snake it off, snake it off

nc-17 | sexual content

"John! John! I need your laptop!"

"Get it yourself, you great git!" John was treating his head injury with not-at-all-doctor-approved whiskey and had no patience left. It hadn't been Sherlock's fault, exactly, but if he hadn't gone after the murderer on his own, John probably wouldn't have gone down the wrong alley while trying to chase him. Then he wouldn't have literally run into the murderer's accomplice and he wouldn't have fallen backwards and hit his head. John had woken up to Sherlock kneeling over him, his face only a few inches away. It would have been a nice way to wake up if it weren't for the aching skull and Sherlock yelling at him to stop being unconscious.

"If you won't fetch your laptop, bring me my phone!"

"I'm not your bloody manservant!" He knocked back the alcohol a little too quickly, the sharp liquid tickling the back of his throat and sending him into a coughing fit.

"It's important!"

"Go to hell," John croaked out.

"If I believed in such a place, I might say that I would soon be headed there, if you don't get my laptop or my phone or at least tell me the difference between a coral and a king snake!"

John stifled his cough and sat up straight in his chair. Sherlock's tone was a bit too reminiscent of Baskerville. "Are you taking the piss?"

"This is no time to be dense, John."

It had to be a joke. A trick. Something. But John bolted out of his chair anyway, rushing to the sound of Sherlock's voice, hesitating for a moment outside the bathroom.

"Is it safe to come in?"


He gently pushed open the door and crept into the room. In spite of the imminent danger, John's eyes didn't focus on the snake, not right away. Sherlock clearly hadn't noticed it until he had pulled back the shower curtain, which meant the man was standing there, frozen, naked as the day he was born. His gaze skated over Sherlock's bare shoulder (seen it), his bare back (seen it), his bare stomach (seen it) and finally settled on his flaccid, but still rather impressive cock (that was new).

And curled up, not half a meter from Sherlock, was a red, yellow, and black snake. Red against black. John felt himself relax.

"Give me your phone."

"I didn't bring it." When John glanced back at Sherlock, he couldn't help it; after a brief moment of eye contact, he found himself staring at Sherlock's groin again. He had to swallow hard and force himself to look away. This was no time to be ogling his flatmate.

"Then why did you come in?"

"Sherlock, relax." John stepped towards him, reaching for his shoulder. "It's probably more scared of you than you are of it."

Before John could even finish his sentence, Sherlock's arm shot out, barring him from coming closer. "I'm not scared," he snapped, his face screwed up into an ugly snarl.

"Okay." John gently touched Sherlock's arm, trying to guide it down. "What I'm saying is - "

The next few moments were a blur. John's attempt to reach the snake caused Sherlock to step in between the two of them, even though John's clothing would have provided a barrier against the bite. The snake, which probably would have been content sitting in the corner of the shower, was startled by the commotion. John recognized the way it twisted into an S-shape and brought up its head, and it kicked his protective instincts into gear.

It moved and Sherlock moved and John moved and then -

And then.

The snake was dead. John might have felt a touch of guilt about it, if it weren't for the fact that his best friend was leaning against the wall, clearly in shock. There were two small puncture wounds on his inner thigh, just a centimeter or two away from his groin, and nearly hidden by pubic hair. Sherlock's face was pale, his expression stricken.

"John," he whispered.

"You're going to be okay," John reassured him. He ran his hands up Sherlock's arms, only half-aware that he was smearing the snake's blood on Sherlock's skin. Suddenly he found himself being pushed to his knees.

"You have to suck it out." Sherlock's tone was urgent, frightened. "It's too close to my heart. If there's a neurotoxin -"

"No, Sherlock, yo-"

"Please." Sherlock was begging. Sherlock was begging and pushing John's head towards his crotch. Sherlock's cock was right there and John may have thought about this exact scenario more than once while wanking in the shower. Granted, minus the snake bite. Sherlock moved suddenly, planting his foot against the opposite wall, his long leg stretched out, inviting John to wonder exactly how flexible he was.

"It stings," Sherlock said, panting. "I can feel my blood pressure dropping. My pulse is slowing. I can't breathe. John."

"You're having a panic attack." John congratulated himself on being able to sound normal when Sherlock's dick was a couple inches from his face. Sherlock's not-exactly-limp-anymore dick. "You need to calm down."

"I am not panicking!"

"You're shrieking."

"I'm dying, John!" His eyes were wide, his tongue peeking out slightly as he gasped for air, his body trembling. John felt his own hands shaking, his mind involuntarily flashing back to the roof. So this was what Sherlock looked like when he was really dying. Or at least thought he was dying.

Thank god he wasn't.

Sherlock's hand was still forceful on the back of his head and John put his hands on Sherlock's hips, trying to keep both of them still but failing miserably. John's lips made contact with his thigh and, almost by reflex, he pressed a soft, reassuring kiss to the skin there. Sherlock was still begging, struggling to breathe. John felt like an ass; his friend was petrified and he was taking advantage. He cleared his throat, tilted his head back.

"You're going to be fine, Sher-"

"What is going on up here?" Mrs. Hudson was in the doorway before either of them could react. The moment she set sight on them, she turned her head and held her hand up in front of her eyes. "Oh my word!"

"Mrs. Hudson, this is not what it looks like," John said, as Sherlock blurted out, "Mrs. Hudson, you need to call an ambulance."

That got her attention focused back on them. Sherlock naked. Sherlock naked, with his leg propped up against the wall. Sherlock naked, with his leg propped up against the wall, breathing heavily. Sherlock naked, with his leg propped up against the wall, breathing heavily, while John was kneeling in front of him, with his bloody hands on Sherlock's hips and his face inches away from Sherlock's penis. A penis that wasn't quite hard but definitely wasn't soft.


"John Watson, what have you done?" If it weren't for Sherlock's state of undress, John was fairly certain she would have walked right over to him and slapped his face.

"No, no, there was a snake -"

"I don't want to hear about your sex toys! You can't just - what did you - I don't even want to know! Sherlock, are you alright?"

Sherlock clearly was not okay. He was coated with a light sheen of sweat and looked like he was about to pass out. "Snake bite. Call an ambulance! I'll die if I don't get antivenom."

"No, no, NO." This warranted John's Captain voice. "I've been trying to tell you, Sherlock - that snake isn't poisonous."

"Of course not, because snakes aren't poisonous. They're venomous. Did you pay any attention in med-" Sherlock froze, mid-diatribe. "What did you say?"

"It's not a venomous snake. You're going to be fine. Once you stop panicking."

"There's a snake in here? A real, live snake?"

"Not anymore, Mrs. Hudson," John said, moving back so she could see the mess on the floor. "None of this blood is Sherlock's."

"You ripped its head off?" She actually seemed more horrified by that than by the notion that John had ... whatever she thought he had done. "Oh my god, do you think there could be more?"

"It undoubtedly laid eggs all throughout the building. You should go look. Now." Sherlock had pulled his leg down from the wall and was standing stiffly, the blood returning to his face and coloring his cheeks. He spoke through clenched teeth, staring at a spot on the wall above John's head.

"You're not serious," she chided. When Sherlock offered no response, she turned to John. "Is he serious?"

"No, he's not." John held up his hands in an attempt at a reassuring gesture, before remembering they had snake blood all over them. "I'm sure that someone just broke in here and planted it, to get back at Sherlock for any number of offensive things he's done in the past week."

"I'm supposed to be comforted by the notion that someone broke in here?"

"No. You should be terrified. You should go visit your sister. Or at least get out of our damn bathroom!" Sherlock snapped.

Mrs. Hudson frowned at him, then pointed at John. "I'm not cleaning up this mess, just so we're clear."

"I know, I know," John said. "You're not our housekeeper."

"Forget housekeeping; that's the job for your forensic friends down at the Yard."

"Get. Out!"

John watched her leave, practically tiptoeing out of the room, carefully looking out for any more snakes. He sighed and rubbed his forehead with the back of the arm that didn't have snake blood on it.

"You didn't have to be such an utter cock, Sherlock."

Sherlock finally moved, snatching a flannel off the towel bar and running it under warm water. "Tell me, when exactly did you become aware of the fact that the snake wasn't dangerous? Before or after you let me make a complete fool of myself?"

"You didn't make a fool of yourself." John cringed even as he said it; it was total bullshit and he knew it. But he didn't know what else to say as he stood there and watched Sherlock scrub his blood-stained skin with much more force than necessary. "You're going to hurt yourself."

Sherlock finished cleaning himself and threw the blood-soaked flannel on the floor. "You made the mess. You clean it up."

"You should still go to a doctor. Or at least - "

"I know where your medical kit is, John. I'll take care of it myself."

He slammed the door behind him, leaving John standing there with dried blood on his hands and a dead snake on the floor, feeling incredibly guilty.


Sherlock didn't speak to him for five days afterwards.

At first, John thought Sherlock was just in a childish snit, but he soon recognized the expression on his face; even as Sherlock moved around the flat, absently plucked at his violin, and actually bothered to make tea, he was inside his mind palace. John tried to get a response out of him by offering to check his wound and change his bandage, to no avail. By the second day he wanted to grab Sherlock by the shoulders and shake him violently, but he knew from experience that would be futile.

On day three, John texted Lestrade and begged for a case. Lestrade told him the only murder that had come across his desk was so obvious that Anderson could solve it. (And did.)

On day four, he put a pie tin on Sherlock's head as Sherlock stared into space. Then John took a picture and threatened to post it on his blog. (He didn't.)

On day five, he worked an extra shift at the clinic, went out to the pub afterwards, came home drunk, and tried to provoke Sherlock with a loud, off-key version of God Save the Queen. (No luck.)

On day six, John had given up and was reading the newspaper when Sherlock suddenly said, "I'm aware that sucking venom out of a snake bite is not a recommended course of action."

"Oh." John really had no idea how to respond to that but was glad Sherlock was finally talking. "Yeah, it's a, uh, myth."

"You also shouldn't urinate on a jellyfish sting."


"Jellyfish aren't actual fish. They're invertebrates."


"Why haven't you moved out?"

"What?" John suddenly felt lightheaded. Was Sherlock throwing him out?

Sherlock sharply turned his head to look at John. "You heard me."

"Do you ... want me to move out?" A wave of nausea swept over him.

"That's not what I said."

"Sherlock, I don't understand."

"That much is obvious."

"Look, what happened is nothing to be embarrassed about. It could have happened to anybody." John regretted the words the instant they left his mouth. Telling Sherlock he was ordinary was possibly the worst insult he could throw at the man.

Sherlock didn't speak to him for eight days after that.


On the ninth day after The Incident, Mrs. Hudson finally returned from her sister's and insisted that John check her place for snakes. He tried to explain to her that it had been a stupid prank by the brother of a man who Sherlock had successfully proven had murdered his wife, but she refused to enter her flat until he checked it anyway.

"So how's Sherlock doing?" she asked after he had verified her home was snake-free.

"He's fine. He's ... not really talking to me."

"Oh, he's probably just embarrassed, dear. I know I am. I walked in on Mrs. Turner's married ones once and I couldn't look at them for a month afterwards without thinking about them ... you know."

John put down the tea she had made for him, perhaps with a bit more force than was necessary. "Nothing like that was happening!"

"Right." She gave him a pointed look. "I may not have gone to medical school, Doctor Watson, but I know you don't do that to a snake bite."

"That was Sherlock's idea, not mine."

"You're telling me he doesn't know how to treat a snake bite?"

"Sherlock's fountain of knowledge is limited to information that helps him solve crime. He wouldn't know that water was wet if it weren't for the fact that you can drown someone in it."

Mrs. Hudson scoffed as she sat down with her own cup.

"And I'm telling you," John insisted, "nothing like that happened."

"If you say so, dear."


John didn't know how much more of the silence he could take.

When Sherlock had first met him, he had told John that he might not talk for days on end, but that had never really been the case. Sherlock talked constantly - to himself, to the skull, to the telly, to John (even if he wasn't there). If he was in his mind palace, there was the occasional grunt or frustrated exclamation. Even after Irene faked her death, Sherlock had responded to John's questions or comments, albeit usually to tell him to shut up.

This was the longest he'd ever gone without saying a single word to John.

Several months after Sherlock's own faked death, when John had moved out in an attempt to get on with his life, he had found a file on his laptop. Sherlock had inadvertently activated his webcam while doing research online and recorded 17 minutes and 23 seconds of himself rambling about energy drinks, typhoid, and arsenic's solubility in hand lotion. When John first saw what was on the file, he closed it quickly and didn't touch it - or his laptop - for three days.

But he couldn't resist, and on the fourth day, he played the video, sobbing as he watched Sherlock's nose crinkle in frustration and listened to him call everybody on the internet idiots. He put it on repeat for hours until he fell asleep.

The next morning, John finally admitted to himself that he was completely, utterly in love with Sherlock Holmes. It was another two weeks before he acknowledged it to Ella, and another month before he drunkenly confessed to Greg. Lestrade had been sympathetic, but had urged John to delete the file and try to move on. John threw himself into a short-lived relationship with a nice girl named Mary but couldn't bring himself to get rid of the video.

Then Mary had broken up with him and Sherlock was back and after two weeks of emotional turmoil, he was back at Baker Street with John. They solved crimes, Sherlock generally remembered to wear pants, and Greg thankfully never said a thing to Sherlock about John's feelings.

At first, it was too soon - their relationship too raw and unsteady for John to risk damaging it. As they settled into something like their old routine, John began looking for a sign that, perhaps, his feelings were reciprocated. Sherlock cared for him, without question, but that didn't mean he wanted that kind of relationship. He needed to be certain - absolutely certain. He couldn't mess it all up now that he finally had Sherlock back. So he had waited, and waited, and then one day there was a snake in their bathroom.


"You're clearly not homophobic."

Sherlock's declaration - impossibly loud after so many days of silence - caused John to pause with his forkful of Chinese halfway to his mouth. "You're clearly not an elephant," he countered. "If we're having a 'State the Obvious' competition."

"I'm merely pointing out that I'm not saying you have a problem with gay people. Your sister, that Harold person at the clinic - "


Sherlock waved his hand dismissively. "- and the way you threatened to pummel the solicitor who called you, me, and George 'a bunch of dumb poofters'."

"Greg. I'm going to get it tattooed on the inside of your eyelids."

"John, it would be impossible for me to read anything tattooed on the inside of my eyelids."

He really had no response to that, so he sat silently and finished his meal and drank the rest of his tea. John was washing out his cup when Sherlock spoke again.

"I estimate a 63% likelihood that you had already deduced my own sexuality before the incident with the snake."

I wasn't entirely sure you had a sexuality, he thought, but didn't dare voice it aloud. "You're gay, then?"

"You didn't know?"

John carefully dried his cup and set it in the rack. Taking a deep breath, he walked over to his chair and sat down; Sherlock was on his couch, flat on his back, fingers steepled, staring at the ceiling.

"I ... I suspected. The whole 'girlfriends aren't my area' thing."

"So you clearly had no problem moving in with another man who you believed to be gay."

"No. Gay, straight, both, neither. You could have a banana fetish for all I care."

"John, I don't even like bananas."

"I don't give a damn about bananas! I just want my best friend back."

Sherlock frowned. "Who's that?"

John let out a short laugh. "Are you serious?"

"Has Mike gone somewhere?"

"You, you idiot. You're my best friend."

Sherlock sat up suddenly and stared at him so long that John started to feel uncomfortable. "You mean that," Sherlock finally said, like it was a revelation.


"Even after ..."

"That didn't - that didn't change anything."

Sherlock stood up in a huff and began to pace. "You can't mean that. It's one thing to be okay with a gay flatmate. It's another thing entirely to have a gay flatmate who is clearly attracted to you. I've been waiting for you to move out and I don't understand why you haven't already."

"Are we still talking about the thing with the snake?"

"Yes, John, what else would I be talking about? I clearly became aroused when your mouth was in close proximity to my penis. You're daft sometimes but you're not stupid. I know you saw it."

John's mouth went dry. Was that an invitation? Or was Sherlock finally going to kick him out because he couldn't be bothered with carnal needs? Should he give Sherlock a way out, offer to let him blame it on vasodilation, adrenaline?

Fuck it.

Sherlock froze when John stood up. He tried to maintain a blank expression, but John could see his chest rising and falling more quickly with every moment, his fists clenched tight. Sherlock was just as scared as he was when he had been bitten.

"I saw it," John said softly as he approached Sherlock. "I wasn't disgusted. Or angry."

"You're not gay."

"I've never been attracted to a man before in my life." John tried to keep his hand from trembling as he reached up to caress Sherlock's face. "Until I met you."

John tried to pull Sherlock down for a kiss, but Sherlock quickly stepped back. He turned his head, hair falling to cover part of his face, before John could analyze the expression there. Fear? Anger? Disgust? John opened his mouth to speak, but Sherlock briskly walked past him. John's heart sunk when he heard his bedroom door slam shut.


For the next hour, John busied himself with making more tea, rewashing the dishes he had cleaned earlier, and half-watching a rerun of Top Gear. He was trying to figure out how he could backpedal from his earlier statement. Regardless of how Sherlock's physical body had reacted, the man clearly wasn't interested in any kind of romantic relationship with him, so John had to salvage their friendship. If nothing else.

He was so deep in thought that he didn't even notice that Sherlock had come back out into the living room until he was standing between John and the television.

"I will disappoint you, John."

"Huh?" John mentally kicked himself. Was it possible to sound any stupider?

"You're a romantic. You'll only be happy with someone who will write horrible poetry and call you 'darling' and 'sweetheart' and cuddle with you at night. I don't write poetry, I hate pet names, and I don't even know if I can stand to share a bed with someone. I will forget that the sun goes around the earth, and the proper way to treat snake bites, and I will continue to put fingers in the fridge and forget to label them, although really, John, it's a clear container. You can see there are fingers in there before you open them, and -"

"Shut up." John bolted out of his chair and wrapped his arms around Sherlock, refusing to let him run away this time. He pressed his cheek against Sherlock's shoulder and just held him, trying to will some sense into the man.

"You're not listening," Sherlock whispered.

"You're not paying attention," John countered. He could feel Sherlock's arms trembling as they hesitantly encircled him and all his patience went out the window. John tilted his head up and Sherlock - aware of it or not - tilted his down, putting his lips within John's reach.

It was like kissing a statue at first. Granted, a warm, soft statue. Then Sherlock's knees seemed to buckle and his hands were on either side of John's head and all John could think was that for a supposed virgin, Sherlock was very, very good at this. He managed to get out a raspy, "Have you done this before?"

"This?" Sherlock pressed a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Yes. Do you want me to stop?"

"Oh god, no." John pushed Sherlock's dressing gown off his shoulders and then slammed him against the wall, relishing the way Sherlock moaned into his mouth. He was torn between continuing to kiss him and yanking off Sherlock's shirt, but Sherlock made the decision for him and soon they were both shirtless.

"You have to be certain, John," he said, even as he was gently kissing John's cheeks, his nose, his forehead. "You have to be sure."

"Shut up." John shoved down Sherlock's pajama bottoms and pants, wrapping his hand around his dick, grinning when Sherlock moaned again. "Have you done this before?"

"Does it matter?"

"Before I drop to my knees and engage in some very non-platonic, non-venom-extracting cock-sucking, I need to know if I should get a condom or not."

The sight of Sherlock Holmes - speechless - was beautiful. His mouth moved noiselessly as John worked his hand up and down his growing erection.

"Sherlock? You still with me?"

"No. I mean, no, I ... one aborted attempt in uni. Nothing since then. Been ... John ... been tested. Clean."

John bent down and gathered up their shirts, using them as a cushion where he knelt. "I've never done this before, either," he murmured as he leaned in to lick Sherlock from the base to the tip.

"Fuck, John."

He started slowly, taking just the head in his mouth while firmly pressing Sherlock's hips back to keep him from moving. John inched forward, marveling at how thick and full Sherlock's cock was. He knew there was no way he'd be able to take the entire thing; he glanced up at Sherlock to gauge his reaction and was stunned by what he saw. Sherlock's lower lip was trembling and his eyes were wide. A shaky hand gently touched the back of John's head. John tensed for a moment but quickly relaxed when he understood Sherlock had no intention of pushing him down.

"You're sure."

John almost rolled his eyes and slid back to reassure Sherlock, but he realized Sherlock hadn't meant it as a question. It was a statement. A realization. Even as John went back to work, trying to remember everything he liked about receiving head, he wondered about Sherlock's one "aborted attempt" in his past. Had he stopped it, feeling uncomfortable, unaroused? Had his partner demanded something of Sherlock that he hadn't been willing to do? Had someone hurt him? He looked back up at Sherlock's face, to make sure he was okay, but there was no fear, no dread. His expression was one of pure devotion, with a ghost of a smile. His hand was caressing the back of John's head as John bobbed up and down. Sherlock whispered pieces of words, fragments that might have been "amazing" and "fantastic," interspersed among John's name.

"If - oh - John, if you don't stop - oh!"

John had no intention of removing his mouth from Sherlock's cock to tell him that coming in his mouth was all fine, so he hollowed out his cheeks and sucked, hard. Sherlock was a smart man; he'd figure it out. He kept his eyes on Sherlock and Sherlock seemed unable to look away. Even when he came, Sherlock's eyes were wide as his hands wildly sought out something to grasp on to, as his back arched, as his knees trembled. It was a new experience, having Sherlock's ejaculate hit his hard palate and coat his tongue. The fluid was salty and a little bitter but there was something arousing about the fact that Sherlock Holmes just came in his mouth.

Sherlock slid down the wall, slumping in front of John. He kicked away the clothing that was tangled around his bare feet, leaving him entirely naked and John acutely aware of the fact that he still had trousers on. Sherlock whispered his name when his eyes came back into focus. With a slightly trembling hand, Sherlock caressed John's leg.

"John ... do you ...?" His hand slid further up John's thigh. "What do you want?"

The feel of Sherlock's hand - even though cloth - was too much. Between that and Sherlock's breathless question (want you naked and panting on your bed, back arching up as I push into you, as I kiss your flushed, sweaty skin), he was on the verge of coming in his pants.

"You want to fuck me."

Damn Sherlock and his deductions. Damn Sherlock and his deductions and the way he said the word "fuck" with that perfect little mouth.

"We don't have to do anything that you don't - "

"Shut up, John."

John found himself awkwardly being yanked to his feet. Sherlock's fingers didn't seem to be working properly as he fumbled with John's belt, his zipper. John placed his hands over Sherlock's and leaned up to kiss him when Sherlock froze, looking uncertain.

"Not here," John said. "Go to your bedroom. I'll be there in a minute."

Confusion flitted over Sherlock's features for a moment before he blinked it away. Whether he understood or just didn't want to seem unsure, John didn't know. John pressed another soft kiss to his lips and gently nudged him, waiting until Sherlock had reached his bedroom before bolting up to his own, taking the stairs two at a time.

He snatched a bottle of lube and a condom - the whole box, on second thought - from his bedside table. Then he shucked off his remaining clothing and threw on a bathrobe, shoving the bottle and box in his pocket. He pinched the tip of his aching cock, trying to ease some of his frustration. His body wanted to come right now and Sherlock was absolutely right - John wanted to fuck Sherlock's brains out and get him off for a second time. There was no way that would happen if he lost it right here. He focused on unpleasant thoughts. Anderson. Detached retinas. Being shot.

Once he regained control, he went down the stairs as quickly as he came up. John was surprised to see Sherlock's door closed and felt a pang of guilt as he knocked. Did Sherlock think he had changed his mind? Maybe he should have been more explicit about why he had to dash to his room.


"Um, can I come in?"

Instead of a verbal answer, John heard footsteps approaching the door, and then Sherlock was there, hair disheveled, cheeks still flushed, one of his posh robes wrapped tightly around him. John stepped into his space and slid an arm around Sherlock's waist.

"Had to get supplies," he murmured into Sherlock's neck. "Want this to be perfect."

"That's impossible, John."

"We'll see about that," he said, continuing to press kisses against Sherlock's warm skin. He found a particularly sensitive spot and set about sucking a mark there. Since Sherlock probably wouldn't let him write "Property of John Watson" on his forehead, this would have to do.

John guided Sherlock back until his knees hit the edge of the bed. He removed his own robe - setting it carefully onto the side of the bed - and then Sherlock's, tossing it onto the floor. Sherlock quirked an eyebrow but said nothing. John's erection had eased but not fully gone away, and John felt a small burst of pride when Sherlock's gaze trailed downward and he swallowed - hard.

"We don't -"

"John, do shut up."

"Git." He playfully pushed Sherlock back onto the bed, crawled on top of him. John kissed him because it had been entirely too long since they'd done that. He was nestled in between Sherlock's legs, their cocks pressing together as John reached blindly for the lubricant in his discarded robe. Without looking, he managed to flip open the cap, smear some on his hand, and reach down to circle Sherlock's hole with a slick finger. He broke their kiss reluctantly so he could pull back and look at Sherlock's face.

"Relax," he whispered, as he set about slowly stretching Sherlock open. Propped up on one elbow, he stroked the side of Sherlock's face with his free hand. John worried Sherlock might find it too sentimental, but Sherlock sighed contentedly and leaned his cheek into John's palm. "Let me know if anything hur-"

"More," Sherlock urged. "I won't break."

The memory of Sherlock's seemingly broken, bloodied body on the pavement outside St. Bart's hit John suddenly. He closed his eyes to will it away, hoping Sherlock wouldn't notice the tears pricking behind his eyelids.

"I'm here, John." Except of course he did. "I'm here."

Then Sherlock's hands were on John's face, pulling him down, kissing his mouth, his cheeks, his eyelids, even as his tear ducts betrayed him. John tried to focus on his fingers inside Sherlock, the feel of his very warm, very real body beneath him. Sherlock was here. With him. And he was making small, breathless sounds as his hips squirmed on the mattress, at first seeming to shy away, then trying to get John to thrust in deeper. Sherlock's cock was beginning to swell again while John tried to stifle the wave of arousal that ran through him.

John's fingers brushed just the right spot and Sherlock's gasp turned into a low whine. There was no need for John to ask him if he was okay; Sherlock grabbed John's hips and tried to pull him closer.

"Slow, Sherlock." A soft kiss on the tip of his nose. "I don't want to hurt you."

"John!" Sherlock cried out. "That. Right there. John!"

"I need ..." All of the air seemed to leave John's lungs. "I need ... God ... to be inside you. I need ... I need to ... Sherlock!"

Sherlock was deceptively strong and he easily manhandled John into position, John's cock lined up with his entrance. John reached for the box of condoms, but Sherlock batted his hand away.


"Sherlock -"

"Not needed, John!"

"I'm not taking any risks," John said. He tried to rip open a condom wrapper with his teeth, but his fingers were sweaty and he ended up accidentally flinging it across the room.

Sherlock smirked. "This is the prowess that earned you the name 'Three Continents Watson'?"

"This is why I brought the box." The second attempt was a success, and he finally - finally - eased in slowly, caressing Sherlock's hip, his stomach. He leaned in as much as he comfortably could, desperate to kiss Sherlock. It was like nothing John had ever experienced before. It was ... it was amazing. He was buried inside Sherlock fucking Holmes. If the look on Sherlock's face was any indication, the feeling was just as incredible for him.

"Is this enough, John?"

John laughed. "Are you serious? It's taking all my willpower not to come right now."

"No." Sherlock threw one arm over his face, as if he couldn't bear to let John see him in this state. "This will have to be enough. This."

"At the risk ... of you ... oh, God, Sherlock ... calling me ... stupid, I don't understand."

Sherlock moved his arm aside and John gasped at the vulnerability he saw there. Sherlock stroked John's cheek before leaning up and gently kissing him.

"There's so much I can't give you. Things you'll want. Romance and dates and ... and ... this has to be enough. I'll have to be enough. You must understand this, John."

John's heart felt like it might rip apart at the thought that this brilliant, gorgeous man, this man who was caressing his face and kissing him and looking at him like he was the most amazing thing in the universe, would think that he might not be good enough for John Watson. He felt it was safe, so he thrust a little bit harder, a little bit more quickly. Sherlock's cock was pressing urgently against his stomach.

I love you, John wanted to say. Instead, he whispered, "You're an idiot."

"I'm ... I'm ... I'm a genius."







John kept thrusting as Sherlock came, somewhat surprised and secretly delighted by how loud Sherlock was. Spurred on by Sherlock's noises, he buried himself deep and finally allowed himself release. He tucked his head into the crook of Sherlock's neck, feeling blissed out and loath to move.


He hummed a response against Sherlock's skin.

"This is rather messy and is becoming uncomfortable."

"Sorry." John gently shifted his body, easing out of Sherlock. "I'll be right back."

He stood on shaky legs and made his way to the bathroom, glancing over his shoulder to look back at the bed. Sherlock was sprawled out, staring at the white fluid smeared all over his own stomach with the same intensity usually reserved for crime scenes. He was still in that position when John returned with flannels and didn't move as John carefully cleaned them both.

"It figures you'd just lie there and make me do all the work."

"Why should anything change in our relationship, simply because we're now having sex?"

"Relationship? Is that what this is?" John meant it as a joke, but Sherlock sat up abruptly, wincing slightly as he did so.

"John?" Sherlock's voice betrayed him, soft and trembling. John tossed the flannels aside and lay back on the mattress, pulling Sherlock into his arms.

"Of course this is a relationship. Idiot."

Sherlock's body relaxed against his. He put his head on John's chest and threw a leg over John's, as if laying claim.

"You keep calling me names, this relationship might not last very long."

"I'll have to test that theory. Daft git."

Sherlock's fingers moved idly along John's chest. At least it seemed idle to John; for all he knew, Sherlock was drawing the chemical formula for oxytocin.

"All your insults thus far have been aimed at my intelligence or sanity."

"Well," John pointed out. "You are the berk who thought sucking venom out of a snake bite was a valid medical strategy."

"That merely indicates that I misfiled a piece of information in my mind palace, assigning it credibility when I shouldn't have. It hardly means -"

"You have the definition for 'teasing' in a room somewhere in there?"

Sherlock said nothing and just kept tracing something on John's skin; it definitely wasn't random doodling, as John was starting to recognize simple aromatic rings.

"I would have done it, you know. If the snake had actually been poisonous -"

"Venomous, John."

He smiled and kissed the top of Sherlock's head. "And if I thought it would have saved your life."

Sherlock moved his head suddenly, resting his chin on John's chest to look him in the eye. "It would have been incredibly ill-advised. It would have likely removed an insignificant amount of venom, while exposing the wound to bacteria from your mouth and possibly getting venom in your bloodstream as well, if you had any open sores or cuts. It would have done nothing to save my life and could have put yours at risk."

"You're missing the point."

"If I can't easily discern the point of a statement, that is a testament to the speaker's poor communication abilities, not my own intellect."

"So we're clear, it's okay for you to call me an idiot?"

"Is this normal ..." Sherlock frowned as he seemed to search his mind for an appropriate term. "... post-coital pillow talk?"

John ran a hand through Sherlock's hair, smiling as Sherlock's eyes closed and he let out a contented sigh.

"My point is, even if it posed a risk to me, even if it had only the slightest chance of working, I would have done it if I thought it might save your life. That's ... what love is."

Sherlock froze, his eyes still closed and seemingly holding his breath.

"You don't have to say it now, Sherlock." John caressed the scars on Sherlock's once flawless back. He had seen them when Sherlock first returned, when he had punched the man in the face and Sherlock grunted in pain upon hitting the floor. John had insisted on seeing the injuries and instantly understood why Sherlock said he could have never taken John with him, never exposed him to this danger. The wounds had healed since then and some of the scars had faded, but they would always be there - a reminder of what Sherlock had gone through for him. He knew that Sherlock loved him when he had seen them. At the time, he just didn't know how - as a brother? Just a friend? A potential lover?

But he knew now. Sherlock told him with every kiss and every caress. John didn't need to hear it spoken out loud.

"It would be an appropriate response." Sherlock finally seemed to inhale again. "Societal convention."

"When have you ever cared about societal convention?"

Sherlock smiled and placed an open-mouthed kiss on John's chest, right above his heart. John closed his eyes and finally began to surrender to his drowsiness.


Two weeks later, John was settled in what was quickly becoming "their" bed, trying to focus on a book but failing miserably as he impatiently awaited Sherlock's return. Sherlock had texted that he was on his way over an hour ago.

Finally, he heard the downstairs door open and Sherlock calling out his name. John tossed aside the book and kicked off the covers, carefully arranging himself on the bed.

"I'm upstairs," John called out. "You better hurry, too - there's a snake up here."

"I fail to see how that's supposed to be amusing."

"Would you just get up here?"

John tried to wipe the smirk off his face as he heard Sherlock bounding up the stairs. He flung open the door in typical dramatic fashion - complete with a coat swish - and his expression of concern quickly morphed to annoyance at the sight of John on the bed.

"Is this is your idea of a joke?"

"Well," John said, wiggling his hips a little. "Yeah."

"That appears to be a rubber snake that you have coiled around your penis. A florescent blue one, no less."

"Are you a herpetologist?"

If this were sleazy pornography or any normal couple playing out scenes, Sherlock would announce himself as Dr. Bulbous Dong or some silliness before getting down to business.

This, on the other hand, was Sherlock. "No, John. Shall I fetch one?"

John threw the fake snake across the room, hitting Sherlock squarely in the chest. "You're ruining the mood."

"Your cock says otherwise."

"Shut up, Sherlock. Get over here and fuck me already."

Sherlock finally smiled and moved to join John on their bed. The sex was messy and a little awkward and Sherlock bit down on John's shoulder a bit too hard.

And it was perfect.