|Sherlock Fic: "Perspective" - John/Sherlock - NC17
||[Oct. 25th, 2010|12:52 am]
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC 1)
Notes: I felt the urge to write a PWP, which doesn't happen often. So, I decided that putting the question of a prompt to verasteine in chat was a good idea, and, wow, was it ever. She asked for a first-time with issues showing on both sides. The conversation spun out into an analysis of Sherlock's behavior in TGG's final moments, and by the end of it, I think I'd got a great deal more than I'd bargained for.
Summary: When circumstances shift, so does your outlook.
The incident is what will prompt Sherlock, much later, when he's thinking clearly again, to revise his opinion of cyclists from petty nuisance to outright health hazard. Not even corpses merit such classification, as they're docile when curated properly.
Cyclists, on the other hand, all deserve to be shot. By John, preferably, given one of them has just hit him side-on, at full speed, narrowly missing Sherlock to boot.
In spite of the sun, everything around Sherlock turns cold as he drops to John's side.
"John! John! Are you all right? No, don't move. Does it hurt when I touch—"
"Yes," John grits out, tensing under the prodding of Sherlock's fingers. "Sherlock, for God's sake, I'm alive. I don't think anything's broken. Give me a minute. Sherlock—"
It's then that he realizes his hands are everywhere now, not just on John's right arm, which had taken the brunt of the collision. He freezes, registering the warm flesh of John's side beneath his fingertips, which have somehow made their way beneath his shirt, the scarcest hint of belly against his palm. And against his other hand, the softness of John's hair, the taut, insistent working of his jaw. John is speaking.
Yes, alive. The echoing urgency recedes, bringing Sherlock back to his senses.
They're out in the open, in broad daylight, right in the middle of what would normally be a moderately busy street. Bloomsbury. There's the Square, straight on. A black cab has stopped, along with a line of other vehicles behind it, and there's actually a police officer approaching them now. Sherlock doesn't recognize the young woman, and he can't help but wish, inadmissably, that they'd sent Donovan. Which was ridiculous, because Lestrade's team has no time for even minor road accidents.
John is already struggling to his feet. Sherlock takes hold of his arms, stilling him.
"I'll send for an ambulance if you like," says the officer, unclipping her radio.
"No," John says, "that won't be necessary. Just a bit banged up, is all."
"Please do," is all Sherlock can manage. He's thinking of X-rays, an examination.
John is staring at him as if he's finally gone 'round the bend.
The officer blinks at Sherlock, and then at John. "Ambulance, or no ambulance?"
"No ambulance," John says, firmly, struggling again in Sherlock's grasp. Sherlock gives in and helps him to his feet, bracing one arm firmly around John's waist in case his leg won't hold him. It does. John is tense in his embrace, all nerves, still shaken. Bloody cyclist. Sherlock will hunt the bastard down and toss his bike in the Thames.
"Right," says the officer. "You two clear on out. You're enough trouble as it is."
"What?" Sherlock asks, unable to determine why the statement is relevant.
"See?" John says. "You're right on that count. They do little else."
"Who does little else?" Sherlock demands, stopping once they're on the pavement.
"People," John says, his eyes crinkling, that endearing touch of worry. "Talk."
"Oh," Sherlock replies. She's on the force, and word gets around. She'd recognized them. Right. He's still holding John, and his hands are trembling. As tense as they are, he wonders if John can feel it. At least John isn't trying to get away from him this time. He hadn't been able to put his finger on why, but at the pool, it had hurt.
Not at the time, anyway. But now that John's looking at him with as much concern as if he weren't the one who'd been hit, Sherlock's last few doubts scatter and vanish.
"You tense up when I touch you," he manages, mentally kicking himself. "Why?"
John sighs patiently. "Sherlock, I've just been hit by a cyclist."
"No," Sherlock says. "I mean in general terms. I've noticed it even more with others; in fact, you seem more tolerant of my touch than that of, say, Mrs. Hudson or Lestrade, but—" he pauses, out of breath, realizing how wildly out of his league he's managed to steer the conversation "—well. Issues with touch. There you have it."
"You know I stopped seeing my therapist for a reason, right?"
Yes, Sherlock wants to say, but I'm not sure you should have. Instead, he just nods and lets go of John. Much to Sherlock's surprise, they haven't walked ten yards when John reaches out to touch his wrist, his thumb, his palm, slow and deliberate. Sherlock wants to close John's fingers in his own and never let go, but he doesn't.
"Thank you," says John, quietly.
"It's of no consequence," Sherlock murmurs.
It's several days, well after he's revised his opinion of cyclists, until Sherlock broaches the topic again—or, rather, a related topic, one that's likely to meet with trouble the moment it passes his lips, let alone gets as far as John's as-yet undefined issues.
They're in the kitchen, which, these days, is not an unusual place for both of them to be at once. John has learned to steer clear of Sherlock's experiments, no matter how intrusive, and Sherlock has learned which patches of worktop and which appliances are the least likely to cause John distress (microwave and bread box).
“You're quiet today,” John says from where he's stood at the sink, raising his voice so as to be heard over the tap. The hint of worry in his tone makes Sherlock's heart race.
There is, as they say, no time like the present.
“I've been giving serious thought,” Sherlock says, keeping his voice as level as he can, “to the fact that I care about you enough to want you in my bed. This hasn't happened in quite some time, as I'm sure you're already aware, and I thought it only fair that I should inform you of the circumstances. I'm well aware of what your response will be, so I suppose we might do ourselves a favor and consider the matter closed.”
Sherlock can't bring himself to look up from the slide he's preparing, can't bear the unearthly silence, until he hears John turn off the tap, set down the dish-cloth, and pull out the chair across from him. He sits down, hands steady on the table's edge.
“What makes you think I'll say no?” John asks, his voice curiously rough.
That the first thing out of his mouth isn't a rejection hits Sherlock square in the gut. He looks up, wishing he could mask the fact that he flushes far too quickly.
“My hesitation,” says Sherlock. "My issues. And there are yours to keep in mind, too. I can't bear the thought of laying my hands on you if it will cause you discomfort.”
He's hit the same spot in John now, he knows; John's color deepens, and his breath turns shallow. At least he can claim the pretense of steam from the sink.
“That's very considerate of you.”
Sherlock nods, resuming progress on the slide as his heart sinks.
“You may wish to leave now. I won't be offended.”
John reaches across the table and takes him firmly by the wrists.
“Stop,” he says in a tone that's all business.
Sherlock drops the pieces and leaves them where they fall. There are only John's eyes now, unblinking, and the fact that his breath hasn't slowed any more than Sherlock's.
“You've probably noticed I don't mind it when it's on my own terms,” John says, finally loosening his grasp on Sherlock's wrists. He lets his hands slide down until he can take Sherlock's fingers in his grasp, lace them loosely with his own. It's comforting, and somehow one of the most subtly erotic things Sherlock has ever experienced.
“Yes,” Sherlock admits, thinking he might hyperventilate.
“Or even that I don't mind it so much when it's you.”
“So much?” Sherlock echoes. They've already crossed one of his personal boundaries, but he's aware that it needs breaking. Don't let anyone in, not unless you're certain. Although Sherlock is closer to certain than he's been in years, it's still a shock.
“You're not comfortable with this,” John observes, letting go of Sherlock's hands.
Sherlock chases John's, catches them again halfway across the table.
“You took me by surprise,” he explains. “What do you mean, so much?”
“I don't usually mind when it's you. But in stressful situations, it can be somewhat...claustrophobic. I've been in a tight spot one too many times.”
Sherlock is so relieved he could laugh, but instead, he bites his lip and exhales.
“I'll remember that for next time, because we both know there will be a next time.”
“Hopefully not Moriarty,” says John, grinning.
“Or a cyclist,” Sherlock mutters. His palms are damp against John's, and he hates it.
“I want you to know I won't have a problem with this,” John says, and the words are so improbable they almost don't register. “I'm choosing it.”
Sherlock exhales again, more forcefully this time, and almost does laugh.
“There's the matter of you, though,” John points out. “Heaven help me if manage to scare you off. That'd be considerably worse than not good.”
Sherlock squeezes his eyes shut, opens them again. His vision's clouded by disbelief and desire, two very unfamiliar emotions. No, not unfamiliar. Unpracticed. The confession crowds in his throat before he can quell it, because he wants this man, wants this man to know exactly what he's getting into. It's only fair.
"I've been laughed at, told I'm distant, called difficult to read...endured the fact that I can't seem to get off, let alone get my partner off, more than half of the time," says Sherlock, wearily. "You'll understand, I hope, why I've given intimacy a miss for quite some time now. These are hardly ringing endorsements."
"Laughed at?" John echoes, eyes wide with something like murderous intent for whoever had done said laughing. "Good grief, why?"
“See the latter half of the list,” Sherlock mutters. He's already shown far too much of his hand, so he might as well show the rest. “Apparently I make odd faces. I can understand amusement on that score, but not on any of the others. I expect to receive the same courtesy as I give, and I assure you I've been nothing less than courteous.”
"You wouldn't be,” John replies, and the gentle pressure of his thumbs at the base of Sherlock's palms is warming, calming. “Sherlock, I can promise you that if there's any laughing to be done, I'll be doing it with you and not at you, all right?"
“Thank you,” Sherlock says. “Is there anything else?”
John gives him a look that's so heartbreaking he wishes he could photograph it.
“I'd really, really like to kiss you now,” he says. “If that's still fine.”
Everything is, Sherlock thinks, leaning across the table.
It's awkward and the rest of his experiment tips over and liquid goes all over the place, not that it matters, though, because he's beginning to doubt they'll be in these clothes for much longer anyway. John kisses like he's afraid Sherlock will disappear, and Sherlock can't help but think that they're even now, that John has known what he was feeling on that terrible night all along. Loss. It's the thing Sherlock fears most, in all senses of the word. Losing the game, losing his way, losing John.
“What was that you were saying about your bed?” John asks at length.
“You,” Sherlock says between kisses. “In it.”
The getting-there is nothing like what you see on television or in films, Sherlock can't help but think. He's leading John by the hand because, for the moment, that's all the contact he dares. He's leading John by his left hand, and, unlike just minutes before, it isn't steady. As they cross the threshold, Sherlock kicking books and month-old newspapers out of the way as he goes, it hits him. John hasn't done this before.
Sex with a man, that is. Where it meant something.
Again, the words tumble out of Sherlock's mouth before he can halt them.
“For the record,” he says, sweeping a pile of laundry off the bed, “I'm not expecting—”
“A miracle?” John supplies, nervous, but smiling. “Believe me, this is.”
“Why?” Sherlock asks, and he's abruptly sick with trepidation. “Because you're here?”
“No,” John says, tugging him away from his anxious tidying. “Because you are.”
Which is true enough, given what Sherlock has been through. But John pulls him down to the mattress with such earnest intent that Sherlock hadn't thought it possible, that he could want this so much, want it enough to trust anyone ever again. For his trouble, Sherlock kisses him deep and hard and true, abandoning restraint.
John presses him back into the mess of dusty pillows, groaning into Sherlock's mouth.
And it would seem that everything John had said about laughing with him is true: John's left hand is trembling just enough to make the job of undressing Sherlock difficult. Although he'd gone about it with something akin to reverence up until that point, Sherlock finds it impossible not to crack an awkward smile at the fact that John's managed to snag the zip of his trousers on the fabric of his pants. They're both giggling inside a few seconds, and John takes the opportunity to undress himself while Sherlock sorts out the mess (ripped—unsalvageable, really—but he doesn't give a damn) that is the remainder of his clothing and discards it on the floor.
John's staring at him. Feels it burn down the length of his spine, and so he turns.
"Christ, Sherlock," he whispers.
It's Sherlock's turn to stare.
He memorizes what he can in one brief sweep as John draws him down for another crushing kiss. The scar at John's shoulder in all of its terrible glory. Errant freckles beneath the sparse scattering of hair down his chest and belly, although Sherlock can only shudder as he's pressed close, hiding them, straddling John's lap. He's scarcely had time to study John's arousal, but then, what he needs to know now is that it's nudged up against his own and he'll go spare if one of them doesn't do something.
Sherlock works a hand in between them, not without difficulty—no, they never tell you that these things are difficult; you've merely got to learn the hard way—and John bucks up under him a little, tensing. For a moment, Sherlock is terrified, wonders if he's done the wrong thing, should've waited for John to touch him first, but oh, bloody hell, those sounds John is making and the fact that he's got a near-bruising hold on Sherlock's hips have got to be good. More than a bit good. Possibly brilliant.
"Don't stop," John says, breathless, muffled against Sherlock's neck. "Sherlock—"
The look in John's eyes as they snap shut—as he shouts, shattered—suggests to Sherlock that he might be mortified, but the truth of the matter is that this, his come already covering Sherlock's hand, is far and away the most perfect thing that Sherlock can possibly imagine. And he doesn't have to imagine it. It's happening.
John recovers quickly, all demanding mouth and hips and hands. Sherlock stifles a whimper and grinds down, delirious now with the knowledge of what he can have, of what's his, if his body will only cooperate. He aches, and it's taking too long.
Sensing Sherlock's frustration, John slows down, kissing him softly, until they're still.
"This isn't working," groans Sherlock, slumping against him.
"I wouldn't say that," John says, tracing the line of Sherlock's jaw. "There's no rush."
They breathe for a while, forehead to forehead, until Sherlock has managed to swallow his disappointment and kissing John senseless seems like a good idea. And it's in the midst of all this, later rather than sooner, that John's murmurs of Relax, Sherlock and Just let go and God, I want you to come finally pitch him over.
The pleasure of it is raw, blinding. He clings to John, helpless, until it passes.
"You're impatient," John tells him, pressing his lips to Sherlock's temple. "That's all."
Catching his breath, Sherlock can only nod, his head heavy against John's shoulder.
"As I said, hardly ringing endorsements."
"I don't know about that," John says. "I like a good challenge."
Sherlock swats at him, but it's only halfhearted. John's been left with bruises down part of his side. Sherlock runs his fingers over them, suddenly thoughtful.
They're not so bad, really, cyclists.