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The Slow Burn

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Sherlock takes John by the hand and leads him into his bedroom.

Honestly, he’s not entirely certain he’s not having some kind of hallucination or mental breakdown. His pulse is pounding, his ears are ringing.

It’s almost too real to be real, he thinks.

That thought doesn’t even make any sense.

The light from the streetlamps filters in through sheer curtains, giving Sherlock’s bedroom a soft, dim glow. His palm is growing sweaty in John's. It’s embarrassing. He lets go.

He shuts the door, turns, and faces John, now standing an arm’s length away. Everything that seemed so natural and easy last night seems impossibly distant now.

Sherlock has absolutely no idea how any of this works.

John’s arms are crossed and he’s rubbing at his own biceps, a classic anxiety tell. He takes a deep breath, exhales. “This feels like...this is a big deal, Sherlock,” he says. “I’m, well. I’m nervous.”

John saying it? It helps, a bit.

“I know,” Sherlock says. “Me too.”

They look at each other for a beat. Sherlock suddenly feels like it’s far too much, he’s exposed and scared and overwhelmed and--

Sherlock’s panic is obvious, and John drops his arms and moves closer, his eyes full of concern.

Always ready to care for me, no matter what, Sherlock thinks. It makes him feel annoyed and defensive and deeply tender all at the same time.

It’s too much to process.

How do people do this?

“Hey,” John says, softly. He reaches up, cups Sherlock’s face in his hands. “Hey. It’s okay. Don’t run away from me, please. It’s fine. It’s all fine.” He kisses Sherlock on the edge of his jaw, dry lips pressed gently against stubble. “It’s just us. Whatever we do, or don’t do, it’s all okay. We can play Cluedo, if you like. I’m just glad I’m here with you.”

“Why, though?” Sherlock asks him, the doubt and fear gaining the upper hand. “Why are you here? After all of this, after everything I’ve put you through, everything you’ve suffered because of me, tell me: why are you here?

John takes a deep breath. Thinks for a moment.

“Because there’s no one else,” John says, simply. “There’s no one else for me but you, and there never will be.” he kisses Sherlock on the mouth, just a soft press of lips, gentle, undemanding. “Is that enough?”

Sherlock’s fear recedes at John’s words, a little, enough for Sherlock to breathe, enough for him find his bravery again.

“It’s everything,” Sherlock says and kisses him back, tentative at first, but then the tumblers turn, one by one, and the door opens, the light and heat flooding in, and he remembers. He remembers and he wants, overwhelmingly so, and the kisses grow needy, hungry, desperate. John’s mouth opens to him and their tongues meet, searching, and Sherlock tastes him, scotch and apples and desire and he’s--

“You’re perfect,” Sherlock murmurs into John’s mouth, and John gives a low and breathy laugh.

“I’m not,” he says. “Oh, God. I’m so not. I’m a catastrophe.”

“You’re my catastrophe,” Sherlock says softly, and it’s so perfectly ludicrous and yet totally true at the same time that he can’t help but laugh a little at his own words.

“And you’re my hurricane,” says John as he kisses Sherlock’s throat, making him gasp and sigh. “You’re my tsunami,” he says, unbuttoning Sherlock’s shirt, “you destroy me, we’re such a disaster we could hold a goddamn telethon, and I can’t live without you.”

Hands slide under his opened shirt and John touches his naked flesh with intent for the first time, making Sherlock’s nerve endings spark and sing. John growls once, low, as his teeth find the juncture of Sherlock’s neck and shoulder, biting him, marking him. Sherlock wrestles with John’s plaid shirt, growing frustrated halfway through the buttons, trying to yank it up and over John’s head instead--

“Wait, before you strangle me,” John says with a huff of laughter, and steps back to strip off his own shirt and vest. Sherlock immediately sees the merit in this approach and follows John’s lead, taking off his own shirt and unbuttoning his trousers, letting them drop to the floor unfolded for the first time in many years. He’s already barefoot, and steps out of his trousers easily, naked except for his gray boxer briefs. John stops undressing, eyes wide, and looks Sherlock up and down with a deliberate, almost predatory air.

“Jesus, Sherlock,” he growls. “Just...Jesus Christ. You’re fucking gorgeous. Come here.” He reaches out and yanks him down into a rough, possessive kiss, their tongues frantically exploring as their hands map the contours of each others’ bodies. Sherlock has never been kissed like this, with such heat and desperate lust, and it makes his head spin and his cock strain hard against his pants.

John places a palm flat in the centre of Sherlock’s bare chest and pushes him firmly down onto his bed. Sherlock obeys the unspoken command, stretching onto his back as he watches John toe off his shoes.

“Goddamn socks,” John mutters, standing on one foot. “Nothing less sexy than taking off socks.”

“It’s still working for me,” Sherlock says, and it’s true, everything that John is doing right now is unbelievably arousing to him.

“You’re a bit biased at the moment,” John answers with a grin as he slides his belt out of the loops, undoes his corduroy trousers and shimmies them off his hips. Sherlock is struck, not for the first time, by the lovely body John Watson hides underneath his unassuming clothing, his cardigans and button down shirts and sturdy cotton fabrics. He is small but sturdy, fit without being overly muscular; his shoulders are broad, his hips narrow, and he is invitingly padded with a bit of flesh that Sherlock finds much more attractive than his own bony angles.

John leaves his pants on--whether out of his own nerves or concern for Sherlock’s, he isn’t certain-- but the evidence of his desire is undeniable, the bulge in the front of his black cotton briefs impressively large in relation to his frame. He doesn’t flinch from Sherlock’s gaze.

“See anything you like?” John asks, a ghost of a smile on his lips.

Sherlock can’t help but smile back. “Absolutely.”

“Good answer.” John climbs onto the bed, straddles Sherlock’s hips, making him gasp involuntarily at the sensation of John’s hardness moving against his own. John places his forearms along the sides of Sherlock’s head, caging him within his limbs.

“Is this okay?” he asks softly, the gentleness of his words in counterpoint with the hard insistence of his body.

“Oh, God, yes,” sighs Sherlock. Johns moans in pleasure as he grinds himself hard against Sherlock and kisses him, mouth needy and wet, and Sherlock’s world dissolves into a dizzy blur of heat and friction, lips and tongues and bodies moving against each other, separated only by two thin layers of cotton. Sherlock’s fingers explore John’s naked back, grip the curves of his arse as he tastes the salty slickness of his collarbone, the dip between his pectorals, the silvered landscape of his scar. His mouth finds a nipple, feeling the pink flesh harden and pebble, making John shiver.

“Jesus, Sherlock, I want you so much,” John breathes against his ear. “So much, for so long. I’ve thought about this so many times.” John thrusts against him with an excruciatingly deliberate slowness and Sherlock hears a breathy, whimpering noise. He dimly realises he’s the one making it.

John nibbles at his earlobe, licks at the corner of his jaw. “I want to see all of you,” John murmurs against his neck. “Can I, Sherlock? Can I see you?”

Sherlock nods, and John slides down his body, hooking his fingers into the waistband of his briefs and tugging. Sherlock lifts his hips to allow John to slide the pants down and off his body. Released from constraint his erection springs free, dusky pink and so hard it’s almost flush against his lower belly.

“Oh, Sherlock,” John sighs in a reverent tone that makes Sherlock close his eyes, feeling almost like he wants to cry. “You’re so beautiful. I can’t stand it, you’re so beautiful.” He pulls away just a bit. “I want to keep going, love, but I need to know you’re okay with it.”

Sherlock nods, not opening his eyes.

“Sherlock,” John says, gently but firmly. “I need you to look at me.”

Sherlock opens one eye.

“Have you ever...well, have you ever?”

Sherlock opens both eyes in order to roll them. “We have to have this conversation now?” he huffs.

“Yes we do, so stop being a prat just because I care.”

Sherlock turns his head away. “A few times. Not many. No actual penetration, though, and I’ve never…” His erection is disappearing. He’s embarrassed now, mortified. “I’ve never found it pleasant.” He’s such a freak, how could he ever think John could ever want him, stupid sodding sentiment has made him vulnerable and exposed and now he--

“Hey,” John bends his head, brushes his lips against the tiny bit of soft flesh above Sherlock’s navel. “Hey, no, stop that, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel like--” he kisses Sherlock’s belly--”I think you’re perfect, you’re amazing, I just.” His pink tongue licks the crest of his hip, kisses the hollow of his pelvis. “I just didn’t want to push for too much too soon. I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable, and I did just that. I’m an arse. Forgive me, please.”

Sherlock relaxes a little, exhales, brings his hand up to card through John’s soft hair as John tastes his skin, tracing circles with his tongue, peppering his torso with small kisses of contrition.

“What about you, then?” Sherlock asks. “Fair’s fair. Tell me what you’ve done and I’ll think about forgiving you.”

John looks up. “You mean with men, I take it.”

Sherlock rolls his eyes again--really, he should stop doing that, no wonder everyone finds him so rude--but smiles a little to soften it.

“Well,” John hems a bit, and his discomfort makes Sherlock feel a bit better. “It’s almost all been women, but in the past I’ve been fairly adventurous--”

“A bit of a slag, you mean,” Sherlock teases, knowing he’s not being nice but needing to regain some kind of equilibrium.

“Open-minded.”

“Town bike.” Sherlock knows he’s gone too far, unkind in his defensiveness and vulnerability, but John sees through it and just clucks at him with a grin.

“Alright, that’s enough,” he says, “and what I’m getting at, if you’re done slut-shaming me, is yes, I’ve encountered a penis once or twice. Well, four times. Two handjobs and two blowjobs. None of which were particularly romantic or memorable.” John mouths at his left nipple, flicks it with the tip of his tongue, making Sherlock shiver and squirm. “And none of them made me feel anything remotely like this,” he says in a softer tone. He lavishes attention on the other nipple, sucking gently as his fingers trace patterns on the inside of Sherlock’s opposite thigh.

“So,” Sherlock breathes in between small groans as John teases him, “not entirely straight.”

“Going by how much I want to suck your cock right now, I’d say not.” John moves back down Sherlock’s body, tasting him. His fingers ghost over the edges of his pubic hair, followed by his mouth, nipping and sucking at the sensitive skin at the very top of his inner thigh. John wraps a callused palm around his hardening shaft, fingertips gently nudging the foreskin back fully, making Sherlock suck in a sharp breath. “Is this all right?“

Sherlock nods, whimpering as John strokes him, gentle at first then more insistently.

“God, I want to do so many things to you,” John murmurs, vibrating against his skin.

Sherlock groans, absolutely hard again. “Then stop talking,” he breathes, “and do them.”

In response John dips his head and licks the entire length of his cock, swirling his tongue at the tip, making Sherlock arch and cry out in pure pleasure. His fingers grip in the soft cotton of the duvet as John’s tongue slides along the underside of his shaft, explores the slit, making Sherlock’s breath come out in panting, gasping moans. John’s nimble fingers slip under his scrotum, brush teasingly against his perineum, cup against his balls.

“You’re so full,” John purrs against the skin of Sherlock’s belly as his fingers tease and massage at his scrotum. “So heavy. All those nights, all that waiting. And it’s all for me, isn’t it? It’s all mine.”

The lewdness of those whispered words send a violent jolt of pleasure through Sherlock’s body, making him shudder in a way he’s never felt before. “Yes,” Sherlock whimpers as his hips flex, wanting to push into something, wanting to thrust, wanting to move. “For you. All for you.”

“You’re so fucking beautiful like this,” John says, his breath hot against Sherlock’s cock, then takes him in his mouth, all the way down to the root. Wet velvet heat heat engulfs him, and Sherlock convulses with the intensity of sensation. His hips stutter upward of their own accord, and John’s hand wraps around the base of his shaft as he moves, mouth sliding expertly down his length, alternating shallow bobbing with taking him deep into his throat as his hand works him in counterpoint, making the pleasure spark and slither along Sherlock’s spine.

Nothing in Sherlock’s limited experience has ever, ever prepared him for this.

“John,” he moans, low and and desperate, a voice Sherlock didn’t even know he had. “Oh my God, John. Yes.”

It’s unbelievable, it’s too much, overwhelming, and Sherlock is already sliding close to the edge when he winds a hand in John’s hair, tugging gently. “Not yet,” he says, breathing hard. “Please. Not yet. I want to see your face when I come.”

John pulls off with a wet, filthy noise and slides up the length of Sherlock’s body. Sherlock kisses him, tasting himself on John’s lips. It’s incredibly arousing.

“So you find it pleasant?” John asks with just the barest hint of a smirk.

“Shut up and take off your pants,” Sherlock says, the words coming out much less demanding and much more needy than he intended. He bites at John’s neck as he pulls at the waistband of his briefs. “I want to see you naked. I want to touch you.”

“Bossy,” John says with a chuckle, and then makes a noise of surprise as Sherlock manhandles them around, flipping them over so he’s on top of John, covering his body with his larger frame. He moves to the side and none-too-gently maneuvers John’s pants down and off, rendering him gloriously naked, and then finds himself positively transfixed by the first sight of John’s cock. It’s hard and flushed, foreskin fully retracted, glans almost purple, shiny wet with precome. It’s absolutely beautiful, close to nine inches on first visual estimate, and much thicker than his own. Sherlock wraps his hand around it, feeling the satiny heat of John’s flesh, making John groan and throw his head back into the pillows.

“Jesus, Sherlock,” he moans, “God, yes.” Sherlock strokes him firmly, root to tip, brushing his thumb across the leaking slit, then again, again, looking raptly at John’s face, watching him bite his lip and moan as he receives pleasure.

“Yes. Fuck. You feel so good,” John breathes, thrusting his hips into Sherlock’s fist.

“Wait,” Sherlock says, “I’ve got--” and he takes his hand away, making John whimper a bit at the loss of contact. He leans over, opens the bedside table drawer, finds a half-full bottle of lube. John gives a strangled laugh.

“I wasn’t even sure you did that,” John admits, making Sherlock grin.

“I do,” Sherlock says, uncapping the bottle and slicking his hand. “Frequently.” He bends down to lick at the shell of John’s ear. “And I think about you when I do it.” He straddles John’s hips with his knees. “Show me, John,” he growls into his ear. “Show me how you like to be touched.”

“Jesus Christ, your voice,” John groans. “It’s actually killing me. It should be illegal to sound like that. Here, shift up a bit.” John adjusts the angle of their hips so their cocks slot up against each other, and guides Sherlock large hand as he wraps it around them, shows him how to move.

“Oh God, oh fuck, your hands, Sherlock, yes, just like that,” John moans, rolling his head against the pillow as Sherlock strokes them together, over and over, with a slight twist of the wrist, their cocks sliding hot and smooth and wet against each other. The sensation is exquisite, incomparable. John whimpers low in his throat as he pushes up into Sherlock’s hand. “God, that’s perfect. You feel so good. Please. I want us to come like this, with you against me.”

Sherlock exhales, nods. “Help me, then,” he whispers. John wraps his smaller hand around Sherlock’s, guiding his strokes, tighter, shorter.

“Oh yes, Jesus, fuck, that’s so good,” John breathes, “You’re beautiful, you’re amazing.”

It feels better than anything Sherlock had ever thought possible, the tightness building low in his belly. Oh,” Sherlock moans, soft and throaty, as he fucks into their joined hands, against John’s feverish heat, his orgasm edging ever closer. “Oh, God.” The sensations are spiraling in him, overwhelming him, and he closes his eyes against the onslaught.

John brings his free hand up to grip Sherlock’s bicep. “Open your eyes, love,” he says, his voice low and ragged and desperate. “I want you to watch. I want you to see what you do to me, see me come for you, please.” Sherlock opens his eyes, looks at the space between their bodies where they are thrusting and sliding against each other.

“Fuck, yes, yes,” John pants, sliding into incoherence. “it’s so good, so good. I want to come on you, I want, I--” he thrusts once more, hard, and stills for just a fraction of a second before he climaxes, his body drawing up bowstring-tight as he comes hard with a strangled cry. Sherlock watches, transfixed, as John’s cock twitches and spurts, spilling hot and white over Sherlock’s fingers, onto his belly, into his pubic hair, dripping warm and slick and wet and it’s the single most erotic experience of his entire life.

“Oh my God,” John sighs, pulling away with a bit of a hiss as he grows sensitive, but he keeps his hand wrapped around Sherlock’s as Sherlock continues to thrust, up at the very edge of the abyss. The pleasure spirals hot within him, a sparking live wire coiled around the base of his spine. His balls tighten and draw up as the tightness builds and clench grow almost unbearable.

“I’m so close, so close,” Sherlock whimpers brokenly, unable to stop the words spilling from his mouth as the pressure builds and builds. “So close, John, so close, I need, please, oh please--”

“Look at me,” coaxes John and Sherlock obeys. “God, so gorgeous,” he murmurs, his free hand coming up to stroke a thumb across Sherlock’s cheekbone.“ Come for me, love, It’s all right, come for me, I want to see you--”

The gentle words push Sherlock over the final edge and his orgasm takes him, a desperate keening cry torn from him as he comes harder than he ever has in his life. His body shakes with spasm after spasm of indescribable bliss, the pent up desire of so many weeks and months and years releasing as his come stripes hot across John’s belly and chest.

It feels like it lasts forever, all of existence coalesced down into wave after wave of blinding white pleasure. John holds him, strokes him gently through it until the sparking aftershocks recede and Sherlock finally collapses against him, spent and panting.

John’s fingers weave soothingly through Sherlock’s his hair as his breathing slows, his body calms. Minutes tick by as Sherlock comes back to himself, slowly. His body is warm, satiated, his mind blissfully empty and at peace.

Cooling stickiness squishes wet between them and John laughs quietly. “God, this is a bit of a mess,” he says, and Sherlock grunts his indifference as John twists himself around to swipe a discarded item of clothing--pants or vest or shirt, Sherlock doesn’t know or care-- to clean them up a bit, swiping somewhat ineffectually at their sticky bodies before tossing the cloth over the side of the bed. He pulls Sherlock close to his side, kisses the top of his head. Sherlock mouths sleepily at the sweat-damp skin of John’s shoulder.

“Amazing,” John says softly.

“Better than Cluedo,” murmurs Sherlock, making John groan and chuckle and pull him even closer. Sherlock doesn’t resist, wrapping long limbs around John’s warm, sleepy body.

“I knew you’d be a cuddler,” John says teasingly, and Sherlock answers with a noise that’s meant to be an annoyed growl but instead comes out as something rumbly and affectionate.

The two grow quiet, and the room is silent for several minutes except for the sound of their breathing. Evening moves deeper into night.

Just before he falls asleep, Sherlock stirs. He has to tell John something important.

“They’re not going to win,” he says. “I won’t let them.”

We won’t let them,” John murmurs, his voice scratchy and warm in the dark. “We won’t let them take this away from us.” He tightens his hold on Sherlock. “We’re in this together. No matter what.” John pauses a moment, as if in contemplation, then dips his head, whispers three soft words into the curls behind Sherlock’s ear.

Sherlock turns, mouths the words back against John’s warm, sweet-smelling neck.

“Well, then,” John mumbles sleepily. “That’s settled. No matter what happens now, we’ve already won.”

Moments later John’s breathing deepens, evens out. Sherlock soon follows.

Sentiment, he thinks as he drifts towards slumber. Tomorrow or twenty years from now, It’s going to kill us both in the end.

Oxytocin. Serotonin. Dopamine.

Just chemicals.

And yet.

At this moment, as he falls asleep for the first time in the safety of his lover’s arms, Sherlock can’t imagine anything else he’d rather die for.