Their first kiss takes place at the bottom of the stairs, where their first laugh was. And, that’s where it starts, the ‘double-tap’, Sherlock calls it.
As John slowly separates their lips, he tugs Sherlock’s forehead down to his own and brings their temples gently together twice. Though Sherlock notices it happening, he has no urge at all to question it. Not when his mind is already spiraling after the first touch of John’s lips against his own. Foreheads be damned.
But, Sherlock notices the double-tap again. This time at night, in their bed. John’s holding Sherlock from behind, arms secured around the detective’s waist. Sherlock is drifting off into the milky feeling of sleep, when he feels a small ‘bump-bump’ against the bare skin along his spine – followed by a small puff of warm air as John sighs contently.
What was it? Why does John do that?
Sherlock applies some rather embarrassing internet searches to the topic of forehead-bumping your partners…but comes up with nothing but juvenile sites for teens venturing off into the ‘Exciting World of Relationships’, as well as sites that gives tips on executing a successful headbutt that will knock out an attacker in one go.
Neither of those help. So, Sherlock assumes it’s just a John-thing. Which is fine, because that means it’s going to be easier to figure out. Sherlock just needs to focus on it better.
Two and a half weeks into the Bump Study, and Sherlock’s not really gotten anywhere.
What originally Sherlock thought was an action done after kissing, turns out to be an action done before falling asleep, after saying hello, before saying goodbye, after an argument, after tea, in the middle of watching a film, etc.
What does it mean??
One day, Sherlock gets fed up with not knowing. He hates not knowing.
“What is that?” Sherlock asks, and in confusion, John looks down at the only thing he has currently.
John waves a hand toward his plate. “Toast with peach jam…?”
“Damn the jam, John.” Sherlock rubs the heels of his palms against his eyes. “The head thing, what is it?”
“Oh, John. I envy you.”
John rolls his eyes. “Yes, yes. I know.” He says. “Lucky John gets to be an idiot, while I, the Sherlock have to lug the weight of my big brain around.”
Sherlock peeks up from between his fingers. “You take that back.”
“You probably only have curls to hide the massiveness of your head that your brain causes.”
“I just. Want to know. Why you bump me with your forehead.” Sherlock can’t believe the conversation they’re having.
“Oh,” John’s frozen for a moment, then he’s shifting about. “It’s just…”
Sherlock is quite literally on the edge of his seat. “Yes??”
John is blushing. “I do it for a lot of reasons.”
Sherlock’s mouth falls open, then snaps shut. “Goodness, John. Your ability to specify leaves our country forever indebted.”
“Prick,” John dry-laughs. “Anyway, it’s words, Sherlock.”
“Each tap is usually a word, and sometimes it’s a single word with two syllables.”
“Tell me. Which words?”
"Okay,” John says. “Warning though, this is very sappy.”
“So be it. Sap on.”
“The words are: ‘thank you’,” John gets out of his chair. “’Need you’, ‘want you’, ‘love you’, ‘hate you’…” He stops in front of Sherlock, leans down until he’s close enough to softly bring their foreheads together twice. “’Sher-Lock’.”
John breaks the name into its two separate sounds to show how it fits into the double-tap.
Sherlock doesn’t know why he feels so near tears.