When he comes home from the surgery, there are new bullet holes in the wall.
The good doctor sighs and glances around the common room for his flatmate, expecting to find him curled into a sulking ball on the sofa and surprised to see it is empty. The discarded gun lies on its side next to it, however, indicating that he was there at some point. John can just imagine his spindly limbs sprawled across the arms of the sofa, a dramatic arm draped across his eyes and the gun raised in the hand of his other as he popped off round after round at the yellow smiley face that was becoming increasingly macabre with every additional bullet hole.
John moves silently into the room, closing the front door behind him with a soft click, flicking the lock absentmindedly out of habit. Shrugging out of his militaristic jacket and draping it across what has come to be accepted as "his chair," he looks for Sherlock in the kitchen, thinking that he is perhaps at that moment bent studiously over any one of his numerous ghastly experiments.
But he isn't there either.
His brows draw together slightly, concern growing in the pit of his stomach. He isn't out on a case, because (according to a glib text he'd received from the consulting detective just hours before) he had just wrapped up one down at Scotland Yard. He hadn't included much information about it, but John knew Sherlock well enough to anticipate a smug recounting of every minute detail upon arriving home. Normally the younger man was still alive with the thrill of the chase after solving a case and waited for John in the living room like some sort of puppy waiting eagerly for their master's return.
Where is he? Surely he can't be… sleeping?
The thought was rather absurd. Getting Sherlock to go to sleep was the equivalent of coaxing a stubborn six-year-old to eat his vegetables. Even when he did succeed in getting Sherlock to rest, it was never for very long. And if he was bored enough to shoot at the wall, he must be too high on his own energy to come down enough to sleep.
Still, John approaches the door to Sherlock's bedroom softly, curiously. He strains his ears to listen for any sort of movement inside. When he hears nothing, he places a hand gently on the doorknob, says a silent apology for intruding and swings the door forward.
His eyes adjust to the darkness of the room slowly, but then he is finally able to make out the shape of Sherlock on the bed. Instead of his usual spread-eagle, he lays straight and stiff, his eyes staring unblinkingly up at the ceiling and his fingers clasped together over his stomach. He's wearing that tight purple button up that he loves so much and black trousers. He hadn't even bothered to remove his patent shoes before climbing on his bed and lying over the duvet.
His mouth is pressed in a firm line and the only acknowledgment of John's presence is a slow, deep inhale through his nose coupled with a sharp exhale. The concern in John's stomach twists it now, his hand falling limply from the doorknob, waiting for Sherlock to move or speak. He doesn't.
"What's wrong?" he asks, unable to keep quiet any longer. "Did something happen with the case?"
Sherlock doesn't reply, but his gaze sweeps over John without moving his head. The hairs on John's arm are standing on edge now, an uneasy nervousness settling over him. He hopes Sherlock can't quite read his features, silhouetted as he is by the kitchen light pouring through the doorway around him.
"Was someone hurt?"
Sherlock's eyes twitch, almost unperceptively, and he moves then, curling onto his side away from where the ex-Army doctor stands awkwardly on the threshold of his room. But John was having none of it. No sulking like a child and refusing him answers. He strides into the room and stands by his bed, grasping one shoulder and tugging firmly until Sherlock is on his back again, glaring petulantly up at him.
"What happened?" John demands, his tone final.
Sherlock sighs wearily and throws a purple sleeve across his eyes, not unlike the pose John had imagined earlier. The doctor sinks onto the side of the bed, causing Sherlock to shift slightly to the side to make room for him. Sherlock mumbles something in a low baritone, too low for John to make out what he says.
"What?" he asks, propping himself up with his hand on the other side of his friend's slim torso.
"I said 'Yes, someone was hurt,'" he grumbles, taking his arm away and piercing John with his alien-grey eyes. "Toward the end of the case, a child got hurt… but she is going to be perfectly fine."
"And that's what's got you all worked up, is it?" he asks incredulously.
It was strange for Sherlock to be so torn up about the endangerment of anyone, even a child. John thinks back on their conversation about how caring for people won't help save them and that he isn't a hero.
"No… It's something Agent Donovan said to me. She told me that I am heartless."
Now this was even more curious. John knew for a fact that Sally Donovan was not a person whose opinion Sherlock valued, if he valued anyone's opinion at all, that is. In fact, she was normally rather beneath the consulting detective's notice. Besides, she had said much crueller things to Sherlock in the past.
"So? I don't understand, Sherlock."
The younger man's eyes resume their study of the ceiling, determinedly avoiding John. Although not as well equipped at making deductions himself, John can tell there are some deeper emotions roiling in the young man beside him, but decides to wait for him to just out with it himself.
"I was focused on solving the case and didn't stop to fret over the child like everyone else. She told me that I was heartless, and that one day it was going to be the thing that drove you away and I would end my days alone. I didn't give it much thought until I came back here. But she was right. I am heartless. And one day it could cost me everything."
John says nothing during the speech, holding his breath without realizing it. When Sherlock finishes, he lets out an enormous exhale.
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. You're not heartless, Sherlock, and you aren't going to drive me away. I'm not going anywhere."
"I wish you would, John. Please, just leave me be," Sherlock replies moodily, shutting his eyes and his jaw clenching tightly.
John stands abruptly, feeling Sherlock's startled gaze following him as he leaves the room. Sherlock sits bolt upright in bed. He hadn't thought that John would actually listen to him and that he would actually go. He slumps back against his pillow and the headboard, drawing his legs up against his chest, feeling defeated.
John returns to the room in a few moments with something clenched in one hand. He crosses over to the bed and flumps down onto it. With his free hand, he wrenches Sherlock's hands free from their vice grip on his knees. Once Sherlock is sitting there cross-legged and thoroughly confused, John makes quick work with the buttons of the smooth purple shirt.
Sherlock's breath is coming a little faster now. He isn't sure where this is going, but he does know that he is too afraid any motion on his part will cause the doctor to stop and perhaps leave again. So, he sits in quiet acquiescence as the doctor parts his shirt slightly. John then takes what is in his hand, his stethoscope, and places the earpieces hastily in Sherlock's ears. With practiced precision, he lifts and breathes on the small circular disc once before grabbing Sherlock's right hand, placing the chestpiece in his grip, and then holding Sherlock's hand against his bare chest.
Sherlock's eyes are wide and boring into John's. The doctor's hand is warm where it is wrapped around his own, an encouraging smile playing his lips. The sounds of his own breathing and progressively increasing heart rate fill Sherlock's ears.
"You have a heart, Sherlock. You're human, as much as you like to pretend otherwise," the doctor says soothingly. If Sherlock needs proof he has a heart, well I can damn well give it to him, John thinks triumphantly.
Something in the atmosphere of the room changes then.
There is no sound besides their quiet breathing and John watches Sherlock's pale chest rise and fall beneath his hand, which is no longer on Sherlock's hand, but pressed against his smooth skin just above where Sherlock still held the chestpiece. When had he moved his hand? He can feel Sherlock's heart fluttering centimetres below his fingertips and he jerks his hand away in embarrassment.
When he brings himself to glance up at his best friend, it is to find Sherlock's eyes transfixed on his face. They are ice in colour alone, ablaze with a light John is used to seeing when Sherlock feels he is on to something. He removes the chestpiece from his own chest and breaches the small distance between them, placing it delicately on the left side of John's.
It's no good, though, because John's jumper is too thick. Without a moment's pause, slender fingers slip under the edge of John's jumper and slowly move it up his body. John lifts his arms dazedly and allows Sherlock to slip it over his head. Sherlock tosses it unceremoniously across the room and settles the stethoscope against the soft down of hair on John's chest.
John's heart is beating very hard and Sherlock can tell he is struggling to keep his breathing even. He closes his eyes and just listens for a moment. John watches him intently, taking in the beautiful planes of his face and the dark contrast of his eyelashes against the snowy peaks of his cheekbones. There's something oddly intimate and unnerving about being on the other side of the stethoscope, something the doctor is not used to.
He is also not used to kissing men, but this is what he finds himself doing in a moment.
In a sudden movement, Sherlock has opened his eyes and leaned forward to brush his lips softly against John's, his hand still holding the stethoscope to his chest so he can hear the uptick in the doctor's pulse at the contact. He smiles slightly and kisses John with more force, John's rapid heartbeat mirroring his own.
The surprise and shock passes quickly over John's face, but then he closes his eyes and lets Sherlock part his lips with his tongue. As they explore the recesses of each other's mouths, they fall back onto the bed, trapping the stethoscope between them. Sherlock is no longer sure whose heart he is currently hearing, but his cock responds in kind with each beat.
John, frustrated, yanks the instrument out of Sherlock's ears and out from between them. He lays it on the bed beside them and goes back to kissing Sherlock, smiling against the younger man's mouth and thrilling in the feel of Sherlock's thin chest pressed under his own. Their hearts beat rapid rhythms against each other and John groans into Sherlock's mouth when he feels Sherlock's leg brush against his growing erection.
John moves his mouth down Sherlock's long, graceful neck, running his tongue along a pronounced clavicle and sending pleasant shudders through the young man. John isn't sure where this sudden boldness is coming from. All he knows is that he wants to hear Sherlock scream his name, the very idea making him even harder than before.
He nips at Sherlock's chest, his rough hands sliding down his waist. Sherlock feels on fire everywhere John touches, like every nerve ending has come to life. He's never been this aroused in his entire existence, so hard that it is almost painful. A gasp tears its way out of his chest when John suddenly slips a hand down between them and over his erection, squeezing it gently through his trousers.
Sherlock cants unconsciously against that hand, his mouth falling open sensuously and eyes screwing shut. John grins and yanks at the buttons at the top of Sherlock's trousers, pushing them down over slim hips and taking in the sight of the engorged member, just as long and slim as its owner, that springs out against his hand. Sherlock is panting now, a sheen of sweat matting dark curls against his forehead. John lifts his hand to his mouth and gives it a long, languid lick, his eyes never breaking contact with Sherlock's face.
Without saying a word, he reaches down and wraps his fingers around Sherlock, smearing his thumb over the precum that is pearling at the tip. Sherlock exhales in a hiss, his teeth gritting together to keep from groaning. His back arches off the bed when John begins rhythmically moving his hand up and down Sherlock's shaft, his hands flying up to grip firmly on the pillow behind his head.
John leans down to lap at one of Sherlock's pert nipples, increasing his pace slightly and eliciting a moan from the consulting detective. Sherlock bucks against John's quickening rhythm, his name falling from his lips like a prayer.
"John! John, I'm – it's – I – JOHN!"
He comes with a jerk, spilling over John's hand and collapsing in a sweaty heap on the bed. John wipes off his hand on his pant leg and swoops down to seal Sherlock's mouth with his own. Sherlock's eyes are glassy with pleasure, a lazy smile spreading across his face.
But now it's John's turn.
Sherlock, in an unanticipated motion, flips them. John lets out a noise of surprise as Sherlock settles over him, kissing him fiercely. He starts unbuttoning John's pants, but the doctor impatiently wriggles out of them and kicks them away. He feels warmth on his cock as Sherlock sits up suddenly, his eyes alight with mischief. He grins and reaches over and grabs the stethoscope from where it had been discarded.
"What are you doing?" John asks cautiously as Sherlock places the eartips back in his ears.
Sherlock leans over him, his sinewy body moving catlike until his mouth is breathing hotly against John's ear, sending a tingling sensation up his spine.
"I want to know what your heart sounds like when you're coming for me," he whispers in his silky baritone.
John almost comes undone right then.
Sherlock captures John's mouth again, relishing the widening of the blue eyes in response to his words. He licks along John's jaw and then sits up again, John's erection throbbing beneath him. He takes the cold steel of the stethoscope and teases one of John's nipples with it, making it stand to attention, before pressing it against his chest like a brand.
John rocks his hips up against Sherlock, wondering if he'll ever be able to do his job again or if he'll be fighting to hide an erection every time he touches a stethoscope.
Sherlock closes his eyes and listens to John's heart pounding ever harder as he reaches down with his free hand to clench around John's stout cock. He listens as he draws him ever closer to the edge, amazed at how fast such a small muscle could work. I'm doing this to him. Me. The thought spreads warmth throughout his chest.
When John finally orgasms, Sherlock collapses on his side next to him, taking the earpieces out and depositing the stethoscope on the other side of the bed. He curls around his blogger, resting his head on his chest and twining a long leg around one of John's.
Exhausted and sweaty, their breathing slowly returns to normal and Sherlock can feel John's pulse evening out under his cheek. They stay that way for several minutes before Sherlock finally breaks the silence,
"You're right. I do have a heart," he says, tilting his head to look up at John's face. "It's you."
John smiles and brushes dark tresses from Sherlock's forehead to place a kiss there.
"And you're mine."
Author's Notes: I wanted to make a little one-shot for those who are reading my other story, Icarus Burning, and might be feeling frustrated that it's taking so long for John and Sherlock to get together. It's coming, I promise! Anyway, thanks for reading! Reviews are always a delight to read, so please leave one if you have a moment.