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The Effect of Memory

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The Effect of Memory on Hearts and Names: a study by Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock fidgeted in the waiting room, feet up on the table in front of him as he ignored the annoyed looks the nurses kept giving him.

"Surely he's awake by this point," he muttered, flicking through the apps on his phone.

"Be patient," Lestrade said from where he was leaning against the wall nearby.

"Why are you even here?" Sherlock asked and huffed in frustration. "Wait, I know why, it's because my insufferable brother asked you to come keep an eye on me."

"You were harassing the nurses," Lestrade said.

"I was asking them perfectly reasonable questions about John's possible state of being!" Sherlock sat up, taking his feet off the table, knocking several magazines to the floor.

"Or you could just wait until he's out of surgery," Lestrade groaned and rolled his eyes. "That's it, I'm going to go get some coffee. You want some?"

"Black, two sugars," Sherlock muttered, turning back to his phone.

"Just behave while I'm gone, will you?"

Sherlock made a non-committal noise in his throat and waved his hand in Lestrade's direction. Lestrade huffed again and left, muttering under his breath. Sherlock ignored him.

"Mr. Holmes?" one of the nurses came over to him.

Sherlock sat bolt upright.

"John's awake?" he asked demandingly.

"Out of surgery. He should wake up soon."

"Are you sure there won't be any complications?" Sherlock asked anxiously, allowing his concern to show through in Lestrade's absence.

"It was just a gallbladder operation. He's absolutely fine."

John had told him as much before he'd been put under, had smiled reassuringly up at Sherlock even though it was John that was about to go into surgery. He followed the nurse eagerly as she led him to a post-op room.

"Now, don't be alarmed if he's confused or doesn't remember something. Anaesthesia has that effect on some people. He'll be fine once it wears off."

John was just blinking awake when Sherlock entered the room, and he dashed to John's side, practically throwing himself into the chair at his bedside.

"John!" Sherlock said, holding himself back from grasping at John's hand like he wanted to. "John, do you feel alright?"

John blinked a few more times and then smiled slowly.

"Well, hello there, sir. I don't think I've seen you around here before. Surely not, I'm sure I'd have remembered such a lovely face as yours. What are you doing this side of the world, luv?"

Sherlock couldn't find a word left in his brain to say.

John was grinning at him, eyes skimming over his figure with obvious and unfeigned interest. What was he doing? Didn't he remember who Sherlock was? The nurse said something about John being confused and forgetting things.

Confusion and amnesia aside, that didn't change the fact that John was... being extremely friendly. In a very non-platonic way.

John started shifting around, and leaned forward, ignoring the fact he still had an IV in his arm and had recently had his gallbladder removed.

Sherlock leaned forward in automatic concern.

"John, don't move so much, you've just had surgery," Sherlock said anxiously.

"You're sweet," John said, beaming at him. "How do I not know you? You seem to know me. I must be very lucky if I do."

"I'm really not sweet, John," Sherlock admonished, but he could feel heat stinging his cheekbones.

John's eyes glowed, and Sherlock thought that it must surely be all the drugs still running through his system. That didn't stop his heart from jumping in response.

"You are," John said, still favouring him with a crooked smile. "I bet you always say that. It sounds like you do. Tell everyone you're not beautiful, too, I bet. I'm going to tell you a secret, though, handsome stranger."

John beckoned him closer sluggishly, and Sherlock obligingly leaned forward, his cheeks turning even more pink with his proximity.

"You're gorgeous," John said, looking extremely pleased with himself for saying so.

"I-I'm really sorry, but does anaesthesia generally give people vision impairment, too?" Sherlock asked, sitting back and blinking rapidly.

"What's your name, then, darling?" John asked with an air of roguish charm that Sherlock was certain he didn't recognize at all. "And how do you know me?"

"I'm... Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes," Sherlock didn't know why he was letting John talk at him like this, but there was a tiny bit of heat balling up somewhere in the region of his chest.

"Well, Mr. Holmes –"

"Sherlock," Sherlock interrupted, blinking and looking down at his knees in confused embarrassment. "You call me Sherlock."

"I'm on a first name basis with you?" John asked, sounding absolutely delighted. "How did I manage that?"

"You live with me," Sherlock said.

John's eyes widened. "Are you my boyfriend?"

Sherlock's stomach erupted in a swarm of energetic butterflies, and he could swear his heart skipped a beat. Sherlock took several deep breaths, which was a lot harder than it should have been.

His own reaction to John while he was on anaesthesia was almost as alarming as John's reaction to being on anaesthesia.

John was on anaesthesia. That meant that he wouldn't remember this later. This entire conversation would be wiped from existence, at least to John.

Before he could remember all the possible reasons he could regret it, Sherlock nodded.

"Am I really?" John asked, smiling widely. "Are you sure? You're definitely out of my league."

"John, trust me when I say that you're completely out of mine," Sherlock said carefully.

"I don't believe it for a second," John said, and then reached over to take Sherlock's hand in his. Sherlock let him, blinking in astonishment as the vision of their fingers twined together. Sherlock couldn't remember the last time anyone had held his hand.

"Mine," John said sleepily, leaning back and settling down back to sleep.

"Yours," Sherlock said softly, feeling something flutter in his stomach.

He let John hold onto his hand in sleep, and the longer he looked down at him, the more the hot, liquid feeling in his chest condensed to settle over the place his heart must surely be. If confusion, Sherlock held the hand John hadn't claimed over his chest and frowned. It ached and pulsed with every beat of blood through his system.

Sherlock wasn't sure he liked it.

"Ahem," a voice from the doorway said.

Sherlock looked up sharply, almost jerking his hand away from John in something like shame, but remembered just in time to leave it. Both Lestrade and Mycroft were standing in the doorway, and Sherlock groaned in annoyance and glared at them.

"Will you go away," he hissed.

Lestrade had a smug look on his face, and Sherlock automatically began to deduce why.

He'd had a terrible day at work. There was a huge scuff on one shoe – new officer, he remembered seeing the roster when Sally tormented him earlier, trying to impress Lestrade, knocked a... paperweight off Lestrade's desk on his foot. Slight limp, bruised, sore foot, ruined shoe. His shoulders were tense, and he'd had a headache earlier, Sherlock remembered. He had resorted to hospital coffee and a vending machine snack. Lack of crumbs – Lestrade was a notoriously messy eater, lunch left its mark on him every day. Skipped lunch. By all rights, he should be tired, hungry and annoyed.

It wasn't work, and it wasn't being here at the hospital, because Sherlock annoyed him, and waiting for John's surgery to be done was further delaying him returning home.

Not Fatcroft. Because no one should be pleased to see him.

It was John, John holding Sherlock's hand still. Sherlock showing affection, a weakness, a chink in his armour of cold stares and sharp words.

No, why would he be smug? John would forget this, so it was only a moment. A single space in time that would be deleted later.

No.

Lestrade had a new smartphone, and Sherlock remembered stealing it and returning it later, after he'd used the particularly excellent camera to take crime scene photos. A camera with a video option.

Backspace.

Lestrade had taken a video of Sherlock and John. A glance at Mycroft – looked interested, had probably already told Anthea to get the data off of Lestrade's phone to analyze later. How much of the exchange had they witnessed and filmed?

"Give it here," Sherlock demanded.

"Oh, look at the time, really must run. Dinnertime for me," Lestrade said quickly, turning to go.

"You haven't had anything since breakfast. Allow me to buy you dinner," Mycroft said, accompanying him. "We can discuss the interesting scene we just witnessed."

"By all means," Lestrade answered, and the two of them escaped, while Sherlock, still tethered to John, was unable to jump up and follow them and recover the stolen evidence.

Evidence. The phone was evidence.

But first John had to get better so that they could both leave this wretched, sterile place.

OoooOO

By the time John was finally allowed to leave, Sherlock had solved a case of assault, accidentally broken up two nurses on staff by revealing an affair, and diagnosed a rare illness that had the doctors stumped, and all without leaving his seat at John's side.

"You are free to go, Doctor Watson," John's doctor said. "Thank bloody God."

"I assume you were your usual charming self?" John asked wryly.

For some reason, Sherlock's brain skipped over the part where John was being sarcastic, and decided to react accordingly. Charming, Sherlock had always liked the word charming. It was only one rank below dashing and slightly above dapper – shut up brain.

Sherlock blinked rapidly and looked away quickly to hide the return of the blasted blush. John had not meant that as a compliment. His reaction was ridiculous.

"You alright, Sherlock?" John asked obliviously.

Sherlock made a sound that he hoped John interpreted as "yes," but actually meant "no, really not, please help."

John shrugged, and followed Sherlock to a nearby cab stand where there were taxis waiting, not really noticing when Sherlock opened his door for him.

"So what have you been up to while I was out?" John asked cheerfully. "Anything interesting happen?"

You could say that.

"I'm afraid the hospital isn't terrible interesting, John," Sherlock said instead.

"Surely you found something of interest," John persisted.

Sherlock told him about the things he'd discovered while John was asleep. The assault case, the nurses' affair, the illness. He did not tell John that his hand had a distinct remembrance of the feeling of John's, and how it fit into his.

"Brilliant," John said.

And that was definitely a compliment. It was nowhere near the flirting (flirting?!) that John had carried out earlier while under anaesthesia, but it was a reminder.

"It, um, it really... wasn't that much..." Sherlock stuttered, forgetting what he was trying to say halfway through the sentence.

John raised his head and frowned as Sherlock wrung his hands together in his lap and avoided John's eyes by looking out the window.

"You alright, Sherlock?" John asked, and Sherlock felt a hand on his arm and shivered slightly.

"Yes, fine," he said shortly, eyes fixed on the blur of sidewalk and storefront outside his window.

"Are you certain?" John asked. "I've never heard you turn down a compliment before, especially one that you deserved."

"You're always the one that tells me that I don't need my ego stroked any more," Sherlock reminded him. "The hospital was dull. I filled my time. It wasn't as if I had a case."

"And yet you stayed with me," John said, and his voice was warm.

"Yes," Sherlock said, and he knew he was being rude. John didn't deserve that. "Dinner?"

"I'm bloody starving. All that hospital tripe really didn't do much for the appetite," John said, sounding excited. "We can order takeaway. Chinese?"

"Exactly what I was thinking," Sherlock said, and finally looked at John again.

John was smiling across the cab at him, and it was different, the smile John was giving him. It made Sherlock freeze in place, and his heart to stutter in his chest like his words had in his mouth earlier. His heart didn't know what to do with it, a smile like that. No one had ever smiled at Sherlock like that, and Sherlock's chest clenched up. It was the most wonderful thing he'd ever seen.

"Thank you, Sherlock. For staying with me all that time. You really didn't have to," John said, still smiling that otherworldly smile at him.

"I really did have to, John," Sherlock said, hearing himself say the words. "Leaving you was not an option."

And it never would be.

OOooOO

Sherlock didn't know what was wrong with him. Every single time that John said anything that even sounded remotely like a compliment, even in jest or with a sarcastic twist, all he could remember was John waking up from anaesthesia.

It hadn't used to be like this. Sherlock knew he was clever, far more clever than anyone, and he'd finally found someone who recognized this and praised him as his due.

But now, every time John complimented him, it was a shock to his system.

Every single time, each and every compliment reminded Sherlock of John flirting with him, and calling him things like beautiful, and – and gorgeous. Sherlock wasn't gorgeous, was he?

It didn't matter. John had seemed to believe it at the time, had wanted... well, Sherlock wasn't actually sure what John had wanted, but it was... romantic. Or sexual? Sherlock didn't operate well in this area, and it wasn't as if Sherlock could ask John, who didn't remember the incident at all.

Speaking of the incident, Sherlock had gotten ahold of Lestrade's phone and gone through it looking for the file, but it hadn't been there. He'd been too late, Lestrade had it somewhere, and without actually breaking into Lestrade's flat, he wouldn't get it back.

The thing was, and Sherlock was ashamed of this, but upon examining what he was feeling very carefully, Sherlock concluded that he liked it. Feelings were tricky things, and he thought he was confused at first, and he definitely was, but not about the part where every compliment, and every reminder of John's flirtation made his stomach flutter with a thrill of victory.

The real problem was that John was starting to notice.

It wasn't even that John was being observant or anything. It was that Sherlock was being far too obvious.

Who was Sherlock even kidding, it was visible from the bloody moon.

"Brilliant," John said, coming up behind Sherlock where he was trying to sift through the evidence in his head.

He should have said it was obvious. He should have told John that he'd only uncovered the evidence, and that he wasn't even halfway done solving this one. He should have turned up the collar on his coat to hide the blush creeping up his throat and over his cheekbones.

He dropped his pocket magnifier instead, fumbling with it clumsily and failing to catch it.

He ducked down to get it, cursing himself in his own head. Yes, brilliant Sherlock. Just prove how clever you are by dropping things and getting all flustered over a word John says to you all the time.

"Alright?" John asked mildly.

He had definitely noticed. Of course he had, every compliment brought on some sort of ridiculous fit. Even John couldn't miss that he always made sure to hide his face every time it happened.

So far, John had witnessed Sherlock choke on his tea on three separate occasions, trip on absolutely nothing, drop his newspaper, his phone and a microscope slide and almost walk into traffic.

The almost walking into traffic thing had been the worst one. Because that time, Sherlock also remembered that he'd basically agreed that he was John's boyfriend when he wasn't. Why had he agreed with that? It was completely untrue, and it wasn't something Sherlock had ever thought of wanting.

He'd just done it, with one tip of his head. Ridiculous.

And then, to put the cherry on top of this embarrassing cake, Sherlock had nearly been hit by a car, and John had had to grab him around the waist and bodily drag him back away from the road and back onto the sidewalk.

Sherlock really hadn't realized until that moment just how strong John was. He'd known it objectively, had figured that John must be strong if he was in the army. It came with the territory. But subjectively, Sherlock had never felt his gut swoop like that, or had the urge to simply melt back into John's arms.

After the incident, his knees had been trembling, and John had made him sit down on a park bench until it stopped. John had probably thought it was from shock at nearly being run over. It was a bit disappointing, because John knew he wasn't at all fazed by danger to his own person. He'd gone up against murderers, thieves and blackmailers without breaking a sweat. No, it was being in John's arms, having them wrap around his waist and pull him back against John's solid body that had set his heart racing and his legs shaking.

Sherlock realized that John was still waiting for his answer and nodded sharply.

"You sure, love?" John asked, and then, they both froze.

"I – I mean –" John said.

There was no way for Sherlock to hide his sudden, all-consuming blush. He hadn't been prepared, and here he was staring an embarrassed John right in the face as he flushed right up to the tips of his ears. It was obvious that John had said so by accident and didn't mean it, but his reaction was automatic and devastating. His heartbeat was too loud, and his breath hitched noticeably.

Mortified, Sherlock turned and fled, covering his red face with one hand.

He didn't stop till he was all they way back at Baker Street, and only then realized that he knew how to solve the case. He'd managed to solve it in his head, even while distracted with all this business with feelings and such.

He texted it to Lestrade with trembling fingers.

What was he supposed to do now? It wasn't as if there was a manual to handle these types of situations. Were there?

Sherlock grabbed John's laptop off the table, easily cracked his password (buggeroffsherlock) and searched the web for his answer.

His phone beeped with a text, and absent-mindedly, Sherlock looked at it. He was on another case, what did Lestrade want now?

Showed John the thing.

What thing? SH

You know. The bit where John was loopy in the hospital.

Sherlock was about to text back irritably, to tell Lestrade to stop being cryptic when he realized: the video. Lestrade had showed John the stupid video that Sherlock had been too distracted to go and find and destroy.

And now John would know why Sherlock had been so out of sorts this entire time.

You showed him the video??? Why? SH

It was cute, watching you two dance around each other, but it's time you got down to business.

Sherlock growled in frustration and resisted the urge to chuck his phone at the wall. Get down to business. What did that mean? Sherlock had no idea what any of this business entailed, and for every resource that Sherlock found that said one thing, he found another that said the exact opposite. This was more complicated than he was prepared for. Bloody Lestrade!

Sherlock was all ready to panic, when he heard the door downstairs open, and John's feet on the stairs. Too soon. Sherlock couldn't handle this, and wasn't ready to face John.

He crossed over to the window and looked out it, just as John entered the sitting room.

John didn't say a word, just crossed the room behind him until he was right there, and then Sherlock felt two firm hands on his shoulders, turning him around. John looked serious, and determined, and suddenly Sherlock was terrified that something was going to happen that he couldn't undo, that John would leave or be angry at him.

"I don't know what to do, John," he burst out, his eyes darting back and forth frantically. "I tried to figure it out, but I just can't figure this out –"

"Shhh," John said, smiling a little, and it was that smile again, and Sherlock felt his stomach drop. "It's alright... sweetheart."

Sweetheart. Sherlock blushed again, hard, and John was right there, looking at him and knowing. He covered his face again, not wanting John to look at him, not with his reactions going so haywire. His stomach fluttered with elated butterflies and there was that ache, back in his chest. Sweetheart. He shouldn't like being called that, it was embarrassing and ridiculous, but he did like it. He liked it, and it was so obvious.

"Don't mock me," Sherlock said in a small, fraught whisper.

"No, Sherlock. It's not a joke. I'm not laughing at you – have I ever laughed at you?" John asked, reaching up to take Sherlock's hands in his, revealing Sherlock's face. "I know you like it, it's okay. It's fine. I promise I'll only call you that if we're alone."

"Why would you call me that at all?" Sherlock asked, feeling exposed and terrified.

"Isn't it obvious?" John whispered, and then stood up higher on his toes to kiss the tip of Sherlock's nose.

And suddenly Sherlock wanted it, wanted to feel John's mouth against his, to feel their breath mingling and... other things. Other things that were very vague ideas at the moment, but John probably had a better idea of how to proceed in that area anyway.

He leaned down, moved forward, haltingly, not sure if he was doing this correctly. John smiled, took Sherlock's face in his hands and drew him into a proper kiss.

Sherlock made an embarrassing sound and kissed back, following John's lead. Oh, it was very warm and – oh –wet. John's mouth opened under his, and he coaxed Sherlock's lips apart, and it should have been odd, but it was good. Sherlock whined and tried to get closer. He was too tall and didn't know what he was supposed to do with his own arms.

And then John broke the kiss, grinned at him, and picked him up.

Sherlock's eyes widened and he scrambled at John's shoulders, but John wasn't taking him far, just to the sofa where he tipped Sherlock gently onto it and then climbed onto his lap.

That was a different angle, and now John had the height advantage, and he made good use of it. Sherlock trembled and cautiously put his hands on John's hips, holding onto his belt as John plundered his mouth. Something liquid and hot twined into a molten ball in his belly, and he had no idea what to do with it.

Sherlock couldn't support himself, and under John's onslaught, found himself on his back on the sofa with John straddling him, still kissing him.

"Alright?" he murmured, biting at Sherlock's jaw and throat.

"Y-y-ye-sss" Sherlock managed, squirming as he felt John suck a mark into the skin above his collarbone.

He wanted John to cover him in marks, little tiny reminders that he belonged to John. Because he did belong to John, and spread out like this underneath him, Sherlock felt like territory. The thought sent a delicious thrill down his spine.

John started unbuttoning his shirt, and Sherlock watched with wide eyes, chest heaving. He gasped and threw his head back as John's thumb tweaked one of his nipples until it was hard. Each touch made another burst of feeling cascade inside him, and a whine worked its way out of his throat as John's fingers tormented him.

"Sensitive," John noted with a grin. "Do you like that?"

"I – " Sherlock couldn't decide, but then John leaned over, the stubble on his chin scraping Sherlock's chest.

Sherlock groaned and clutched at the back of John's head as his mouth closed around the same nipple and sucked. He wanted to squirm away, but John lapped and nipped at the delicate skin until it was edging on soreness.

A hand felt its way up his leg from his knee up his thigh.

John drew back to look at Sherlock, and Sherlock could only imagine what he must look like right now, because John looked amazing. His hair was sticking up from where Sherlock's fingers had clutched and his face was flushed. The eyes that looked back at him were intense and dark. John looked like this because of Sherlock, and it made him want.

"Do you want this?" John asked steadily.

"You're going to have to be more specific, John," Sherlock said.

He had no idea where this could go, or was going. Relationships were so complicated, and from what Sherlock could deduce from the patterns indicated in the numerous articles he'd looked at, they very much depended on romantic versus sexual feelings, and if there were any disparity, complications arose quickly.

Sherlock had no idea about romance, and what that entailed. He'd tried to avoid thinking about it all these years, and Mycroft had encouraged him in that endeavour. Maybe that was the best reason to try and pursue a romantic relationship after all.

He only had a vague idea what sex was all about, mostly from infrequent wanking when his transport got too worked up after a case.

What would it be like if he could do this on a post-case adrenaline high?

John frowned and said, "More specific? Sherlock, do you know what I'm trying to instigate?"

"Not entirely," Sherlock admitted, looking away. "It seems like you're in pursuit of a sexual relationship with me, but my careful study of these interactions indicate that this relationship could conclude as early as the end of intercourse or could only end at the event of one of our deaths. Can you elaborate on how long you wish this to continue for?"

"Well, what would you like?" John asked, and for once, Sherlock couldn't deduce what John wanted from this arrangement and how it would conclude should Sherlock give the wrong answer.

"I... I quite like bees!" Sherlock blurted in panic.

"Bees?" John asked, looking baffled. "What has that got to do with anything."

"Well, I was thinking," Sherlock said nervously. "One day, I will be old. I can't pursue detective work forever. I like bees. So when I'm too old, I think I shall retire, and be a beekeeper. In Sussex, I was thinking."

John still looked confused, so Sherlock continued, getting more anxious the longer that John didn't understand what he was trying to say, in his own indirect, convoluted way.

"I always wondered if you would mind terribly, the idea of keeping bees," Sherlock blathered on. "Because I'd also quite like it if you came to Sussex. When I'm old. But if you don't like bees, I could do something else. Or – or if you don't want to come to Sussex regardless, at least, you might visit me occasionally – "

"Sherlock, are you asking me to retire peacefully to the countryside with you one day?" John asked, smiling gently.

"Well, yes. But more than that, John. I want..." Sherlock tried to think of what it was he was trying to say. It wasn't just Sussex, it was a far more complicated plan than that, but his head wasn't exactly working properly, what with all the blood flowing downward to other regions.

"You want to spend the rest of your life with me," John concluded, and Sherlock didn't think it was fair that John could still think properly. Maybe he had more practice than Sherlock.

"Yes!" Sherlock replied triumphantly.

And then stopped. John might not want that, to stay with Sherlock forever. Sherlock knew he was annoying, and that for John to put up with him for even this long was a miracle. It was too late, however, Sherlock had already said it.

John kissed him.

Slowly, as if he was trying to memorize Sherlock from the feel of the shape of his mouth alone. Sherlock closed his eyes and sighed into it, tipping his head up. The kiss before had been all fiery heat and desperation. This one was just warmth, and it gave Sherlock a strange sense of security.

"Yes," John whispered against his mouth. "Yes to all that. Yes to Sussex, and yes to bees and yes to the rest of our lives."

Sherlock was so relieved he wanted to cry, but tried not to, because crying while kissing seemed like it was probably a bit not good. He wanted to be good, for John.

"Will you go to bed with me, Sherlock Holmes?" John asked against his ear.

Sherlock trembled and nodded. John grinned, pulling him to his feet and taking him towards Sherlock's bedroom. John let Sherlock go to pull his jumper over his head, and Sherlock felt his legs give out as he tumbled back onto the bed. John stripped so quickly that he was nude down to his pants in less than thirty seconds flat while Sherlock was still struggling to get his shoes and socks off.

"You're eager," Sherlock noted.

"So are you," John said, nodding at Sherlock's groin.

Sherlock blushed and reminded himself that this was the whole point of sex. In fact, John would probably be more worried if Sherlock didn't have an erection.

"Here, let me," John said, taking over. "I'm very good at getting people out of their clothes."

"John, I – " Sherlock tried to say, but got distracted as John got the rest of his shirt unbuttoned and pushed it off his shoulders.

John kissed his shoulder, then his collarbone, gently pushing Sherlock onto his back on the bed. Sherlock took a deep breath and then another to try and calm his fluttering stomach. John's cheek slid down from his chest to his stomach, stubble sending a raw, tingling sensation racing over the surface of his overly-sensitized skin.

"John," Sherlock tried again. "I've never... I'm... a... that is –"

John stopped to look up at Sherlock, fingers on his belt buckle halting as he waited for Sherlock to finish what he was saying.

"I've never done this before," Sherlock said, wondering why it made him feel so vulnerable to admit it now when he hadn't cared a tick before.

"I know," John said back softly. "I'll take care of you, sweetheart."

Sherlock whimpered in embarrassed delight, caught between being mortified that he was letting John talk to him like that and being absolutely enraptured that John wanted to.

John dragged his trousers down, kissing the soft patch of skin next to his hip and running his palms down his bare legs. John lifted his right leg up to mouth his way down his inner thigh. Sherlock trembled and fought down the urge to press his knees together.

"I love these legs," John said, nuzzling at Sherlock's thigh. "They're so long and beautiful. All elegance and grace, like a dancer. I've always imagined what it would be like to have them wrapped around my waist."

John often spouted bad poetry to his girlfriends in his email, but it sounded so much better when he was actually saying it, especially when he was also caressing the subject of said poetry reverently.

At the first touch of John's warm palm to the length of his cock through silk pants, Sherlock threw his head back and groaned deep in his throat. Why did it feel this good right away? Sherlock writhed, grabbing at John's hand so he could grind against his palm.

John got his thumbs into the waistband of his pants, and Sherlock lifted his hips, wiggling so that John could get them off.

"Look how much you're leaking already," John whispered, making a fist around his cock and stroking up, rubbing his thumb through the liquid that had gathered at the head.

Sherlock whimpered and spread his legs further in wordless entreaty. He didn't care what John did, he just wanted him to do it faster. This slow, deliberate stroking was going to drive him mad. John didn't listen, actually stopping to rub his thumb over his frenulum, again and again until Sherlock was crying out with every touch.

"Please," Sherlock finally begged. "More. Something. Anything. Christ!"

"Do you have lube?" John asked, and suddenly Sherlock had to consider exactly how much he wanted to give over right away.

John saw his facial expression and reached up to run his fingers through Sherlock's sweat-soaked curls that were hanging damply over his forehead.

"It's alright, I won't go any farther than you want," John murmured. "But lube will make this a hundred percent better, I promise."

"Bedside table," Sherlock said. "Top drawer."

John found it immediately, and slicked up one hand with it. He took Sherlock's cock in his hand and squeezed, and Sherlock's cock slid through the tight space easily. Sherlock gasped, mouth gaping open helplessly. John was right, it was better.

"Can I try something on you?" John asked.

Sherlock was prepared to agree to just about anything by this point, and he nodded frantically.

"Flip over on your front on all fours," John instructed, and Sherlock complied hastily.

John's hand stroked down his spine, and then both palms cupped his arse. Sherlock waited patiently for whatever was going to happen, trusting that John would take care of him, as promised. John's hands pressed his arse cheeks apart, exposing his hole to the cool air. Sherlock squirmed, feeling exposed, but enjoying the fact he was only vulnerable in John's presence.

John pressed his mouth to Sherlock's entrance and Sherlock made a little hiccuping squeak of surprise as John's lips explored the soft skin around his hole. He licked at his perineum, and then lapped gently at Sherlock's furled hole. Sherlock's arms trembled, and he dropped down to his elbows, face pressed into the sheets. He mewled embarrassingly, his arse up in the air and his knees spread.

John's thumbs caressed the edge of his hole and pressed outward, opening him up further. His tongue worked its way inside, and Sherlock gasped and moaned as John invaded him.

Sherlock felt John alternating swipes of his tongue with presses of his thumb, working Sherlock open, pushing inside him. It was good, but it wasn't enough.

"John," Sherlock gasped. "Will you please just do it already?"

"Do what?" John's voice rumbled back, amused.

"Fuck me," Sherlock demanded, pushing his hips back and trying to impale himself further on John's fingers.

"Are you sure –"

"Yes!"

John's fingers left and came back slick with more lube. Sherlock groaned in ecstasy as John fingered him open, the feeling of being stretched beyond anything he could describe.

"Ready?" John asked, stopping to rid himself of his own pants.

"More than," Sherlock growled.

He caught a glimpse of John's cock, red and straining, before he felt the nudge of it against his entrance. John let the head of his cock dip inside, teasing the rim of Sherlock's hole. Sherlock panted and shivered, trying to push back so that he could just have John inside him already.

"John!" he whined.

"There's a good lad," John whispered against his ear. "Now bear down for me."

Sherlock did, and John slid home, filling him in every way imaginable. He felt all achy and raw, and not just from the fact his body wasn't used to it. His chest pulsed in time with his heartbeat, and he grabbed at John's hand. John twined their fingers together, pulled his hips back and thrust back in.

Sherlock cried out, and John started pushing up and into him, rolling his hips. Sherlock let out a little huff with ever little thrust, shifting to try and find the right angle. He'd never done this, but there was something that his body was telling him, that if he angled his body right it would get even better.

Then, John hit some tender spot inside him, and a shot of heat sparked inside him.

"There?" John asked, and he must have known the same thing Sherlock's body did.

Sherlock nodded, and John thrust again, harder, and Sherlock cried out as the sparks rose again, threatening to burst into flame.

John picked up his pace, and Sherlock couldn't help the obscene noises that spilled from his lips, filling the room with the sounds of his pleasure. John seemed to like them, if the way he gripped Sherlock's hips and thrust harder was any indication.

John brought their joined hands up to Sherlock's erection and stroked.

"Come on, Sherlock, come for me, love," John said huskily.

"I'm – I'm going to – " Sherlock whined.

"That's it, sweetheart," John said, and kissed his back.

Sherlock came. The sparks of pleasure ignited along the base of his spine and shot bursts of pleasure through his entire body, setting him to trembling and shivering and shouting.

"John, oh God, John – John! John, John, John...." Sherlock gasped, his gut tightening and his muscles clenching as John stroked him through it.

"That's it, that's it – God, Sherlock –" John hissed, and a burst of warmth filled him as John climaxed, and his release pulsed into him.

They both collapsed on their sides, breathing heavily. John's arm pulled Sherlock to his chest, and Sherlock closed his eyes and relaxed back into him. As his breathing slowed, he became aware of their sweaty limbs entangled together and the minute trembling of his thighs.

"We should get cleaned up," John suggested.

"Can't move," Sherlock said, and for once, he wasn't being petulant, he actually thought that his legs wouldn't support him if he tried to walk.

John kissed the back of his neck and got up. Sherlock was all set to pout, because he was sure it was bad bedroom etiquette to leave your sexual partner alone so soon after climax. Then, John came back with a warm washcloth and mopped up the mess he'd made of Sherlock.

"The sheets are dirty," Sherlock pointed out.

John shoved the top blanket that Sherlock had come all over off the end of the bed and pulled the rest of the unsoiled blankets up over the both of them.

"Shush, you," John said, wrapping Sherlock up in his arms.

Sherlock hummed and settled contentedly back into the solid warmth of John's body.

"Mine," John murmured, and kissed the back of Sherlock's neck.

"Yours," Sherlock agreed.

Because John had promised him tomorrow, and the next day, and every day after that.