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“Lucky day for you, boys! This is the last double I have available.”

The innkeeper had been rifling through the pages of his notebook for a while, and he’d looked remarkably relieved when his quest came to an end. John, on the other hand, looked rather confused, with his brows completely furrowed and his mouth slightly agape. Before the realisation could even remotely cross his mind, the doctor wondered about the reason behind such contentedness. “That’s, uh,

Then, sudden and unexpected like lightning in the morning sky – a couple.
John turned around. Sherlock’s eyes were on him, blue and piercing. The man thinks we’re a couple. “We- we’re not-

The key to their room was hanging from the innkeeper’s fingers, shiny and golden before his eyes.

“You don’t happen to have a single, do you?” John tried again, clearing his throat.

The man frowned. “And why on earth would you need a single, now?”

“Because we’re not a couple.” His level of discomfort had just crossed the line, blue eyes looking anywhere but at Sherlock, who had noticed the sudden shift in his tone and had stepped closer to the reception desk. “Problem?”

“I’m afraid there are no singles available. The least I can do is wait and see if any of our guests cancel their reservation, but you might have to wait a while for that,” the innkeeper went on, turning one of the pages in his black register, “The first room will be available in two days. Then another one the following day, around noon.”

“We have no time to waste,” Sherlock cut him off, voice as cold as steel. He hadn’t shown any sign of annoyance about the sharing a double matter. And if he were indeed bothered, then John was having a bit of trouble reading his facial expressions. Sherlock’s hand was ready to snatch the key away from where the innkeeper had left it, putting the doctor's train of thought to an abrupt halt. “Is this the key?” he asked, as if he didn’t know already. “We’ll take it.”

“Sherlock,”

But the detective was already rushing towards one of the side hallways and disappearing into the darkness of the corridor, his long black coat flowing out behind his silhouette. John could barely keep up with his pace as he jogged after him, and when he did reach the other man, his confused eyes laid on his face and were reluctant to move away.

“I can hear your cogs working so painfully slow. Just ask whatever question is plaguing you,” Sherlock started, turning around a corner. Another corridor, shorter than the previous and definitely more narrow, stretched out before them. They walked past three more doors and a dusty wooden staircase before reaching their actual room, the double, the one he and Sherlock bloody Holmes were supposed to share.

“You don’t mind sharing a room?” John finally replied, brain still overworking and trying to slow down, all at once. It turned out it was impossible to collect himself when Sherlock Holmes, all pitch black curls, pearly white skin and dimly lit cheekbones, was towering over him, getting ready to turn the key in the lock. The key to their room. Oh, for Christ’s sake. John was looking too much into it.

After the first attempt at opening the door, Sherlock had to bend over and squint his eyes in order to make the key fit the lock. When he did manage though, he entered the room and proceeded to ignore John’s question completely.

“The hallway’s poorly lit. You forgot the suitcases in the car. I’ll take the right side.”

Three sentences that made no sense at all, when combined together. Still no answer.

John shuffled in behind him, pinching the bridge of his nose as his brain tried its best to process such contrasting pieces of information simultaneously. He decided against asking him the same question once again, since anyone at that point would have been able to deduce the answer. No, he didn’t mind sharing the room with his flatmate. It was clear that the doctor had been the only one wracking his brains about it, trying to find a solution for a non-existent problem.

John didn’t close the door, yet. The suitcases weren’t going to drag themselves out of the car and right into their room, nor Sherlock had showed any sign of interest in helping the doctor pursue the boring task. Of course, classic Sherlock. Though, if he was entitled to decide to keep on being the usual dick around John, then John had the right to decide that the luggage could wait another minute.

All in all, the room was nice. Nothing too excessively lavish, but not too bland, either. The walls were wooden like the rest of the inn, resembling the layout of a cabin. A few pictures of landscapes were hung on the walls, with the exception of a single portrait opposite the king size bed. The hues of red were dominant, starting from the thick curtains that framed the single window on the left to the loo’s door, of a slightly darker shade. Even the bulky, fluffy duvet was of a warmer shade of red, engulfing the entire bed frame, its edges meeting the pavement and swinging against it when the hem of Sherlock’s Belstaff hit it, while he furiously walked by. 

The detective was about to storm through the door, when John turned around and stopped him. “Where are you going?”

“Out,” was his reply. Before actually leaving though, Sherlock reached out for John’s hand and forced it open, shoving the car keys into his palm. Then, after his hands flew to his neck to turn his collar up, Sherlock left the room and disappeared behind the corner of the hallway.

John looked down at his palm, defeated. Sherlock 1, John 0. Fighting for victory or not, John was too tired anyway. The train ride and the road trip itself had been tiring; right then, what the doctor craved the most was the warm, steamy sensation of hot water cascading down his sore muscles. Even better if it was followed up by a quick regenerating snooze on the left side of the bed — since the right one had already been claimed.

Though, the keys he held in his fist and the ping coming from the pocket of his trousers were enough of a reminder that he was still so far from indulging in all that.  

John rolled his eyes, shoved the keys in his jacket pocket and fished his phone out. The screen lit up and a single notification popped up, a text message.

Outside. — SH

John felt quite bad for sighing again; after all, they weren’t on a holiday. He’d accepted to follow Sherlock out of town for a case and he had to embrace its consequences — as unappealing as it might sound. While he dragged himself out of the room and shut the door closed, his phone pinged again.

And bring your wallet. — SH

*

The pale moonlight shone above John’s head, casting dim shadows upon his face. The night was quiet, a nice contrast to the series of events that had occurred during the day. John reckoned that sitting outside after what Sherlock had presumably seen at the Hollow wasn’t a wise idea. On the other hand, though, going inside had completely lost its appeal, too, since the turn that his dinner “date” with Doctor Mortimer took. Not to mention that an even more unmanageable problem was awaiting him behind his bedroom door.

John sighed. He dipped his head back and crossed his arms onto his lap, chest gradually rising with the level of oxygen filling his lungs. When the doctor looked up at the sky, he let all the air out through his nose in one deep exhale.

Sherlock Holmes.

A name that would always ring in his ears, even after his own bloody death — John came to terms with it. Little did he know that when he agreed to share a flat with the detective, he was signing an overall agreement of acceptance to his entire personality, incredibly annoying flaws included.

Sherlock’s sudden outbursts were the hardest to manage, even for John Watson. And John Watson was known for his innate talent to hold Sherlock Holmes down and put his arrogance to a — temporary — halt. What happened earlier that night was outstanding proof that Sherlock was an unpredictable man, and yet a complete, utter idiot.

I don’t have friends, he said. But even when he’d dismissed John and turned his back on him, the doctor immediately knew he was lying. Sherlock was many things, but being an expert in denying the truth wasn’t one of them. He spent all his time reading other people, trying to get a hang of their realities, getting lost into his incessant swirl of deductions and observations, though, he often ended up losing his grip on himself.

Something else John was quite sure about was that Sherlock wasn’t one for introspection. He repelled any kind of emotion and refused to face feelings if he ever encountered them. This, unlike the detective thought, was what made him incomplete.

A lifetime of building brick walls around his heart, thinking that they were made of steel, instead. He’d wasted time designing the perfect self defence mechanism, though he never really learned how to handle feelings when they came his way. Because no matter how many times he was going to deny it, Sherlock was human. He wasn’t made of clay. He was made of flesh and bones. Escaping from emotion was possible, but being immune to it? It’s not part of human nature. Whether Sherlock liked it or not, he had to accept it. He had to embrace the truth.

The truth wasn’t easy for John, either. Years of experience in terms of emotion tended to annul themselves in Sherlock's presence. For the same reason the detective refused to consider himself on the same level as other human beings, John had been trained to handle him with care, choosing a different approach with him.

With Sherlock Holmes by his side, John never stopped learning. Each day was a step closer to a more complete knowledge of his flatmate’s mind, and the way it worked and to the reason why it chose to work that way. As a matter of fact, Sherlock was the most enigmatic man John had ever had the blessing to meet. Just the mere fact that he invented his own profession had been very telling since the start.

Sherlock had been a beacon of new experiences for John, the starting of his rebirth. He’d been a friend, a person to rely on, a saviour. A godsend — John would dare say. In fact, if he were completely honest, it wasn’t unusual to compare the perfectly sculpted features of his face to those of an angel.

Fair skin, hardly any flaw on it, soft dark brown curls cascading down his forehead, framing his sharp cheekbones. A pure abyss of mystery navigating through his light irises, a crystalline ocean of blues and yellows and greens culminating in a single brown spot, right above his right pupil. Collarbones, impeccably even above his chest, prominent and defined, worthy of a Michelangelo sculpture. His stature, tall and lean, immaculate posture, slender limbs, tight hips, a light hint of muscle gracing his torso. So beautiful and yet so unattainable.

John had been bewitched by his fascinating appearance since the very first moment he laid eyes on him, tall, mysterious, aware of his surroundings, but at the same time capable of showing a certain nonchalance despite the interest other people showed in him. Everyone seemed to be attracted to him, and John couldn’t even blame whoever fell victim of the spell that Sherlock Holmes cast upon them.

He remembered that the first thing he noticed in the lab when they first met were his hands. Wide, strong, veiny, pale hands. Meticulous, still, perfectly trimmed and filed nails. Long fingers skilfully handling pipettes and test tubes. The same nimble fingers that plucked at the strings of his Stradivarius, the same fingers that he steepled under his chin whenever he was thinking. Fingers that could be put to a much better use…

John opened his eyes, not even realising he’d kept them closed all this time. His cheeks were flushed, warmth rising to his face as the tingly sensation of arousal pooled in his lower abdomen and creeped up his spine in small shocks. Bad timing.

“Oh fuck. Not now.”

That was a very bad moment to have a sexuality crisis over Sherlock bloody Holmes. He could have at least waited until they came back home. His flat, his privacy. Just the idea of walking back to his room in those conditions, sinful thoughts still enduring in his head, made John’s body freeze in panic. He couldn’t risk being deduced by his flatmate first thing when he crossed the threshold. And to complete the picture, he couldn’t risk having a boner once climbing in bed next to the man he’d been fantasising about.

Nothing about that night was going as planned. If he were home, he’d get off to release the tension in the privacy of his bedroom – or, better, while taking a shower (if Sherlock was out and about). But he wasn’t home. He could wait until some of the arousal wore off, but he couldn’t guarantee his immunity to Sherlock’s deducing skills once back to their room.

It wasn’t the first time he’d had thoughts about his flatmate. The fantasies were recurring episodes that often ended with John closing his fist around his cock and hoping that one day this unhealthy obsession with Sherlock would end. A year and a half later, it still hadn’t. If anything, it only got stronger. And the problem about this infatuation was that John couldn’t do anything about it, because Sherlock had stated several times that he didn’t feel those sorts of things. He was married to his work. He didn’t care for… no.

The doctor closed his eyes again and let the cold wind cool him down. It was getting late, and judging by the evolution of their investigation, he would have to wake up early in the morning. It was time to set his own feelings aside and go to bed, hoping that his body wasn’t going to betray him sometime during the night.

*

The dim light coming from the bedroom was filtering through the narrow space above the skirting board of the door, clear sign that Sherlock was still awake. For a moment John wondered if he was going to be forced to sleep with the light on all night and he must have expressed his discontent out loud because the first thing Sherlock did when the doctor crossed the threshold was shoot him a look over the laptop perched in his lap.

“Not a pleasant evening I reckon. Disappointing dinner with Doctor Mortimer?”

John sighed and closed the door behind his back. He allowed himself to take a closer look at the lanky detective, sprawled across his claimed side of the bed. He had taken off his shoes and socks and had changed into a pair of silky blue pyjama bottoms and a relatively tight white t-shirt. John momentarily turned his back to Sherlock to latch the door, taking advantage of two more extra seconds to calm himself down.

“Doctor Frankland barged in.” John cleared his throat.

“Cover blown, I deduce. Did you at least manage to get her phone number?” the detective teased. Half a brow raised, his slender fingers kept typing away on the keyboard.

Defeated, John finally dragged himself to bed, sitting down on it. “She thought we were together.” As per usual, no comment came from Sherlock’s behalf. “You never correct them.”

“Hm?”

“The people who assume we’re a couple. You never correct them.”

Sherlock looked up from the monitor and shifted his attention to John. The wrinkles at the corner of his eyes looked even more pronounced as he squinted. “Why would I correct them?”

John looked at him as though he just told him he was being sent to the moon in a matter of days. It hadn’t dawned on him, not until Sherlock finally put it into words, that perhaps he didn’t care what people thought. Perhaps (but this was only for Sherlock Holmes to know) he didn’t even mind the idea of them being together. John turned his head towards the detective, fingers holding the shoelace he had started to untie. He had to ponder his next words very carefully.

“Because we’re not a couple.” Pause. “Are we?”

Silence. Sherlock cracked his knuckles and shifted his attention back to his laptop. Still no reply.

John licked his lips, still waiting. Mouth agape, he let his glare fall on the detective’s slim fingers as they typed and typed, probably trying to chase after the chaotic stream of thoughts that resided in his brain. Probably best not to inquire. “I’m- uh… going for a shower. Then I think I’ll just.. sleep. Alright.” The good doctor cleared his throat, kicked off his shoes and jumped up on his feet with a sigh. Then, after collecting his wash bag and pyjamas from his suitcase, he disappeared inside the loo. Alone time it is.

*

Blood. Blood on his hands, blood dripping from the hole in his shoulder, soaking his clothes, blurring his vision. Blood everywhere. Rivulets of hot, thick red liquid slipping down his arm as John raised it, staining his uniform where the fabric stuck to his cold skin. A scream in the distance ripped through the cloudy sky, sounds of firing weapons and bombs roaring in the horizon. It all went muffled in John’s head as he dropped his hand, the entire ground spinning at his feet. The blood was copious, but there was something wrong with it. Two fingers were pressed against the gaping wound, and that’s when it hit him. Pain. He didn’t feel any. He’d just been shot and it was like nothing happened. The effects of the shock should’ve worn off by now, and yet it was like touching a perfectly sane shoulder. He was bleeding to death, but he couldn’t feel it.

His legs gave out and then the ringing in his ears began. John’s knees hit the ground with a muffled thud, but still no pain. The blood didn’t stop flowing out, he could feel himself lose energy and control over his own body, and the more blood he lost, the heavier his lids became. Though, the ringing… piercing through his eardrums, branching out across his head, rooting in his brain, it was getting louder, its frequency deafening.

When John tried to open his eyes, the pain started violently. The ache was excruciating. It started from his head, right behind his orbits, and just like the branches of a tree it extended to the entirety of his body. Wherever it reached, it resided. His vision completely blacked out, the rest of his senses failed him, and soon enough John was falling victim to his own darkness. Nothingness behind his closed eyelids, just the cold feeling of loneliness and the pain, increasing every second. He couldn’t breathe. All the air had been squeezed out of his lungs, and the more he tried to scream, the quieter he sounded, until there was no sound coming out of his sore mouth. The junction between his jaw and jawbone started to ache, needles in his muscles, ready to stretch a bit more and snap anytime soon.

Numbness and pain, numbness and darkness, numbness and loneliness, a never ending agony.

John writhed on the floor, twitching in a fit of long convulsions, cold spreading quicker than the pain did, until his body started to go still, first his feet, then his legs, his torso, his arms…

 

a hand. A single touch at his side was what brought John back to his senses. His eyes flung open. Darkness was still all around him, but this time it was different. This time he could make out the outlines of a room, a hotel room, the room he and Sherlock had been sharing. A voice, sultrier and smoother than the most expensive silk. It whispered something in his ear, a word, a single word that was able to deliver instant comfort.

John.”

The doctor sat up, panting. He looked at his side just to find Sherlock lying beside him, a worried look on his face. His hand was dropped on the mattress, in the spot where John had been lying until not so long ago. The sound of his heartbeat was clouding his thoughts, already fuzzy enough after the dream he had. Then, the roar of a bomb made John wince yet once again: neat and clear in the back of his head, echo of the nightmare that had turned him into a weak, oversensitive empty shell.

Sherlock reached out for him, hand closing around his elbow this time, whispering that soothing word one more time, as though it had some kind of healing properties. Perhaps it did.

“John. John. You’re alright, it was just a nightmare. Lay back down.”  

The doctor gasped, his puzzled glare falling upon the point of contact between their bodies, letting it guide him back to his supine position. He found himself unable to speak, his throat burning with a sense of strain and fatigue. When his head hit the pillow, Sherlock’s hand slipped further down, resting on his forearm. Eyes open wide like a nocturnal creature, Sherlock looked down at John, monitoring the rising and falling of his chest. The doctor started to calm down, his eyes staring up at the ceiling, a hazed look reflected in them.

“It’s fine, it’s okay,” Sherlock spoke again, sounding more crystalline now. John hummed, closed his eyes again and allowed himself to get lulled by the low tones of the detective’s voice. Sherlock squeezed around his arm, long fingers kneading the muscle, while his thumb slid across its front and rubbed it in circles. Another hum in between John’s heavy breaths, as his body shifted closer to the source of heat, closer to his flatmate, who was taking care of him with such expertise and without second thoughts.

Christ, Sherlock had such lovely, slim fingers, and they did a great job at soothing him. John could fall back asleep with only their touch, with the way they swirled across his arm and then headed down, towards his wrist. A shiver ran through the doctor’s spine when his cold fingertips found his pulse point and kept a faint pressure on it. John’s hand twitched at the feathery touch, his fingers curling into a half fist.

He could feel Sherlock shift a bit besides him, just a moment before he pulled his hand away.

“Okay?”

John nodded. Please, don’t stop.

And the detective didn’t. His fingers found the inside of his wrist once again and started stroking it in circles, tickling and scratching and caressing. The slow motion drew a sigh out of John’s lips, and his body completely surrendered to his touch. Sherlock’s fingertips eventually slipped on the open palm of his hand, tickling the sensitive skin right above the middle flexor tendon. They slid up and down, branching off into each finger, meeting John’s pads and staying there for as long as he could, until his palm gently sat down against the doctor’s.

For a moment they just lay like that, palm against palm, stiff as boards, the rhythm of their breaths synchronising. Then, as though he’d been working up the courage to proceed, John merely lifted up his fingers, letting them intertwine with Sherlock’s. As two matching puzzle pieces, their hands slotted together, fitting perfectly into one another’s grip. John could swear he was in heaven.

His heart did something similar to a backflip, and then sank lower, into the pit of his stomach. He should have said something, asked a question, cleared his throat, anything. But instead of doing any of those things, he turned his head to face the man next to him and looked into his eyes, remaining completely silent.

Sherlock returned the look. It was just like the many other times they found themselves staring into each other’s eyes, though this once, there was something more: there was uncertainty, desire, gratefulness, anticipation, even a hint of fear. And among all that, the complete awareness that whatever this was, they both wanted it.

Slowly, without saying a word, John and Sherlock rolled onto their sides, so that they were facing the same direction. Their tangled arms gently looped around Sherlock’s slim torso, moving just a bit lower to settle around his waist. The change of position allowed John to flip his own hand so that it held the back of Sherlock’s, right above his stomach.

More silence followed. None of them dared speak or breathe for the following seconds, too afraid that any sudden misstep would have spoiled the moment. There was still a gap between their bodies, narrow enough to fit a cleft and John was washed over by the sudden impulse to close it.

He scooted closer.

If Sherlock had been holding his breath all along, then that must have been the moment he exhaled. The shakiness of it made his back vibrate, and John felt it flutter against his chest. His grip tightened around his flatmate’s hand when he moved it further up, until his palm landed on his chest. John pressed his palm against the back of Sherlock’s hand, making it adhere to the space between his pecs. At that, Sherlock inhaled.

John closed his eyes, and that’s when Sherlock began to move his arm. He started with slow, circular motions, their hands sliding together across the width of his chest, above the thin fabric of the white tee he was wearing. Even if he wasn’t directly touching him, John liked the idea of being able to explore Sherlock’s body through the detective’s hands, he enjoyed hearing him breathe into his pillow, probably trying to send himself back to sleep. He enjoyed how he didn’t push the doctor’s hand away, yet he encouraged him to keep it exactly where it was, right on top of his own, cupping it, accompanying its every motion.

Perhaps it was something that would have helped him sleep, something that would have made him feel safer. Did he even need to feel that way in order to fall asleep? But then again, how could John Watson know. Sherlock was a mystery he still hadn’t been able to solve.

But then Sherlock did something that made the good doctor regret spooning him in the first place. He moved both their hands down, pushing the hem of his shirt up to uncover his lower abdomen and slide his own palm across it. John, who had been holding his breath for the second time in the span of a few minutes, lay absolutely still behind him. His eyes wide open as he waited, waited for Sherlock to say something, waited for him to pull away, waited for him to…

…keep moving his hand higher up, his index finger and thumb curling around his own nipple to pinch it in one slow motion. The physiological reaction on John’s behalf was instantaneous. He gasped, having trouble realising that whatever this was, it was happening for real. Yes, it was all real. Real just like the whimper that Sherlock let out when he rubbed his own fingertips against his nipple, feeling it spike under his pads. Real just like John’s half hard cock pressing against the crack of Sherlock’s arse.

Fucking Christ.

His first instinct was to pull away, but then Sherlock pressed back against his growing bulge and all his common sense flew out the window. That simple motion elicited a gasp out of the doctor’s lips, who took the hint and experimentally ground his hips up. His cock pressed in the crease between Sherlock’s arse cheeks once again, but this time John lingered there, lips slowly parting to let out a louder gasp. His hot breath must have tickled Sherlock’s ear, because he shivered against the doctor’s body, his hand stopping in the middle of his chest. John’s fingers had slipped a bit from the top of Sherlock’s hand, their tips now brushed against the naked skin of his pecs, but he didn’t try moving them, not yet.

John’s face would be completely relaxed if it weren’t for the faint crease in the middle of his forehead every time Sherlock pressed back and reacted to the sublime sensation. By the time Sherlock rocked his arse down once again, John was fully hard. His cock twitched, sensitive head pressing against Sherlock’s coccyx. There was already a wet spot corresponding to the tip of his hardness, leaking pre-come through the fabric of his pants.  

Sherlock let out a choked moan and that’s when he lost control of his hand. He dropped it down on the mattress, his shirt still pushed up to his chest, and John’s fingers soon replaced the detective’s. The first touches were tentative, just a mere grazing of fingertips against his lightly warmed up skin. They explored the width of his torso, inch by inch, committing to memory every single detail, and wherever they found a more sensitive spot, they lingered, eager to please.

The touching and shy exploring soon turned into flicking when John’s fingers reached the man’s nipple. He applied more pressure in that area with his thumb, rubbing the sensitive nub in wide circles. Upon the detective’s positive reaction, he decided to mirror the same motions he used on himself moments before. As he pinched his nipple between thumb and index finger, John allowed himself to nudge his face further into the crook of Sherlock’s neck, finally inhaling his scent. He wasn’t surprised to find out that he smelled like expensive shampoo and fancy perfume, even in the middle of the night.

Sherlock had tilted his head back, a handful of curls cascading down on John’s face. Even his hair was perfectly soft and smooth, just like the doctor had imagined it would feel. Sherlock’s whole body twitched under the slow movements of John’s fingers and, Christ, he needed more. He was craving to know what his skin would taste like around his lips, craving to suck his pulse point in his mouth and bruise his smooth, porcelain skin. The noises Sherlock was making were divine, otherworldly; and the mere thought that he was the one drawing them out of his lips, that he was the one making him feel like that… God. It was making him feel giddy with want.

Another roll of the hips on John’s behalf and Sherlock whined. He rocked his arse down against John’s throbbing cock, even harder than before, throwing his head back.

John. Please.”

It was the first time he spoke in minutes.

His voice, hoarse and raspy, resonated in John’s ears and shot right down to his cock, making it twitch. Please, he said. He was begging, begging for John. Sherlock, who’d never begged for mercy in his life.

It was everything John needed to hear to let himself go.

His hand slid down to explore the detective’s stomach, while his hips surged forward and rocked up against his arse. The sudden and enthusiastic motion made Sherlock gasp for air; he threw his head back, bumping right against the doctor’s cheek. His knotty tangle of black curls, now damp in sweat, tickled John’s skin, made it prickle with excitement and with the unmistakably pungent heat of lust that spread all across his lower abdomen.

He was drunk. Drunk on the feeling of Sherlock all around and against him, drunk on the ecstatic sounds of needy moans that accompanied the creaking noise of the bed moving underneath them. John was utterly gone, and all they did was grind into each other with the same eagerness as desperate wild animals.

John’s hand slid further down, until he finally palmed Sherlock’s cock through the fabric of his sweats. He wasn’t surprised to find him hard as rock, twitching in need under the doctor’s still fingers. For a moment, Sherlock stopped moving – and breathing, too. He moaned, and it was wet and filthy and John heard it right against his hollowed cheek. Sherlock started fucking up into John’s palm, frenetically, despite his pants and trousers being in the way, a vortex of senseless words spilling out of his parted lips.

“Fuck, Sherlock. You’re-“ John started speaking before he realised how risky it could be. A single mistake, a single wrong word and their little bubble would have burst, right then and there. But he couldn’t keep his mouth shut, could he? Not when Sherlock was humping John’s cock, not when he was rutting into John’s fist, not when he was moaning John’s name. Not when he was pleading John, asking him to go faster, harder please. Please John I want to feel you. God please John, touch me.

The doctor’s hand slipped past the elastic of his pants and wrapped around Sherlock’s weeping cock. The sound that rolled down his tongue imprinted on the good doctor’s mind, and knocked the air right out of his lungs.

Ah!”

John moved his hand, gave Sherlock’s cock a few pumps, his thumb sliding across the wet slit every time he drew the foreskin up, partially covering the reddened tip. Sherlock was a mess, rocking up into John’s fist and then down against his cock and, Christ, there were so many things he wanted to do to him but if he kept this up, he knew he wasn’t going to last long.

“Sherlock… Sh-ah-Sherlock… Let me… Please let me..”

And just as if Sherlock read his mind, with a swift and sudden motion of his hips, he rolled over onto his other side, now fully facing John. Even like that, in the darkness that threatened to swallow his oversensitive body, he looked otherworldly. Lips parted in an ecstatic expression, a light tint of crimson smeared across defined cheekbones, visible thanks to the pale moonlight that filtered through the semi closed blinders, an undefined tangle of curls that crowned his head and framed his face, wherever they stuck to it. And then his eyes… an ocean of blues and greens and ice and glass, now reflecting nothing but languidness and lust. The pale light cast a certain softness upon them, as the detective looked right into John’s eyes with want and desire.

Beautiful,” John barely whispered, and Sherlock must have heard it because the next thing the good doctor’s mind registered was the sound of his gasp, gentle, shy, almost hesitating as he shifted closer and closer, their lips being drawn to one another like magnets…

and then Sherlock was kissing him. It was raw, desperate, the collision way too rough, teeth and tongues meeting half way, seeking each other, a whirlwind of heat, arousal and… something else, something new. Their noses bumped together as John tried to angle himself better, as he stretched his hand to tangle it in that black sea of untamed curls and pulled.

Sherlock whined and it shot straight down to John’s dripping cock, aching to be touched. And again, Sherlock must have read it in the way John sucked on his tongue or in the way his body arched forward to seek more friction, because he dropped his hand and yanked John’s trousers and pants down, leaving him bare.

The doctor gasped at the sudden drop in temperature, but when Sherlock’s hand wrapped around his cock he forgot about the difference between hot and cold. Sherlock started with slow, teasing strokes, twisting his wrist from time to time, not willing to indulge John’s need to come. Not yet. He was following his bodily response, picking up the pace whenever the doctor twitched, whenever he fucked up into his fist or whenever he let out a slightly louder moan.

It was incredible. The touch of an angel, sublime, addictive, it made his skin burn with the mere desire of being possessed, shrouded by it.

John dropped his hand as well, bringing it to Sherlock’s crotch and mirrored his exact movements, tugging down both his outer wear to inner wear. His cock sprang free, and even if he couldn’t see it, he felt it bob against his hand, long and slender, just moments before he took it in hand and gave it a tentative stroke.

John.

His name sounded wet, murmured against his swollen lips. Christ, it had become John’s favourite sound.

“I-ah-want you. Always.. always want you. John. John, please,” his voice dropped lower and lower, almost gaining an octave every word he managed to utter. His tone was thick with desperation and want even when John picked up the pace and, Christ, if he hadn’t felt it in his soul.

“Sherlock… mmfpfuck, Sherlock.” John was on the brim of breaking down. Like the Pandora’s box, his mouth agape, ready to whisper things he’d never thought he’d work up the courage to let loose. He barely managed to keep his eyes open as they jerked each other off senselessly, as they fucked up into each other’s fists with no shame whatsoever, as though it weren’t the first time, as though they hadn’t been dancing around each other for years.

Perhaps the time for letting go had come.

“God fuck, Sherlock, you’re gorgeous. Need you. W-want you, always. Always have. Oh, Sherlock… you-“ And John must have said something that Sherlock quite enjoyed, because he saw his eyes flutter open right before his own in one quick motion. If they hadn’t been in such an intimate situation, John would have said his glare looked inquisitive. But there was something deeper than that, something that recalled fascination, something bordering on adoration, clouded by a longing lust. John thought that if he stared into his eyes long enough, he could be met with one of the world’s seven wonders.

Sherlock pleaded again; there was something in his voice that made John weak in the legs, despite him laying down. And there it was again, the mysterious connection that allowed them yet another wordless conversation. John was on top of him in a matter of seconds.

He had to angle himself in order to make their aching lengths meet and slide against one another, smearing pre-come all over their bare stomachs. John wrapped his strong hand around their erections and gave them a few pulls. He watched how Sherlock writhed in pleasure beneath him, followed each jerk of his body and the way his head sank lower and lower into the pillow.

John was so close to coming undone, the urgency and overstimulation getting out of control, making him spiral into a loop of endless pleasure and hunger. He needed more, more friction, more contact, more of him, more more more.

John leant down and kissed him again. It was hungry and rough and messy, but fuck it made him feel like he was one step closer to heaven. The doctor’s firm hands travelled up to grasp Sherlock’s sides, keeping him shoved into the mattress as he finally rocked his hips down and met Sherlock’s with frantic thrusts. It was indecent, filthy, the two of them fucking up and down into each other, chasing after their own pleasure like two unhinged creatures.

It was as though all the tension that had been building up between them was finally let loose. If they looked close enough, they could probably watch it as it rose from their steaming bodies, just like smoke from a chimney.

Sherlock let out a choked, shrill noise against John’s sealed lips, something between a whimper and a squirm, and John had to open his eyes in order to catch the look of pure bliss reflected in those crystalline eyes.

“You want to come, hm?”

“Jo-ohn.”

“You want to come so bad, yeah? I feel it. Christ, you’re trembling and I feel it. C’mon, let go. Come on Sherlock, come for me,” with his face shoved in the crook of Sherlock’s neck, John let those words leave his mouth, let them soak Sherlock’s already damp skin, crawl underneath it.

He rocked his hips impossibly harder, rolling them down, meeting Sherlock’s every motion. He whimpered again, bent his head to the side to give John more room, allowing him to explore his pale neck. And John did. He kissed and licked and bit, teeth scraping over his kiss bruised skin, drawing the most inexplicable sounds out of the detective’s lips.

“You want it. Christ, you want it, God, take it all, Sherlock. Take- oh God, take all of me. I’m yours I’m- fuck-“

Oh-I.. J-John!

Sherlock stilled, all the muscles in his body tensed up, as though they were channelling the sudden rush of arousal dashing through him like a lightning bolt. Then, the release. He came in hot, long spurts all over his and John’s stomach, while his whole body twitched underneath the safe and warm weight of the doctor’s.

John managed to look up just in time, catching the raptured look of euphoria on his face, and just that did it for him. He shifted, his throbbing cock now pressed against Sherlock’s hip as he humped it in earnest, until the heat pooling at the very bottom of his abdomen got even warmer and spread all the way to his bollocks. He was coming before he could wrap his head around it, all over Sherlock’s body, face still buried in his neck as he inhaled the scent of sex radiating off his sweat slick skin.

They lay in that blissful silence for minutes, listening to the sound of their ragged breaths syncing, slowly melting into each other. They were basking in the intimacy of the moment, an afterglow that lingered upon their skin, that dragged their bodies even closer, as though they weren’t already slotted together in an inextricable knot.

Neither of them dared speak, fearing that every word might be unwanted, and that each sigh that differed from their synced breathing might be misread. And it was fine at first, it was completely fine. John didn’t feel the need to fill the silence with vacant words, and Sherlock apparently felt the same. And even if it had been out of fear, a couple more seconds in utter silence weren’t going to hurt them.

Sherlock was the first to move, or at least, the first to attempt to.

He raised his slender hand from the mattress and placed it on the small of John’s back, tracing figures against his skin with his fingertips. John relaxed under his touch, surprised by the gentleness it came with. He’d known Sherlock long enough to assume that gentle wasn’t exactly an adjective he’d use to describe him, not in relation to a romantic, intimate area at least. Hell, it was hard, even for John, to imagine him involved in any sexual or romantic scenario, even when he was fantasising.

Yet, once again, the detective proved to be fascinatingly full of surprises.   

It was the softness with which Sherlock cradled the back of John’s neck afterwards that gave him the force to speak up. Perhaps, if he was lucky enough, if he weighed his words…

“That… was incredible. Wow I…”

Sherlock shifted a little beneath the weight of John’s warm body, but not so much that he was forced to move away.

“It seems as though I took your breath away.”

“Jesus Sh- did you not see what you did to me?!”

“I figured my statement clearly hinted at the fact that I did observe your reaction and recognised it as fairly positive, yes.”

Jesus.” John huffed out a laugh and ran a hand across his face.

“Problem?”

“No, it’s just that- listen, I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t be able to come up with half of the things you’re saying after having the best sex of my entire life.”

“Obviously.” A pause, then, “Was it the best sex you had?”

“The most incredible.

At those words, Sherlock furrowed his brows in confusion.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like I just said something that surprised you.”

“You did.”

“You’re surprised.”

“Clearly.”

John looked down at Sherlock, his eyes soft and fond, as he pushed a wet curl away from his forehead. Even like that, completely wrecked and worn out by such intense intercourse, he looked just like an angel, curls sprawled around his face like a halo. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

John hesitated for a moment, his fingers pushing up his tee to explore more of the detective’s chest, playing with the thin hairs covering his pecs. He found comfort in the short silence that followed, in the careful movements of Sherlock’s fingers on his back, lulling him back to a complete state of calmness.

“Was it your first time?”

He felt Sherlock tense up underneath him.

“You don’t have to reply. The last thing I want is t-

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

Sherlock added nothing more. He simply looked up into John’s eyes, quietly studying his features, perhaps reading between the lines of his wordless reaction. John’s heart swelled. He looked like a lost kid, trying to understand if he did something wrong, wondering if he’ll be able to make up for his mistakes.

“You did amazing.”

“Really?” his eyes widened in wonder, a sea of glass enfolding black, blown wide pupils, already dilated as a consequence to the scarceness of light.

“Really. You were… God, Sherlock. I can’t even find the words to describe it. I’ve…” the words died in his mouth. John started worrying the inside of his bottom lip with his teeth, a sudden wave of anxiety washing over him. He wasn’t sure confessing everything now would be safe. Sherlock was unpredictable, and he wanted to cling to this vulnerable side of him the longer he could before it disappeared and his stoic, emotionless persona resurfaced.

“I noticed the way you look at my chest.”

“What?”

“Like you want to devour it. And so I thought that maybe you’d appreciate touching it. But I didn’t- I had no clue as to how letting you do it.”

John felt his cheeks burn, and he thanked God it was too dark for Sherlock to notice. “Mm yeah you…” he smoothed one hand over his clothed chest, pressing his fingertips into his clavicles, skin still hot and slick in sweat.  “You have a really nice chest. And.. very fucking nice eyes. And beautiful hair. And God, your arse.”

John groaned as he rocked his hips down teasingly, and Sherlock chuckled.

“Anything else you want to mention, doctor? I find your compliments a marvellous contribution to my already inflated ego.”

“’Course you do. Hmm let me think…” and as he did, the doctor rolled his hips down once again, this time eliciting a much different noise from Sherlock’s lips. He smirked devilishly.

“I really like your hands. God, every time you play that god damned violin, I catch myself staring. Christ, I didn’t think it was possible to be jealous of an instrument.” And yet, here he is. “I’ve thought… I’ve... had dreams about your hands… your fingers… touching me, stroking me, until you…”

Until I?

And, good God, his voice. So deep, so throaty, so arousing. It was John’s turn to moan, his cock starting to show interest as it stiffened against Sherlock’s stomach.

“Until you decided that it wasn’t enough anymore. Until you started to fuck me with them.” Another moan, and soon enough Sherlock joined him. “You.. dragged them in and out of me and it felt like…”

Sherlock rolled up his hips once again, meeting John’s. He was rock hard.

Fuck! Like... it felt like you were playing me as if I were your violin. Your fingers pressed into me one by one and I… I was floating. Fuck Sherlock.”

They humped each other again for several minutes, John’s face buried in Sherlock’s neck, swallowing down the cries that he would’ve let loose if they were alone at home, in the privacy of Sherlock’s bedroom. Sherlock’s hands were all over him, touching and scratching and stroking, while John pushed the other’s shirt over his head and tore it off him.

The doctor’s tongue lapped across the detective’s chest, swirling around his sensitive nipples, sucking on them just to see the soul leaving Sherlock’s body from his lust clouded eyes.

They went on for minutes, limbs on limbs, tongues on tongues, breathing into each other’s mouths, feeding themselves on each other’s moans. But then Sherlock sucked around the tip of his finger and pressed it lightly past John’s entrance and suddenly everything was too much, even for Sherlock himself. John came, hard, covering them both in his own semen, cock still trapped between their stomachs. The detective wasn’t late to follow suit, reaching his high moments after John.

It took them even longer to recover, though the awkwardness of the first time was replaced by a latent feeling of safety, a deep knowledge that there was nothing left to fear, even if they didn’t put it into words. They didn’t need them. Not anymore.

*

“Did you get anywhere with that morse code?”

John looked up from the notebook he was scribbling on. Sherlock came in, long coat swirling after his frame, his collar turned up to accentuate his perfectly shaped cheekbones. He was wearing his usual black suit, with the exception of an impossibly tight purple shirt, the same one that made the doctor lose his mind the first time he saw him wear it. In other words, he looked impeccable.

“No.”

“U.M.Q.R.A wasn’t it?”

“Nope, nothing at all.”

Sherlock frowned, repeating it yet once again. “U.M.Q-“

“Listen, I thought I was onto something… but I wasn’t,” John interrupted. The blushing on his cheeks was alarming, though he managed to stand up from the step he was sitting on and start walking before Sherlock could notice it.

“Sure?”

“Absolutely.”

They both walked in silence down the small alleyway that led to the main path, John looking down at his feet and Sherlock looking right ahead of him. They hadn’t shared a single word since they fell asleep into each other’s arms the previous night; in fact, John had awoken to an empty bed, and much worse, an empty bedroom that morning. At one point he’d even questioned whether Sherlock had slept at all, because he recalled passing out before him. God only knew what he’d done all night, what he’d been thinking about… fuck. The idea alone terrified John. What if he regretted what happened between them? What if it’d just been a one night stand and the issue was never to be brought up again? He didn’t know if he could live with that.

What made him absolutely furious though was that Sherlock didn’t seem to have the courage to confront him, like any other mature adult would probably do. He’d kept silent and he’d chosen the cowardly way, as per usual. John wished there was a way to make him understand that escaping his own emotions wasn’t going to get him anywhere.

“John.”

The way in which he said his name made his skin prickle with arousal. Though John didn’t stop; he kept his pace steady as he turned a corner and headed towards another pathway.

“John, wait.”

“What?”

“What happened last night I… something happened to me, something I’ve been trying to suppress all my life and… I know I should’ve brought it up before. I shouldn’t have left our room like that either, earlier this morning.”

Sherlock had stopped in his tracks and John with him. The doctor could tell he was fighting the urge to break the eye contact to glance down at his feet. He inhaled sharply before taking another step forward, just to stand closer to John. Though, when the shorter man tried to turn on his heel and walk away, Sherlock reached for him and pulled him back right against his body, his wide hand wrapped firmly around his arm.

John’s heart stopped beating at once, mouth agape as he felt it water upon the closeness of their bodies. This, whatever Sherlock was trying to do, wasn’t fair at all.

“You’re doing it again.”

“I’m sorry?” John arched his brows in confusion.

“You’re staring at my chest.”

“Christ’s sake!” John managed to shrug off his grip and Sherlock’s hand dropped to his side. “What is wrong with you?!”

Sherlock jerked away, his eyes immediately dropping to the ground.

“You left.”

I-

“You left me wondering if I did something wrong. I thought you… fuck, I still do.”

“Listen, John, I’m sorry. I really am sorry. If you could just… if you could just let me explain..”

The doctor’s eyes darted up to Sherlock’s face. His voice sounded sincere, and the look within his features gave way to nothing but regret.

“I’ve never been good with…” he stopped talking, as though he were pondering his words very carefully, “…feelings. I’ve never been able to understand mine, let alone other people’s. What I felt last night was… more than I’ve ever let myself come close to feeling. It was… it was new, and it was scary, but you… you made it feel safe.

John swallowed down his stupor, even though it was still clearly written on his face, for it extended from his parted lips to his arched brows. For a split second it seemed as though the same vulnerable Sherlock he’d seen for the first time the night before was standing right in front of him, looking down at him with sorrow in his eyes, wearing his heart on his sleeve. John’s chest ached.

“You needed time to figure things out,” the doctor barely whispered, and Sherlock nodded.

“And did you make up your mind yet?”

Sherlock pressed his lips together, took another imperceptible step forward and nodded again.

“Do you feel ready to share?” John asked, feeling drawn to him, inch by inch.

His reply never came. The words that John had been awaiting with so much impatience were replaced by the much more fulfilling warmth of Sherlock’s lips against his own, their touch soft and decisive at the same time. John froze in time, and so did all the anxieties that had been fogging his brain up to that very moment. They left his body, one by one, let free, taken over by the certainty that Sherlock Holmes chose him over his fear of vulnerability.

John kissed him back as soon as he collected himself, legs weak like jelly from the intensity of it all. At first they stayed like that, lips against lips, Sherlock’s hand closed around his arm to steady himself, just savouring the moment. Then, John was ready to deepen the kiss, prodding at his bottom lip with the tip of his tongue. Sherlock let him in without second thoughts, his own tongue sliding against the shorter man’s effortlessly, as he tilted his head to the side and warranted them both a better angle.

John’s hands finally reached for Sherlock, one of them settling on his cheek and the other in his hair, fingers gently scraping his scalp, playing with his soft curls, longing for the muffled sounds that they were able to draw out of the taller man’s lips.

Sherlock pressed himself closer to John, one hand at the base of his neck and the other on the small of his back, giving him all the support he needed and, fuck, John thought that it was simply beautiful to feel wanted and to be able to want right back, so openly, without regrets.

The sudden sound of someone’s steps approaching made the two of them immediately separate, kiss bruised lips and short breaths. They both looked towards the source of the noise just to find Greg Lestrade standing before them, mouth agape in shock, arms swinging at his sides. He looked puzzled.

“Back from the holidays early I see, Gavin,” Sherlock improvised, straightening the collar of his coat as he took another step away from John.

“Uh… actually it’s- never mind.

John looked away, awkwardly scratching at the back of his neck. He didn’t feel it in himself to correct Sherlock after what Greg had walked in on.

“What the hell are you doing here, anyway?!”   

But there was no reply. Greg was clearly shocked, even though the first hints of a grin had started to crawl its way to his lips.

“I’m waiting for an explanation Inspector. Why are you here?”

“Maybe I fancied another holiday,” Greg bit back then, crossing his arms onto his chest. Though Sherlock didn’t seem to take it. He shook his head and surged forward, head slightly tilted to the side like he did every time he wanted to interrogate someone.

"Oh, this is Mycroft, isn’t it…? One mention of Baskerville and he sends down my handler to... to spy on me incognito!”

“Look, I’m not your handler.” There was a pause during which Greg tried to collect himself. “I don’t just do what your brother tells me. And I certainly wasn’t planning on interrupting you two. So perhaps it’d be best if I just walked away and…” he gestured towards John and Sherlock, the smirk on his lips getting slier, “…leave yourself to…”

“John and I have nothing to get back to,” Sherlock cut Greg off, then turned to look John in the eye and gave him a wink. “Yet.”

John shuddered, melting under the power that his glare had over him. Fuck, he didn’t know if he could wait until they were back to their room. How long was the investigation going to take anyway? Nothing was certain.

He returned the look with the same hunger that the detective had been able to convey through his own, and then shot an apologetic glance over at Greg, who had been forced to witness the entire scene. He didn’t seem to mind though; when the embarrassment wore off, he’d looked rather delighted. Perhaps he had seen this coming, as well.

“Actually… you could be just the man we want,” John told Greg, earning another glare from Sherlock.

“Why?” came the question. John smirked.

“Well, I’ve not been idle, Sherlock. I think I might have found something,” he replied readily as he fished a folded piece of paper out of his green trench coat’s pocket. “Here. Didn’t know if it was relevant, but it’s starting to look like it might be.” John unfolded the sheet and showed it to Sherlock. “That, is an awful lot of meat for a vegetarian restaurant.”

Going by the look on Sherlock’s face, John would dare say he was impressed. “Excellent.”

John smirked, looking over at Greg.

“Nice, scary inspector from Scotland Yard who can put in a few calls might come in very handy.”

Sherlock and Greg shared a look.

“Well thought, John, shall we go in?” Greg asked, pointing back at the Cross Keys’ entrance. The detective nodded and started walking towards it, John and Greg following along.

*

“You know he’s actually pleased you’re here. Secretly pleased,” John whispered to Greg while they both walked out of the hotel lobby. 

“Is he? That’s nice. I suppose he likes having all the same faces back together. It appeals to his.. to his..”

“Asperger’s?” John offered to finish his sentence.

Greg shrugged. “Or perhaps he’s just pleased that the events took a turn for the better?” A wink followed.

John blushed, furtively glancing at the door to check if Sherlock was anywhere to be seen, but he must’ve stayed inside with the innkeeper — refusing to let him off his leash yet.

“Yeah… about that…”

“It’s completely fine, mate. I am relieved! Thought you’d never resolve it. I have to confess me and the mates at the Yard placed a bet or two on it. They owe me fifty bucks, the bastards!”

“Placed a bet on what?” Sherlock walked out of the inn right then, his brow arched in a curious expression. Both Greg and John turned to him, startled.

“Oh, nothing. We were just talking about the hound, you know? People at the Yard were getting nosy.” Greg cleared his throat and shoved both his hands into his pockets, averting Sherlock’s gaze. He immediately knew he was lying.

“About a top secret matter? That’s odd. And yet I thought you were placing bets on me and John getting anywhere in our one-on-one relationship. Must have miscalculated,” Sherlock chimed. Of course he knew, the bastard.

Greg looked mortified. “It was just a stupid game, Sherlock, I’m—”

Sorry?” The detective stepped closer to John, and moved his hand to place it on the small of his back. It was the subtle, casual intimacy of moments like this that made the good doctor’s heart skip several beats. Greg seemed pleased at the view. “Don’t be. What you and your mates do at the Yard is none of my concern, unless it has something to do with a case.”  

Greg shifted his weight from one leg to another, trying to blink away the apologetic look from his inquisitive eyes.

“I’m just… I’m happy for you guys. I really am. Gonna give you some space now, eh? Might as well go have a word with the local police. Phone me if you need me at all.” And with that, Greg smiled over at the couple and walked away in their opposite direction.

John must have had a weird look on his face because when he glanced up at Sherlock, he caught him staring down at him.

“What?”

“Nothing. Can’t I just look at my boyfriend now?”

Oh. Oh.

“’Course you can. Boyfriend, eh?”

“Would you rather I referred to you as my only friend?

John licked his lips.

“As much as the idea is appealing, I very much prefer the former option,” he smirked.

“Good. Alright, then. Shall we?”

Sherlock had that look in his eyes, the look that in the past had made John wonder whether he might have any chance with him. Though it never occurred to him, not until that very moment, that that was the look he’d only ever reserved for his John.

“Now you’re doing it again,” John admonished.

“Doing what?”

“Turning your coat collar up so you look cool.”

“Jealous much?”

“Oh, you can bet your nice arse.

Sherlock laughed and John looked up at him again, but when their glares crossed, all his doubts dissipated. After all, he wasn’t surprised to find out that his I am in love with you smile fell perfectly upon his own relaxed lips.