and out.

In

and

out.

The firelight flickers across the inside of his eyelids, scarlet.

He is almost on the verge of falling asleep when he feels Sherlock moving, the bed dipping a bit as he shifts beside John.

He hears the snap of a bottle opening and closing and, expecting lube, John jumps when a drizzle of cold liquid hits the skin between his shoulder blades.

“Sorry,” Sherlock says, smoothing his warm palms through the oil and spreading it out over John’s shoulders.

“’S okay,” John says, his voice slurry and sleepy thick.

John is expecting a massage. He is expecting pressure.

So when Sherlock begins to trail his fingertips up and down John’s back,

light,

drifting,

John finds himself tingling all over.

The pads of Sherlock’s fingers drag through the oil and slip over John’s skin, saturating him. The rich, nutty scent of almonds fills his nose.

Sherlock’s touch stroking down, over the curve of John’s arse, and down his thighs and calves. Over the soles of his feet, thumbs digging into his arches, and slipping between his toes.

Light.

Drifting.

Caressing.

Worshiping.

Thumbing up the column of John’s neck. Kneading a bit into John’s stiff shoulder, avoiding his scar. John groans, pushing into the touch. It’s been sore all day, a constant nagging ache in the wet weather. Sherlock works at it for a bit before moving on.

Stroking down over John’s shoulders and biceps. His forearms. His hands.

And back down.

Thumbs down the groove of John's spine. Dipping into the curve of his lower back. Sliding down over his arse and between his cheeks, dipping between, just glancing over his perineum, wet and hard, before moving down the inside of his thighs once more.

Sherlock’s body brushes against John’s when he has to lean over him, his chest and half-hard cock rubbing against John’s back, slippery and warm. His curls tickling John’s expectant skin, sending tiny lightning bolts striking through John. Scorching. Sizzling.

By the time Sherlock asks him to turn over John feels awake again. His body alive with sensation.

This time Sherlock arranges John perpendicular across the bed, his legs bent over the edge, feet on the ground. A pillow beneath his knees, Sherlock kneels between John’s legs.

John looks down his body and meets Sherlock’s smile with his own.

“Feel good?” Sherlock asks, coy.

John hums.

“Want to come up here so I can thank you properly?” John cups Sherlock’s face. It's the only place he can reach.

“I’m not finished yet,” Sherlock says, but he’s leaning forward all the same. John pushes up onto his elbows to meet him halfway.

Sherlock runs the tip of his tongue along John’s top lip. Silky slow. John opens his mouth and licks at Sherlock’s tongue. Sherlock makes a strangled noise in the back of his throat so John does it again.

Again.

One more time before he takes it inside his mouth and sucks .

When Sherlock pulls away his pupils are dilated, his eyes unfocused.

“Fuck,” he says, swaying slightly, his hands resting on John’s knees.

“Good?” John asks. It’s his turn to be coy.

Sherlock bites his bottom lip and nods.

“So what sort of research were you doing? Massage techniques?” John asks, running his feet over the back of Sherlock’s calves and into the sweaty damp crooks of his knees and back down. The hair springing up against his toes.

“I’ve been doing some research on tantric edging,” Sherlock says, to which John snorts and says, “Of course you bloody have.” Sherlock’s hair is a disaster, his lips wet and red and swollen. Christ.

Sherlock narrows his eyes at John.

“So tell me,” John says in apology. “What exactly is tantric edging?”

“It’s where you try to draw out orgasm as long as you can.”

“Draw it out…”

“Yes. As in, bring you to the edge, but not let you come. You do this over and over. It’s supposed to be quite exquisite.”

“Is that what today was? The wining and dining and dancing? You were winding me up?”

Sherlock shakes his head, brow drawing in. “No. That was the romance. The website said…”

“Oh, my god, you researched romance too, come here you great bloody idiot.”

Sherlock looks confused as John tugs him up and over him once more.

John takes his face between his hands and fixes him with his gaze. Sherlock “I Don’t Know What Love Looks Like” Holmes.

Jesus.

It makes John’s heart break.

“You. You are enough,” John says, emphatically. “You, just as yourself. I don’t need you to be Don sodding Juan. I just want you. All right?”

Sherlock nods. Still looking slightly unsure.

“What?”

“So you don’t want to…do the tantric edging…?”

“Of course we’re going to do it,” John says, kissing him softly. “You’ve promised me exquisite and you’re going to deliver. Now. Do you have a cock ring or something because whenever you’re touching me I tend to get a little…excited.”

Sherlock grins. “The box…is it still…”

“In the kitchen,” John says and Sherlock nods and goes to fetch it.

 

**********

 

Sherlock starts at his temples.

Rubbing small circles.

John’s eyes are closed.

He can smell Sherlock. The scent of his body, dark and spicy. It mixes with the bittersweet smell of the almond oil and the sooty charcoal scent from the fire.

John's body is warm and heavy, unwound.

In counterpoint: the soles of feet pressed against the cool wood of the floorboards.

The logs spit and pop in the fireplace, tossing sparks.

His heart a steady drumbeat in his ears.

Sherlock’s touch is light as he draws down John’s cheeks and traces along the edge of his jaw, scratching through the short bristly hair.

His nerves still thrill long after Sherlock has moved on.

Sherlock uses the same technique he used on John’s back. Stroking his fingers over John’s skin, intermittently pausing to add more oil.

He moves his hands over John’s chest, palms dragging over John’s nipples.

John sucks in a sharp breath as Sherlock does it again. Seeking more friction John bows his back, but Sherlock moves on, trailing his hands down to John’s belly and out over John’s hips. The inside of his thighs. The tops of his thighs. Back up into his groin. Up his chest and neck and around to the base of his skull. And then sweeping back down.

He can feel the heady release of endorphins as Sherlock speeds up his circuits. Oxytocin and dopamine flooding his system, flushing him with pleasure.

With his eyes closed he cannot guess where Sherlock will go next and so it is always a surprise.

It leaves John intensely, almost painfully, aware of every square inch of his body.

His skin prickles, pins and needles, his flesh fairly singing beneath Sherlock’s gentle touch.

Sherlock doesn’t avoid John’s penis, but nor does he pay it any particular attention.

He smoothes his hands over it when he encounters it, lets his chest rub against it when he’s reaching up John’s body, let’s his breath gust against it while he is rubbing at John’s thighs.

John’s not fully hard yet. His foreskin still sheathes the head, but he’s filling, slowly. A steady pump of blood and arousal. Sherlock’s touch distracts him, pulling his attention elsewhere, dividing it, so that John’s mind is fractured and unable to concentrate on any one area.

Finally, Sherlock takes it in his hands, drizzling oil over the head and down the shaft.

He doesn’t stay.

He rubs the trickling oil into John’s bollocks, rolling them in his palm, massaging it into John’s perineum and briefly, too briefly, over the entrance to John’s body. Sherlock moves back up, skimming lightly over John’s stomach and chest, over his shoulders.

More oil and then both of Sherlock’s hands are wrapped around John’s cock, stroking his foreskin up, over the head and then smoothing it back down the shaft.

The shivering incandescent feeling coalesces there and John can feel himself grow thicker, throbbing in Sherlock’s hands.

Sherlock squeezes gently, stroking him slow.

John opens his eyes.

And whimpers.

Sherlock’s eyes are hot on John’s. His gaze intent and dark and wide. He looks just as blown open by this as John is. I want you to feel it, Sherlock had said. The vulnerability of it makes John arch, hips pushing up, searching for more contact.  A small moan escaping his lips as Sherlock takes his hands away to add yet more oil to John’s aching prick.

Sherlock runs both his thumbs up the underside of John’s erection. And oh, God, it’s slippery perfection.

When his thumbs reach the head, now fully exposed, fat and red and glistening, Sherlock moves them up and down, worrying at John’s frenulum, over and over.

John’s body clamors. Rushing towards release.

“Sherlock,” John says, catching a hold of Sherlock’s hands. “I need the…the ring.” He’s breathless, his body glowing, hot and pulsing. Clinging to the edge. “Put the ring on me.”

“All right. All right,” Sherlock says, “Relax, John. Breathe.”

John squeezes his eyes shut and focuses on that.

Breathing.

In

and

out.

In

and

out.

By the time Sherlock slides the cock ring onto him he’s softened a little, the desperation gone. Replaced now by the pulsating cadence of his blood, thick in his ears.

John’s bollocks are tucked up inside as well and he can feel the dull thump of his heart beating against it.

Sherlock begins once more at John’s head. Kneading his temples, before resuming his path down John’s body.

After a few minutes of quiet touching he returns to John’s cock and this time, John can breathe.

The cock ring makes it manageable, the edge is gone, like walking out of the blinding heat into a pool of cool shade on a hot day, but John can still feel it building under his skin. A tide swelling.

Sherlock’s fist strokes him, wet, twisting around the head, and then working it down.

He sweeps his thumb over the tip in quick circles. Over the slit. Again and again.

Sherlock’s eyes never leave John’s face.

They watch him closely, cataloging.

Each tremor.

Each gasp.

John is his puzzle to be solved. Sally was right, all those years ago, he does get off on it: the thrill of the chase, and here, John is his prey. And John wants to give him whatever he wants. If Sherlock likes to be intellectually stimulated during sex or if he gets turned on by the adrenaline rush at the possibility of getting caught or if he wants to see how long John can wait until he comes, well then John is only too willing to go along with it.

When their eyes connect it’s like John’s been plugged into a socket. It sears him, burning through him, hot and fierce. It feels like Sherlock can see every intricate part of him. Under a microscope, all his secrets laid bare. He wants to close his eyes in sheer self-preservation but he finds that he can’t, that he wants Sherlock to know him. To see him.

He gets distracted by Sherlock’s hands.

His beautiful fucking hands.

Fingers working around the sensitive ridge of the head of John’s cock, making John’s hands clench in the sheets.

Rubbing incessantly at John's perineum and his frenulum at the same time, mirroring the motions so that John is wound up in them.

Stroking.

Stroking John’s cock with both hands.

Working him quicker, faster, squeezing harder and tighter .

Until John is writhing, breathing hard, sweat beading on his chest and in his fringe. His body gleams, the firelight seething over him. Sherlock in front of him, his hot skin pressed to the inside of John's thighs, shadowed, his edges brushed in flame.

Sherlock relents and air rushes into John's lungs, cold and quenching.

Kissing the inside of John’s oil slick thighs as he spreads John’s legs wider. “You’re doing so well, John. You’re beautiful. You’re so perfect for me.” He’s out of breath, as breathless as John is, and John wonders if he’s hard. He wonders if Sherlock is making himself wait, if this is just another challenge, another facet of the game. Giving John what he wants, what he needs, while simultaneously taking what he wants, what he needs as well.

Two wet fingers circling John’s arsehole.

John thumps his head against the mattress.

“Oh, God. Sherlock.”

“Shhh.”

Round and round.

Round and round, before he dips one just inside.

John bears down and Sherlock pushes deeper, curling up. Seeking.

For that electric knot that sets John shaking as soon as he strokes over it.

Hot splinters of pleasure shoot up John’s spine to burst behind his eyes.

John reaches down and grasps Sherlock’s hand that cups John's hip. Knitting their fingers together, John anchors himself.

Sherlock keeps going, keeps rubbing and it’s strange.

So strange.

John can feel the blood hammering against the cock ring, his orgasm stymied, it eddies and pools, water pushing against a dam, and then John can feel it start to

 

                                                                         e  x  p  a  n  d,

 

spreading out through his entire body, soaking him, until suddenly, as Sherlock rubs harder and faster, harder and faster, harder, faster, two fingers, three, it shrinks back down to a single battering point and then explodes out through him in shimmering tingling wave, after shimmering tingling wave and he shuts his eyes against it, moaning and moaning and shattering apart.

“I’m sorry,” John says, eons later, hiding behind his arm which he has, at some point thrown over his eyes. “I’m sorry I couldn’t last, Sherlock.” Silence. “Sherlock?”

John peeks out.

And his mouth falls open.

“Oh, Jesus buggering fuck. What the hell?” Sherlock is sitting back on his heels smirking over John’s rock hard, still hard, still standing straight up in the air, cock.

John looks to Sherlock for an explanation just as Sherlock surges forward, crushing his mouth to John’s.

“You were magnificent. Oh, God, John, so beautiful. Please, please. I need you.”

“Um, yeah.” John feels like he is trying to catch up, but as Sherlock climbs over him, his cock sliding in next to John’s he almost whites out at the barest contact. “Fuck. You took the cock ring off,” he gasps and shivers. Shuddering hard.

“Yes. I need to. Be inside you. Please.” Sherlock is kissing him and John is nodding. Because yes, yes that is definitely ok. That is more than ok, that is necessary. And John is wrapping his legs around Sherlock’s waist and pulling him close as Sherlock pushes

right

inside.

“Oh, fuck,” they moan together as Sherlock sinks, sinks down into John, melting into John, merging with John.

That shimmering lucent feeling is still radiating in John’s bones, tender and sweet, and as Sherlock fucks him John feels it rise to the surface again, permeating every cell. Washing out through him, bathing him in a warm liquid sunshine glow.

“I feel it, Sherlock,” John whispers into his ear, stroking the soft hair at the nape of his neck. “I feel it. I feel everything.”

Sherlock, thrusting deep inside John, so deep, so desperately perfectly deep, and John is so open, peeled open for Sherlock, so that Sherlock could just climb inside and John would keep him safe, the way he always wants to keep him safe and loved, Sherlock pulls back just far enough for their eyes to meet and it’s like a closed circuit, it’s intimate and raw and right and good and John feels it, feels it in his core, all of those things Sherlock can't say out loud, all of the things he says with his hands and his body and his eyes and his heart, John feels it all, and when Sherlock starts to come inside him a moment later John gathers him in and holds him fast while they shake and shake and shake.

 

**********

 

The next morning John wakes to an empty bed.

Out the window opposite him the sky hangs like a stone over the land, pearly gray and heavy with rain.

Silver mist soaks the air, glittering like dust motes through a ray of sunshine.

In the distance the apple trees stand, black shadows in the eerie fog.

The flower beds are thick with the decaying roughage of what were once an abundance of summer blooms. John can see evidence of day lilies and iris, peony and the ubiquitous rose.  The clematis vines on the garage are shriveling up.

Tomorrow is the first of October.

John gets up and pulls on pants and pyjamas and a vest and pads downstairs in search of Sherlock.

He finds him in the kitchen, wrapped in the top sheet, looking out the window above the sink on the exact same scene John had just been contemplating from above.

John shuffles up behind him and wraps his arms around Sherlock.

“Morning,” John whispers, his cheek resting against Sherlock’s ribs.

Sherlock doesn’t answer, so after a minute John turns him around.

“Hey,” he says, rubbing his hands up and down Sherlock’s arms.

Sherlock’s brow is knit and his eyes are far away.

John waits.

“I woke up wrong,” Sherlock says, after a minute. His voice is hoarse and scratchy. “Sometimes.” He clears his throat. “Sometimes I wake up wrong.”

“I know,” John says, because he does. John feels a familiar knot of worry tie itself in his stomach, but it seems to him that he’s never heard Sherlock acknowledge this before. Usually he just lapses into silence. Plays his violin obsessively. Starts a row with John. Harasses Lestrade or Molly.

It's jarring. A wall between them. One John can't scale. And Sherlock on the other side...

Lost to him.

John knows there’s not much he can do in this situation, but wait it out, and yet…

Four days ago in John's bedroom...

“It’s not wrong though, love. You're not wrong, Sherlock. It just...it is what it is. We’ll get through it. We always do. What would help?” he asks, winding his arms around him. Sherlock bends down and rests his forehead against John’s.

“I want to go home,” he says, soft and honest, and John nods, heart full up with understanding and hurting, a knife under his ribs. Hurting because it's so simple. This cottage with it's ivy clinging to the brick and it's blue door and it's apple trees with romantic names and it's giant bath and their new bed...it's not their home yet.

Yet.

“Then that,” John says, “is what we will do.”

"Thank you," Sherlock breathes out, his eyes fluttering shut, the etched lines of his face easing into relief.

They’ll be ok, John thinks, as he packs the car.

Four days ago in John's bedroom...

There is only forward now.

There is only together now.

He can see Sherlock in the distance, stark on the hillside beneath a white sky. It won’t be easy. They’re not easy men.

They are broken men.

Maybe that’s what they recognized in each other that fateful day at Bart’s.

And maybe that’s what saved them.

The realization that you can be broken, but still worthy. Broken, but still useful. Broken, but still loved.

They’ll be ok.

John loves him.

In all of his beautiful broken pieces.

It’s ineffable.

It’s true.

And somehow, John still can't believe his luck, Sherlock loves him too.

“Sherlock!” he calls. “Let’s go home!”

 

Chapter Text

Thank you so much for all of your support for Guilty Secrets. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me. I really hope you like the epilogue too <3 <3 <3 <3