Oh god, this one turned out longer than I thought it would. I was so excited to write this one, but I had no idea where to start. I'd like to thank rob for the prompt on Ao3. Thanks again and enjoy!
He had seen a fair amount of hands in his time. Everyone had them. Right there, at the end of their arms, facing every day wear and tear. Hands tell a lot about a person, from what they do presently to what they have done. The scars, the condition of the skin, the jewelry a person wore, even the way they cut (or bit) their fingernails. He couldn't tell you the number of time he used hands to document clues for his deductions. Okay, he could, but that's for another time. Even so, he had felt very few hands. Most people strayed from touching him, and when he did touch people, dead or alive, he wore gloves. John wasn't one of those. He had no qualms of pressing his bare hands to Sherlock's face, hold his hands tight, or tease any vulnerable spot found.
Sherlock rolled over on the bed to face John's back. He came to face the exit wound of the bullet that had sent the soldier home. It was nearly the size of coin, puckered a bit in the middle around a darker, pea-sized reddish brown spot. The outer edges were like a spider's legs, stretching out in thin, soft spindles that disappeared into the skin. Leaning forward, he pressed his lips to the scar, smiling when John gave a deep sigh like he was releasing tension.
The warm skin was comforting under his lips. Turned his face, Sherlock let the bridge of his nose nuzzle his lover's shoulder as he snaked a hand over John's waist. He was able to find the blond's left hand draped over his lower stomach. Gently, he pulled himself flush against the smaller back. Once settled, he twined their fingers.
Oh, these hands, these war battered hands ridden with callous and cracks. Those same hands that were strong and so gentle, trailing feather light touches over his skin. These two marvelous things that ventured where others wouldn't and now never will. He closed his grip on John's hand and let them both lay back on the mattress.
Those hands had taught him. They taught him that not everyone wanted to hurt him. Some did truly want to help.
"Damn it, Sherlock! Just let me see the bloody thing, won't you?!" John yelled as he slammed the front door closed. Sherlock was already in the flat, making fast work of the stairs and his outerwear. He set to work taking off his shoes and plucked up his laptop. Flopping down into his chair, he woke the laptop and set to typing madly. John was standing before him shortly, arms crossed and hardened glare set on him. Sherlock winced when he went to return the look. The slightest twitch to his mouth burned.
"You look ridiculous. Let me look at you, Sherlock." The doctor asked, pulling off his leather gloves and setting them on the table behind him. Sherlock gazed at the pair of hands skeptically before admitting defeat. He set his laptop on the floor next to the chair and stared up at his flatmate.
"I'm fine, John, really. I've had worse." He argued, setting his jaw tightly. John knelt before him and took his face in his hands. Pulling him forward, Sherlock adjusted himself in the chair.
"It's not about if it hurts, Sherlock. It's that I don't want it to get infected. I don't like seeing you in pain, Sherlock." The consulting detective blinked, almost taken back. He'd bet not many people could honestly say that. His eyes met John's eyes with a silent question.
"Honest, Sherlock. Let me help." With that, Sherlock averted his eyes and let John work. Calloused thumbs smoothed over his jaw, flattening the little stubble that had grown over the last two days. He tilted Sherlock's jaw up, studying the blossoming bruise that stretched over his right cheek bone. John gingerly pressed his finger tips to the bruise, but drew them back instantly when his flatmate flinched.
"I'll be right back. I'm going to get a plaster and little antibiotic ointment, alright. Stay put." Sherlock rolled his eyes, like he was going to go somewhere. Really, John? He leaned back in his arm chair, stretching out his legs and crossing his ankles. John was back quickly, a dab of ointment on the tip of a cotton swab. John bent over, a hand ever so kindly gripping his jaw and turning his head to the right slightly. He wiped the ointment onto the small gash and took the wrapper off of the plaster. His fingers laid the plaster on the wound and applied a slight pressure. John's finger lingered a short moment longer, caressing the pale expanse of Sherlock cheek and down to cup his jaw. Sherlock glanced back to watch John.
"See? Just something to prevent it from scarring or getting infected is all." He gave his flatmate a warm smile, patting the plaster before offering him a cup of tea. Sherlock stared at him, nodding in return. Once he had padded off into the kitchen, Sherlock raised his hand to his cheek. He traced his cheek in the same pattern, noting the different feel. John's hand were warm, and a little rough, but it was nice.
In that moment, he felt cared for. He felt like someone actually did not want him to bleed out on the street. All from a simple, little, innocent caress down his cheek. Sherlock pulled his hand free from John's. Instead, he looped his arm around John's neck. His fingers softly scraped John's cheek, short stubble pricking under his finger nails as his skin met his lover's. His thumb swept over his cheek bone.
He hoped John felt cared for.
"You complete fucking arse! Get the hell away from me, you liar! You fake! You—you made me believe you were dead! You made everyone believe you were dead, you left us here grasping at strings. Three years, Sherlock. You were dead for three years and you expect me to just forget that you tricked me and welcome you back?" John shouted, staring at the man who had knocked on his door.
"Perhaps we take this inside, John. I'd rather not make a scene on your door step." Sherlock pushed passed the shorter man. John had remained at Baker Street, changing nothing, not even the things Sherlock had left around the flat. Once upstairs, he glanced at his violin, still leaning against the window sill. There was a coating of dust lining the strings, but the bow had fallen flat next to it. John hadn't even made a move to fix it either. Once John had shut the door, Sherlock turned to face him. He hadn't heard the shorter man walk up to him. He also didn't expect John to pull back his fist and send it flying right into his jaw. The blond got in two more hits due to his shocked state, one in his stomach that brought him to stoop over and the second in an uppercut as he fell. Sherlock dropped to his knees, cupping his jaw in pain. With wide eyes, he looked up at his once close friend, hands clutching the blond's forearms.
"John, I'm sorry. I really am. I'd never do anything to hurt you, but Moriarty had snipers trained on Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and you. I can live with the first two, sure it'd be an unfortunate loss, but I couldn't live knowing I was the reason you died. I couldn't let it happen. So I did what he wanted, but I got him. I let his men think I was dead, John. I couldn't tell you because even the slightest knowledge that I was alive might have tipped them off and I couldn't risk it, John. I couldn't let that happen, John. I'd do anything to keep you safe, John, even if it means faking my death and tearing me from you because I couldn't let you die, John. I just couldn't. So don't ask me why I did it because that's all you're going to get. I was selfish enough to keep you safe by taking myself out of the picture, hurting you in the process. I didn't think about how it would effect you, only that's you'd be alive. I couldn't let them hurt you, John." Sherlock pleaded, looking anywhere but at John's face. He could feel heat creeping up his neck, probably coloring his face.
"I'm so sorry, John. I truly am so sorry." The dark haired man repeated, bowing his head and dropping his hands to his sides. His face hurt, mostly his jaw from the two hits it received. There was a sudden pressure on his untouched cheek causing him to flinch harshly. He pulled back his entire body, staring at John's hand like it had burned him. He looked back up at John, eyes questioning and mouth gaping. A small smile crossed John's features as he slowly moved the hand back to Sherlock's face, gently stroking over his cheek bone. He didn't deserve this,this intimate gesture sweeping his skin, but John didn't pull away or ball his fist. No, he kept his thumb repeated rubbing small strokes over his cheek bone. Sherlock leaned into the touch and closed his eyes, becoming used to the affection he hadn't felt in so long. Suddenly, John's hand was gone.
Opening his eyes, he caught John falling to his knees. His hands came up to firmly hold the side of his face, staring as if he was going to vanish if he blinked. The hands slipped down to his neck, fingers grazing over his throat to, what he was sure, feel his pulse. His rough pads found his shoulders and fluidly rolled over and down his back, clutching his coat and pulling Sherlock to his chest. John pressed his face into the hollow of his throat and sighed. Sherlock slowly brought his hands up, placing them hesitantly on the smaller man's back.
John's hands felt large on his back, strong and clutching him desperately to him. His fingers were spread, as if trying to hold as much as he could, and his finger tips dug into his cloth covered skin. It was different from any hug he'd ever gotten before. It wasn't simple a "nice to see you" from a relative or an awkward "I feel like I have to do this" hug. It was honest. John had missed him. John cared for him. John wanted him here, and he didn't want to let go.
In that moment, he felt wanted. Most only wanted him gone. Sherlock wouldn't lie. He was crass, sarcastic, cold, and brutally honest. People simply didn't want him around because they couldn't stand being around someone that felt no remorse for what he said or did. But John held him tightly to him and didn't let go for the next half hour. They sat there on their knees and talked in hushed tones, asking how they were, what they had done, and other such things. It was the way John held him tight the first few days he was back. They'd be just lying around the flat and arms would twine themselves around his waist as he sat on his stool in the kitchen while peering into a microscope, around his shoulders when he sat with his legs pulled up to his chest in his arm chair, and around his neck when they would be talking to one another. John would just hug him, hold him tight, hands still firm on his body but soft on his face.
Sherlock smiled into the skin on John's shoulder. He slipped his his right arm under John's neck so that he could bend his arm around the blond's neck. He pressed his arm across John's chest, fingers dancing over the scar. His other arm bent under John's armpit and splayed his hand over his lover's heart. Slowly, he pulled the body tightly against his chest, sealing any gaps he had left from moving closer earlier.
He wondered if John knew he was wanted.
"I love you, John." Sherlock blurted out one day. Stunned, John dropped his spoon in cup and turned to face Sherlock. The consulting detective was in his sleeping pants and shirt. His face was blank as he stared down at his flatmate.
"You love me?" John asked back. Sherlock colored and turned the other way.
"I feel a significant amount of affection for you. After reading up, it seems that love would be the only option." The dark haired man filed back into the lounge.
"I could be wrong through, but it's highly unlikely. I can't go a day without thinking of you, I enjoy when we are able to sit and watch crap telly, I find it endearing when you utter those unnecessary comments for by deductions, and I couldn't stand the thought of ever being away from you." He ranted, pulling out his laptop and running a search on what love was. John crossed the room in long strides, shutting the laptop and taking it from Sherlock's lap. He leaned over Sherlock body, hands bracing himself on the arms.
"In what way do you love me, Sherlock?" Said man furrowed his brow.
"What do you mean in what way? I love you. How many ways could there be?" John smiled, stepping back and turned around. Sherlock was a second too late to correct himself.
"Never mind, Sherlock. I love you, too." He said, sounding almost put out. Not liking that, the consulting detective launched himself from the chair.
"What? Say that again, John?" The blond turned around in the kitchen arch way.
"I said I love you too, Sherlock." Sherlock smiled broadly, and pounced. His grabbed John by his face and pulled him in, locking their lips together in a sloppy kiss. While Sherlock's hands searched, John's hands gripped his hips and pulled them close together. Sherlock pulled their mouths apart, leaving them both panting.
"I didn't know you would think I love you in a platonic way. I don't think I could have ever done that." Sherlock said, pulling John and himself back into the lounge.
"Well, you don't exactly make hints, Sherlock. I'm left to guess about most things. I thought you were just admitting you are for me like a brother or something." Sherlock laughed.
"Have you missed how I treat my biological brother?" He pointed out. John chuckled, tilting his head up to place a kiss on the corner of Sherlock's mouth.
"Very true. I'm glad it isn't platonic then." Sherlock cracked a devious grin.
"As am I." He said, spinning their bodies around to pin John to the wall. Sherlock trapped John's wrists above his head and ground his hips into John's. The newly awakened member caught John by surprise. He flashed a wolfish grin and arching his back, spreading his legs to trap one of Sherlock's legs between them. He ground his hips down hard, groaning at the friction it provided. It wasn't long before they were in the bedroom.
John's rough hands teased with feather light touches. They grabbed hard enough to leave bruises and held him down as his mouth slid down Sherlock's shaft. John's fingers clawed into Sherlock's shoulders as he thrust again and again, leaving shallow divots in the skin. His hands explored, trailing over ever inch of his flesh and leaving a burning fire in its wake. They grabbed to have something to ground himself, pulling away from Earth slowly as they continued their dance.
In that moment, he felt loved. He felt like John cherished not only his body, but him as well. He felt safe in hands that had kill and could still kill. All from those soft touches lingering longer than normal. All those firm fingers pressing him tight against John's smaller frame. All those grabbing moments when John felt frisky or the need to hold Sherlock to him and be sure he wouldn't disappear. The pressure behind each touch left meaning.
I want to help you.
I want to protect you.
I never want to let you go.
I never want you to leave me.
I love you more than anything.
Sherlock kissed the spot directly behind John's left ear. Oh, this man and his hands. And what those hands had taught him in the passed two years! He let his head fall back to the pillow to stare at the back of John's blond head. He knew the stories that hands could tell by appearance, but touch was something differently entirely. Before John, he didn't know a person could show how much they care for another being by being so gentle. He didn't know a strong grip could give the feeling of possessive protection and relief. He didn't know someone could put so much emotion behind fingers. He would have never know what it was like to feel loved through hands without John.
Sherlock wondered if John knew how much he loved him.
And there it is. I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading.