Electric Pink Hand Grenade : Part Thirteen - A Halcyon Calm
Before this moment, Sherlock had not turned his mind to the consideration of such a state of being. If pressed, he would have claimed to doubt its existence: true joy, transcendental peace, such things were not attainable. However, wrapped in John's arms, he realised his mistake. It was not about the world being made new again – pure and clean and right. It was instead about finding his place in a tainted, stained reality; the one where all his scabrous edges and sheltered hollows fit perfectly into a moment of space and time.
Here, amidst the sheets he and John had made into passion's pyre, he had never felt more whole.
It was an oasis of calm – a brief respite in both their lives. For once, the call of the Work was silent, and the race and rush of Sherlock's mind was quieter, if not entirely still. Night had drawn in across the sky. London's lights turned the darkness to shades of ochre and blue beneath invisible stars. There was still noise beyond the windows: the city's ceaseless pulse, but it was a restful urban beat in harmony to the tranquillity that surrounded the bed.
The thought made Sherlock smile, unexpected in its brilliance. Perhaps other people, in a new relationship, would not be so hasty to eradicate the boundary that marked the line between two very separate individuals and the unit that somehow became "us". Sherlock had never considered it likely for such a partnership to be within his reach, or even something he might strive towards, but now it was impossible to consider the alternative: he and John sharing space for physical intimacy and little more.
No, that was not how this was going to work. Even if Sherlock had not been sure of his own mind in that regard, he would have known John's. All or nothing was the only scenario, and Sherlock was never one to back away from a challenge.
That was precisely the right word for it: challenge. Even with John, a romantic relationship would not be easy, but there was a thrill to it, an aspirational excitement. It would be difficult, trying, tormenting at times, but beneath it all was the unspoken realisation that, without a doubt, the joy would outweigh the sorrow.
With a soft sigh, Sherlock bent his head, resting his brow against John's, sleep-smoothed as it was, and feeling the indolent roll of sated relaxation seep through his body. That John could inspire this – this halcyon peace within him – was both unexpected and somehow unsurprising. There was nothing jagged or urgent to impinge upon him, and he was free to bathe in the shallow waters of a doze, dipping in and out of sleep's ocean.
He could not discern when the obsidian shadows of Baker Street dimmed from his perception, but the touch of sunlight, calescent across his skin, had him opening his eyes to another scene.
Aurora of rich amber and subtle jonquil shifted across the unblemished floor, pouring through intact window-panes that, a short while ago, had been nothing but gaping holes in the walls. Cracks had fused, open wounds in the stone fading to nothing as the rift was healed: his mind palace miraculously whole in the aftermath of the disaster. Pages of notes were intact, not ragged and trampled by the legions of time, but flawless, as if fresh from the sheaf. Overhead the vault of the roof arced upwards, a strong bower of masonry braced against the elements.
It was still his – the metaphor for his memory made real the way it had always been – yet there were no tell-tale indications of his usual clumsy repairs. Years of damage had left its scars, cracks that never truly faded and stains that lingered like bruises, but this...
This was not a renovation or a restoration, but a rebirth.
Sherlock trailed his fingers over the glass cases of butterflies, back in their places at last. They stirred, wings trembling and complete, not ripped as they had been. Nothing as cruel or substantial as poison and pin held them in place, and he stared for what felt like hours, examining everything from the blue fore-wings of the Morpho peleides to the vivid umber and thick black veins of the mildly toxic Danaus plexippus. How could all this fragility – all that he had seen so ruthlessly torn asunder be recreated perfectly – rising from the debris better than ever?
Soft footsteps behind him reached his ears a moment before rough, capable hands splayed across the skin between his shoulder-blades, stroking down over nude flesh to cup the contour of his backside. It was a simple gesture, but it spoke volumes: welcome affection, relief, happiness, admiration and a hint of possessiveness all bled through from the lines of John's weathered palm and the sweep of his fingertips.
That compact body pressed in behind him, resolute and substantial. Stubble rasped over Sherlock's skin, and the wool jumper prickled the bare flesh across his spine as cool denim pressed down the back of his thighs. Before, there had been nothing erotic about his nudity – a base state – but now the clothing discrepancy was stark and obvious, arousing placid nerves to keening, trembling attention and making his stomach twitch beneath the wander of John's clever fingers.
'You came back,' John murmured, his voice thick with joy as he stretched upwards to brush his lips against the nape of Sherlock's neck. The warm, moist swipe of tongue made Sherlock's breath catch, and he tipped his head in contented pleasure.
'Of course. I said I would.' He hummed as John's roaming touch continued across his iliac crest and over the jut of his hips as if John were charting unfamiliar territory, rather than the skin and bone which, in the waking world, he had stroked with feverish desperation only a short while ago. 'Did you –' Sherlock's eyelids fluttered as John's hands dipped lower, and he struggled to get the words to work as he sagged back into John's body, hearing the teasing, sensual chuckle rumble from his ribs. 'Do something?'
'Not yet,' John replied, his voice a growl of seductive mischief as he nuzzled at Sherlock's neck before stepping away, leaving him unbalanced and bereft. He did not go far, a mere half-a-stride away, and Sherlock turned to follow, matching John's retreat step-for-step until he abruptly realised he was being led, tempted along in John's wake by eager smiles and eyes agleam with promise.
'Where are you taking me?' he asked, curious, not hesitant. Trust was implicit and impossible to deny here, in the sanctity of his own head. Besides, John's pleasure was contagious as Sherlock grabbed his arm, pulling him close once more.
'Here,' John replied, gesturing to the room around them. Except that its boundaries were not mere walls and doors. Where the little sanctuary of Baker Street had been lost off in the dark shadows of the ruins, now they were the hub of a wheel, the integral chamber to a much greater whole, the centre of his being with John at its heart.
He knew without asking that this was a stronghold. It was written between the lines of the ugly wallpaper and in the deep shade of the silent chimney mouth. Sherlock could feel, with the utter certainty of prerequisite knowledge, that this room was both a pillar and a foundation: strength where it was needed most.
John was watching him, head tilted to one side but still smiling, as if he could see each of Sherlock's conclusions falling into place. At last, he held out his hand, catching Sherlock's fingers in his own as he tugged him close. Their breaths mingled, John's lips brushing against Sherlock's mouth as he whispered, 'It won't fall apart again.' Hot hands stroked up Sherlock's back, fanning out across his ribs as John's tongue slid against his own, divinely distracting before he pulled back and met Sherlock's gaze.
This time, he could see all of John, all the fragments that made the sum of him: doctor and friend, soldier, protector. Then there were the other, as yet unlabelled parts, torrid, passionate and undeniable, all joined together in a simple oath.
'Not while I'm here.'
Sherlock woke with the words lingering in his mind like a wedding vow, so real that, for a moment, he wondered if John had spoken them out loud, but no. Slumber still had John in its clutches, wrapped in the amicable nest of the quilt that surrounded them both. Their limbs were entwined, unmoving from when Sherlock had slipped from awareness, binding them together as if separation was no longer an option. John's face was pressed against Sherlock's shoulder, his body caught close in the curve of Sherlock's arms as steady, deep breaths washed between them like far-off waves.
It was the perfect position, one that held John close but allowed Sherlock's fingers to stroke the lines of his spine and sides, feeling the very real sensation of living flesh. It was the same as in the dream, so exquisitely remembered that the line between fantasy and reality blurred, becoming bitterly uncertain.
But no, this was real. He could feel the little details that only truth could bring as he mapped the geography of this man – his friend and lover. His skin was aged and weathered by Afghanistan's sun, more so at the nape of his neck than the hidden shadow below his scapula. Scars, both silver and smooth and bitter, angry seams of knitted flesh told their stories. The web at his shoulder, in particular, was fascinating, a riot of lines – a road map that had led them to this point.
There were times when Sherlock wondered what might have been, if a bullet had not found its home in John's body. Would he still be out there, amidst scrubby land and war-torn people, killing with one hand and healing with the other?
Sherlock refused to believe in pre-destiny – to think that every decision he had yet to make was already set in stone – but the thought of it being mere chance that had brought John to his side was painfully uncomfortable. The idea that John had suffered injury, infection and the ravages of a mind no longer at peace with the world was even worse. Yet Sherlock knew he could not, in all honesty, say he wished it had never happened, not when, without it, Sherlock's life could have been so very different.
Shorter, for a start.
'Whatever you're thinking, you need to stop it,' John murmured, his voice hoarse with sleep and muffled by Sherlock's skin. He could feel John's lips moving against his neck, almost ticklish as he shifted, nuzzling into the line of Sherlock's throat. A flex of John's arm nudged them impossibly closer – all alluring lines and faint, lingering humidity: the results of their pleasure. 'Or tell me about it. One or the other.'
Sherlock made a non-committal noise, wrinkling his nose before forcing his muscles to relax. It must have been his inadvertent tension that had called John – perfectly attuned as he was – from the shallows of slumber. Yet his fingers continued their soft exploration of the scar, tracing shallow ridges of flesh and the hollow where the core wound had sunk deep. It was tempting to dismiss his musings as irrelevant, but John always had a knack for making Sherlock share things which, otherwise, he would have kept to himself. Now, if anything, in the flattering shadows of darkness, it was easier to give his reflections voice.
'I was considering what might have happened if you'd not been shot,' he explained, his voice quiet but unapologetic as he trailed his fingers down John's arm to his elbow and back up again. 'Whether you would have still been in Afghanistan.'
John's embrace tightened, a subtle shift of muscles to take his arms from a mere resting presence to something less passive. Really, it was all the answer Sherlock needed – an affirmation that this path of John's life was perpendicular to that which he had envisioned for himself. One simple event had struck him off at an entirely different angle, and against all likelihood, this had been the result.
'Maybe,' John said at last, his body shifting with a shrug. 'Probably. That's part of what made coming back to London so difficult. It was just so –'
'Unexpected?' Sherlock smiled as he felt John nod against him, a creature of tactile sensation rather than an image he could interpret. John's entire body was a wall of heat next to him, touching at every possible interval as if they were sealed together. His hands were rubbing idly along the line of Sherlock's waist, lazy and content, still half-fogged with sleep as his gentle hum of agreement suggested.
Yet there was a timid joy there, transmitted in John's grip and the tilt of his smile as he pressed a kiss to Sherlock's chin, then the corner of his mouth, and then his lips – already eagerly parted. Their bodies flexed together, igniting electric sparks and sending renewed waves of sharpening interest sweeping along Sherlock's nerves and down between his legs.
'Back then, I couldn't work out how I could ever be happy again,' John confessed, his eyes gleaming in the scant light that seeped in around the curtains from London's night-time glow.
John's smile was unapologetic and completely content, edged with a hint of something predatory that made Sherlock's heart pick up its beat. He shifted, nudging Sherlock onto his back and straddling his hips: hot skin and hidden promise as the quilt bunched around them before bending at the waist to gift Sherlock with another kiss.
'Now I can see it was a price to pay. Lose that, gain this. You.' His fingers trailed over Sherlock's pulse, the taut line of his arched neck and the hard ridge of his collarbone, ever onwards in the kind of worship that seemed more like a sin. Sherlock's hands shifted, mercilessly reciprocating John's caresses, allowing him to lead by example as John's smile grew.
His eyes met Sherlock's, dark and knowing in the feeble illumination that bloomed over his back like wings, and his voice took flight in a hush of honesty as he pressed his hand over Sherlock's joyful, fast-beating heart.
'It was more than worth it.'
The morning's light crept over the bed, splashing across John's face and easing him into wakefulness. Awareness found him slowly, stirring through sleep-heavy, sated muscles and sweeping over his skin. Instinctively, he reached out for the body next to him, only to blink his eyes open when he found nothing but cool, empty space.
For one truly awful moment, he wondered if he had dreamt it all: every perfect minute of passion and satisfaction, every quiet murmur and tender swell of something so much more than sex that grew between them. But no, this was Sherlock's bed, not John's, made up in love-wrecked sheets. All the pillows were dented and used, and even if it weren't for one or two tell-tale dark curls on the white linen, John could tell he had not spent the night alone. That story was written in the faint, happy soreness of stubble-rasped skin and over-worked muscles.
Sherlock had been here with him, and now he was gone. The question was, had he simply grown tired of sleeping at John's side, or was there an element of escape to his departure?
For a minute, John lay there, pondering the possibilities. There had been nothing like hesitance in Sherlock's demeanour last night. In fact, he thought with a twitch of a grin, it had been quite the opposite. John should have known that while he dithered over how to take the final step in their relationship, Sherlock would simply grab what he wanted with both hands. Yet that did not stop the lingering twists of uncertainty from filling his stomach with snowflakes of dread, light and chilling. What if Sherlock had changed his mind – had decided that one night was enough after all? What if he had concluded that the effort of a relationship was just too much to deal with?
'Well you're not going to find out by lying here,' John muttered to himself, scratching his stomach and wrinkling his nose at the patina of dried come that lingered on his skin. Chances were Sherlock had simply decided he couldn't wait any longer for a shower. They hadn't exactly bothered to clean up properly the previous night.
Sitting up, John heard a faint rush of fabric. Something slipped off the bed, and he blinked to see his terry-cloth robe, comfortable and familiar, in a pile on the floor. Slowly, some of his unease drifted away, and he reached out to snag the soft cloth before dragging the sleeves over his arms and fastening the sash. Lovers with regrets did not go to any lengths to make an unwanted partner comfortable, or bother to try and anticipate their needs. To be honest, he would have imagined Sherlock would be too wrapped up in his own head to think of giving John something to wear, regardless of whether he had second thoughts or not. The consideration was all the more comforting for being so unexpected, and John smiled to himself as he padded over to the bedroom door.
Peering out into the flat, he saw Sherlock sat at the kitchen table, the blue silk of his robe barely hanging onto one bare shoulder as he scrawled something in a red notebook. John could only make out his profile, but the expression there was one of concentration, not distance or uncertainty.
'The kettle's just boiled,' Sherlock murmured, a smile gracing his lips as his gaze flickered up to meet John's, bright and glowing and perhaps just the slightest bit shy in this strange new territory. Something told John that, while others might have shared Sherlock's bed, perhaps the morning-after was not something he had bothered to stay and experience.
'I take it that's a hint?' he asked, keeping his voice just the right side of playful as he reached for a couple of mugs and dropped a tea bag into each one. He'd have a shower later, maybe even share it with Sherlock, since it was evident from the debauched chaos of his hair that he had not yet bathed. 'How long have you been up? I didn't hear you leave.'
'I'm not surprised.' Sherlock's voice was a smug purr in his ear, and one arm wrapped, loose and tentative, around John's waist as Sherlock grabbed the milk from the fridge. Not actually doing anything as useful as making breakfast, John noticed, but still keeping him very welcome company. 'You were dead to the world. Did I wear you out?'
If Sherlock was aiming for innocence with that last question, he missed it by a mile. His deep baritone turned the words sultry and artful in a way that made John's appetite threaten to veer away from food and towards something more carnal.
'We wore each other out,' John corrected, swallowing tightly as he tried to drag his mind out of the gutter. 'Don't pretend you stayed awake all night. I heard you snoring.'
Sherlock looked affronted at the suggestion, retrieving his tea before turning back to the table. However, John noticed the way that Sherlock's hand lingered on his waist as if he were loathe to break the contact.
'I got up about an hour ago,' he explained, gesturing to the notebook. 'I should have been trying to write down the symptoms of the migraine as I went along. Now I have to try and remember them in the right order.'
'You keep your own notes?' John set a plateful of toast down at Sherlock's side. It was meant to be for him, but he did not comment when Sherlock commandeered a slice for his own consumption, crunching it happily as he nodded his head. 'Can I see?'
'If you can read them.'
The cryptic statement became clear when John leafed back through the book, taking in the mess of Sherlock's script when he was under the influence of each episode. Normally, Sherlock wrote in a relatively elegant cursive. Even when in a hurry his letters were well-formed. Yet this was not simply a case of deciphering the symbols. Missing words, incomplete sentences and whole lines of mirror-text spoke volumes for Sherlock's state of mind at the time. 'Bloody hell. Can you read any of this?'
'Some of it. It's a trade-off. If I make notes while they are happening, the sequence of symptoms becomes more reliable, but the coherence is greatly reduced. If I write about it afterwards –' He turned back to the latest entry, smooth ink flowing in comprehensible words across the page. '– It's easy to read but I can't be sure I'm getting the time-line right. It makes any attempts at pattern recognition hazy at best.'
'Does it help?' John asked, settling into the chair next to Sherlock, shoulder-to-shoulder and perfectly comfortable in each other's space. 'Knowing what to expect?'
Sherlock shrugged, reaching around John for some more toast. 'Somewhat. I started doing it in an effort to try and understand what the doctors clearly couldn't, but –' He trailed off, obviously not wanting to vocalise his failure to comprehend the complex malfunction of his own physiology. 'Now it's just a way to get the extra data out of my head.'
John reached for his tea, taking a sip and nodding his head. Sherlock might not have said it in so many words, but John knew a ritual when he saw it. Perhaps Sherlock tried to excuse it with logic, but the act of getting things down in the notebook had clearly developed its own importance, as much a part of recovery as actually banishing the pain. Why else would Sherlock go to so much effort to chronicle the empirical data even in the midst of his own suffering?
'Well, this time, you've got a witness,' he pointed out, getting to his feet and feeling a happy glow in his chest as Sherlock automatically followed. This, more than anything, was the part John had not been sure about – how easy and casual with his affection Sherlock would be.
Part of him had feared that Sherlock would reject any such effort at closeness outside of the bedroom, but instead he seemed to accept it readily, his body moving almost of its own accord as if seeking out John's presence. No effort was made to maintain any distance. Perhaps that would change, over time, as they became more certain of this new sphere in which they found themselves, but now in the first blush of intimacy, physical proximity seemed essential.
'What can't you remember?' John asked as he settled on the sofa, sprawling lazily even as Sherlock perched with a bit more delicacy beside him, his legs folded under him and pressed so close that the sharp angle of one knee was almost in John's lap.
'It's the order of it,' Sherlock explained, tapping the pen on the paper and rubbing one hand through his hair. 'I have it all up to the crime scene, but then everything went wrong at once. I remember the murdered woman – carbon monoxide poisoning – colour everywhere.'
'So the colours came first?' Idly, John reached out, following the mad flick of one curl with his finger before sweeping his thumb over Sherlock's nape. Every moment, he expected Sherlock to pull away, and yet the opposite was true. He leaned in as if he relished the caress, his lips parting in pleasure as he rubbed his palm over John's knee.
John caught Sherlock's hand as he nodded, entwining their fingers and giving a squeeze. It was difficult to remember more than vague impressions of that morning – nauseous concern and cramping confusion – but gradually he forced himself to picture the details. 'Your balance was poor,' he said at last, 'and you were sensitive to noise. You called Greg "gunmetal-grey".'
'And brutal Beethoven,' Sherlock mused, jotting something down in neat shorthand. 'I remember that. Donovan and Anderson were both sharp, like barbed wire, but Lestrade was smooth and cold.'
It was fascinating to hear the random associations of Sherlock's mind. Now, with hindsight, and perhaps the perspective of an outsider, some of the impressions made sense. Both Sally and Anderson went out of their way to be obstructive, catching Sherlock up with thorns of spite. Greg's interference, on the other hand, was without malice. The times he got in Sherlock's way on an investigation were about procedure, not some petty, personal vendetta.
'Why Beethoven?' John asked, curious. His knowledge of classical composers was limited at best. 'Were you actually hearing music?'
Sherlock was already shaking his head, an absent-minded gesture as his pen flew across the page. His right hand was all motion, charting messages of ink on blank paper. However, his left remained in John's grip, not merely a captive, but a willing participant, his fingers stroking over John's skin in an absent-minded effort to maintain the connection.
'It's impressions, sensations. Not so much about anything auditory as...' Sherlock trailed off, glancing at John as if struggling for the words to convey what he meant. 'Lestrade was not Beethoven because he sounded similar to any of the compositions, but because his nature reflects similar traits. Professionally firm and decisive, direct.'
'Lestrade's not the brutal one, he's a victim of it. Beethoven's personal life was a mess of unrequited love and tragedy.' Sherlock shifted, looking back down at the notebook. 'There are parallels, in some respects.'
John pursed his lips, glancing down at his half-empty mug. He should have known that the strange descriptions Sherlock had uttered throughout the migraine's path were not mere superficial phrases. He looked at the world and saw everything, unapologetic and unashamed. It made sense that, while his mind was twisting itself in knots, some of those deeper, more personal observations would shade his perceptions.
'Do you remember anything else?' he asked eventually, plucking through his mind for any details that might help Sherlock get a time-line of his symptoms. 'You said the sound of the car engine tasted like petrol.'
Sherlock's eyes met his, something unreadable in their depths as he scanned John's face. 'I remember you,' he replied after a few moments of silence. 'You were a constant when everything else was unpredictable. Not just at the crime-scene or in Lestrade's car, but at every moment since.' He said it as if the idea of anyone wanting to devote themselves so entirely to his well-being was almost inexplicable, and John set down his cup of tea before turning to face Sherlock properly.
'What did you expect?' he asked softly, his brow creasing in consternation as Sherlock's shoulders merely shifted in a shrug. 'You think I'd have left you alone? I –' John swallowed, trying to collect his thoughts and choose his words with care. In all fairness, he was not that much better at expressing sentiment than Sherlock, but of the two of them he was probably the only one willing to try.
'I can't lie and pretend it was just for you. I couldn't have sat out here knowing you were suffering, and not just because I'm a doctor.' He shook his head, a tiny, negative movement before pursing his lips. 'Seeing you like that... I couldn't – couldn't not try and help. If you had asked me to leave, I'm not sure I'd have been able to. I care too much about you to turn away, even if it's what you wanted.'
That last part was said almost as a murmur, a quiet confession, but John knew that Sherlock heard it anyway. His grip on John's hand tightened while his grasp on the pen fell slack, leaving it cradled loosely between his long fingers.
'I couldn't have asked you to go,' he said at last, glancing down at the paper before meeting John's gaze again. 'Everyone else was an intruder – they always have been – too sharp or hard or wrong. You, you are sunlight and Brahms. All I – all I want.'
Sherlock shrugged again, a fitful gesture as if he knew that his words did not clarify his meaning, but to John it was everything. Knowing that Sherlock desired him, not as a doctor or a hand on the gun, but as John Watson – both throughout the migraine and on the opposite shore of those stormy waters – was more than enough.
It was tempting to say something else, to crystallise the mist of sentiment that lingered around them into something more tangible, but John suspected that might be a step too far for both of them. There would be other times and other places for more concrete declarations, if they were needed, but right now he was content to sit with Sherlock and simply appreciate how the dawn had found them, as both friends and lovers with the potential for so much more.
'Brahms?' he asked, wondering what Sherlock had attributed to him in the haze of pain and mixed signals. He watched the smile light Sherlock's eyes, not arrogant or knowing, but something softer. There was tenderness in that expression. John raised his eyebrows, tipping his head to the side as he listened to the answer.
'Obvious,' Sherlock replied. 'On the surface Brahms seems straightforward. It's only when you look deeper that you truly appreciate the complexity of it. His work often gives the impression of innocent simplicity, but it's incredibly nuanced.'
His fingers slipped from John's palm, lingering on the vulnerable underside of his wrist instead and stroking along the veins there as if they held all the answers. 'At first glance, you're ordinary through and through, but all anyone has to do is look again to see you're so much more than you appear.' He glanced away as if embarrassed by his own explanation before he added, 'Besides, you always respond best to Brahms. If you ask me to play something for you, it's always his work you request, even if you don't know it.'
Unbidden, a dozen different memories unfurled in John's mind, of firelight and Sherlock, the violin brought to ecstasy beneath his fingertips. He so rarely played it properly, not when there was Mycroft to annoy with dying cat noises, or trite little nothing-tunes to irritate the neighbours.
Yet occasionally, in those first few months of their acquaintance, John heard something true from him, something beautiful, and he had taken to asking for more. It had reached the point where John would stumble home from the surgery, wet from the rain and tired from an endless stream of patients, or rip himself from a nightmare sweaty and trembling, and Sherlock would reach for his bow without any encouragement.
'Can you play now?' John asked. 'Not – not if you don't want to, it's just –' He cleared his throat, feeling suddenly stupid for asking. 'It's been a while since I've heard you.'
He was not sure why the need was so urgent. Perhaps he wanted to prove to himself that this Sherlock was the real one, in possession of his faculties and still wanting John all the same. Maybe he thought he would understand what Sherlock saw in him more easily if he could hear it in the crisp, unearthly notes. Either way, the desire was almost overwhelming, and John found himself waiting breathlessly for Sherlock's response.
'Of course.' There was a hint of understanding in his expression – something warm and knowing as he freed the violin from its case. Confident fingers checked strings and pegs before smoothing rosin on the bow and guiding the instrument to rest beneath his chin. There was no need for a written score – for stave or interval to dictate the melody's tide. No doubt it was all locked up in Sherlock's head. It seemed to come to him as easily as blood from a wound, and John smiled as he recognised the sweet tune that flowed forth.
Sherlock was right; it was his favourite. Before he came here, to Baker Street and Sherlock's side, his appreciation of classical music had been minimal at best. Nothing in the compositions had changed to catch his interest. Rather, it was the man who set them free to float in the air that earned his fascination. It was impossible to watch Sherlock play and not see the passion in him, so well-hidden at other times, step into the light.
John leaned back into the softness of the sofa, letting the music wash over him – languid like the first day of summer, then fresh and bright like thawing ice – and watched Sherlock surrender himself to the refrain. The silk of his robe hinted at the movement of back muscles beneath, swaying with the glide and sweep of the arm which carried the bow through its dance. Yet it was the expression on Sherlock's face that held John captivated, intense enough to take his breath away, as if Sherlock were pouring himself into the rise and fall of music that filled the room.
All for John.
It was easy to tip his head back, devoting all his attention to the melody and Sherlock's message contained therein, and this time, John was listening. He could hear every promise in the flow of notes and the quiet oath that wove its way between each movement: a hint here, a glimmer there, never said aloud but somehow audible all the same.
And John could only breathe his silent reply.
Author's Notes: My thanks, as always, go out to everyone who has read this piece. It's been brilliant to have your support and an honour to share this with you. I hope Electric Pink has been as enjoyable for you to read as it has been for me to write.
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Until next time!