A/n: Alright so I've been working on Stories in Ink and this has been bugging me to write it. I didn't want to put it into Stories in Ink so hopefully it fits in here. I think Sherlock would need more data to understand his feelings for John so here's more detail about the tattoos and more Johnlock.
Still it's sort of detached form the original…not really it just feels like it to me because I wrote it so long after the original.
The flu season could not have hit London at a worse time for Sherlock Holmes. The reporters declared it was the worst in ten years. Sherlock hadn't looked into the statistics and he knew you couldn't really tell how bad flu season was until it was over. Even so, he knew it was the worst flu season ever for him. It was two weeks after he had run upstairs to John's bed. Two weeks after he realized he was attached to John in a way that he had never desired to be attached to anyone. The discovery had made him happy and it seemed like John was happy too. Even so Sherlock wondered about his feelings and about John. Two weeks in doubt because they had no time to talk, touch or solve crimes. No time to discover what this really was. Sherlock feared second thoughts or realizations that John would have later when he wasn't sleep deprived or running out to the clinic at all hours. How many times had John declared he wasn't interested in being Sherlock's date? Sherlock's head swam with worry at some points.
The tension in the flat could have been cut by a knife. After realizing how significant the tattoo on John's chest was. He had finally confessed to John that he wanted him, cared for him, and had kissed John soundly in the middle of the night. After that John had asked for them to wait until he was home from the clinic to do anything else. Since that night the two of them saw next to nothing of each other because John was exhausted and worked long hours at the clinic.
When John had gone to the clinic the morning after Sherlock's realizations there were 15 cases of the flu queued up at the door. They hadn't stopped coming. When John got home the first night, Sherlock was out talking to Lestrade about another case.
When will you be home? – JW
Sherlock was wondering the same thing. He stood in front of Anderson who was glaring at him. The two of them still disagreed on what had killed the man on the street. Sherlock sent a quick text back to John.
Don't know, Lestrade and the Yard are being idiots again. –SH
Saw 35 cases of flu today in 8 hours, I'm going to nap. Wake me up with you get home. - JW
By the time Sherlock got home after dinner, John had fallen asleep on the couch. His breathing had been deep and regular just as it had been when Sherlock had attacked him in his bed the night before. This time though Sherlock regretted to wake John up when he was so obviously tired and he looked terribly uncomfortable. The deep purple circles under his eyes, the strange position he was in and the fact that he hadn't taken his shoes off all explained that John was exhausted. Sherlock remembered smiling a bit at the image in front of him. Sherlock had nudged the smaller man up just enough to move him up to his own room to sleep for the night. John fell back into a deep slumber and Sherlock continued experimenting downstairs. He remembered how unhappy he had been that John was tired, but he had known John had been treating sick people all day. Sherlock knew that should have consoled him, but it had really just annoyed him that others had more time with John that he did.
The day after that the good doctor arose early and went to work again. Sherlock was reassured that John has not forgotten about him only because he had stopped to catch Sherlock in a kiss. The detective was, surprisingly, caught off guard by it. John pulled away much too soon for Sherlock's liking, but he ran out the door after they shared a smile. Both of them moved on with their day while trying to ignore their need for time together until there was time and energy.
The next two weeks had gone by in a similar fashion with fewer intimate moments, fewer understanding looks and less conversation. The two of them barely spoke because John usually fell asleep just after dinner or Sherlock was thinking and didn't want to be disturbed. It all led up to the frustrated and insecure Sherlock that was lying awake in bed next to John. Normally he could analyze what a situation meant in moments. This was different for him. It was new. Sherlock had never let anyone into his life, not even his brother knew the fine details of his life. He felt the attachment, but he didn't understand it. The detective still worried that John would leave the flat now that things were different. He tried to work through the data and told himself the tattoos were enough information, but it wasn't. Sometimes it only made things worse. John had mentioned a tattoo that was about an ex-girlfriend. Would his relationship with Sherlock also disappear? Would John's feelings remain the same now that he was living with the detective again? Sherlock tried to reason with himself. He reminded himself that they had lived together for the eight months since Sherlock revealed he was alive so everything would be fine. But the fear and uncertainty were too much. He needed to know now...
Sherlock glanced at the clock. It was 5:15 am. It was fourteen days, four hours and fifteen minutes since Sherlock jumped into John's bed. Tonight Sherlock was lying on his back next to John as he slept on his side. He wrapped his arms around the doctor. John had crashed early in the evening immediately after he and Sherlock had done some crime solving and investigating activates on the other side of London. Sherlock had dragged him across London in hopes of returning some normalcy to their lives. Instead it had made them both tired and frustrated. He wanted to drag John up to the bedroom. Instead he had dragged him over half of London, due to Lestrade's orders than this criminal needed to be stopped as soon as possible. They hadn't caught the man either which only frustrated Sherlock even more.
In the last thirty seconds or so Sherlock had decided he couldn't continue like this. It was unknown how long this flu epidemic would last (mostly likely another couple of weeks but John would be busy with smaller numbers of cases for at least another month or longer). He couldn't sleep so he made up his mind that tonight he needed John awake far more than John needed sleep.
Sherlock traced the outline of the wing tattoo on John's back. John had started sleeping without a shirt since the two of them had started sleeping in the same bed mostly because of Sherlock's curiosity about the tattoos. Sherlock slept less than John and studied the tattoos when he joined him in bed. Because of this, the tattoos were very familiar to Sherlock now, and he continued to trace the black lines until John stirred. Sherlock knew the designs of the tattoos, but he wanted to know more. More details and more about John. More information would make him understand and hopefully make John stay. Sherlock began to place light kisses on John's back and then nipped on John's shoulders. He felt John stir in his sleep. Sherlock continued to trace the inked lines on John's back but lower along the dragon tattoo this time. As the doctor woke even more, he began to move and twist toward Sherlock.
"Sherlock…what's…case?"as he turned over Sherlock sat up and planted a kiss on his lips to silence him. John moaned into the kiss. The moan was deep and sleepy, but it sent shivers through Sherlock. John broke the kiss roughly. The kiss was short and meant just to silence John, but John flipped over to his other side immediately and locked lips with the detective again. His hands moved up on either side of Sherlock's head and his fingers twisted into Sherlock's curls as he deepened the kiss. He moaned again and this time it was Sherlock who broke away. He moved and planted kisses John's jaw line and down his throat. Sherlock almost laughed. He felt better already. John's reaction soothed his fears about John having second thoughts.
"Sherlock what's going on?" John questioned again amusement colored his voice.
"John, you've left me alone every day for fourteen days straight and I have no idea when I will get you all to myself again...Considering how devoted you are to your patients… I believe it will be quite a while until I get to spend any time with you during the day time…Therefore I have to insist we make time for some of these activities at night... Even if I have to wake you up at 5:15 in the morning," Sherlock explained in between kisses.
"We could have done this earlier if you hadn't led us on a goose chase all over London. What are you suggesting? We lay here and talk all night?" John murmured as he brushed his lips against Sherlock's temple.
"Lestrade is getting impatient for me to solve that case and I couldn't go without my blogger. If you didn't know, we haven't had a conversation that is more than three lines long in four days," Sherlock began to kiss John's throat again.
"You once told me you sometimes don't talk for days on end," John chuckled.
"Things change. Obviously," Sherlock told him as he drew lazy circles on John's abdomen with his long fingers. He made his way down to John's chest. He placed an open-mouth kiss on the violin over John's heart. As he pulled away, he traced the inked strings with his fingers which formed his own name. This tattoo, of course, was his favorite. John's tribute to the man he thought was dead. It was probably the most important piece of data Sherlock had used to conclude that he and John were romantically interested in each other. This had led to Sherlock sprinting up to John's bed in the middle of the night and informing John of his deductions. Sherlock kissed the tattoos, the ink, and the scars all over John's body.
"If you want us to have a conversation, you need to stop that. What do you want to talk about? Work again? Most of my stories will bore you," John warned and tried to look stern but his eyes were bright.
"No, but not the work either. I spend all day on that when you aren't here," Sherlock ran a hand over the snake's head.
"I've missed you," John told him.
"You could tell me you missed me," John grumbled.
"I am," Sherlock told him. He kissed John again. The doctor laughed. Sherlock relaxed and traced the violin again. Sherlock opened and closed his mouth a few times.
"Go ahead," John sighed. He shook his head but the amused smile never faltered.
"Which one came first? "
"I got the Lion and Rose first. I was twenty and I saved little bits of money while I was in school until I could afford it,"
"A patriot before you were a war hero, then," John was propped up on his elbow now looking at Sherlock laying on his back.
"The next big one that I got was the wing. There were a couple in between but that was when I was almost done with medical school. I decided I needed something that really meant something to me."
"Sentiment," Sherlock scowled.
"You understand it better than you think," John challenged and chucked. He rolled over on his stomach.
"The wing," Sherlock touched the black piece of artwork on John's back. He wouldn't have thought the artwork was one of the first. He assumed the smaller ones were first. Building up tolerance…nothing too big…nothing that would attract attention. "Who rejected these?"
"People would think tattoos are just artwork, but they aren't. People think they have a say in them and what they mean. My friends in the army had some tats, but I was the only one who didn't want to share them all the time. Girls weren't impressed by tattoos because they weren't about pride and showing them off. Once people realize that it's all true they run. When something is a coping strategy it isn't as attractive." John explained. Sherlock ran a hand over the wing again.
"What about the maps? London and the flat are recent but Edinburgh?" Sherlock asked. The girlfriend in Edinburgh. What about her?
"I was there. I loved the city. It was important to me then."
"It isn't now?" Will I be just as fleeting?
"I haven't been there in years. My stay there was years ago."
"Sentiment fades then?"
"In some cases…Sherlock what's this about?" John glanced over at the detective and saw his troubled eyes.
"What about the girl?"
"Her name was Mary. She was sweet and she was a normal girl. She grounded me when I came back from tour. We thought we were in love. She was special."
"But she isn't special now, even though the tattoo still marks you, she isn't here,"
"Things change and we both figured out it wasn't going to last. The time and place are special to me even now." Sherlock was silent. John spoke again "But I didn't tattoo her name on my chest or hang around three years to see her again. I left after a month. I had to go back to my life and she didn't want to come along. You came back to me. I'm not going to run out on that."
Sherlock propped himself up on his arm. He stared at John. He smiled a little. Just the corner of his mouth turned up.
"Emotions," he sighed and shook his head. His curls flopped from side to side. John, my emotions they make me so simple minded, but you can see through the fog.
"This one was different," John touched his chest. "I told you this was important. It's not going to change. I know this is going to be hard. This is a permanent 'I believe in Sherlock Holmes' mark and I believe in this. Once this flu thing is over, things will get better. I'm not going anywhere."
"It's hard to believe it. You aren't the only one who's been rejected," Sherlock reminded him. Father, roommates, friends, the rest of the family,….don't leave John. If you leave, what will I do? Who will understand me?
"Then we only have each other," John smiled gently again. Friends protect people. They shared another kiss.
"I've missed you." The grin that spread across John's face reassured Sherlock even more that this man will not abandon him.
Six Months Later
John cares for the new tattoo on his forearm like a new born child. He cleans it and dresses it. He goes to the artist as often as he can to work on the design. Sherlock is not allowed to see the artwork until it is finished even though he had designed it. The two birds on John's forearm were to be a falcon and a nightingale with their foreheads pressed together. They had gone back to symbolism and birds. The falcon is a guardian as John is to Sherlock. He protects him from danger in the daytime but in the dark hours of night Sherlock protects John from the nightmares and the terror. The nightingale is a symbol of love. The two men love one another. They can never be a conventional relationship but they depend on one another for strength and understanding.
By now Sherlock has stored all the tattoos. There are seventeen in all. The fifteen he had seen originally plus there was a small design of a bone drawn on John's foot, a star on the back of his left calf and the two new birds that were being finished now. The file on John Watson continued to grow. Sherlock knew everything about the tattoos but he kept filing information about John's favorite ice cream, which toothbrush is John's, what John's favorite color, and where he grew up. These are all questions to which he had answers and felt the need to store. Information that floods his brain, and he never wants to delete.
They have been lovers for six months now. Sherlock stores all the information he can because just in case John tries to leave then he has a way to try to convince him to stay. It is unnecessary really. John knows he can never leave the man he has tattooed across his heart.
A/N: That's it! I hope you enjoyed it! Input is appreciated.
Stories in Ink is a continuation/extra bits story that is related to this one. They include scenes where others see the tattoos and bits from when Sherlock is "dead."
If anyone wants to contribute ideas for that I will accept them wholeheartedly. I am running out of ideas.