Talis dumped two large brown paper shopping bags on the kitchen table and started excavating the cold items to be put in the fridge. Domesticity still came more easily to her than the other stuff...
"What are you doing?" Sherlock asked from where he lay, flat on his back on the couch with an arm flung over his eyes.
"Use your eyes."
Sherlock didn't move at all. "I'm bored." He announced.
"That's nice. What is it you want me to do about it?" She was smiling as she turned back from the fridge and closed it behind her with her foot.
Talis couldn't help laughing. "Alright, I suppose the cold stuff is all put away. What is it you want to do today? Trip to the morgue? Pester the police? Oh, we could go get you some new body parts from the butcher!" She'd found early on that the best way to deal with Sherlock and his lifestyle was to just behave as though it were all completely normal. Weirdly, it didn't take long to start feeling that way.
Sherlock swung his legs down and looked at her seriously. "Why don't we have sex?" He asked calmly.
"... is that a question, or a suggestion?" Talis asked, walking around the table so she could lean against it and watch him closely.
Sherlocks eyes narrowed... normaly Talis was a very physically affectionate person. She'd come sit beside him, quite close, when they talked. She'd reach out spontaneously to touch his arm or face or hair, but in this instance she was keeping her distance... "I suppose that depends on the answer to the question, doesn't it?"
"Do... do you want to have sex?" She crossed her arms, and he knew he was on somewhat unsteady ground.
"Well, we've been... whatever we are, for some time now. It seems like the normal progression of,"
"Sherlock. We're not normal. You are not normal, and it's not important at all for us to pretend that we are." She interrupted.
"You didn't answer my question."
"Well you didn't answer mine either!" She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Alright... I'm sorry. I'm calm. The easy, defensive answer would be that you've never really expressed any interest at all in sex, with me or anyone else for all I've seen. And I'm not interested in making you do something you're not interested in... Really. I suppose it's that I promised myself that if I couldn't be alright with the way you are, then I had no business being here. Trying to change you will just frustrate us both. I wont allow myself to become a chore for you, and don't think I haven't figured out that you have a formula for when to kiss me!" She sighed and pushed herself away from the table to move over and sit beside him on the couch. "We're fine Sherly. I'm fine. I know you have to make an effort to remember to be affectionate with me, and I appreciate it. I do. But I can't have sex that way... I can't look at you and know you're just... just doing it because you think you're supposed to."
When she finally stopped talking, he was frowning at her, his eyebrows furrowed and his fingers laced together on his lap. "You're under the impression that I kiss you because I think I have to?"
Talis raised an eyebrow and then, quite deliberately, she leaned forward so their noses were almost touching and looked him in the eyes. After precisely five seconds Sherlock started to lean forward to kiss her but stopped himself. "See," she whispered.
"... John may have given me some guidelines." He admitted. "But that doesn't mean I don't want to."
"Sherlock, are you trying to say you actually find me physically attractive?"
"You seem surprised."
"Well... I mean the only opinion on sex I've ever heard you express was that it was mildly revolting..." She stammered. "When we lived together before you were pretty disgusted by all that stuff."
"You weren't kissing me then. Experience can... change ones opinions." They sat in silence for some time, with Talis watching him with wide brown eyes while he waited for her to say something. Eventually he became concerned that perhaps she hadn't understood what he'd been trying to say... or worse, perhaps she had and there was another reason she wasn't interested in a physical relationship. "Talis?"
"Sorry, sorry I just..." she coughed uncomfortably and looked away blinking.
"Are you crying?"
"Sorry," she repeated. "I just um, you caught me by surprise, that's all. I ah, I didn't think, I mean I thought you weren't..." she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and coughed again to force her voice to settle. "I honestly don't know what to say now."
Sherlock gave a short laugh and shook his head, "will wonders never cease?" He reached out and took her hand. "I don't know what to do. I never knew what to do with you, the only thing I do know is that I want you in my life. You make me think clearer, you make me calm. The kissing is also pleasant."
"You could kiss me now, if you wanted..."
"If you know the formula why don't you just use it?" He asked.
"Because it isn't always about what I want, if you want to kiss me then you should kiss me."
"What if you're doing something else?"
"You could say 'excuse me' first if you like." She squeezed his hand. "Sometimes, what might be nice, is to have you show me spontaneously that... well that..."
"How is it possible that you have a doctorate in English and yet can become so completely inarticulate?" He asked.
"Just shut up, and kiss me, will you?"
"I've always been more comfortable with clear instructions," he murmured as he leaned in and kissed her.
Over the months that they'd been together, Sherlock had become significantly more adept at the business of kissing. He filed and catalogued her responses, her breath, her heartbeat, the softness or firmness of her lips... all the things which conveyed the mood she was in. It was much like an interrogation really, reading her cues, pushing her buttons.
When she gripped the smooth fabric of his shirt tightly in her fists and tugged his closer, he smiled slightly against her lips and wrapped his arms around her.
"This works for me." She breathed when he pulled back to let her breathe.
"Is now a good time for me to mention that I find you extremely physically attractive?" he asked.
"Oh... OH! Um... yes. Yes, it's a good time... uh, Sherlock? Have you... what I mean to say is, is this the first time you've ah..." She blushed deep pink and looked everywhere but at his face.
"Yes. Is that likely to be a problem?"
"No, not a problem, it's just information that's good to have..." She trailed off as he leaned forward and trailed his lips lightly down her neck. "Oh my..."
"I feel confident in presuming that you have," he said against her throat. He nipped the skin experimentally and when she gasped and gripped his shoulders tight enough to hurt a little he grinned.
"Well, yeah, but," she gasped when he nipped her again and ran her fingers through his hair.
SLAM! "Sherlock? Talis?" John's heavy footsteps came up the stairs and he appeared in the entryway holding two white plastic bags. "I stopped off for noodles I thought you might... oh my goodness." He stopped and coughed uncomfortably before doing a sharp turn into the kitchen. "I had no idea. So sorry. Goodness. Um, I'll just... yes. Ah, food is in the kitchen, and I'll just be... ah, out."
"Too late John," Talis called after taking a deep breath and huffing it out. "The valiant war hero has rather effectively killed the moment."
"Yes... ah... sorry about that. Noodles?" John asked lamely as he held up two white noodle boxes.
"Damn your noodles, Talis and I were going to have sex!" Sherlock blustered.
At the look of mingled horror and contrition on John's face, Talis began to laugh. Her face screwed up and tears streamed down her cheeks. After a moment of watching her, John began laughing too. Talis toppled over sideways so her head and shoulders were in Sherlock's lap and he held his arms up in the air looking surly and disconcerted.
"I really am sorry." John managed, leaning forward on the table for support as he struggled to get his breath back. "I can go out, I'm sure I can find something to occupy myself with for a while."
Talis was still giggling helplessly into Sherlock's knee's. Every time it seemed she was pulling herself together, she'd look up at Sherlock's perturbed expression and collapse again. "Don't bother... she'll be useless for hours now. Every time I say the word sex there'll be more of this" he indicated the sobbing, gasping woman in his lap. "Bring me a seafood box at least will you."
Talis squeaked and covered her head with her hands. John raised his eyebrow but Sherlock seemed to miss the joke entirely.