"I require close physical contact in order to continue functioning with this level of muscle tension," Sherlock announced. "But I don't wish to have sex."
Halfway to the kitchen, John stopped walking in mid-step, frowning straight ahead at nothing. Then he looked at Sherlock with his head tilted at an amused angle. "You've had a shit day and you need a hug."
Sherlock huffed. He detested repeating himself. And John had missed the important part: "And I don't wish to have sex."
"I should hope not," John said, and pulled him roughly into an embrace.
It was excellent. His muscles, lulled by the foolish primate pleasure of warmth and touch, began unknotting one by one, and the juddering rhythms of his mind began smoothing out once again. John smelled of wool and tea and gun oil and himself. Sherlock could distinguish the locations of all ten of John's fingers against his back: his thumbs moving in slow circles below Sherlock's shoulder blades, his fingers simply resting there warmly.
"You needn't have stopped, you know," Sherlock told him.
He could feel John's forehead wrinkle against his face. "You do know I can't actually read your mind no matter how close together our faces are."
"Wearing scent," Sherlock said. "You were alert enough to notice my distinguishing one make of cigar from another by odor, yes, well done, but a moment's thought would tell you that I'm already accustomed to filtering out the smells of other people's cologne, even though I don't wear it myself."
A different sort of wrinkle -- Sherlock turned his face a little further into it, and a few new muscles in his abdomen eased out of their habitual tightness -- meant John was smiling. "Amazing," he said. He had shaved no more than three hours ago. His temples were warmer than his cheeks.
Sherlock himself hadn't bothered to shave this morning, or possibly yesterday. John wasn't seeking out the sensation of stubble against his face, but he clearly wasn't bothered by it. Nor, equally clearly, was it unfamiliar to him. Sherlock nosed into the hair above John's ear, and his eyes slid shut of their own accord. "Patently obvious," he said. "It's difficult to value your good opinion when you bestow it in exchange for such trifles."
John's thumbs stopped their idle movement and slid inward in harmony, reaching towards a meeting place over Sherlock's spine. "I don't do it for your benefit," he said, and that was true.
Sherlock raised his head enough to place his lips, rather than his nose, on John's temple. "Well, now I want to have sex."
"I should hope so," John said.
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April 26, 2011