“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime,
and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay
Author note: Part 5 of the "No Heart For Me Like Yours" series. This story contains quite a few spoilers for the rest of the series, so it would probably make much more sense to read the series in order, as it tells how John and Sherlock got to this point.
This chapter could not have been written without the help of two marvelous fic writers, abundantlyqueer and AfroGeekGoddess. Thank you both so much for your ideas and feedback on the character of Moran and his backstory. You are both amazing.
Enormous thanks to my incomparable beta reader/editor/mentor/friend, Skyfullofstars. I can’t believe how much time and effort you put into encouraging me, despite everything going on in your life. You are the best.
Disclaimers: Sherlock belongs to Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock Holmes originally belonged to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I own nothing. This makes me very, very sad.
Warnings: Sherlock/John. Slash, slash, somewhat graphic slash. Major, major spoilers for Season 2.
Trigger warnings: Suicidal ideation; references to previous abusive relationship, non-con, sexual assault.Please read and review!
Chapter 14: A Great Poem
“And your very flesh shall be a great poem.”
― Walt Whitman
I wake to a warm nose nuzzling against the back of my neck, and soft lips press teasingly against my skin. Arching back into a warm embrace, I savour the feeling of the strong arms wrapped around me. A rich voice like melted chocolate murmurs in my ear.
“Good morning, John.”
“Mmmmm…” I stretch lazily, then twist myself around to face Sherlock. “G’morning.”
Sherlock’s warm hand cups my jaw, thumb rasping gently over the stubble on my cheek. I mirror his action with my own hand, continuing the stroking motion down his long throat, allowing my fingers to trail beneath the inside-out neckline of his soft t-shirt before resting against the pulse-point in his neck.
Heavy-lidded moonstone eyes gaze into my own, and I feel his pulse quicken beneath my fingers. Sherlock leans forward to press those full lips to my own, and I pull him closer, opening my mouth to his gently exploring tongue. Slightly sour morning breath mingles with my own, but neither of us are put off in the least. We are simply wrapped up in each other, hands and lips and tongues lazily exploring and claiming, rediscovering the joy of waking up in each other’s arms. It’s been so long…
Sherlock’s graceful hands rove gently over my back, my ribs, and as things heat up, my arse. I can’t possibly complain, as I’m doing the same thing to him, relishing the feeling of his pliant body beneath my hands. Slim fingers slip beneath my t-shirt, teasing their way up to test the skin on my belly.
Am I ready for this?
Laughing softly, I tug suggestively at the hem of his shirt, and he beams as he rolls back to peel it over his head and throw it aside. I strip mine off at the same time, and then we are back in each other’s arms, enjoying the sensation of skin on skin.
The slow slide of bodies is delicious, and our breathing quickens, grows heavier. I kiss along Sherlock’s jaw and down his throat, reveling in that glorious, long column of skin. Reaching the absolutely irresistible mole on the side of his neck, I lave my tongue over it, savouring the salty tang of his skin, and Sherlock quivers beneath my touch.
I trail my tongue down to his collarbone, then suck a mark just above it. I pull back to study the dark lovebite, pleased with the effect against his ivory skin. Sherlock pulls me back in for another long, slow kiss, all soft tongues and warm breath. When we finally come up for air, his luminous eyes are dark with arousal.
Sherlock dips his head to tease at my nipple with his tongue. Humming with pleasure, I grip his sides, enjoying the satiny feel of warm skin beneath my fingers, even as I wince at the prominence of the ribs below. Slipping a hand into the back of his grey pyjama bottoms, I discover that his arse is nearly as plush as ever, and I squeeze a generous handful appreciatively.
Sherlock groans and rolls me onto my back, settling himself between my legs, his body stretched atop mine. He feathers teasing kisses and nips along my jawline and down my neck, while a deliciously hot, hard pressure grinds against my groin. It feels wonderful, but I need more. I pull on the drawstring of his pyjama bottoms, and give them a tug downward. Sherlock kneels up long enough to push them to his knees along with his pants, and tugs mine down as well, before he lies back down and we both kick our legs free.
Gloriously naked now, Sherlock stretches back on top of me, and we both groan at the amazing sensation of our bare bodies pressed against each other. Sherlock’s mouth is insistent on my own as we begin to move together in a slow, undulating rhythm as old as time. It is incredibly quiet in this house – the only sounds are the soft, wet sounds of our mouths on each other, the whisper of skin against skin, and small, wordless moans of encouragement.
As the sweat and pre-ejaculate builds between us, Sherlock’s hard cock slides deliciously against mine. To increase the friction, I twine my legs around his, and we rock together, sliding slickly against each other. I bury my nose in his shoulder, breathing in that elusive citrusy tang of his scent. Sherlock slides his hands beneath my shoulders, tightening his grip, and groans into my neck, that rumbling baritone intensifying my desire.
He raises his head to gaze into my eyes. The intimacy of the eye contact is so intense, but I don’t look away. Instead, I tighten my arms around him, undulating my hips harder against his. The heat building in my groin tells me that I won’t last much longer, but our breathing is coming in gasps now, and I know that Sherlock is right there with me.
This feels so amazing, and I don’t want it to ever end. My focus has narrowed down to this space between us, this sacred intimacy. All of the pain and grief that has consumed me for so long has been driven back, and the love I feel for Sherlock at this moment is all-encompassing. Sherlock’s eyes glow with emotion, and I can see that he feels the same.
The building tension is reaching its peak, and Sherlock finally breaks the intense eye contact to bury his face in my neck. He groans, “John…I love you so much…oh, John, I’m so close…”
“Yes, Sherlock,” I murmur in his ear. “I want to see you…come for me…”
“John!” he cries out, spilling across my belly. Watching his otherworldly face, glorying in the swanlike curve of his neck as he throws his head back in ecstasy, I am lost. With a soft cry, I tumble over the edge after him. We collapse against each other, panting, as we lie tangled in each other’s arms.
I lift my hand to stroke through the wild tumble of damp curls, and Sherlock rolls us onto our sides. He strokes his hands up and down my side, then smiles into my eyes as he pulls me close for a long, lingering kiss.
God, I love this man. I know we still have a lot to work through, and it will probably be a very long time before I feel ready to trust him to make (and understand) a real commitment – but it feels like we’ve made good progress at starting over.
I emerge from the shower to find a delightfully still-nude Sherlock, sprawled lazily across my bed.
“Oi, lazybones – don’t you have a gameplan to reveal to me this morning? Stop faffing about and get a shower.”
“Mmmmm…” Sherlock stretches and rolls over, obviously doing his best to look enticing. (He’s quite successful at his endeavor.) “Come and make me, Captain Watson.”
“If that’s what it takes…” I chuckle, untying the sash to my dressing gown as I climb onto the bed. Straddling his hips, I lean down to kiss him.
Just as our lips meet, there’s a sharp rap on the door.
“Ignore that,” Sherlock murmurs against my mouth. Giggling, we deepen the kiss – then freeze at the definite sounds of the door opening.
We hear an unmistakable “Ahem,” from Mycroft.
Mindful of Sherlock’s nudity as well as my wide-open dressing gown, I remain in my current position, crouched astride Sherlock. I simply drop my forehead against his chest in mortification, gritting my teeth to keep from shouting abuse at his brother.
“Pardon the intrusion, gentlemen,” says the cool voice behind me. Mycroft would probably sound equally collected if he walked in on a cabinet meeting, a drugs bust, a stitch-and-bitch session, or an orgy. Bastard.
Sherlock glares over my shoulder at his brother.
“It certainly is an intrusion, Mycroft,” he bites out. “Most people understand the concept of a closed door. Perhaps it has escaped your powers of observation that John and I are otherwise occupied at present.”
“Obviously, Sherlock,” is the chilly reply. “I did knock, and no one answered. However, your two…shall we say, associates…have arrived, and have brought along a rather unusual…contraption. I assumed you would wish to see them as soon as possible.”
“Fantastic!” cries Sherlock, forgetting his irritation in his eagerness. He bodily pushes me off of him, giving poor Mycroft quite the eyeful as he springs from the bed, heedless of his nudity. I scramble to close and tie my dressing gown before I can make the unexpected show a double feature.
Mycroft turns calmly away from us, focusing on the wall sconces as though they are a fascinating museum exhibit.
“Have the decency to shower before you come downstairs, Sherlock. I’ll alert your…guests…that you’ll be down directly.”
Sherlock mutters something unintelligible as he stalks to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
Mycroft steps out of the door, then glances back at me. “It’s good to see that you have a forgiving heart, Doctor Watson.”
I have no idea how to answer him. As I’m trying to formulate a response, he smiles slightly, and closes the door.
Sherlock has finished his shower, and I am dressed and waiting for him. I stand in the doorway while he shaves and we cheerfully exchange a multitude of insults about Mycroft. Then the text alert on Sherlock’s mobile chimes.
“Pass me my phone, will you, John?”
I sigh. “Didn’t take me long to become your errand boy again, did it, love?”
Nevertheless, I step into his room for the phone.
“Where is it, Sherlock?”
“Well, at least you’re not wearing it this time,” I laugh, as I spot his leather jacket and yesterday’s jeans draped over the back of a straight-backed chair by the window. I lift the jeans out of the way to reach the jacket underneath, and groan as I hear a deluge of small items tumble to the floor.
“What?” calls Sherlock from the bathroom.
“Nothing, nothing – I just spilled your things everywhere.” Very smooth, Watson. “I’ll get them, don’t worry.”
After retrieving his phone, I stoop to pick up the detritus from Sherlock’s pockets that is scattered across the rug.
Good lord. No wonder he keeps fiddling with the items in his pocket – he has enough stuff here to stock an ironmonger’s shop.
I start gathering the myriad of items from the floor. Sherlock’s pocket magnifier, several zip ties, some coins, the little drawstring bag he’s been carting around ever since Dartmoor, and a small jackknife fill my hands. In my attempt to juggle everything, I drop the phone, then the magnifier, then the drawstring bag.
The contents of the little bag roll across the floor, settling with a jingle in a sunbeam falling through a crack in the curtains.
Oh, my God.
Gleaming in the shaft of sunlight are two wide silver rings. I pick them up, and notice the soft, mellow shimmer of the metal, probably platinum, as the sunlight plays over the surface. I can’t help but admire the fine craftsmanship, the elegantly detailed, engraved Arabic characters that circumscribe the bands.
It’s too much. I’m not ready to deal with this.
“John!” calls Sherlock, as he steps swiftly back into the room, still swathed in his towel, “Don’t worry about picking that stuff up, just leave it –” He stops dead when he sees my expression, and the rings in my palm, gleaming in the shaft of sunlight.
He takes a tentative step toward me, biting his lip.
“Errm…I did not intend for you to see those yet, John.” He steps closer still, hands slightly raised, the way one might approach a cornered animal.
“I had them specially made in Kandahar last month, when I was pursuing a weapons trafficker in Moriarty’s network. I was planning… I was hoping…” he trails off as he takes in the expression on my face.
I’m not sure what he sees there. I’m feeling such a tumult of different emotions, and can’t possibly sort through them all. All I know is, the peaceful feeling of connection, of intimacy, has fled, replaced by waves of panic and longing that I can’t explain. To tie my life to someone who could put me through such an excruciating ordeal – I’m just not sure I have the emotional reserves to take that kind of risk anymore.
I was so happy this morning, allowing myself to simply shove those issues aside in the joy of having my lover back again. Now, all of those weeks of misery and grief are crashing around me like waves in a storm, and I can’t deal with it.
Sherlock reaches toward me.
I step around him, open the door and step out onto the landing.
“Not now, Sherlock. Get dressed – we have an ambush to plan.”
I make my way swiftly down the stairs, never glancing back at the stricken figure that I know is standing behind me on the landing.
When I reach the ground floor, I see Mrs Hudson standing in the entrance hall, talking to Wiggins and a young man with long, decidedly unkempt hair. They are both obviously ill at ease in such opulent surroundings, and I can see that Mrs Hudson is making an effort to make them more comfortable.
“Wotcher, Doctor Watson,” chirps Wiggins, with a cheeky smile. “Nice to see you looking a bit less wonky today.”
I fight to swallow down my inner turmoil about the rings – and Sherlock – for later examination. I force a smile at Wiggins and her scruffy friend.
“Thank you, Wiggins,” I reply, “you’re looking well.”
“Cheers, Doc.” She looks behind me, expectantly. “Where’s Mr Holmes, then?”
“I assume you mean Sherlock,” Mrs Hudson says. “I only ask because this is the home of his brother, Mr Mycroft Holmes.”
“Blimey, that was his brother. There’s two of ‘em,” Wiggins’ companion whispers to her. “That’s a turn-up, innit?”
I glance at him, taking in his tangled hair and gaunt face, the worn, ragged clothing that he wears. Clearly, he is another of Sherlock’s homeless network, but he doesn’t seem as tidy and self-possessed as Wiggins does. Still, despite the unkempt appearance and yobbo accent, there’s a decided aura of intelligence about him, a sharpness in his eyes that gives him a “mad scientist” air. I put out my hand to shake his.
“How do you do,” I say. “I’m John Watson, and you are…?”
Wiggins hastens to introduce us.
“Doctor John Watson, this is Edwin Haley,” she says. Edwin tentatively takes my hand and shakes it. He’s wearing leather gloves with the fingers cut off. “Edwin ‘ere is the brains behind Mr Holmes’ secret weapon.”
The thought of anyone being “the brains” behind a plan of Sherlock’s is mind-boggling.
“And what is this ‘secret weapon,’ exactly?” I ask.
“Errr…why don’t we all go into the sitting room, while we wait for Mr Holmes?” interrupts Mrs Hudson, before he can answer me. “I assume Sherlock will be down shortly, John dear?”
“I honestly don’t know, Mrs Hudson,” I reply, briefly pinching the bridge of my nose and closing my eyes as I remember the desolate face that I left upstairs. I sigh and rub my face briefly, before turning back to Wiggins and Edwin.
“Mrs Hudson is right, won’t you come in and have a seat?” I gesture for them to accompany Mrs Hudson and me to the sitting room.
As I round the double doorway, I glance into the room – and am stunned to see Sherlock already there, dressed in a suit, stretched out on the settee in his classic thinking pose; eyes closed, fingers steepled beneath his chin.
“Sherlock, how the bloody hell did you get down here without us seeing you?” I demand, striding toward him. His head turns slowly toward me, and his eyes fly open in a strange, sudden manner, but the steely grey gaze stares blankly beyond us, instead of focusing on me. There’s something wrong, weirdly wrong, with his face, and suddenly I’m back on the pavement outside of St Bart’s, staring down into an oddly distorted face, streaked with blood, that stares unseeing at the sky.
“Sherlock?” I whisper, as I take a shaky step forward. “Sherlock?”
“Yes, John?” Sherlock’s rich, unmistakable baritone comes from behind me.
Shaking, I whirl to find Sherlock in the doorway, casually dressed in a midnight-blue shirt and dark jeans. Whipping back around, I stare at the oddly-staring Sherlock on the settee, then back at my boyfriend in the doorway.
“What the bloody fuck?”
oOoOoRead Chapter 15