Disclaimer: Fan Fiction.
Summary: The Adjustment Bureau AU: According to The Plan, John is meant to be with Sarah. As John's caseworker, it is Sherlock's job to ensure this happens. But John is full of surprises.
AN: Filled my own prompt at sherlockbbc-fic. This is my first attempt at writing Sherlock fic. Hope you enjoy the adventure!
Path of Most Resistance
It's exactly 7:28 when Sherlock stirs, rolling over and cracking an eye open. At first his vision is nothing but a white blur, and it's an unexpected sensation. He stares unseeingly at the vaguely familiar clock coming into focus. Somewhere in the back of his mind he registers that the item belongs to one Doctor John Watson and it usually resides in his bedroom. He sits bolt upright, but collapses back onto the spring mattress.
His head is spinning.
"John?" His voice sounds rough, weak with disuse. When no response comes a sharp tightness constricts the width of his chest, as if all the air is being forced from his lungs. What is that? Where is John? He experiences a slight sense of relief when his synapses start firing correctly, sharp mind conjuring up a hundred possible explanations. At least that bit is familiar. "John?" He calls louder, propping himself up on an elbow, angling is body toward the open bedroom door.
It is too far and he is still too weak.
"Sherlock!" John appears in the doorway carrying a tray laden with food. He rushes to Sherlock's side, depositing the tray on the bedside table before plopping down on the mattress.
Sherlock is wholly unprepared for the rush of emotions that surge through him the instant he sees John standing in the doorway. There are too many to properly catalogue and he struggles to identify all of them in the barrage of humanity. Instead, he focuses on the most memorable one, dissecting it as he allows it full access to his body.
"Oh," and his hands are everywhere, skimming over John's lips, clavicles, wrists, thighs before the man catches them. Sherlock knows John believes he is punishing him by restricting his wandering touch, but the doctor's hands are just as interesting and satisfying against his surprisingly reactive flesh.
Oh, how magnificent.
Sherlock stares at John's hands clasped around his own. It never felt like this before. Not when he was tugging John all over London or handing him a coffee. He can feel every ridge and valley of John's palm, the swirls of his fingerprints.
"Here," John says, pushing Sherlock's hands back against the man's chest. He retrieves the breakfast tray and Sherlock cannot suppress the urge to run his hand along the elegant curve of John's back. "Mycroft said you would need to eat when you woke up." Fingertips slide over the faint bumps of his spine beneath the thin shirt. Sherlock thinks that John should be the one to eat the wonderful smelling breakfast instead of him—though his stomach would disagree. "Never really thought about it much before, but I suppose angels don't really eat…" He turns back and Sherlock withdrawals immediately, recoiling with a wide-eyed look of innocence. "So you probably don't know what you like but that's why I've brought a little of everything," he smiles and Sherlock pinpoints another emotion bubbling up inside his chest. It's much more subdued than the first.
Perhaps it is simple affection?
"I'm rather partial to toast and jam in the mornings."
"Not an angel, John," Sherlock corrects him, his old tone of condescension mitigated slightly by that new edge of fondness. "Definitely human," he says slowly, glancing down at himself. He can sense every inch of his body, from his toes to the backs of his knees to the tips of his ears, parts of himself he never gave a second thought to before.
"Eat. Now." John holds out a piece of toast smothered in strawberry jam.
Sherlock wrinkles his nose, experimentally sniffing before flicking a tongue out to try the jam.
"Not bad," he declares before stuffing the entire piece in his mouth.
A whole world of colour dances over his tongue and he has never experienced anything like it. It only takes him five minutes to clean his plate, devouring everything in sight while periodically rating the items on a scale of one to 'oh, this it what it tastes like!'
Afterwards, he asks if he can touch John again but falls asleep before he can gather his strength to even properly kiss him. He files away the sound of John's breathy laugh against his cheek. Soft blankets are pushed back and the man joins him in bed. He tucks Sherlock's head under his chin, carding a hand through his sleep-mussed curls.
It takes nearly a day and a half of rest, periodic meals, and odd conversations about what is considered 'normal' before Sherlock gathers the strength, basic understanding of his body and confusing web of emotions to asks John if he will 'put his hands on him.' John laughs at the odd expression coupled with Sherlock's rather Victorian declaration, all wound up in one of John's old dressing gowns that is much too small and plain for the tall man. Sherlock supposes he must cut quite an eccentric figure but presses on nonetheless, eager to explore the new possibilities of their potential human relationship.
Or whatever it is sparking between them like white-hot electricity.
The kissing bit had been quite nice, after all.
And, Sherlock is delighted, but not surprised, to find that John is more than willing, though tentative, to accommodate him.
"You sure?" The fingertips of John's left hand trace the long stretch of bare skin from Sherlock's knee to his hipbone, along the hyper sensitive skin of his inner thigh.
"Yes." Sherlock swallows thickly; he has never been so aware of the shifting topography of his own body.
Everywhere John touches him burns, just a bit, but Sherlock thinks he might grow to like the heady feeling coiling inside him. What makes his breath catch is the look of reverence glazing over John's bright eyes. That look, solely focused on him, makes the pressure gathering low in his stomach increase ten-fold, pulsing throughout his body like quicksilver. The heart inside his chest starts pumping blood faster, until he thinks he can feel his pulse all the away in the ends of his toes and the very tips of his fingers. He reaches out to anchor himself on John, blunt nails dragging over flushed skin.
Oh, and John seems to be in quite a state himself.
"Sherlock?" John asks, unable to tell if Sherlock is enjoying himself or if he is positively mortified by his body's base responses.
"John," he moans, his hand twitching against John's hip as he ducks his head down. "John, stop, it's too…" Making a strange noise in the back of his throat, he finds himself unable to accurately articulate the overwhelming sensations coursing through his newly reactive body. "I'm too hot." Sherlock kicks off the thin sheets covering them, but it only helps marginally. "Is this what it feels like? All the time?" Sprawled out on the small mattress, he stares up at the ceiling.
"Don't know, Sherlock, I was never an angel." John teases, prompting Sherlock to roll his eyes dramatically. He extracts himself from John's arms, sitting up with his back to the man. With a sigh, John reaches out, placing his hand on the small of Sherlock's naked back. "What was it like before?"
"In a word," he sniffs, drawing his knees up to his chest. "Cold." All of his attention is drawn to the single point of contact between them and it is maddening. He shoves it aside, focusing instead on his words and thoughts and reasoning and definitely not the ridiculous patterns John is tracing on his back. "Though I had nothing to compare it to until you started botching things up—all warm and affectionate," he glances over his shoulder to throw John a nasty look.
"It'll get easier." John pulls him back down on to the bed, restricting his hands to the area above the man's waist. "It's human nature, after all."
They kiss. Kissing, languid, unhurried kissing. Yes, Sherlock knows he can do that much just fine.
At least John has yet to complain.
For the first time since becoming human, Sherlock finds it difficult to sleep. It appears that certain habits are hard to completely erase. The only difference is the unfulfilled fatigue that nags at the back of his mind. He rolls over to watch the gentle rise and fall of John's chest. It is familiar, something he has done a thousand times while serving as the man's caseworker. Though, it had been the most difficult part of his job once they returned to London. He would sit and watch, helpless, as his man broke out in a cold sweat, reliving all their worst memories of Afghanistan. Now, John is peaceful and it makes the corners of Sherlock's mouth twist up. Quietly, he moves to sit cross-legged on the mattress.
When his eyes adjust, he looks around the small bedroom of John's flat. He sees the abandoned cane gathering dust in the corner and smiles to himself. Next, he discovers his coat folded on a nearby chair, almost within reach. It is tempting to look, to check his journal one last time and see the old Plan that has fallen to the wayside. To make sure Mycroft kept his word.
John stirs and Sherlock's eyes dart back to watch him mumble something incoherent. He flings an arm out to where Sherlock's chest should be. When John discovers nothing there, panicked blue eyes snap open and Sherlock is reminded of one particularly bad night terror.
"I've been thinking," Sherlock says before John's dark imagination gets the better of him.
"What? Oh. Grand." John responds, still half asleep as he slumps back on to his pillow with a soft whoosh.
"You would have remembered."
"What are y—"
"If you'd been…" Sherlock gestures to his own head. John suppresses a slight cringe at the thought of being reset. "You would have remembered me."
"I was wondering when vanity would rear its ugly head." John knows better than to point out how painfully sentimental the idea is and opts to just wiggle closer.
"Oh shush," Sherlock muzzles him with a hand. He feels playful? Curious. Perhaps this is why John teases him so? And John laughs softly, easily pulling Sherlock's hand away from his mouth.
"Do you miss it?" John reaches up to tuck a few curls behind Sherlock's ear. Sherlock knows that it is good that the man is not afraid to ask.
"Actually…" Sherlock catches his wrist as he swings a leg over the man's narrow hips, straddling his waist. "Not knowing makes the game more fun." He pins the hand above John's head, abandoning it there in favour of exploring John's body stretched out beneath him.
Yes, this is much better—a vast improvement over their last attempt. This bit he is starting to understand. John looks at him like he is real. Not an angel, no 'holy' reverence in his blue eyes; just complex, foolishly assured, downright stupid, human love. And it fills him up so that the only thing missing is the need for more; more time together, more excitement and always more adventures.
Less predictability, more spontaneity—free will.
"Like with you, John. A warrior and a doctor, punching out villains and saving the hero despite being the quintessential damsel in distress." Sherlock thinks he really fancies this teasing thing, especially when it causes John to bristle at being accurately labelled the damsel.
"You constantly surprise me," Sherlock says, pointedly ignoring John's cheek. His long fingers splay against the man's warm chest. "No Plan to obsess over." John's heartbeat is strong and growing quicker beneath his hand. Intoxicating. He swoops down to nip at the tip of John's nose before dropping a kiss to his lips. "A proper puzzle." A smile breaks out over his face and Sherlock definitely knows this one, yes, he's felt it before. He never knew it had a proper name until now.