It’s normal for one to find a black-haired man and a blond man leaning over a balcony together, smoking, watching the sun go down. It’s their usual place.
“It’s chilly tonight,” Sherlock breathed, half-expecting to see a puff of his own breath.
“You should have brought out a jacket, then.” Liam didn’t look at him, instead focusing on the red sky. His hair floated around in the light breeze, just begging for Sherlock to run his fingers through it.
Sherlock dug a cigarette out of his pocket as a distraction. He popped it in between his lips and tapped Liam’s shoulder, lifting an eyebrow. The blond glanced at Sherlock, nodding. He always understood—because he was Liam . He supported his own lit cigarette, much smaller than Sherlock’s new one, with two fingers and leaned over. His face was peaceful, blissfully (hopefully) unaware of his companion’s gaze. Their cigarette butts touched and Sherlock pulled away.
Scarlet eyes met blue ones, and Sherlock is obviously lovestruck, as he realizes he couldn’t take his eyes off Liam's. Not when they’re gleaming so much, even against the darkening sky; not when Liam softly beamed at him and it felt like pain and comfort at the same time. He didn’t know whether to turn his gaze away or hold it—Liam seemed to want to keep tem stuck on each other for a few more minutes. So he complies, following the breadcrumb trail Liam leaves behind.
Liam leans in again, this time sans his cigarette. Sherlock hadn’t noticed when he had put it out, completely lost his eyes. The light breath of Liam ghosts across Sherlock's cheek and then his cigarette is plucked from between his lips and situated against Liam’s. His eyes shine with levity as he takes a puff.
He’d be lying to himself if he tried to argue about just how much he’d like to simply tell Liam what he did to him—what he means to him, and then kiss him gently, with or without the smoke of nicotine, until it doesn't feel like a distant dream. Part of him knows Liam would want it too, to an extent, at least he wouldn’t push himself away so quickly, looking disgusted. Sherlock wants to tell Liam how he managed to make everything feel so real, no matter if the world they lived in distorted their feelings into falling for superficial traps.
In the midst of blues and purple, as the sun sank deeper into the sea, Liam looked like a canvas of beautiful colors coming to life. His eyes glow a deep burgundy in the low light.
Sherlock decided against kissing him, at least for tonight. There were still many more nights to come when Liam would share a lit and pluck Sherlock’s cigarette away, even if the light didn’t play with his heart strings as much as it had that night.
When Sherlock woke up to the sun in his eyes he was inexplicably annoyed, not just at the rays but also at himself for not closing the blinds the previous night. Because now he was too tired to move but too uncomfortable with the light blaring through the window to leave it alone. He vaguely recalled Mary and Bond being obnoxiously loud, his head pounding like a drum, and Liam discreetly having everyone leave his room and let Sherlock have some rest. Judging how he didn’t remember going to his own room, which meant that—
—he was still in Liam’s room.
He stayed silent for a few seconds, bettering his thoughts and giving himself enough time to fully emerge from sleep (and maybe wrack his brain as to how to face Liam so early in the morning). Finally, he opened his eyes, immediately trying to block the abrasive light of the sun from searing his pupils, only to realize that Liam’s face was so close to his own that it blocked the sun itself. He was way too close . To the point where Sherlock’s heart felt like it had jumped into his throat and he just couldn’t swallow it back down.
“Good morning, Liam,” he choked out, slowly finding his composure.
Dark, scarlet eyes stared intently down at Sherlock, glinting with mirth and steadily sucking Sherlock in. Oh, to be drowned in the sweet cherry of Liam’s eyes; to be eaten alive by the enigma of Moriarty.
“I have breakfast plans with Louis this morning, so I can’t stick around. You’re welcome to help yourself to anything in the cupboards.”
Sherlock nodded, however, he couldn’t help but grimace at the thought. He and Louis didn’t particularly hate each other per sé —it was more one-sided on Louis’s end—but Sherlock would be lying if he said he never wanted to take Liam away from the twat on occasion.
Directly absorbing every ounce of sunshine that dared peek its way through the window, Liam truly resembled something otherworldly. His soft blond hair lit up in a golden halo; from the small hair strands that escaped his almost-perfect bedhead to the tips that tickled his exposed shoulders—which had become undeniably broader ever since Sherlock had realized his feelings towards the other.
Wait. Exposed shoulders?
“Walking around shirtless, are we?” he kidded, more in an attempt to disguise his own flustered state than to properly tease William.
“Of course,” he responded smoothly. “It was uncomfortably warm last night.”
Sherlock sat up more. “I was fine, though.”
“You sleep like the dead. Although,” Liam leaned closer and reached out his fingers, brushing away a wet strand of Sherlock’s hair, “If you hadn’t noticed, your forehead is drenched.”
Sherlock was frozen in place. Liam, who, in spite of how close they had grown, had never crossed any boundaries, and was now closing the air between them, his breath brushing on Sherlock’s nose as he brushed another strand of hair stuck to Sherlock’s forehead. It felt good, reassuring, and grounding—Liam’s cool fingers against his warm skin. And sherlock thought his heart had skipped an unhealthy amount of beats, to the point where the whole room felt like it was vibrating by the time he was aware of his heartbeat again.
Liam hummed—retreating back only by a smidge, but Sherlock felt like he could breathe again, until the other’s mouth formed a small smile and he actually started to think he might as well just die today.
They’re still close, breathing, looking at each other in blissful silence. God, Sherlock wanted to kiss him so bad. And he thought it so loud that he was afraid Liam might have just heard. He wanted the comforting silence to be broken, he wanted Liam—honestly—to put a shirt on, and ultimately, he wanted to kiss him.
So, Sherlock—as fearless and utterly incompetent as he was when it came to Liam—leaned in, closing the tension flowing between them. Scarlet eyes burned ino every inch of Sherlock’s face; waiting, calculating. He could feel them staring into his own eyes, then his cheeks, then his mouth, and then his cheeks again, his mouth again, and now Sherlock’s closer and closer. The distance is too immense between them, or perhaps, he’s just too rushed and yet too slow, all he knows is that Liam had closed his eyes.
It was a sign to keep going—an okay, let’s do this . Sherlock could actually kiss him.
“Uh.” Both of them are startled out of their wanting haze by a new voice in the room. “Why don’t you save that for later—or better yet, never?”
Sherlock’s heart seemed to have completely stopped functioning yet again. This time due to how unexpected it was to have Louis, of all people, enter the room.
He peeked at Liam, too nervous to look directly at him, only to catch the other staring at Louis, hands held close to his chest as if to avoid misinterpretations from his brother. And now that Sherlock’s brain was slowly rebooting, from an outsider’s perspective, it did seem a little misleading how the two of them were about to kiss while Liam was shirtless . But, they were both adults for god’s sake. Louis shouldn’t have been so uptight, even if he despised Sherlock.
“I can’t ever rest in my own bed again, Louis? That’s quite extreme, coming from you—but I guess you’d rather I’d been ready for breakfast by now, don’t you?”
The inferior Moriarty brother nodded his head and announced that he’d be waiting in the other room, so hurry up and get out of here .
“Also, Sherlock,” Louis said before leaving. “Your hair’s a mess.”
To put it simply: Sherlock was drunk.
He’s drunk, and was not very capable of controlling his reactions—not like he ever had been, but the alcohol really knew how to loosen his expressions. He enjoyed his sober self much more than his drunk self, because although he was impulsive when he was sober, at least he had a clear, sharp mind and carried some control over his spur-of-the-moment decisions. The only thing putting him at ease was the fact that absolutely no one in the room was sober enough to rationally make up the change in Sherlock’s flustered face to his overly-flustered face.
“Stop lying!” Bond says. “You totally like Will!”
Sherlock’s eyes flicker to Liam, who seems lost in some other conversation with his brothers, and based on his minxing expression, was about to fool both of them with a parlor trick.
“Will you be quiet? ” Sherlock lost his balance while reaching over the table to grab Bond and instead lightly punches his shoulder, the alcohol fairly compromising his strength, leading to his intimidation tactic to fail miserably. Bond let out a laugh loud enough to turn the room’s attention to him, only to shout, “Sherly has a cruuush on William!”
They all stay silent as Liam chokes on his drink, gaging on the gulp he had just taken and splashed the liquor in his cup on the table. His brothers don’t seem to mind their table getting a little sticky. Bond succumbed to another loud, hysterical laugh. “ He’s the only one surprised.”
As the space around them filled with frantic laughter and alcohol-influenced reactions, all of them were clearly more distracted about Liam and Sherlock’s situation than Liam and Sherlock themselves. With the cheap alcohol he had ordered running through his veins, Sherlock felt confident enough to look over at Liam, noticing the pinkening of his cheeks. Then, he approaches Liam by the table.
“It’s fine, Mr. Holmes. It was… cute.”
Sherlock almost missed his cue to sit down when Liam moved over. Mr. Holmes?
Liam leaned into Sherly’s personal space, eyes sparkling with a light intoxication. He felt his cheeks heating up, damn alcohol , and his palms grew increasingly sweaty. Liam graceful snagged Sherlock’s drink and gave it a whiff. “I think you should slow down on the drinks, you’re all flushed.”
Obviously closer to the verge of lovestruck panic than incoherent drunkenness, Sherlock was quick to shut down Liam’s proposal—because if he wasn’t plastered (which he wasn’t ) by the end of the night he might just give up.
“Take a sip of mine.” Liam stirred his new half-empty glass of liquor and handed it to Sherlock.
“No, no I’m good,” Sherlock said, successfully forming a sentence without becoming tongue-tied. He was very much not good , and he knew well that Liam’s fancy liquor would be more than he could handle. He may want to get plastered, but that didn’t mean right away.
Liam hummed and took back the drink, his lips grazing the glass rim. “Intimidated by a little Everclear?”
Sherlock’s face slipped into a grand smile, his eyes scrunched and teeth ablaze. “Yes,” he barked. He shook his head in bafflement, surprised at how loose-lipped he was. His tongue felt loose enough that he probably wouldn’t feel immediate regret after saying whatever came to mind. So he does, again, “Can I kiss you?”
Sherlock’s heart races fast and straight to a crashing point. Liam doesn’t say anything for seconds bordering on eternity. He had let his altered state get the upper hand and now his body felt like it was trembling, and oh, there’s the immediate regret.
Liam’s lips slipped into a sloppy half-smile. “We’ve both been waiting for a long time, haven’t we?”
Oh? Oh—Is this it?
Sherlock’s greatly weakened confidence was restored as rapidly as it went away, indulging him to lift his hand and motion closer to Liam’s face. It felt like they’re truly alone, as there was a lack of obnoxious screaming from their friends. Everything slipped away when Liam gazed straight into his eyes, leaving them all alone in their own bubble, and transporting Sherlock into a kaleidoscope of scarlet red. There’s nothing besides Liam and Sherlock, and the slowly decreasing distance between their lips.
Eyes closed and lips parted; it felt like this was the first time they’d ever been so close . The moment his lips first brushed Liam’s felt surreal to the point he retreated his head, making damn sure this was real, and slowly headed back in again. Smelled like alcohol, old and new, and Liam—who felt desperate. Before, Sherlock could only think he was imagining the desperation radiating off of his body, but now, when Liam clenched onto Sherlock’s shoulder and pulled them even closer, it was desired.
“Sorry, lover boys! It’s time for desert, so get your asses up and over there,” Bond sang, wobbling a thumb in an obscure direction that may or may not have been correct. He was perceptively drunk , because if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have completely shut Liam and Sherlock’s little bubble off right when Sherlock was really, truly making it happen.
“Hm, I thought I’d find you here.”
Sherlock pulled up a chair from another table set and scootched in next to Liam. Their legs collided for only a moment and then returned to their respected bubbles of space.
“Really?” Liam asked, looking up from his books. “Be honest: how many places did you look before coming to the library?”
“Just your apartment.”
That earned him a half-hearted laugh. Liam turned back to his books and uncapped his pen, jotting down a few letters on a slip of paper. He still holds his finest beauty even with the dark circles under his eyes and his hunched back. How long Liam’s been there looking over his books, Sherlock hadn’t got a clue—maybe somewhere between three and five hours, which, even for Liam, was much too long.
Liam was still just a eareathral; even in a tired state, even surrounded by dusty old books and the dim fluorescent lights. There’s something swimming to the surface in Sherlock’s mind, clawing and kicking it’s way up from the deep space. Something that wanted to be done so badly. It came from the very core of his beating heart, telling him to do it, Sherlock Holmes. Just—do it . Because, quite frankly, Sherlock succumbed to weakness whenever it was Liam, and lately, more than ever, it’s been LiamLiamLiamLiam .
“You should take a break,” he said instead, swallowing the thought. He didn’t realize how chained to the idea he was until he almost choked on it going down. His lungs are squeezed tight leaving him breathless in all the wrong situations—perhaps because he had hope, that what he allowed himself to have all this time was enough. But right now, he craved for more each day.
“Yes, well…” Liam yawned and stretched, his whole body becoming very long for a moment, and then landed his head on Sherlock’s shoulder—and there it was again: LiamLiamLiamLiam .
The other man shushes him and remains unmoved. Sherlock’s shoulder burned . It felt like they had been in the position for hours. He thinks he might as well just do it for real. This time there wasn’t a Louis with breakfast plans or loud friends to intervene.
With his heart seemingly in his throat—again—his hand reached for Liam’s cheek. The slight contact of skin made Sherlock’s hand warm up, sending shivers down his arm. As expected, there wasn’t a reaction from Liam, the man who liked to lay in wait and strike when the time was to his fancy.
Sherlock let out a nervous breath, “Liam.”
Although his hand hesitated for a while, he gently cupped William’s cheek. It was an odd angle for his arm, what with Liam’s head resting on his shoulder. He drew a small circle with his thumb, feeling the small, soft face fuzz under his fingerprint.
It was when there really wasn’t a single reaction to his movements and Liam’s warm breath ghosted against his wrist that Sherlock became suspicious.
“Liam?” he murmured again.
Carefully, Sherlock cupped the face a little tighter and steered Liam’s face upwards, being met with a silently sleeping William James Moriarty. A light pull at his heartstrings had Sherlock gazing softly. It was probably a hard-earned honor to have a Moriarty fall asleep willingly among the company of another; and here Liam and done it twice.
He sighed upon the realization that, once more, he had lost his chance.
There was only so much William could take and resist: there had been the gift from Albert Moriarty to join his upper class family and live in highestemed manors, there had been the temptation of jumping grades no matter how young he had been, but only to leave his brother behind, and then there had been Sherlock Holmes, the most entertaining and irresistible man William had ever met.
And now, said entertaining and irresistible man, laid on his cold apartment floor, completely worn out after taking a jog with Miss Hudson, a very young, very spry lady. He was conveniently splayed out for Liam to see—his shirt halfway off and sweat glistening in an oddly attractive way. To anyone else, Sherlock mostly looked like a repulsive dead man. His black hair was a few shades darker on the edges making Liam feel completely on edge himself. This is insane, I’m a respectable man with an extendable IQ, and I’m losing it over some sweaty man —although it wasn’t just some sweaty man. Sherlock was very far from being just some man, rather being much, much closer to the only thing William couldn’t quite get used to, in the sense that he was always caught off guard with the most mundane of things Sherlock threw at him.
“Ah, Liam!” Sherlock called without moving, and for a few seconds, it actually succeeded in stopping the feeling a being consumed by this unprovoked rain of desperation for something he couldn’t quite have yet, until it clicked in his mathematical brain that it was Sherlock that called for him, the very cause of his exasperation.
“Yes, Mr. Holmes?”
Sherlock let out a chuckle at the usage of his last name, his voice coming out a bit raspy and God it might be a bit much for William. “I don’t think I have the energy to get up for the next week.”
“Mr. Holmes, a great deal of people would be inconvenienced if you did that.”
“Ah, Liam, stop that.” Sherlock patted the floor to his right. “Come join me.”
William steadily made his way towards Sherlock, disregarding how unsanitized the floor was, and sat down. A crackling laugh erupted from Sherlock and he rolled a bit on his sides as if to better control himself.
And, it was really too much, even for someone like him. William couldn’t pinpoint the moment his affection towards Sherlock started expanding and reached a place where it wasn’t possible for him to keep contained anymore. It made him feel weak and inexperienced, letting emotions sweep away his rationality, but at the same time, he felt secure and safe in Sherlock’s bubble.
For a while they stayed on the floor in silence, comfortable enough for William to subtly observe Sherlock, his eyes closed, breathing slowing down yet still infected with small pants. He’s hesitant about his urge to touch, already predicting that his warm hand would meet cold skin from the now dried sweat. He doesn’t think about it for a long time, pressing the flat of his palm against Sherlock’s upper abdomen—it felt good, especially in the contrast of temperature between their two bodies.
“What are you doing?”
“Well,” William tried his best not to seem like he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have been, “Testing to see if the great Sherlock Holmes is in need of aid.”
“Uh huh, and what’s your diagnosis, Mathematician?”
William got a tad closer, moving his hand just slightly to the side. Sherlock’s stomach flinched as if the movement had tickled. “I think you’re a whining man-baby that can’t handle a light jog with a teenage girl.”
“Hey! A fast teenage girl.”
“Mhmm.” William flicked his fingers against Sherlock’s skin again.
“Shut up,” he said in a low voice, close to pouting.
As if possessed by overwhelming bravery, William closed in a little more, and as Sherlock leaned on his elbows, his hair strands fell onto pale skin. It was a dangerous zone for both of them, at least, in such an intimate, tension filled context as the one they found themselves in at the moment. Sherlock’s face was growing a mighty shade of pink, different from the red that it had been from the exertion of running.
There was only so much William could take and resist, except when he was under the impression that he could do anything he wanted. Right there, meeting Sherlock’s swirling blue eyes that reluctantly looked up at him, maybe he could do anything he wanted to do. So, he sent Sherlock a prize-winning smirk and splayed both hands atop his abdomen, trickling them up towards the chest. Their lips finally—finally—brushed together in a caste kiss as William supported himself with his hands that hand rached Sherlock’s shoulders. As soon as it began, William pulled away and left a small kiss on Sherlock’s forehead—because they have time .
“Lia— What .”
And William gets it, really. They’ve been teasing each other for a while now, testing the waters to be prepared for when it would happen for real—even if it hadn’t yet due to lack of favorable opportunity. This, though, this moment was the most favorable opportunity William had encountered, and thinking about it for a second, he didn’t predict any drawbacks from kissing Sherlock right there and then.
“Not what you want?” he teased.
Sherlock didn’t answer for a while, and Wililiam was growing more and more impatient, because here they were inches away again , and Sherlock couldn’t seem to put his head on straight. But then he said, “No it’s just—I smell really bad.”
William thought he should kiss his neck next, maybe his pink cheeks after, but then Sherlock was staring liike his life was on the line, and his lips were right fucking there , very pink and quick witted and William just went for it. Completely unprovoked, he felt Sherlock’s composure tense for a few seconds before he relaxed again, and then he smiled of all things; and it’s a big smile because his teeth touched William’s mouth and all of it would be very awkward if both of them weren’t acting so desperate. Sherlock kissed good , pulling him in and biting his bottom lip with just the right enough of strength for Wiliam to feel it but not hurt later on.
And they were officially making out. If William initially thought it would take a while to adapt to the way Sherlock kissed him, he ended up realizing Sherlock was just easy to adapt to—as he always had been—and they’re kissing like they’ve been doing it for the longest time, all of it feeling very full, from their lips to Sherlock slowly falling on his back again and using his arms to encased William and tug him even closer. Oh , they’re both kind of dominating each other, William deciding the direction of their tongues while Sherlock traced his hands up and down his back.
Eventually, they did have to part and gasp for air, though, that was when it seriously hit William that that just happened, and in the broad open kitchen, on the floor. Sherlock’s hair almost resembled obsidian and he was yet again shining with sweat from the sudden heat they caused within each other, and he looked flustered, like he’d been exposed; and he looked beautiful It hit William like a baseball—they’re both smiling like idiot teenagers in love, and maybe that’s what this is. Pure, goofy, teenage love, for the serious men halfway to 50.
“Yeah,” Sherlock breathed. “Instead of running, how about you do that for my exercise.”
“Only for exercise?” William teased.
A beautiful blush made Sherlock’s cheeks even more pink, highlighting his shining blue eyes. “Well—it doesn’t have to be only for exercise.”