the words we press into our skin, part 1
Sherlock’s voice is faint, hesitant, the single word more question than command.
John had only come in to make sure Sherlock was okay. After a case he’s normally all restless limbs and manic energy, the adrenaline rolling through him in crashing waves, but something about this one had seemed to unsettle him, to pull him into himself, to turn him introspective and taciturn. He had been worryingly still in the cab, staring out the window in silence, lost in thought, and after absently removing his coat and scarf and gloves when they got home, he’d gone straight to his room without a word. John had left him to it for a while, but curiosity and concern had gotten the better of him, and he had shuffled into Sherlock’s room to find him sitting on the edge of his bed staring at the floor in the growing darkness.
“Sherlock, you okay?”
The only response was a nod so slight it might have been a tremble.
Another nod, barely stronger than the first.
Not knowing what else to do, John had turned to leave, making it as far as the doorway before Sherlock had spoken. Stay?
He turns back to find Sherlock now turned toward him, the same question writ large across his face, twisting in the hopeful arch of his brow, pulling at the corner of his lips. But his eyes, his eyes are unguarded in a way John has never seen, and when he looks into them, he knows. He knows what Sherlock’s thinking, what he’s saying, what he’s asking. This isn’t stay with me for a moment. This is stay with me tonight, stay with me tomorrow, stay all week, all month, all year. Stay for a lifetime. Stay always. Stay.
And there’s only one answer John could possibly give.
His feet carry him back to Sherlock’s side, closing the distance between them as if crossing an ocean. As if choosing his fate. As if coming home. His hands find Sherlock’s face, the first hint of stubble rasping against the smooth skin of John’s palms as they cradle those familiar, delicate angles, while Sherlock’s hands settle light but steady into the gentle dip of John’s waist. His chin tips down, as Sherlock’s tips up, their breath warm, lips trembling, as they meet in the middle. Their mouths slot together the same way their lives have, fitting around one another as if they were moulded that way. Sherlock’s lips are plush and full, as soft as John had imagined, and when he traces them with the tip of his tongue, Sherlock’s tiny gasp sends a shiver down John’s spine. A clever tongue slips out to meet his, and they learn each other in teases, in flicks, in tiny little sipping breaths. Sherlock tastes of silver smoke and strong coffee, of moonlight and music and memory. Little licks turn to long curls of their tongues, timidity giving way to temptation as they lose themselves in the kiss, John’s fingers sliding back to trail along Sherlock’s scalp and twist into silky curls, not pulling, just anchoring himself, the hairs held taut between his fingers reminding him that this is real.
John breaks away with a series of smaller, lingering kisses whispered against Sherlock’s lips, and the corners of his mouth quirk into a smile as he takes in the rapid rise and fall of Sherlock’s chest, the fingers that come up to trace his lips as if comparing the sensations, the flutter of his lashes as his eyes flit back and forth beneath their lids replaying the moment, analysing it, committing it to memory. He watches and waits, and Sherlock finally opens his eyes, bright in the deepening twilight, shining with joy and relief and a hundred nameless emotions that all together add up to love. “John,” he breathes, full of wonder, and John kisses him again.