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What's Behind and What's Before

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You're going insane.

You know, because there really isn't any other explanation for what is happening to you.

The corpse in front of you is interesting, fascinating, and you should be completely overcome by the case at hand. It isn't every day you get a locked room mystery with multiple mutilated bodies. Instead, your entire focus is on the slight scuffle of a shoe against the rough concrete floor.

John's shoe.

You can tell because he does that a lot—shifts his weight and drags a foot across the floor. It's a tiny movement, a habit, and with anyone else it would be annoying. With John, it's intriguing.

That's how you know you're going insane, because it should be annoying, and up until recently, it has been.

It isn't just the shoe scuffle, though. It's the jumpers and the constant tea and the ridiculous blog titles and this infuriating habit he's developed of tugging on the cuff of your coat when he's trying to get your attention.

And the fact that you're beginning to like them.

That should definitely be annoying, but it isn't. It's comfortable. You have lived with John Watson for three years, six months, and fourteen days (you don't have the hour memorized because you're not that pathetic), and after all that time, you're finally beginning to like the idiosyncrasies that had always infuriated you before.

You're going insane.


You manage to solve the case within a couple of days.

The post-case adrenaline is starting to wane as you sit next to John in the dark interior of a cab. You are sunken in your seat, knees bent and braced against the back of the seat in front of you, arms crossed, collar turned up. It's a bit too cold in the cab for you, but instead of complaining, you study John from the corner of your eye.

He's leaning against the door languidly, watching the passing lights as they flicker across his face. One of his hands is resting on his thigh, absently kneading, the only sign that the cold is getting to him.

Something stabs through you, painful and emotional, and it takes you a minute before you can pull out the word jealousy. Whether you're envious of the leg or the hand that's touching it...well, some things are a mystery even to you.

You catch your hand before it can reach across the entire expanse of the seat and slap it down onto the space between you and John.

At the sound, he turns and looks at your hand. Your eyes are huge and wary when his meet yours, blue turned to obsidian in the inkiness surrounding you. You think to yourself: heknowsheknowsheknows. He has to. How can he not after you made such a tactical error?

Then, the hand on his thigh moves. Your eyes dart down and watch as the doctor lays his palm against the back of your hand and you have a brief moment to catch John's slight smile before the cabbie barks "221 Baker Street" and you have to move.


The first time it happens, it is a complete accident.

There hasn't been a case in several days, and London is hideously boring. You had stretched out on the sofa in your pyjamas three hours before and listened as John shuffled around the flat before finally settling down in front of his laptop. Now, the constant clickclickclick of his excruciatingly slow typing is about to drive you mad.

"Sherlock, what's another word for 'agonizing?'"

Like you have so many times before, you hop up from your place on the sofa and lean over his shoulder to stare at his screen. "Harrowing."

He picks out the word in the amount of time it would have taken you to write a sentence complaining about his slow typing.

"Thank you," he says genuinely.

You turn to recommend typing classes, but you've overestimated the space between your faces, and as he turns as well, your lips brush the very corner of his mouth.

There is a moment where your brain is suspended in time before you jolt away so quickly that you trip over the coffee table and almost fall as you dash into your room and shut the door behind you.

You hear the front door open and close a few minutes later as John leaves the flat.


The second time, you don't know what it is.

You are just stepping onto Baker Street an hour after John left when he arrives at the bottom of the steps. You blink at each other for a moment before you continue down the stairs and turn to go the opposite direction he came from.

He grabs your sleeve in that annoying, frustrating, ironically harrowing habit of his and you turn to snap a lashing comment at him when he stands on tiptoes and presses his lips to yours. In the four seconds that your lips touch, you hear the silent exchange going on between the two of you.

It's fine, Sherlock.

You don't like men, John.

Everything's fine.

Then he pulls away, and you continue down the street, away from 221 and the doctor on its steps.


You study him.

For days, you simply study him more than you ever did before. You watch his habits, his movements. You watch what he eats and what he says. You take notice to what he likes and what he doesn't like. You notice when Lestrade says something ridiculous and the lines on John's face strain against laughter. You observe how John watches out for Mrs. Hudson, checking in on her every night. You see how John tries to make Molly feel good about herself after you insult her.

You study, watch, notice, observe, see, feel, and then you are done with all the...that, and so you decide. You decide to let him know.


He's watching the telly.

It's something nonsensical, but he seems to enjoy it. You are perched on the sofa beside him, watching as he laughs about some sort of dodgy joke. He has his arm propped agains the back of the sofa behind you. The distance between you is smaller than it has ever been before, and you've decided that you'll let him know tonight. Maybe right when he's laughing about another humorous statement. Maybe when it's drifted off to the evening news and his eyes are getting sleepy. Perhaps you'll wait until he stands to go to bed and you'll follow him to the bottom of the stairs.

You are trying to eliminate the scenarios that are the least likely to have success (bursting into the bathroom as he relieves himself, walking into his room while he's undressing, waiting until he's asleep and then sneaking up into his room and watching him until he wakes up), when you feel a light brush of fingertips against the curls at the nape of your neck. He murmurs a Sorry, but almost immediately you feel those fingertips again. You make an unintentional noise deep in your throat and realize that just maybe you like being petted.

Tilting your head back, you're relieved when you feel his fingers thread into your hair, and you shift your weight and lean until you can rest your head against him.

"Sherlock," he says. You can feel his voice rumbling in his chest.

You hum in response and turn further until you are practically kneeling into the cushions beside him. You lift your head and blink at him. Eyes that were once riveted to the screen are now completely focused on you, dark and needy in the dim flickering of light coming from the television set.

Your hands have begun to explore, running cautiously over his chest, past the slight hardness of his nipples, down his soft middle. Cuddly. The word is cuddly, and you're not sure if that's something people normally think about someone they want to have sex with, but you are Sherlock Holmes and what the rest of the world does doesn't matter because you have John who understands you completely.

Your lips find his neck now, too shy to go for the mouth. You think maybe that should bother you, but it doesn't. Even if you are shy, John won't laugh. He won't poke fun. He won't call you a freak.

John makes a noise and it takes you a moment to recognize your own name again. His breath is quick and slightly labored as his hands now turn to guide you and then you're seated in his lap, legs straddling his hips, and he's looking up at you with such open adoration that you think to yourself This is definitely sentiment. But that doesn't bother you, so this time you do kiss him on the mouth. His touch is like fire, lighting you up and incinerating you with every stroke, brush, taste. His tongue invades your own mouth and you respond in kind.

There are many noises filling the flat, overriding the quiet dripdripdrip of the sink and the drone of the telly. You realize belatedly that most of it is coming from you as John kisses you thoroughly, within an inch of your life. You have to breathe, so you do, and John has to kiss you, so he does. On your neck, this time. His cheeks are bristly with the need to shave and it scrapes against your sensitive skin, making it hyperaware. Everything he does makes you hyperaware.

There's a hand under your t-shirt, you realize. It's creeping up your back, soft as velvet. You imagine John's lightly tanned hand against your porcelain-white skin and an shameful snivel slips out.

His lips find yours again for a brief, chaste kiss and then he's pulling away, much to your dismay.

"Your mouth," he whispers, sounding awed as he takes your bottom lip between both of his.

You awe him. The thought is so astounding that you feel for sure you must be sinking in the middle of the ocean. You already knew you amazed him, but awed?

You're not slow now. You're needy. Your hands move insistently to slip the t-shirt he has on up and over his head. He helps and throws it far away before returning to relieve you of yours.

You're leaning in to kiss him when the sound of laughter throws you off. A tiny bubble of panic has just managed to raise its head, but then the laughter is silent. You see John throw the remote in the general direction of the coffee table and you smile.

"That was a touch off-putting," you say.

He looks up at you. "Yes, a bit of a mood-killer."

You both grin for a moment before breaking into quiet giggles.

John is unbuttoning your trousers amidst the chuckles and you forget to be anxious. Instead, you wrap your arms around his shoulders and cling to him as you let your nervousness manifest itself in the laughter spilling from you. John is still smiling when he pushes down the fabric from your hips, taking the pants underneath along with the trousers. Your giggles are abruptly caught off with a quick intake of breath as his hand rests against your heated skin, curling his fingers until he's holding you in the palm of his hand. Your cock jumps and quivers beneath his touch as he slowly, slowly strokes you. The amount of heavy breathing you're doing is sure to make you hyperventilate at some point, but you can't stop.

"Breathe," he whispers, resting his forehead against yours for a brief moment before pulling away again.

The stroking becomes more insistent and you ease yourself into a steadier pattern of breathing. Your hips stutter a brief moment before you inadvertently thrust forward. John gasps and pulls you closer with his other arm until you can feel the bulge of his cock beneath you.

You look down and close your eyes, hiding your face, hiding yourself.

"Too much," you mutter, so quietly you aren't sure he can hear you. "It's t-too much."

His free hand finds your cheek and tilts your head up, but he doesn't tell you to open your eyes, and you're glad. He's letting you keep the darkness and that's nice.

You feel it building. You're suddenly standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump, and the feeling is so completely overwhelming that you have to stop him. You have to give yourself a moment to breathe. You havetohavetohaveto, but you don't.

You come entirely too quickly, with a tiny whimper, and you're embarrassed. You bury your face into John's neck so he can't see your burning cheeks and how much of a wreck you are.

He holds you and calms you with his voice until you can understand words again.

"Let's go to bed, Sherlock."

So you do.


He slowly, gently coaxes you into another erection as soon as you've recovered, both of you naked and skin-on-skin. You feel guilty because he's still very hard and you haven't done a thing to alleviate it. He takes you down his throat and you come again, this time with a little cry at the end.

You're trembling from head to toe but it doesn't stop you from saying "Now you" and allowing him to teach you how to bring him release. He chants your name reverently until a final yell of Sherlock! has him spilling over your hand.

When he kisses you after, you can taste yourself on his tongue, and once he cleans you both up, you kiss his hands, his arm, his chest, his hip, his ankle, anything you can reach as he crawls back over you and pulls up the covers.

You fall asleep facing each other, hands resting side-by-side on the covers between.


You wake up to the annoying clickclickclick of John's typing. Your arm is sprawled loosely over his hips and your face is buried into his side as he sits up with the laptop resting on his stomach. You breathe in deeply, taking his scent into your lungs. With any luck, permanently.

"You need typing lessons," you say, and he chuckles as he closes the laptop and tosses it aside, choosing to pull you into his arms instead.