Title: What You Mean to Me
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Word Count: 4027
Warnings: Drunkenness, Sherlock/John kissage, and descriptions of shaggage
Spoilers: None really.
Summary: When John told Sherlock he was moving out, Sherlock couldn't tell him that he has feelings for John. Instead, he got drunk. What happens when John comes home and Sherlock's filter is offline?
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own John or Sherlock, (Heh! I wish!), or anything relating to the show or books. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk to someone about that. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat own all things Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns Holmes and Watson. None of them have given me permission to use these characters as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not them. (Though if you could actually send a pretzel bomb to ACD, I'd be impressed.)
Author's Notes: Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for giving me a Sherlock I can get behind. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for making this Sherlock and John so amazing. I tried to fight it, but they were just too remarkable not to fall for. Big thank yous to Emma de los Nardos and Gemma for the super-fast beta jobs. I owe you both so much! Thank you to Elin for reading this over for me. And my biggest thank yous to my guiding influence and my best friend, Ann. She's the best beta ever and the Sherlock to my John. Without her, I am nothing. (Couldn't do it without you, love. Wouldn't want to try.)
What You Mean to Me
Sherlock Holmes is drunk; well and truly, completely drunk. As a rule, Sherlock doesn't drink. Alcohol dulls his mental acuity and makes it impossible for him to order his thoughts, so he usually avoids it. But tonight, tonight Sherlock wants nothing more than to stop thinking. Sherlock found out this afternoon that John is moving out of Baker Street and tonight Sherlock is working hard to render himself incapable of thought. He'd argued with John, but John had insisted that he had no choice; he had to move, no matter what Sherlock said. Sherlock wants to forget that he's losing his best friend and that he'll be alone again, but mostly, he wants to banish these pesky feelings that swell up every time he thinks of John and will simply not go away. He wants to stop thinking about John, about his eyes, his smile, his laugh; Sherlock wants to stop wondering what John's lips taste like.
Not that any of it matters, because John is leaving him and moving out to get his own Sherlock-free flat for his new Sherlock-free life. Oh, yes, he promises that nothing will really change and he'll still help with The Work, that he'll only be a text message away. But Sherlock knows better. If that was the case, why leave at all? John is moving to get away from Sherlock. He'll be polite at the beginning, but give it a few months and Sherlock knows he'll never see John again. And that thought fills Sherlock with panicky anger, which, if Sherlock is honest, is why he's sitting alone, drinking Scotch.
Sherlock frowns. He still feels that empty sorrow, the aching in his chest when he thinks of John, so even though he can't stand up without falling over, he's obviously not near drunk enough. Sherlock picks up the Scotch bottle, having abandoned the glass about twenty minutes ago when he poured Scotch all over the coffee table. He takes another couple of swallows and wonders what he'll do if this bottle isn't enough to completely burn all thoughts of John out of his head.
"What are you doing?"
Sherlock jumps and looks up, blinking. When had John gotten home and how had Sherlock missed that? John is supposed to be out with some of his old university friends at a pub for most of the night. But now John is here, watching Sherlock, looking at him expectantly. Sherlock suddenly realizes that John might be waiting for him to say something, but nothing comes to his head, so he contents himself just staring at John's lips.
"Are you drinking?" John asks incredulously. "You never drink."
"Yes, I'm drinking." Sherlock recognizes that the words are slurred, but he doesn't really care. "Brilliant deduction, John."
"You're drunk," John says, his eyes going wide. "I've known you for three years and I've never seen you drunk."
"I'm not drunk enough." Sherlock sighs. He can't take his eyes off John's face; those eyes, his lips, the curve of his throat. Another drink is definitely in order. "Care to join me?"
"What's the occasion?" John asks, moving to sit in his usual chair.
"I've made a discovery," Sherlock says, taking another swallow from the bottle. "I know just about everything about the human body. I can tell lung tissue from kidney tissue with a casual glance. I know the smell of pancreatic fluid and I can even tell you several foolproof methods to kill people. I know twenty-seven ways to stop the human heart, but none of them, my dear John, are as effective as the way you shut down mine this afternoon."
The small part of Sherlock's brain that isn't completely inebriated is screaming at him that he's just made a horrible mistake, but he ignores it. John is staring at him, his mouth hanging open. Sherlock can see John's tongue and he finds himself licking his lips, wanting desperately to taste it.
"Sherlock…" John breaks off, shaking his head.
"I know." Sherlock sighs. "I'm not your area in any sense of the word. Don't blame you, really. Sometimes, I'd run away from me too, if I could."
"Sherlock, I'm not running away."
"You're moving out," Sherlock says, flailing his arms about, narrowly missing hitting his own nose.
"Well, yes, but it's not because I don't like you. And I'll come anytime you call."
Sherlock's brain provides him with a double entendre for John's statement and it brings up the image of John coming, head thrown back, breath hitching, Sherlock's mouth between his legs. Sherlock gasps and looks at John, heat spiraling up his spine. He needs to be anywhere but here. Sherlock struggles to stand up, falling back four times before he stays on his feet. John gets up, walking over to help. He takes Sherlock's arm and Sherlock pulls back violently, falling onto the sofa again.
"Don't touch me!"
Anything but that. At John's touch, Sherlock wants nothing more than to kiss John and right now, as drunk as he is, he knows he'll give in and make things so much worse.
"Sherlock, don't be stupid. You can't even stand up."
"Then I'll stay here," Sherlock says, reaching for the Scotch again.
John picks up the bottle, walking off to the kitchen with it.
"You've had enough," John says, coming back without the Scotch.
"No, I haven't."
"Yes, you have," John says firmly.
"I can still think."
"Which is a good thing."
"No, it's not. I've got to stop thinking."
"Sherlock, thinking isn't a bad thing," John insists. "Especially for you."
"It is when I think about you." John doesn't say anything, so Sherlock keeps talking. "I can't stop thinking about you, John. About your eyes and your smile and what your skin would taste like. About kissing you. God, I want to kiss you, John. I want to lick you and suck you and make you scream. I want my hands on you and I want you inside me. But you don't want me and you're moving out and leaving me."
"Oh, Sherlock, no," John says, shaking his head. "I…you never said anything."
"What was I supposed to say? John, can you give me a cause of death on this man and can I shag you senseless when we get home?"
"Well, that likely wouldn't have been the best approach, no," John admits. "But you could have said something less dramatic."
"Doesn't matter," Sherlock mumbles, suddenly feeling very sleepy. "No one has ever loved me. Why should it be different with you?"
Sherlock settles back on the couch, closing his eyes. He's finally achieved what he was after. His brain is spinning and he couldn't form a coherent thought if John's life depended on it. As the darkness swoops up for him, he feels John tucking a blanket around him and running gentle fingers through his hair.
"You great idiot," John whispers. "You couldn't be more wrong."
And then Sherlock is swallowed up by the nothingness and everything is dark and peaceful.
Sherlock has jagged pieces of metal in his brain. At least it feels like he does. Or maybe tiny shards of broken glass, digging and slicing with every breath he takes. His neck is stiff and his back hurts, adding to the thought that death might be an attractive option at this point. Sherlock attempts to open his eyes and instantly regrets it. The light stabs his eyes, making him wince, and that action makes the glass bits in his brain cut all that much deeper.
Sherlock hears a low noise to his left and opens his eyes again, squinting at the brightness of the room. It takes a minute for everything to come into focus, but when it does, he sees John sitting in his chair, slumped to the side. He's softly snoring, accounting for the sound that caught Sherlock's attention. Sherlock frowns as he realizes that he's on the sofa in the sitting room instead of his own bed. How did he get here and why is John sleeping in the chair?
The last thing Sherlock clearly remembers is sitting on this sofa drinking Scotch and brooding. If he really tries, he can pull up hazy bits involving falling on the sofa and spilling Scotch. But when did John get involved? He must have come home after Sherlock passed out. Sherlock sit up and gasps when the pain in his head stabs right behind his eyes and his stomach rolls.
"Are you all right?" John asks quietly.
Sherlock looks over to see John watching him.
"I'll get back to you after I get the broken glass removed from my brain," Sherlock whispers.
"Would some tea and toast help?"
Sherlock thinks about that, his stomach protesting at the idea of solid food.
"Maybe just some tea."
John gets up, wincing as he stretches out his back.
"I'm too old for sleeping in chairs," he murmurs as he wanders off to put the kettle on.
Sherlock can hear the normal tea making noises and he's mildly grateful when he realizes that John is being careful to keep the volume to a minimum. Sherlock rubs his forehead and looks down, trying to keep his angry stomach under control. It takes a second for him to realize that there's a bottle of water and two Paracetamol tablets sitting on the coffee table next to a large empty bowl. Sherlock feels another rush of gratitude for John as he takes the pills. After a few minutes, John comes in carrying two steaming mugs. He hands Sherlock tea, and sits back in the chair.
"Thank you," Sherlock says quietly. "For the medicine and the bowl."
"I thought you might need them to help with the broken glass removal and the bowl was going to be easier than stumbling to the bathroom if you had to…well."
Sherlock slowly nods.
"I appreciate that."
"What do you remember?" John asks, taking a sip of his tea.
"Not much," Sherlock admits. "Just bits and pieces."
"So you don't remember the table dancing?"
Sherlock arches an eyebrow at John and John smiles.
"Can't get that one past you, huh?"
"No. I might have been drunk, but I wasn't insane." Sherlock frowns, looking at John. "At what point did you come in?"
"The part where you kept falling over when you tried to get up."
Sherlock makes a face. Wonderful. As if he isn't mortified enough. Sherlock sighs as he puts his tea down on the table.
"Thank you for the blanket, by the way."
"Well, someone had to take care of you," John says with a smile.
"And as usual, it was you." Sherlock tries to keep his expression neutral. "No wonder you want to move out."
John tips his head and looks at Sherlock.
"About that. Would you be too upset if I decided to stay? I know you've likely got plans for my old room, but I've been thinking about my reasons for leaving and they aren't really valid anymore."
Sherlock frowns in confusion. It's not that he doesn't want John to stay, he very much does, but the wording is rather cryptic.
"I…well, of course I want you to stay, John. I told you that yesterday. This is your home too. But, can I ask, what those reasons are?"
John smiles at him again.
"We'll talk about it later. Right now I want to ask you something. Why were you attempting to drink yourself into a stupor last night?"
Sherlock freezes, his brain screaming at him that John knows. But that's not possible. Sherlock has never let his feelings for John show. He swallows hard.
"I…I just felt like it."
Oh, yes, brilliant answer and not at all evasive. John frowns at him.
"Really? Because I've known you three years and you don't really drink at all, let along get falling down drunk. You say you hate losing control too much. And suddenly you just feel like it?"
"What are you getting at?" Sherlock snaps, his head throbbing.
"Just that I think there's a reason and I'd like to know what it is."
"It doesn't concern you."
"That's not what you said last night."
Sherlock's heart starts beating faster and he thinks for a second that he might actually vomit. He draws in a shaky breath and looks at John.
"What was it you said? Right. 'I can't stop thinking about you, John. About your eyes and your smile and what your skin would taste like.' Why the hell have you never told me this before?"
Sherlock is actually shaking now. He needs to get away from John and that accusing expression. He kicks the blanket off and gets to his feet, swaying for a second.
"Sherlock, wait." John gets up and walks over, putting his hand on Sherlock's arm. "I'm not angry. I…that's why I was leaving. I couldn't stop thinking about you that way either and I was pretty sure you didn't want to hear that your flatmate had fallen in love with you. It was killing me to see you every day and not…"
John looks away and Sherlock's mind is in a whirl. John feels the same way he does? How did he miss this? Sherlock frowns. He needs more data, needs to be sure.
"John? Look at me."
John turns back, his eyes inquisitive, but under it, Sherlock can see more, now that he knows what he's looking at. Sherlock reaches out, taking John's hand and John's eyes go wide. Sherlock smiles.
"I was going to turn your room into a lab, but I suppose I can wait a few months for that."
"A few months?" John asks, arching an eyebrow. "And where am I supposed to go in a few months?"
"I have a whole side of my bed I'm not using," Sherlock says, hoping he isn't being presumptuous. "I think it would suit you quite well."
John's expression is unreadable and for a moment, Sherlock thinks he might have made a mistake. But then John is smiling and squeezing his hand.
"We'll talk about it when I'm sure you don't hog all the covers."
"Oh, I do," Sherlock says, smiling back. "But I'll make up for it by draping myself over you."
"I suppose that's an acceptable compromise."
Sherlock tips his head when he realizes that he's never seen John look this happy before and there's a small surge in his chest when he understands that he's the cause. John reaches out and strokes Sherlock's cheek.
"Did you really think I wouldn't love you?" John whispers.
"I…" Sherlock has no idea how to answer that. He wants to tell John that no one else even wanted to try, so why would John, but he can't bring himself to say the words. But John always seems to understand, even when Sherlock can't articulate it.
"I'm not everyone else." John's eyes are dark and serious. "I won't insult of you, I'm not afraid of you, and I won't leave you unless you ask."
"You were leaving me," Sherlock says quietly. "That's how we got here."
"That was for self preservation. And I didn't know you wanted me."
"Did you really think I wouldn't?" Sherlock asks, honestly curious. "Did you think I couldn't care about you?"
"Why would you?" John asks, just above a whisper. "You are amazing and brilliant and I'm just so ordinary. I know you tolerate me, but…"
"John, I do so much more than tolerate you. Even outside of an…emotional context, you make my thought processes more efficient. You help me figure things out faster and you support me when I need it. You have been the perfect friend and companion. Is it so hard to conceive that I might start to see you as more?"
"With you? Mr. Married to his work?"
"Are you not part of the work?" Sherlock asks, smiling at John. "Although I must admit, the thoughts I've been having about you have nothing to do with deducing anything."
"Except what makes me scream?" John asks, fighting a grin.
Both of Sherlock's eyebrows go up and he wonders where John got that from. Yes, that is one of his frequent day dreams, but how could John know that?
"You did mention it," John says, coughing delicately.
"Oh, for the love of…what the hell did I tell you last night?" Sherlock asks, honestly frustrated. This is why he never drinks. Bad things and unintended revelations are always the result.
John leans in, his lips close to Sherlock's ear.
"Something about kissing me, licking me, sucking me, and making me scream." His breath sends shivers down Sherlock's spine. "Is that still something you're interested in? Because I'd really like to do the same to you right now."
Perhaps Sherlock should revise his idea that only bad things come of it, because this, John wanting him this way, is far from bad; in fact, the word "perfect" comes to mind. Sherlock feels a fluttering in his stomach and all he wants right now is John. He leans in, licking the shell of John's ear.
"Yes, I'm very much still interested," Sherlock whispers, smiling as he feels John trembling in his arms. "In fact, I think now might be a good time to see how you fit in my bed, don't you?"
John pulls back a bit, looking at Sherlock, then he leans up and they are kissing and it's amazing, just like Sherlock always knew it would be. His hands go to John's face, pulling him closer and Sherlock deepens the kiss savoring the taste of John and the incredible feeling of actually being able to do this. John breaks the kiss and reaches out to touch Sherlock's face again. He looks at Sherlock with such emotion that Sherlock's heart beats faster.
"God, I think I love you," John whispers. And then his eyes go wide and Sherlock sees panic for a minute. John obviously hadn't meant to say so much. But then he sees John's resolved face, his "I've made this jump, so I may as well take my stand" expression, and John simply nods.
Sherlock isn't sure what he expected John to say, but that wasn't it. Not that the declaration is unwelcome, it's just unanticipated. No one has ever wanted Sherlock like this. Molly is infatuated, but with what she thinks Sherlock is, not Sherlock himself. If she were to actually become his girlfriend, Sherlock knows she wouldn't stay for long; no one, in any capacity, has every stayed.
At least not until John came along. John, who would kill to save him, who leaps between Sherlock and danger, and who would follow Sherlock into fire, if that's what was asked of him. Loyal, brave, and caring well beyond what Sherlock has earned, John is so much more than he deserves. But if there is anyone that he could put his emotional armor down for, it's John. He looks into John's eyes and smiles.
"I…I feel similar sentiment for you, John."
Sherlock knows how stupid it sounds the minute he says it and he cringes. He wants to tell John he loves him, because he's pretty certain that he does, but Sherlock just cannot make that leap, no matter how sure he is that John will catch him on the other side. In his entire life, anyone he's ever said it to, either friend or family, has betrayed or abandoned him and as much as Sherlock wants to tell John, he cannot form the words. But John, as always, understands and knows. He smiles and leans up again, gently kissing Sherlock.
"Then let's go to bed and you can show me," John whispers, taking Sherlock's hand.
And this is something Sherlock can do. He'll show John exactly how much he loves him, how important he is, and how much Sherlock needs him. Because as much as Sherlock pretends that he has no heart and needs no one, he knows it's not true. Without John, his world would be dark and empty and now that Sherlock knows what it feels like to love and be loved, how can he ever go back? A life without John isn't something Sherlock even wants to contemplate anymore.
They stand next to Sherlock's bed kissing for a few minutes and Sherlock decides that he's rather fond of John's kisses and could do this for hours; maybe later he will. But right now, he has other things on his mind and he gently pushes John down onto the bed. He climbs in next to John, leaning over to nibble at his neck, his breath catching when John moans.
"I should…I should be doing this…to you," John gasps, arching up against Sherlock's lips.
"No, John, please. Let me do this. Let me show you what you mean to me."
"Only if you let me show you when you're done," John whispers.
Sherlock nods and he leans in to kiss John again.
Much later, when he's curled up with John, just on the edge of sleep, Sherlock thinks about how good John is at making him feel loved and wanted. He analyses, trying to decide which is the best example, which moment stands out the most in his memory.
He thinks it might be when John was moaning and gasping, his hands twisting in the sheets as Sherlock pleasured him with his mouth. As John was shaking, he suddenly became very vocal.
"I love you, Sherlock. God, I love you so damn much."
And Sherlock thought his heart might burst because he feels so much for this man.
Sherlock pulls the blanket further up, scooting back against John, still thinking.
It might have been when John was slowly kissing his way down Sherlock's body and Sherlock thought he might die from the sensations running through every nerve ending. As amazing as if felt, it was John's running commentary that had mattered the most.
"You are so beautiful. God, you're so amazing. I can't believe I actually get to do this for you."
Sherlock's emotions had threatened to overwhelm him. No one had ever said these things to him and as John continued on, caressing him and kissing him, bringing him to a mind silencing finish, the cacophony of darker voices, the perfect memories of every insult callously leveled at Sherlock, dissipated, replaced by the unshakable knowledge that he was completely loved.
Sherlock frowns as his thoughts pick up speed.
It could have been when John fed him lunch in bed or later when Sherlock had licked chocolate pudding off of John's nipples. It might have been in the shower when John had washed Sherlock's hair for him or right before their afternoon nap, when John had massaged Sherlock's back, relaxing him as no one else ever had. It could have been when they'd eaten their dinner off of each other or the last round of lovemaking, where John finally entered Sherlock, so gentle, yet so passionate, murmuring his love with every thrust.
How could Sherlock decide, how would he know?
And then, soft lips are kissing the back of Sherlock's neck.
"Stop thinking," John whispers.
"I know." John's voice is reassuring and he pulls Sherlock closer. "I also know that I love you very much and I'm not ready to lose you to your head just yet."
John pushes gently at Sherlock's hip.
Sherlock does and John pulls him close again, leaning in to kiss him. Sherlock relaxes against John, his hands going to John's hair as he deepens the kiss. And all the rest of it is gone, everything is this moment, here in John's arms, kissing John. Sherlock breaks the kiss, intending to thank John for centering him, but he loses himself in John's eyes, looking at an affection so deep that it steals his breath.
"I love you," Sherlock whispers, unaware that it's coming until he hears himself say it. John's eyes go wide and defenseless and Sherlock smiles. "I love you so much, John."
John wraps himself around Sherlock, hugging him so tightly that for a moment, Sherlock starts to worry about breathing, boring or not. When he pulls back a bit, Sherlock sees tears in John's eyes, but he doesn't say anything. Instead he leans in, kissing John again. And this, he decides, this is the moment, the thing he'll remember when they are old men living in the country and John is still griping about messes and experiments and they reminisce about their amazing life together. This, the moment he could actually make John see how deeply he loves him, that he was able to put it into words for the first time.
Sherlock gives in to the happiness, smiling as he closes out everything but kissing John.