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A Mirror Image

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The first time he kissed John Watson it was entirely by accident, or so he tells himself.

It had happened on a Friday night, they had been watching an old movie on the telly, and it had been on the end of what John had fairly labeled "a three day sulk fest" a week after their latest case.  He had been sulking about--what exactly?  He had been sulking about the fact that he still didn't know how to tell John that yes indeed, he was in love with him.  He had known it for a while, or rather he had suspected it for a while, but it wasn't until the culmination of their last case that he had actually felt it.  It was such a simple act, they had been waiting in one of the briefing rooms at New Scotland Yard to debrief Lestrade on their latest case and Sherlock, having slept just barely over the last week from the excitement, had fallen sound asleep at the table while waiting.  After an indeterminable amount of time, upon Lestrade's inevitably late entrance, Sherlock had awoken with a start only to perplexingly find a fresh cup of coffee (black, two sugars) resting near his elbow.  He had looked over at John who had simply continued to read the case report it was then and only then that he realized just how devastatingly deep he had fallen.  He loved him.

But that day was not the first time that he kissed John Watson, even though he wanted to more than anything else in the world. 

The first time he kissed John, it happened on a Friday night, they had been watching an old movie on the telly, and it had been on the end of what John had fairly labeled "a three day sulk fest" a week after their latest case.  Several hours before it had happened John had come home from the store and upon seeing Sherlock curled into an unresponsive ball on the couch for yet another day, he had sighed, set down the Tesco bags, and immediately picked up his mobile phone to cancel his plans with Stamford and spend the night in.  Sherlock had heard all this despite having his head covered with the pillow (if only he could stop thinking about it maybe he could figure out how to act upon it.)  Several moments after the call ended, Sherlock heard John kick off his shoes, unzip his jacket and make his way to the kitchen.  Several moments after that, he heard the muffled clinking of glasses before he felt the changing pressure of the couch as John had sat down next to him.  As soon as he sat down, Sherlock could smell the familiar and comforting scent of John (woodsy, strong) and he could smell something else (whiskey...yes?) and he felt John's hand lightly rest against his hip and give him a firm shake before he said-

"C'mon Sherlock,  I know you're upset but this is a bit ridiculous, don't you think?  You've been in here for almost three days."

"It's not ridiculous John,  you simply don't understand.  You simply won't understand this." He muttered into the pillow.

"You're right, I may not understand that bloody brilliant mind of yours, but I do understand something else and that this--" he gestured to Sherlock's curled up body. "is not normal."

"I'm not normal."  He was speaking into the pillow again. I'm consumed by thoughts of you but lack the knowledge of how to act upon them. 

"Oh I doubt that, Sherlock"  He could hear the smile in his voice and as John shifted closer on the couch.  "You're far more normal than you give yourself credit for."

"Oh John, really, what do you-"  Sherlock uncurled himself, beginning to sit up, however he was suddenly surprised when John immediately thrust a glass into his hand to cut off his sentence.  Sherlock blinked once, twice and looked at the glass--it smelled of strong (and good?  oh yes quite good) whiskey.

"Drink."  John said.  It wasn't a question.

Sherlock skeptically took the glass from John's hand.  "Why?"

"Because I think I know what you need right now."  And although he knew John wouldn't acknowledge it, there was an unconscious air of tenderness in his voice.  Does he....? No.  He couldn't possibly know.

"You do?"  Sherlock's eyes narrowed. "How, pray tell?"

But Sherlock watched as John simply smiled in response, raised his glass in a toast, and took a drink before tilting his head toward Sherlock in their unspoken gesture.

Follow me. 

And so Sherlock did what he always did when he didn't know how else to be human and that was mirror John Watson.  Sherlock momentarily forgot the consumptive art of reasoning and did exactly what just John did--he smiled in response, raised his glass in a toast, and took a drink. 

Mirror, mirror.

There was practically nothing on the telly that night and so John had settled on some unknown channel with some random old movie.  It was all rather confusing; it was some American musical that John had finally settled upon after flipping through all of the channels twice--the movie was all black and white, dull, and had singing and dancing.  Sherlock couldn't understand why people had to do these sorts of things, the singing and the dancing, but despite himself he also couldn't understand why he found himself smiling every time he looked over to study John who looked like he was genuinely enjoying the silly little story about the silly little people.  It made him feel strange, that feeling of seeing John genuinely happy and relaxed, and he realized then that he never wanted that feeling to ever go away.  Why?  Probably the whiskey.  The bottle had been finished between the both of them.  Definitely the whiskey. 


And so when the movie was over, just before the credits began rolling, John had paused the telly and leaned over to Sherlock.  Perhaps it was just the whiskey or so he told himself at the time, but he had leaned over Sherlock a little too closely, sending each and every sensitive and normally incredibly rational neuron into overdrive. 

"What did you think?" 

"I think that...." Sherlock's head was swimming somewhat from the combination of the whiskey (and John being so close to him.) "It was good.....yes....good."

"You're a bloody liar."  John grinned and that grin broke Sherlock down even further.  Do it.  Blame it on the whiskey if you must but for the love of God, do it.

"It--do these little stories always end like that...?"  Sherlock made a gesture to the TV, now paused on the hero and heroine locked in a passionate kiss.

"Erm, normally, yes." John's voice had dropped two octaves with his response and he was looking at Sherlock with a very peculiar expression on his face.  A very peculiar expression that had prompted Sherlock to vocalize the exact question his brain was currently repeating over and over again:

"Does ours?"

Oh for the love of God.  The rational portion of Sherlock's brain instantly wanted to chastise him for asking such a revealing question, but at that moment, he was looking at John's lips and all he could think about was exactly how much he wanted to kiss him but he didn't know how--he didn't know how because he'd never kissed anyone before and he was lost, hopelessly lost.  How do I let you know how you make me feel? 

"If you'd like it to." John murmured back quite simply. 

"I, John--I just....."  Sherlock struggled with the right words--how to phrase it, how to say it, but his brain couldn't quite grasp around the concept. How was he supposed to say these things?  How was he supposed to do--?


Whenever something had been difficult for Sherlock, whenever something had been far too human for him to do by himself, he had mirrored.  He had mirrored what John had done to him and in turn given those same feelings back to the man who he so desperately and indelibly loved.  He couldn't make the first step because he didn't know how, he didn't know how, but he now knew how he could learn--he could learn the way that he always had and that was in the very capable hands of John Watson- 

"Teach me."

He knew with John he didn't have to explain what he was asking him to do. 

"You're positive?"  John murmured, he didn't look taken aback or concerned as Sherlock feared, in fact he suddenly looked almost as scared as Sherlock now felt.

"Absolutely." Sherlock was surprised that the word was merely a whisper.  "I need you to teach me, John.  You know I...lack...the necessary experience. "

John simply nodded, his face softening before he took a deep breath in.  Please, I beg of you John, just teach me.  After several agonizing seconds, John finally did what Sherlock had wanted him to do for longer than he could ever remember: he gently reached over and took both of Sherlock's hands in his own, intertwining their fingers. They remained silent for a moment and John absentmindedly caressed Sherlock's hand with his thumb. That feels good--so good.  Oh yes.

"Do you trust me, Sherlock?"  John finally asked, looking down at their hands. 

"With my life."  It wasn't a lie.

"Close your eyes then." 

"But, John how am I supposed to learn?  I need to see you--I need to observe-"  Sherlock's protestations were hushed when John firmly squeezed both of his hands. 

"Shh.  Just do it."  John set his mouth in a firm line "For me, please.  Do it for me." 

"All right."  Teach me. 

And so, Sherlock closed his eyes, but opened his senses.  He could feel the electricity in the air as he tried to deduce exactly where John was at the moment.  And Sherlock could feel him--John had shifted on the couch now and he could feel the beat of John's pulse running wild in his hands.  Teach me how to say this to you, please.  He sat there, clutching onto John's hands like an anchor--wait, not two hands anymore, now just one hand.  Sherlock could feel himself inadvertently exhale as he felt John finally reach up through that tension and gently begin to caress his cheek.  And although Sherlock could rationalize the moment on a strict chemical level, elevated dopamine and oxytocin nothing more (or was there?), all Sherlock's brain could register was that after thirty plus years of being completely and indelibly alone, it felt so good to finally be touched.   

Sherlock could feel a small sigh escape his lips as John cupped his face with both hands now. Teach me how to make you feel this way too.

"You know that I'm absolutely mad about you, you nutter."  John was murmuring but more to himself than to Sherlock and all Sherlock could do was breathe.  John was breathing and so he, John's mirror, would breathe as well. 

And although he had never heard John actually say it, Sherlock could feel it in his actions as he always could--that one moment where John switched from just being Sherlock's accomplice, to taking the lead.  Follow me.  The actual words between them were both nonexistent and completely unnecessary, but in those moments, Sherlock acknowledged that John was teaching him how to be human.  Whether those moments taught him how to compliment people or how to say thank you, it was one step closer to being fragile and breakable and it was usually downright frightening, feeling this way.  And although his pulse was racing now--both of their pulses actually--Sherlock wasn't frightened because in John's actions, he could feel those words.  Sherlock could feel those same words, follow me, as John leaned in, close so close, before gently pressing a single kiss against Sherlock's lips.  John's kiss was steady and strong--it tasted of whiskey and jumpers and kindness and dependability and the only things that Sherlock could have ever wanted in his entire life, ever.


Sherlock was immediately responsive to the kiss, he could feel himself suddenly so malleable and human with his face in John's hands and his lips against John's.  He smiled, still not breaking the kiss and in that moment, he realized that these were the types of moments he actually lived for.  Not for the thrill of solving cases, no, not the art of deduction either, but the moments of surrender to the most incredible man he'd ever known.

Follow me. 

After several seconds, John broke away from their kiss gently before resting the side of his forehead against Sherlock's.  His breathing was more ragged than he would have liked to admit, but to Sherlock, it was brilliant and it was John and it was his entire world.

"And that"  John murmured into his hair  "Is how you--"

But before he could finish the last word, and before Sherlock even knew what he was doing, in sheer enthusiasm he had kissed John Watson back and quite by accident.  He had mirrored John's body language exactly, bringing his hands up to cup John's face, quietly leaning in before pressing his own kiss firmly, just like John had taught him, to John's lips.  He could tell John was surprised by his enthusiasm as Sherlock could feel him grin at the end of their kiss.   Sherlock felt his face relax as John's hands circled around his wrists. 

"Fantastic."  John whispered against his lips. 

Now keep following me.  

They kissed in different ways--each time with John gently leading and Sherlock, the consummate student, reverently repeating his motions.  He kissed Sherlock's forehead and Sherlock pressed a soft kiss there back.  John lightly kissed his hands and Sherlock mirrored the same. After a while of experimentation, his new favorite type by far, John claimed his lips again and began to gently touch him; Sherlock simply let his hands mirror John's own motions.  Sherlock felt like his entire body was on fire as John's hands began exploring, rubbing small circles on his shoulders, in his hair oh God that felt good, now trailing down his back, brushing the waistband of his trousers and oh God, oh God, please let this never stop.  Sherlock's entire brain was on fire, overstimulated from an entire lifetime without touch and without affection, but in it all, all he could do was mirror what he knew and the only thing he truly truly knew in this world was John.

He had to tell him.

"Please--" Sherlock could feel himself choke after God only knew how long.  John had one hand in his hair now, the other cupped around his face and this made Sherlock's voice sound strangely like a whimper and he realized that indeed, yes, this was the first time he's ever begged for anything in his life.  "--please John, just don't stop..."

"I'm not...."

"No, just don't stop--oh-" he hissed slightly as John unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and began planting kisses on his collar bone. Sensitive--ah. Good, yes.

"I won't."  John murmured into his neck.

"What I mean is-"  Sherlock's mind was overwhelmingly hazy from the flood of human contact, but he successfully fought to stay above it all.  He gently reached down and like John had taught him only moments earlier and cupped John's face in both hands.  Now it was John's turn to look malleable and fragile under Sherlock's touch as Sherlock spoke.

"Please don't ever stop being the best of me, John Watson."  He murmured as he looked directly into John's eyes.  I love you, was what he was saying. 

"And please don't ever stop being the best of me, Sherlock Holmes."  I love you too.

And then John moved in and closed the space between them, gently kissing his eyelids, his brow, and his face before settling back in on his lips.  He could feel John smile again which in turn made Sherlock grin deeper than he ever had before.  God that felt so good.  You are the best of me John Watson and it finally feels so good to say it. 

"And, God, Sherlock, if you think kissing is good then, just wait--" 

But just as John had taught him, Sherlock instead greedily captured John's words with his mouth.  Be quiet or else we'll have to make good on that sooner rather than later. 

After quite sometime, their mirroring and murmuring now over, they lay on the couch, limbs entangled, Sherlock nestled closely under John's chin. Sherlock's learning was finished for the day, what he would do now was study, and study harder than he ever had before.  Their fingers intertwined, he gently caressed John's hand as he felt John's steady breathing against his chest.  He could feel him breathing and that was the best part because Sherlock knew that in that moment it was real and that John Watson was his alone and no one else's.  That feeling, love, was new and frightening but he wasn't so worried anymore now falling asleep in John's arms.  He wasn't worried because Sherlock would do what he always did, which was to follow John Watson into the incredibly uncertain and illogical world of what it felt like to be human.  And while the rest of the world continued to think that it was Sherlock leading John with his brilliant mind, Sherlock knew that in reality, it was John reflecting his brilliant mind with the own actions of his extraordinary heart. 

Mirror, mirror.

The first time he had kissed John Watson was by accident or so he tells himself, but the second, the third, the fourth, and every time after that are his own deliberate decisions.  Deliberate decisions that reflect the truth about Sherlock Holmes and tell all the world that John Watson is my mirror who reflects only the best of me.