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Letting Go

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Letting Go

 

The first time it happens, John wonders if it’s only that it started so quickly and was overwhelming for Sherlock. One moment, they were arguing on their way up the stairs, coming home from somewhere or other, the cold February air still clinging to their coats. He’s only been back for a couple of weeks and he’s been well aware that they haven’t talked yet, not properly. They haven’t said any of the real things. And then all of a sudden it all comes out, the argument rising into a crescendo.

“… because all I’ve wanted was for you to come back,” Sherlock snaps. “You’re all the matters, John – can’t you see that every single thing I’ve done since my return has been for you?”

John stares at him, his mouth falling open. They’re at the top of the stairs now, their gazes locked together so forcefully it’s surprising there isn’t smoke rising in the air between them. “That’s all I’ve been waiting for,” he blurts out. “I just needed you to say it, Sherlock – I just wasn’t sure, that’s all, because – ”

“Because you’re an idiot,” Sherlock interrupts, impatient, his eyes sparking, and that does it.

John reaches out and grabs him by the lapels of his coat and backs him into the doorframe and kisses him, hard. To his half-surprise, Sherlock not only doesn’t resist it, but is kissing back – with equal force. John feels the surprise that releases in a small sound in the back of Sherlock’s throat, feels the reaction delayed by only half a second’s hesitation before he responds, but then it’s all response and no filter, Sherlock’s gloved hands coming up to grasp him just as hard. A moment later the gloves are pulled off and tossed away, his hands transferring to John’s face. They kiss and kiss and it’s breathless and exhilarating and John never wants it to stop, only at some point they’ll need to say a little more about it all, but Sherlock seems just as disinclined to stop. John pulls off his mouth after a little to get his mouth on that long, pale neck at last, fingers loosening the scarf and tossing it away.

“How was it not – obvious?” Sherlock gets out, his words stuttering a little under John’s assault on his throat. “It’s always been there, if you had eyes to see it – ah – ”

His long fingers are in John’s hair, which he loves. Kissing Sherlock is amazing. He honestly never thought he’d have the opportunity to actually try it, though. He sucks at a patch of skin along Sherlock’s jawline and says, “Right, because your motives are always crystal clear, aren’t they?”

“I shot someone for you,” Sherlock says, though his voice is a little unfocused.

John looks up then, and puts his arms properly around Sherlock now, rather than just resting on his hips. “So you did,” he admits. “Look, Sherlock – I get that maybe I wasn’t exactly clear, either, what with having married Mary and all that, but let’s get one thing quite clear now: I’ve wanted this from the beginning, felt this way from the beginning. Did you really not know that?”

Sherlock frowns at him, his lips already looking deliciously rosy and well-kissed. “How could I have, with your endless parade of women, your wife, and you going back to her after everything she did?”

“I thought you knew everything,” John says, but softens it by kissing Sherlock on one cheek, then the other. Then his chin. “I thought you knew me better than I knew myself. I still think you do, honestly. I couldn’t trust my instincts when it came to your feelings, though.”

“I love you,” Sherlock says, and it’s very plain and a bit soon, but John doesn’t care.

He swoops in and devours Sherlock’s mouth and now Sherlock’s hands are firmer, more insistent. They pry John’s coat off and throw his scarf on the floor and he doesn’t resist as John gets the Belstaff off him. Without their coats, they can get much closer. Sherlock feels perfect in his arms, even better than he’d ever dared imagine, like they were made for each other. We were, John thinks with deep satisfaction, and steers them inside the flat and gets the door closed behind them. Their kissing has grown exponentially hungrier in minutes. He can feel Sherlock’s pulse racing through their chests, can feel his own thumping in a corresponding counter-rhythm. They’re pressed up against each other, and John can feel himself growing aroused and wondering for about the seven millionth time in his life whether sex is something that Sherlock does at all, ever, with anyone. Maybe he’s finally about to find out. He saw the papers, with Janine, but she herself snorted when John managed a stiff question about it at the hospital when their paths crossed that day. She’d said something about doubting Sherlock could get it up for ‘the likes of her’, which John’s stunned brain had immediately ventured a guess toward it meaning that Sherlock was gay. But maybe she’d meant humans in general.

Sherlock is not showing any apparent sign of backing off, however. He’s making small sounds in the back of his throat that John wonders if he knows he’s doing. “John – ”

The utterance of his name sounds somewhere between desperate and panicked, so John lifts off again to look him in the eye. “Yeah?” he asks, aware that they’re both panting.

Sherlock licks his lips and the very sight of it sends another ten litres of blood rushing southward in John’s body. “For the sake of utter clarity, I’ve wanted this since the beginning, too. Maybe I didn’t know – how, precisely, but – ”

“But you did,” John finishes for him, looking from one eye to the other. “To be fair, I don’t know that I did, either. But I do now. I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anyone – ” He meant to go on and say the rest, return Sherlock’s slightly-premature statement of love, just in case he wanted to hear it, but Sherlock doesn’t give him the chance. Those long arms of his are wrapped around his back, holding their bodies flush together as his mouth claims John’s again, and this time it’s John making sounds he can’t prevent. He feels Sherlock’s arousal pressing up against him and his hands slide instinctively down to Sherlock’s arse. It’s perfect, the most exquisite arse to have ever walked the earth, and he’s touching it. And it’s Sherlock, more to the point. That’s the real kicker: it’s Sherlock and this is actually happening.

Sherlock is panting into his mouth, his hands clutching at the back of John’s shirt, then pulling it out of his jeans. “John – I need – ”

“Yes – God yes, anything!” John sounds just as wrecked, tugging at the buttons of his shirt any which way, then going to work on Sherlock’s. These get thrown to the floor, too, and then John reaches down to cup at the hardness in Sherlock’s trousers. “This – okay?” he manages, his mouth mashed against Sherlock’s in a crush of hot breath and need.

Sherlock makes a sound of fervent, desperate approval, nodding so quickly it’s nearly a spasm, and John unbuttons his trousers and gets a hand inside rub at him through his underwear. Sherlock gasps, his mouth next to John’s ear, the oxygen getting stuck and finally shuddering out bit by bit as John rubs the flat of his palm against the underside of the warm bundle of Sherlock’s cock lying hard and coiled within his underwear. Sherlock is shaking, his fingers gripping John’s back and jean-covered arse respectively.

“Still okay?” John murmurs, and Sherlock makes another sound of desperate need, so he goes on, slipping his hand into Sherlock’s underwear to touch him directly (at last, at last!). Sherlock jerks as though he’s been electrocuted, his breath sucking in and staying there, then taking even more in. “Has anyone ever touched you like this before?” John asks him, his mouth on Sherlock’s jaw again.

Sherlock makes a sound of negation and shakes his head violently. He’s leaking, a bloom of wetness slick on John’s palm, his hips quivering. (Is he holding back? John wonders. He needn’t.) He strokes gently, not wanting to overwhelm Sherlock. Sherlock is panting, but after a few moments, he pushes John’s hand away – nicely, though. John looks up, just about to ask, but then Sherlock says, “Come to the bedroom.”

Maybe he just doesn’t want to do this out here, then, John reasons, relieved. “Okay. Yeah. Absolutely.”

Sherlock smiles, an odd smile that John’s never seen before, and kisses him again, both arms locked around John’s shoulders now, and John doesn’t rush it to herd him into the bedroom, but puts his arms around Sherlock and kisses back as deeply as he knows how. It’s rather wonderful and he feels weak in the knees. When it ebbs off, Sherlock finds his hand. “Come on,” he says, his eyes pooling with the same darkness that’s in his voice, something smoke-dark and indigo and settling like an ache deep in John’s balls.

He lets Sherlock tug him down the corridor to his bedroom feeling dazed, like he’s in a dream. Once they’re inside, Sherlock closes the door and starts kissing him again, his clever fingers working at John’s jeans and pushing them down. John follows in somewhat clumsy suit, desire making his fingers thick and slow, but then they’re naked at last and Sherlock is pushing him up against the wall as they kiss, pinning John’s hands up above his head, their fingers tangling together for a second. Their cocks are trapped together between their bodies, touching each other’s and it feels exquisitely intimate. Sherlock releases his fingers and runs his hands down John’s arms to his sides, trying his mouth on John’s throat and chest, moving lower, each nipple getting an experimental prod and press of his tongue. John can hear himself moaning shallowly, his cock harder than anything. He hears himself saying Sherlock’s name and Sherlock makes a questioning sound.

John opens his eyes to find Sherlock’s on his. “Bed,” he says succinctly, a jolt going through him at the intensity of their eye contact.

Sherlock nods and pulls him back toward the bed. They stumble onto it, John crawling over Sherlock and applying his mouth to Sherlock’s chest, tongue laving over his nipples one at a time. Sherlock’s breath sucks in and holds, and John kisses his way down to Sherlock’s flat stomach and the suggestive line of his hips. When Sherlock’s cock bumps into his chin, he shifts down and takes a good look at it. It’s perfect, like the rest of Sherlock, flushed and hard and definitely wet. He puts his mouth on it with something very much like reverence, hardly able to believe that he’s doing this at last. Sherlock jerks again, the quiver running the length of his frame and into his long legs. John releases his cock and looks up Sherlock’s torso. “Is this okay?” he asks, praying that Sherlock will say yes. “Do you like it?”

Sherlock bites his lower lip, eyes on John’s with something of the look of an animal trapped in the headlights of a car, but he adds, “Yes – if you want to – ”

John smiles up at him. “I want to,” he says, meaning it with all of his might. He takes Sherlock into his mouth again and sucks, not too hard. He doesn’t want it to be too much too soon. He’s gentle with his tongue and lips, running them the length of Sherlock’s cock, sucking at the soft hairiness of his balls, and that alone is extraordinary: Sherlock Holmes has balls, like any other bloke, and they’re responding and twitching in response to his mouth. His cock gives a fierce throb against the blankets they’re lying on top of, and he takes Sherlock’s into his mouth properly now, his tongue cupping it and pressing in. He bobs his head up and down a few times, and Sherlock gasps, his entire body trembling.

“John – ” He sounds desperate, almost panicked, and John looks up, his mouth still stretched around Sherlock. “Stop,” Sherlock says, a forearm flung over his eyes. “It’s too – ”

John stops immediately, concerned. “Sorry!” He sits back on his heels, his own cock temporarily forgotten. “I’m sorry, Sherlock – what… er, what did I – ”

Sherlock is still panting, but moves his arm. “No – it was good, but I don’t – ” He stops, seemingly struggling for the right words. “I – can we just – ”

“Anything,” John vows, meaning it. “Anything or nothing at all. Whatever you want.”

“No – you’re misunderstanding – ” Sherlock looks flustered, and his cock is lying flat up against his belly, as hard as it was before and wet from John’s mouth and his own need. “Would you just – come here – ”

Relieved, John crawls back up Sherlock’s body and Sherlock’s hands pull them flush up against one another again. “Like this?” he asks, needing it to be clear.

Sherlock nods, biting his lower lip again. “Could we just – do this?” he asks, moving his hands to John’s arse, deepening the contact between their cocks.

John moans, craving absolutely any touch, but this one in particular is absolutely – “Yeah,” he says hoarsely. “Absolutely.”

Sherlock reaches for his face, a hand wrapped around the back of John’s neck and they half-kiss, half-gasp into each other’s mouths as John writhes against him. Sherlock’s other hand is on his arse, which feels even better than it should. His own cock is leaking fiercely, and the slick of it mixes with Sherlock’s and makes the slide of their cocks even more sensual.

He’s thrusting against Sherlock now, the pleasure building unstoppably, but he wants Sherlock to get there first. He opens his eyes momentarily and sees that Sherlock’s jaw is gritting hard, his face screwed up almost as though in pain. John feels his cock jerk against him and realises he’s almost there. He adds a twist to his thrusts, pressed so hard to Sherlock that their balls are touching. “God, you’re amazing – ” he breathes, and that does it – Sherlock’s entire body spasms and there’s a gush of liquid heat between them. His second hand drops down onto John’s arse and both squeeze hard as his body spurts again, then again, and John can’t hold back any more, especially not with Sherlock’s hands – he groans loudly and lets himself go, thrusting wildly into the wet mess between them and then he’s flying, the orgasm juddering out of him in waves. It feels so good that he nearly blacks out, shouting out at height of it, even as his cock pulses out another round. Then the tension breaks, draining abruptly from his muscles and he lets himself slump onto Sherlock, feeling boneless as the pleasure ebbs slowly from his limbs, his cock dribbling out the last of it against Sherlock’s.

Sherlock is panting, his chest heaving beneath John’s relaxed heaviness. For a long while neither of them speaks, just recovering from the orgasm, from the fact that this just happened at all. John thinks dazedly that one moment they were arguing and the next – this happened. It all makes perfect sense, though. He never put the clues together and saw Sherlock’s feelings for what they were, and Sherlock probably didn’t have the first idea how to go about bringing it up.

He decides he’d better check in. He raises his head and looks down at Sherlock’s beautiful face. He’s still flushed and there’s a sheen of sweat on his forehead, his lips parted, still breathing heavily. “Hey,” John says, touching his face. “You – okay?”

Sherlock nods and swallows, eyes finding John’s. “Very okay,” he confirms, his voice still breathy. “That was – phenomenal.”

John smiles, pleased by this. “Yeah?” he asks, wanting to hear it again. He wants to ask why Sherlock wouldn’t let him finish him with his mouth, but decides against it. Maybe he just wanted the closeness of John against him. “Good,” he says instead. “It was for me, too. You’re phenomenal.”

Sherlock smiles back and pulls John’s face down to his again, though John can’t help but feel that Sherlock may be trying to shut him up, that he doesn’t want to perform a post-mortem on their first time together. Odd – John would have thought he’d be the one to get scientific about it, want to practically take notes on the entire thing. Perhaps it’s too soon for pillow talk, then. Fine. He can live with that. He lets himself go into the kiss instead, and it’s fine. No, scratch that: it’s far better than fine.

***

He spends the night in Sherlock’s bed, asking sleepily if he could, and Sherlock had sounded surprised by the question in a way that made John smile to himself in the dark. In the morning, John is surprised again to find Sherlock still asleep and in bed next to him when he wakes. An unstoppable smile spreads itself all over his face and he curls in close behind Sherlock and puts an arm around him, hugging him close. The knowledge of what happened last night is gloating within him. He feels like he’s just won the pools or something, been made king of England. It’s even better: he’s got Sherlock.

Sherlock’s breathing changes and he wakes slowly, making sleepily surprised sounds at finding himself in John’s arms, but then he shifts a little and looks back over his shoulder. “You’re still here,” he says, a sleepy smile curling in the corners of his mouth. “Hello.”

Somehow this is funny to John. He laughs. “Hello,” he says in return, and Sherlock turns the rest of the way over and ducks in to kiss him. And it’s fine, morning breath and all. John feels supremely pleased with the universe at large for once in his life. When he can persuade himself to stop kissing Sherlock for a minute, he shunts his fingers into Sherlock’s messy curls and says, “I’m trying to make myself believe this is really happening.”

“I feel the same way,” Sherlock confesses. He hesitates, then asks, looking a bit apologetic, “If I told you that I’ve never woken up with someone before, would you be – disappointed? With all that that implies,” he adds, the mere shadow of a wince coming into his expression.

John’s chest swells. “On the contrary,” he murmurs. He touches his lips to Sherlock’s, just brushing them with his, and says, “Do you see how that makes it all the more special? To get to be that person?”

Sherlock looks relieved. “I’m glad it’s not – an impediment,” he says briefly, and John kisses him again, properly this time.

“Never,” he vows, between kisses. “Don’t even think it.” He can feel Sherlock’s breathing and pulse both speeding up, and reaches instinctively down to touch him, moving his mouth to Sherlock’s deliciously long neck, pressing his lip to the fluttering pulse at Sherlock’s throat, and Sherlock stops him again.

“Wait – I want to – ” he says, and John doesn’t quite get it until Sherlock turns him back down onto his back. “Let me.”

“Oh – okay,” John says, feeling pleasantly surprised. He props his head up on his arms and gives Sherlock free reign of his body, watching him with so much tenderness he feels his heart could explode as Sherlock’s hands crawl delicately over his chest and belly, following with his mouth as he explores. He seems to understand instinctively how much pressure to use, what will feel good, even which of his nipples is more sensitive. John feels them each peak in turn under the warm press and slide of Sherlock’s tongue, feels the arousal skate down his torso to settle directly in his cock. By the time Sherlock gets that far, John is obscenely hard, propped on his elbows now, not wanting to miss a second of the sight of Sherlock kissing his way with deliberate delicacy down his front. His fingers explore the length of John’s cock, touching his foreskin and putting the tip of his tongue to the liquid arousal forming at his slit. John groans aloud at the touch and Sherlock’s eyes flick up to meet his, blue and sharply observant. Next he presses his nose to the shaft and runs it the length of him, drinking in its scent. He follows this with his tongue and John thinks of the way Sherlock cut off his attempt to give him a blow job last night and wonders at this enormous amount of interest displayed in the entire act. Or perhaps he’s just trying to get to know John’s cock. The thought almost makes a disbelieving laugh bubble up from John’s chest but he knows better than to laugh at any part of this precious beginning between them.

Sherlock is touching his balls now, his breath warm on the head of John’s cock, which is quivering at the very proximity to Sherlock’s incredible mouth. Finally Sherlock sends him another keenly blue look of interest up John’s body and asks, “May I?”

“Oh God, yes,” John gets out, and Sherlock obliges him immediately, wrapping his lips around John’s cock at once, the warm velvet of his tongue cupping it from beneath and it feels so good he could cry. He balls his fists in the sheets, determined to let Sherlock do this at his own pace, but his entire body is wound more tautly than a spring, teeth digging into his lower lip.

Sherlock makes a thinking sound that resonates directly into his cock and begins to move his head up and down and John hears a wail of half-need, half-relief escape from his mouth, almost shouting. Sherlock makes another, similar sound and starts going faster.

Nonsense comes babbling out of John’s mouth in a stream. “Oh God – Sherl – ah – oh fuck, fuck, don’t st – ahhhh – yes – God yes, please – ” He can’t think of another blow job that’s felt so good. Although, to be fair, he also can’t remember the last blow job he’s received, either. Did Mary ever – the thought of her is jarring but even that can’t quell the hardness of the erection that Sherlock is gripping with his right hand and sucking as though both their lives depend on it. John’s toes are curling and his balls give a telltale twitch – “Sher – I’m going to – ” It’s too late; he didn’t think it was on him this fast, but – Sherlock doesn’t lift off, but instead takes him fully down his throat and that does it: John gives a wail of wordless, keening bliss and his body turns itself inside out in liquid streams, pumping himself up off the sheets into the haven of Sherlock’s flexible throat. He doesn’t know how long it lasts but he stops breathing, stars blooming behind his eyes, and then finally it stops, his body dropping back onto the sheets, spent and limp as a wet flannel. “Holy… shit…” he pants, when he can speak again. “Sher – come here – ”

He opens his eyes (are they actually wet?) and sees Sherlock hastily stop touching himself, looking momentarily stricken. His cock is so hard and flushed that it nearly looks painful. He looks as though he’s been caught in the act of something terrible, his teeth catching his lower lip. “I’m – sorry, I – ”

John frowns at him. “Don’t stop, by all means,” he says. “I only meant I could give you a hand with that. I’d like to.”

Somehow Sherlock doesn’t look reassured, but moves back up the bed so that they’re side-by-side. “Was that – all right?” he asks, meaning the blow job. He makes no move to start touching himself again, lying half downward, as though to hide his erection.

“Yes, it was bloody phenomenal, but what about you?” John asks, sidestepping this to get to the point. “Come on, let’s take care of you now. Do you want to let me finish what I started with that, last night?”

Sherlock shakes his head minutely and looks down. “It’s – all right, I’m fine.”

John doesn’t get it. “There’s no need to get all shy,” he says, keeping his voice as gentle as possible. “I just want you to feel as good as you just made me feel.” He waits, but Sherlock doesn’t meet his eyes, fingers plucking at the sheet between them. He tries again. “Come on – can I touch you? It doesn’t seem like it would take much to get you there, honestly. You’re already so good and hard.” He studies Sherlock’s face but can’t begin to guess what the problem might be. “Or you could, and I could watch?” he suggests as an alternative. “I don’t know what you like yet. But that would be incredibly hot to watch. Or – I don’t know, would you rather finish off by yourself? I could leave, if you want me to.” He tries to tell himself in advance not to be hurt if this is Sherlock’s preference, but Sherlock swallows and shakes his head.

“Don’t go. And you can – if you want,” he says, glancing up quickly into John’s face. “With your… hand, I mean. But – would you kiss me?”

John softens. “Of course,” he says instantly. “You don’t ever have to ask me for that, Sherlock. Not any more.”

Sherlock moves in and plants his mouth on John’s hungrily, almost desperately, and only then turns his hips so that John can reach him again. His entire body jerks as John wraps his hand around the length of him, harder than marble, and starts stroking him. Sherlock exhales hard through his nose and kisses all the harder, half-panting into John’s mouth. John was right – it’s barely two minutes before Sherlock breaks off the kiss, gasping into his ear, hooking a leg over John’s, his entire body going rigid as he thrusts hard into John’s fist and comes in hot pulses all over John’s stomach and forearm.

“Oh fuck yes,” John breathes, panting right along with Sherlock. “Oh, that was – God, that was hot!”

Sherlock doesn’t respond to this, dropping his face instead into John’s shoulder and panting against his skin, his heart thundering in his chest and echoing in John’s skin. After a little while, he collects himself again and says, his voice muffled, “Thank you.”

John is oddly touched. He wants to ask what all of that reluctance is about, but maybe Sherlock just isn’t used to – well, having sex, obviously. He supposes it’s normal for people to be nervous about it. And yet he was incredibly relaxed about giving John the blow job of a lifetime. “Any time,” he says, meaning it. “Seriously, Sherlock. I would love to do that pretty much any time possible for the rest of our lives. Touching you – getting to be with you like this – it’s absolutely incredible.”

Sherlock lifts his face from where it’s hiding in the crook of John’s shoulder and looks him in the eye for a long moment, unsmiling and intense. “Do you really mean that?” he asks, and John nods.

“With every fibre of my being,” he swears, and Sherlock kisses him again, hard. Surprisingly hard, given the strength of the orgasm he just had, but John decides then and there to stop being surprised by Sherlock.

***

Nevertheless, he finds himself surprised again and again despite what he said. Later, as they’re eating breakfast, he ventures the question as to how Sherlock got so good at blow jobs. They’re sitting across from each other, hair wet from the shower, wearing nothing but dressing gowns, working their way through a rather large fry-up of eggs, sausages, toast, and tea.

Sherlock blinks, then says, “Porn.” It’s completely matter-of-fact.

John stares at him. “You learned blow job technique – that technique, that you just used on me – from watching porn?”

Sherlock doesn’t look fazed. “One can learn a lot from the right pornography,” he informs John delicately, helping himself to another sausage.

John isn’t ready to drop it, though. “And you just – absorbed the knowledge through observation, without ever practising it on anyone.”

Sherlock looks directly into his eyes. “I thought you believed me when I told you I had never been with anyone,” he says, sounding just a bit stiff.

“No – of course I do,” John reassures him. “It’s just that – ” he leans across the table to make his point as thoroughly as he possibly can – “it was the best I’ve ever had, Sherlock. I mean that. The best in my life.”

Sherlock blinks again, then begins to smile. “In that case, it was the right porn,” he says, and John finally gives in to his urge and laughs nicely at him, then gets up to go around the table and bend to kiss Sherlock again. It goes on for rather a long time, and just as he’s about to let up, Sherlock’s hands pull him down to his lap and John abandons any thought of stopping for the foreseeable future.

This is, he thinks dazedly, like a dream come true.

***

However, Sherlock stops him again that night as they’re sitting on the sofa, watching the news. John’s got bored of it and can’t keep his mind off Sherlock as it is, so he leans over and starts kissing Sherlock’s neck. Sherlock makes an appreciative sound and lifts his chin, subtly giving John better access. Encouraged, John leans into it, rubbing a palm over Sherlock’s left pec at the same time. Sherlock nudges his nose into John’s and finds his mouth and John lets his hand trail southward, landing first on Sherlock’s hip, then, after a bit, going to the inside of his thigh. When he slides it up a little later still, cupping the warmth of Sherlock’s not-entirely-soft bits, Sherlock makes a sound in his throat and puts his hand on John’s wrist, not pushing it away, but resisting nonetheless.

John draws back and opens his eyes, retracting his hand. “No?” he asks. “Is it… too soon to go again?”

“No,” Sherlock says immediately, looking abashed. “I just… ” He angles his face away and downward and doesn’t finish.

John moves away a little to give him some space. “It’s all right if it is, you know,” he says, wanting to reassure Sherlock. “I don’t mind. I know it all started rather quick and if you want to go a little slower, that’s absolutely fine with me. Whatever you want, or need.”

“No, it’s not that,” Sherlock says, sounding rather decided about it. “It’s just…”

He stops again, biting his lip, and John takes his hand and laces their fingers together. “What is it, then?” he asks gently. “What’s going on? Why do you stop me like that?”

To his surprise, Sherlock actually flushes. John’s touched; he’s never seen Sherlock embarrassed before – wasn’t aware that he possessed the ability to get embarrassed, in fact. “I – it’s – I don’t like when it’s only me,” he finally gets out, the slant of his cheekbones stained pink. “When I’m the only one who’s… it makes me – self-conscious. That’s all. I want this. I just – would prefer not to be the only one… receiving something.”

John feels massively relieved. “Is that all it is?” he asks. “Thank God, I thought you were having second thoughts or something! I was worried that I was pushing all of this on you, even, but you definitely seemed enthusiastic at other moments, so I just didn’t know.”

Sherlock looks down at their hands. “I’m sure it’s odd,” he says, still sounding uncomfortable. “I’m – not experienced with this, as you know, and I just – ”

“It’s fine,” John says, trying to reassure him. “Honestly. It’s just fine! I mean, I hope you get more comfortable with it as we go, but there’s no rush. For me it’s part of what makes it all feel good, making the other person feel good. Especially you, knowing it’s a lot of firsts and that – I just want to make you feel as good as you make me feel.”

He rubs his thumb over the side of Sherlock’s hand and Sherlock turns his head to look at him directly. “Okay,” he says, though it still sounds a touch uncertain. “If you’re sure you don’t mind…”

“I don’t mind at all,” John tells him. “We’ll just – get there together, then, all right?”

Now Sherlock looks relieved. “All right,” he says, and leans in to kiss John again.

As the kiss deepens, John can feel Sherlock’s breath and pulse speeding up again, but this time John waits until Sherlock reaches for him first, touching his chest and belly, those long fingers splaying over him before he moves to return the gesture. It’s a tricky balance; he also doesn’t want Sherlock to feel that he isn’t being reciprocated or that John is somehow lacking in enthusiasm. They’re turned toward each other, kissing and letting their hands rove, and John waits for Sherlock to be the first to take it further, reaching to touch John where he’s most craving it before allowing himself to do the same. And this works. Sherlock makes a sound of combined arousal and satisfaction at this arrangement and from there it’s easy. They keep going, Sherlock pulling John into his lap and then, later, down onto him as they stretch out on the sofa, their trousers open but otherwise clothed, John thrusting against him at a leisurely pace.

Sherlock breaks off after a little, breathing hard, and says, “Let me up for a moment.”

John makes a sound of agreement and scrambles back onto his heels, his cock poking foolishly out of his jeans. He watches, his mouth falling open despite himself as Sherlock gets up and casually removes all of his clothing, piece by piece, letting them fall to the carpet like leaves. John’s eyes are stuck to the incredible expanse of pale, smooth skin newly revealed and can’t help but gape at it. Sherlock is incredibly gorgeous and he can’t even believe his luck.

When he’s completely nude, Sherlock smirks at John’s expression and says, “Come to the bedroom. And leave your clothes.” He turns and begins to make his way to the bedroom, his apparent shyness about the other thing making no appearance here whatsoever.

John hastens to do exactly that, stripping off his clothes and leaving them where they fall and chasing after Sherlock as quickly as possible, his heart thumping. Sherlock attacks him just inside the door again, pressing him into the wall and grinding against him. John gets both his hands full of that gorgeous arse and backs Sherlock over to the bed. This time there’s a handful of lube that Sherlock ‘happens’ to have left near the pillows somewhere, too, its slickness easing the friction and making it all feel even better than it did last night. They roll over and over in the bed, Sherlock as hungry for it as he is, and they finally end up with John on top in the final stretch, his hips driving his cock hard against Sherlock’s, both of them wet and hard. He knows he’s making a lot of sound and that Sherlock is successful at keeping himself almost entirely silent, but it doesn’t matter because he can feel how much Sherlock wants it. He’s waiting, though, not wanting to leave Sherlock hanging. He reaches between them to get a hand around them both and that does it – Sherlock’s breath huffs out hard and his hips jerk forward, the liquid rush coming a second later. John gives a groan he can’t help and lets himself follow suit, thrusting twice more against Sherlock’s erupting cock and then he’s sailing. Neat, that, managing to get it at pretty much the same time, he thinks, panting in the circle of Sherlock’s arms. This little hitch is fine. It will add an element of challenge, that’s all.

***

Things between them progress smoothly, though John isn’t able to steer them clear of all potential problems with Sherlock’s shyness. He learns that it’s specifically the act of coming solo that Sherlock dreads having witnessed, and understands in retrospect how difficult that aspect of their first time together must have been for him. He also hates being caught in the act of touching himself, as John accidentally discovered walking into the loo while Sherlock was in the shower one day. He’d been planning to surprise him by joining him, having come home from an early morning jog to find Sherlock already in there. He’d gone in nude and pushed back the curtain without warning to get himself an eyeful of masturbating detective that’s imprinted itself (wonderfully) onto his memory. Sherlock had stopped immediately, shouting out and attempting to cover himself, looking panicked and red-faced and John had felt terribly. He’d apologised over and over again and eventually Sherlock had calmed down and said it was all right, his hands still shielding himself. John was about to say he was going to go and let Sherlock finish his shower in peace, but before he could Sherlock had looked down and lifted his brows.

“You’re aroused,” he’d pointed out.

It was John’s turn to be embarrassed. “Sorry,” he’d said yet again, feeling sheepish, but Sherlock’s eyes had gleamed.

“Are you coming in, then?” he asked obliquely, and then somehow everything was all right again as John joined him in the hot steam, their bodies and hands and mouths all coming together.

They discover anal sex by their fourth day together. To his own surprise, John discovers that he likes receiving almost as much as he likes giving. Sherlock confesses a slight preference to receiving, which is fine, though John was secretly hoping that Sherlock might be able to forget himself and let go more easily if he were topping. As long as they can match each other’s pace, however, there are no problems.

Sherlock is obviously working at it, too. He loves going down on John and will do so at almost any opportunity. It has the downside of turning Sherlock on so much that he’s always nearly beside himself with arousal by the time he gets John off, and then they’re left with the problem of Sherlock being the only one receiving something. John encourages him to touch himself during it, and suggests a position wherein he lies at the edge of the bed and Sherlock kneels on the floor, so that John won’t see him doing it. “But you’ll know,” Sherlock had objected. “It’s too humiliating.”

“Trust me, with that mouth of yours, I’ll be plenty distracted,” John had assured him dryly, and that had mostly convinced him. He’s tried telling Sherlock how arousing he finds the concept (and now the memory of the visual) of Sherlock touching himself is, but it hasn’t eased Sherlock’s acute embarrassment with the entire concept. Sometimes John stops him just before he comes – always an act of enormous willpower on his part – and gets Sherlock to climb onto him and thrust against him so that they can finish together. John suggests sixty-nine one night, and despite the awkwardness of the position, it proves to work rather well and he finally gets a chance to get his mouth on Sherlock’s gorgeous cock again.

One night, John is lying back against the pillows, drowning in pleasure with Sherlock’s lithe form lying between his thighs, his mouth working over John’s length with his usual dedication to the task. Both of his hands are on John’s body, two fingers pressing into a nipple, the other fisting the shaft of John’s cock as his mouth lips at John’s balls. When his mouth dips over the head of John’s cock again, John feels himself jerk and comes abruptly, sooner than he thought he was going to. He feels badly – Sherlock is swallowing and swallowing, seemingly not put off by it, but John meant to warn him. “God – sorry, Sher – sorry – ” he gasps out as the lights prickle behind his retinas, but Sherlock isn’t paying attention.

He’s still between John’s legs, turned slightly onto his side, his fist is flying furiously along his erection, evidently too far gone to resist it this time, and John is intrigued and aroused all over again.

“Yeah, that’s it,” he breathes, getting a hand in Sherlock’s curls and massaging his scalp as Sherlock jerks himself frantically off. He wants to offer to take over, do it for him, but he isn’t sure which Sherlock would find more excruciating. And besides, he’s obviously so close already. “God, that’s hot,” he says, tugging at the messy locks in his fingers. “That’s gorgeous – keep going!”

Sherlock makes a sound of pure desperation, his voice high and choked off in his throat, his entire body quivering like a live wire. John puts one of his calves over Sherlock’s thigh and just rubs it against him and Sherlock gives a single, short shout and comes everywhere, getting it on both of them. John feels his muscles release along with Sherlock’s, as though he just came again. Sherlock is too spent to even crawl up to collapse bonelessly onto him the way he likes to, staying where he is in the crook of John’s legs, his back heaving and covered in a light sheen of sweat.

John wonders if he’s embarrassed, but doesn’t want to press the issue. He keeps his hand in Sherlock’s curls and caresses his hair over and over again. “You are a wonder,” he says, unable to keep it all in. “You’re incredible.”

Sherlock half-turns his upper body without looking up at him, but wraps his long arms around John’s waist and lays his face against John’s lower belly in obvious contentment, and if he’s embarrassed, he doesn’t say so. “I love you,” he says instead, directly into John’s skin, and warmed by the sudden declaration, John says it back, his chest feeling tight as he does.

***

He tries to surprise Sherlock into coming in front of him with more ease. Sherlock slowly manages to relax a little more, sometimes getting so absorbed in what John is doing to him that he temporarily forgets to reciprocate, and bizarrely, these are some of the moments John likes the best.

They’re in bed one afternoon and Sherlock has cautiously agreed to let John try rimming him, something whose position and John’s particular height make difficult to allow for Sherlock to be doing something in return, but so far it’s all right. He realises that it probably helps that Sherlock is facedown in the sheets and can hide a little that way, and John sincerely hopes he won’t panic and want to stop, because he’s been privately fantasising about getting to do this to and for Sherlock for all of the three-and-a-half weeks they’ve been together this way now. He’s got Sherlock with his knees spread, arse up in the air, face buried against his forearms and he’s nibbling at the firm curves of Sherlock’s glorious, perfect arse, rubbing his hands over it, up and down the sides of Sherlock’s thighs, stretching up to touch his nipples, his stomach, dipping down to check on his erection and give it a little stroke now and then. Sherlock is breathing heavily, at least half in anticipation, John thinks. They haven’t done this before, their pre-penetrative prep normally done with their fingers, face-to-face while kissing, Sherlock’s fingers on his cock to distract him. This is uncharted territory, and John is exhilarated. He smoothes his tongue over every place his teeth touched and moves slowly closer and closer to the centre, mindful to listen for any change in Sherlock’s breathing – a hitch or a sudden tensing in his spine. But all he hears and feels is Sherlock struggling to keep his breathing quiet. He would hate to be praised for this one, particular thing, John knows instinctively, so he doesn’t stop to say something stupid. Instead, he pushes Sherlock’s cheeks gently apart and touches his tongue to Sherlock’s hole.

Sherlock’s body jerks, but he doesn’t protest. If anything, he seems to be quivering in anticipation and John silently sends a wave of approval his way. His own cock is stiffer than a rod, his senses awash in Sherlock. Sherlock is generally fastidious, but took a forty-five minute solo shower prior to this, not that John had any particular worries concerning his cleanliness, and he smells and tastes fine. It’s exquisitely private, this, and he appreciates what an act of trust this is on Sherlock’s part already, allowing him in there with his face, his nose, his tongue. He licks again, pressing the flat of his tongue to Sherlock’s hole and Sherlock lets out a rare slip of moan, normally suppressed into exhalation only, and John’s spirits soar. He licks and probes and caresses with his tongue, slipping it inside, alternating strokes, then reaches around to give Sherlock’s cock a bit of attention. His cock twitches hard in John’s hand, full and heavy and harder than stone, and Sherlock moans again, quite audibly. He’s subtly pushing backward onto John’s tongue, his chest heaving, stomach compressing and releasing over and over again. John stabs his tongue inside and Sherlock makes a louder sound than John’s yet heard him give, his cock throbbing hard in response to it. He thinks Sherlock must be just about ready to come, but then Sherlock moans again, his hips stuttering back against John’s face again. “John – I need you – I need you in me, now!” he gasps, and John can’t help but moan in return.

He wants to finish Sherlock this way, but he’s incapable of ignoring the raw need in Sherlock’s voice and the direct request and wouldn’t refuse him if he could. Besides, he’s practically gagging with the need to do exactly that, now that Sherlock’s body is nicely open, just waiting for him. “God, yes,” he groans, slicking lube onto himself with shaking fingers. He takes Sherlock by the hips and sinks into him, his cock so hard it doesn’t even need to be guided. They moan in tandem this time, and John waits only a handful of heartbeats before he starts thrusting into Sherlock, needing to come so badly that it’s painful. He’s going hard, unable to slow himself and hopes desperately that Sherlock is even closer than he is. “Sher – are you – I’m – ” He can’t even speak, hips slamming hard into Sherlock, making minute ripples in his flawless skin. He’s bent over Sherlock, fist jerking hard over Sherlock’s cock, and Sherlock seems unable to even answer. His back arches and just as John’s about to tell him that he can’t hold back any longer, Sherlock’s breath catches and then he’s coming, shouting, his body bucking wildly. John seizes him by the hips and hammers into Sherlock harder than he’s ever fucked anyone in his life before, completely out of control, and then a spasm of sweetness so intense that it chokes off his breath clamps over him and holds them there as his body jerks and comes and comes and comes, and he might actually be screaming, it’s so loud. When it finally lets up, his eyes are wet and his throat is hoarse and he’s slumped down over Sherlock, still buried in him up to his kidneys, the warm ebb of his own come pooling around his spent cock.

It takes them many long minutes before either of them has recovered enough to manage speak. They’re both panting and John notices that he’s also drooling on Sherlock’s back. Quivers of aftershock are still trembling through his frame. “Holy shit,” he pants. “Are you all right?”

Sherlock swallows, still breathing hard, and says, his eyes still closed, “I believe I just died and came back to life.”

This gets a huffed laugh from John. “No, but I mean – I didn’t hurt you, did I? That was pretty – ”

“Phenomenal, I hope you were about to say.” Sherlock’s words are slurring. “Let’s not do a post-mortem. I’m fine. I’m a ridiculous margin beyond fine. I’ve never felt this good in my life. Satisfied?”

“Bit of an understatement,” John says, his mouth quirking, but he feels tremendously, radiantly happy. He digs his arms under Sherlock’s chest and holds him tightly to himself, then letting his muscles go soft and spent again, his entire body sated beyond measure.

He doesn’t remember falling asleep, but some time later Sherlock wakes first and stirs, waking him. They separate themselves with care and drag themselves into the loo to clean up. John is brushing his teeth when Sherlock goes back into the bedroom for a moment, then returns with his dressing gown on. He puts his arms around John’s middle and bends to kiss him on the neck, their eyes meeting in the mirror as John laughs around his mouthful of toothpaste.

“I ’ave to sfit,” he garbles, and Sherlock releases him long enough to do that, waiting only until John’s rinsed his mouth before turning him around to kiss him for a long time, their tongues tangling together, and John feels like he could actually swoon like a Victorian heroine.

“We’re going out for dinner,” Sherlock informs him. “Let’s go somewhere nice. Black tie, with a ridiculous wine list.”

John feels his brows rise. “Goodness,” he comments. “All right. Were you thinking of anywhere specific?”

“I had a few places in mind, but you can choose,” Sherlock tells him. “Come and see. I have all the menus open on the laptop already.”

John hears himself agreeing again, but privately wonders to himself again how the hell he managed to get so lucky even as Sherlock tugs him by the hand into the kitchen where one of his many laptops is. They choose the nicest place they can get into without a three-month reservation, then go and put on their nicest suits and it’s disgustingly wonderful. It’s magical, and John is over the moon, and the best part is that Sherlock is, too.

***

And after this, things are almost perfect between them. Sherlock has relaxed noticeably, letting himself go more and more when they’re together, not censoring his sounds and not minding nearly as much when John touches him spontaneously. He’ll even let John start going down on him, though usually he’ll still gently redirect John, pulling him up to kiss him, letting their hands or bodies take care of things instead.

Either way, it’s fine with John and things between them are frankly wonderful. Sherlock shows no hesitation about being openly affectionate, somewhat to John’s surprise – more so than he would have instigated, himself, but he certainly isn’t complaining. Sherlock will take his hand as they’re walking, particularly if it’s night or somewhere pretty, like on their way home through Regent’s Park. Once Sherlock even gets a taxi driver to let them off on the far side just so that they can walk through it together, despite the fact that it’s February and a bit grey. He’s even kissed John in public, several times now – once only just after they’d got out of the sight of Lestrade’s crew after the successful conclusion of a case. They rounded a corner and Sherlock swooped in and kissed him soundly, both hands on John’s face. John’s in heaven. He’s never felt so loved, honestly, and it’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s not just in public, either; Sherlock is incredibly affectionate in general, far more so than John ever would have imagined he would be. Even if he’s researching something or immersed in an experiment, his free hand will be linked with John’s on the sofa between them, or resting on John’s knee or thigh, or an arm will curl out to stop him as he passes Sherlock at the microscope, drawing him close even if Sherlock doesn’t look up from whatever he’s looking at. John’s proven himself quite capable of distracting Sherlock, too, though he generally remembers to ask if it’s something particularly important or time-sensitive first. They have sex every day, often more than once, in just about everything imaginable way, once even getting so worked up during dinner in a rather nice restaurant that they’d had to make their way surreptitiously to the loo to shut themselves in a stall and take care of each other there, kissing deeply, their hands thrust into each other’s opened trousers, and that time they both attempted to stifle their sounds, for once. The instant they got home, though, they more than made up for it, Sherlock pounding into him on the bedroom floor, having failed to even make it to the bed, John moaning on his hands and knees and begging for more. He’d prefer to think of it as commanding, but in the past his commands have included considerably fewer pleas, which Sherlock later points out in panted glee.

It doesn’t matter. John is deliriously happy. They both are, and witnessing Sherlock head-over-heels in love for the first time in his life makes it twice as happy for John, experiencing all of Sherlock’s wonder and newfound bliss second hand as well as having all of his own. It’s nothing short of incredible and all John wants is for it to go on forever and never end.

Sherlock takes a case that he solves in under an hour. John is about to comment on this, about to point out that even when Lestrade called, they could have classified it as a two or three at the highest, but then he notices where the case ended up. It’s a jewellery store, and Sherlock is eyeing the engagement rings with what appears to be considerable interest. Suddenly John has a feeling he knows why Sherlock took the case. He glances at the door, through Lestrade and company have just departed. He’d wondered why they hadn’t also left. There is a rainbow triangle on the door, just to cap things off nicely. He looks at Sherlock, whose eyes are on the display case. “Sherlock?”

Sherlock takes a deep breath. “John… what would you say if I asked you to marry me?”

His voice is low, but John peripherally catches the three employees suddenly busying themselves at the far end of the counter. He swallows, twice. “I’d say yes, of course – and that I was ever so slightly disappointed that you beat me to it,” he says, willing his voice to come out steady.

Sherlock turns to face him then, his eyes bright. He reaches for both of John’s hands at once. “Then – what if we just – decided, together?”

John swallows again. “I think we maybe just did, actually. The only questions are when, and how big? We could go civic registry office, medium-sized, quite grand… it’s completely up to you.”

Sherlock swallows, too. “This summer?” he asks, sounding very much as though he’s trying to sound casual. “June, perhaps?”

“Fine with me,” John says. “And the other bit?”

“I don’t care,” Sherlock says recklessly. “As long as you’re there, and I finally get to claim you in front of anyone willing to watch – no, all right, it has to be quite grand, then. Assuming you’re amenable.”

“Anything you want,” John vows, and Sherlock’s face takes on a look so intense John thinks it could break him in half.

“I want to buy you one of these rings, right now,” Sherlock tells him, his face still every bit as intense.

John smiles up into his face. “As long as I get to buy you one, too. Should we get matching ones?”

“Of course. Which one do you like?” Sherlock asks. John can hear how much he’s suppressing through the tension vibrating through his frame, but somehow they go through all of the motions of calmly choosing wedding bands. It feels half-surreal and he’s slightly afraid that he’s about to burst into absolutely hysterical laughter or tears or both at once and be locked up as a lunatic. He wants to shout about it to everyone everywhere, but instead he looks where Sherlock is pointing and makes thoughtful, intelligent-ish comments about the various options, swallowing down everything that’s threatening to come bursting out of him, too, though it’s all there just behind his voice, the luminous excitement that John is glowing with and trying to contain.

They choose quickly, going with plain platinum bands with each other’s initials engraved on the insides, then escape the congratulations of all three employees, one of whom is the owner they just finished exonerating, then get themselves out of the shop with their dignity intact. They get as far as around the corner when Sherlock drags him bodily up against the side wall of some shop or other and kisses him so passionately that John’s heart just about bursts into flame. He couldn’t possibly care less about the people passing by on Marylebone or the occasional surprised-sounding shopper who glances their way. All that matters is that Sherlock not stop kissing him. The entire world could be coming apart around them. It wouldn’t even matter.

***

The next week is the happiest of John’s life to date. It shocks him that it can still get better and better and better. Sherlock calls his mother and gets them invited over for lunch the following weekend, along with Mycroft, and they break the happy news. No one appears to be surprised that they’re together, though Sherlock’s mother in particular seems ecstatic about their engagement. Even Mycroft is generally decent about the whole thing, putting himself in charge of security for the wedding. (“After all, you’re a mild celebrity, little brother,” he said dryly.)

It’s been a week since the jewellery shop and they picked up the rings that morning. John is sitting on the sofa writing an email to Harry (their preferred method of communication) and Sherlock comes out of the kitchen and sits down beside him. “Harry?” he asks, glancing at the screen.

“Yeah. I’m just asking if she wants to be involved in the ceremony at all,” John says, not looking up but leaning his head over in a deliberately obvious bid for a kiss. “She says congrats, by the way.”

Sherlock takes the hint and puts his mouth to John’s cheek, then his jaw, his ear, his neck, his hand holding the far side of John’s face gently. “John,” he says into John’s skin. “I have something to ask you. Of you, rather.”

John turns his head and looks into Sherlock’s eyes. “Yeah?” he asks. “Anything, you know that…”

Sherlock pauses a little, as though choosing his words. “I want to go to the bedroom, and… I want you to… touch me. All the way, I mean, from – start to finish. I’m ready. Only if you want to, of course.”

“I always want to,” John tells him immediately, searching his eyes. “Are you sure, Sherlock? It’s not mandatory in any way. I’ve never been happier in all my life than I am now. I mean that completely. I don’t ever want to do something that makes you uncomfortable in any way.”

Sherlock shakes his head slightly. “I want to do this,” he says. “I’m ready, John. I want to, for you. And – it’s for me, too.”

John studies him a moment longer, then says, “Well, in that case, then…” He closes his laptop and puts it on the coffee table, then leans over and puts his mouth on Sherlock’s, starting as gently as he possibly can. He lets it spin out for several minutes, then gets to his feet, Sherlock standing in tandem with him. John takes his hand and leads him down the corridor to the bedroom. It’s all slow this time, John shutting the door behind them, shutting them inside their own, private space. He removes both Sherlock’s clothes and his own in turns, until they’re naked in each other arms once again. John moves them to the bed and they lie down beside each other in it, Sherlock’s wide-open, very slightly uncertain eyes watching him keenly. John understands exactly what Sherlock is doing, what he’s giving him, and it’s so incredibly precious. He goes slowly, holding their eye contact as he touches Sherlock’s chest and stomach, not kissing him to distract him or help him hide himself. Sherlock’s entire body is trembling almost imperceptibly, but John can feel it. He doesn’t remark on it, knowing that Sherlock can read him more than well enough to know that he already knows. Knows that John has also chosen not to comment on it. He follows his hand with his mouth, always looking up, keeping their gazes locked together with only very brief breaks. He puts his mouth to Sherlock’s flat stomach, to the sensual line of his pelvic bone, turning his face to caress the warm, crinkled skin of Sherlock’s balls with his lips and tongue. Sherlock breathes deeply but doesn’t flinch. John reaches for his hand and links their fingers together, his eyes still on Sherlock’s as he licks up the length of his shaft, from root to stem, kissing the head and swiping his tongue over the liquid seeping from his slit.

Sherlock takes another shuddering breath, then another, letting it out in a low moan as John runs his lips around the head of his cock, their eyes still locked on each other’s. John lifts off. “Still okay?” he asks. “We can change this at any time. You’re not bound to this.”

“No, I want to,” Sherlock says firmly, or as firmly as he can when it’s that breathy. “Keep going. Please.”

John smiles up at him. “All right,” he says. “But I trust that you’ll tell me if you’d rather stop, or do something else. I won’t think any less of you.”

“I love you,” Sherlock tells him, in one of his spontaneous declarations that John privately hoards and gloats over like a dragon with treasure.

“I love you, too,” he says, his chest welling, and without dropping his gaze, he takes Sherlock into his mouth again. He goes gently, gently, Sherlock’s cock hard and slapping up against his stomach when John lets it go. He shifts upward, kissing his way up Sherlock’s belly to his nipples again, rubbing his tongue harder against them this time, letting his hand curl around Sherlock’s cock, wet from his mouth and his own desire and he strokes it, loving the way it feels in his palm, loving that Sherlock is letting him do this, touch him this way and take his time with it, too. He kisses Sherlock’s throat and face and forehead but not his mouth, pulling back to maintain eye contact instead. Sherlock doesn’t falter, holding his gaze steadily as John strokes him, going faster and a little harder now. He rubs his thumb over Sherlock’s leaking slit and tugs at his balls, then starts jerking him harder and harder. They’re both breathing hard, John’s cock flat-up against his own stomach as he watches the arousal spread like wildfire from one corner of Sherlock’s frame to the other, sweeping through him in visible heat. John feels it all right along with him, as though it’s happening to both of them. Sherlock begins to quiver, his hips pumping forward a little, and he starts moaning, moving restlessly. “More?” John asks, and Sherlock bites his lip and nods.

“Please,” he says hoarsely, and John gives it to him at once.

It’s incredibly erotic, watching this, doing this for Sherlock, and seeing him as it happens, all of Sherlock’s filters down, leaving him exposed and vulnerable and the most beautiful John has ever seen another person look in all of his life. He wants to drown Sherlock in declarations of love, in kisses that last for days, in promises that he spends the rest of his life keeping, but for now it’s just this: just the two of them, completely bare in front of each other, Sherlock spectacularly so. John doesn’t need to be told that Sherlock has never ever let himself be this vulnerable in front of anyone in all his life, not since he was an infant. Never willingly. Never wanting to, never giving himself deliberately like this. John’s heart is as much on fire as his body, his fist jerking over Sherlock roughly now, watching the flush spread from Sherlock’s cheeks to his chest, his breath panting over his full lower lip. He moans again and puts his hand lightly around John’s, not guiding, just seemingly wanting to touch him in some way, be connected. John goes faster still, watching Sherlock’s mouth open still further, his forehead creasing in what looks almost like pain. He exhales loudly, then closes his eyes tightly and comes, the spasm running the entire length of his body, spurting hot streams all over John’s stomach and his own. His body tightens and spasms again, pulsing out more of it, and John hears himself moaning in unison, as though this is every bit as much his own orgasm.

Sherlock is panting but opens his eyes again, finding John’s. “Now you,” he says, resuming their eye contact, and they stay that way as Sherlock strokes him firmly enough to make it feel incredibly good, yet just slow enough to draw it out a little, letting John’s pleasure build and build until he can’t take it any more. He puts his hand on Sherlock’s wrist and thrusts into his hand. The orgasm squeezes his body like a vice and then snaps, flooding out of him as he breathes out hard, the orgasm saturating every corner of his body and wringing through his muscles. It’s simultaneously one of the gentlest, yet also one of the most powerful orgasms he’s ever had, and it’s exquisite.

Finally it releases him and he surges forward in Sherlock’s arms to kiss him, both of them drowning in it and it’s the most perfect thing he could imagine. When they part many minutes later, Sherlock strokes his hair back from his forehead and kisses him there. “Now you have all of me,” he tells John, very seriously. “There are no barriers left. I’m all yours.”

John’s heart gives a throb so fierce it leaves him breathless. Sherlock has finally let go all the way, and it’s absolutely incredible. “And I’m yours,” he tells Sherlock, saying it back, and Sherlock pulls him close and holds him tightly. It occurs to John in that moment that he’s never once given himself this way to anyone he’s been with before, either. Never like this. Never wholly, body, heart, soul, all of it. Letting go doesn’t mean falling, he realises suddenly. Not for them, at least. For them, it means flying.

*