It’s always different in the daylight.
Sherlock watches the light track across the ceiling. John is asleep next to him. At first, half on top of him, head nestled into Sherlock’s shoulder. Their skin is cooling in the air, and the light on the ceiling is artificial- streetlamps and tracking headlights of cars.
Later, John has rolled over, is breathing heavy and well into sleep. The edges of the room are lightening. Sun, somewhere, is coming up, hidden still behind buildings and trees, a subtle change in the sky.
Sherlock doesn’t usually need to sleep if he doesn’t want to. Tonight, he wanted to. As John’s skin was cooling from sweat-slicked heat under his hands, he wanted to sleep. Guilt was worming its way up from under his ribcage, instead.
It was easy to delete useless information. Information regarding John was a different story entirely. Sherlock cataloged and saved everything about John and was unable to stop. Sentiment.
Sherlock closed his eyes, blocking out the slowly lightening sun, and was greeted by memories instead. Pointing a gun at John, nightmares nipping at the heels of his vision. John’s disappointment. John’s silence. The ache between them. Guilt.
Eventually, when the ceiling is well lit with sunlight, birds chirping, Sherlock slides out of bed. The nice day seems specifically contrary to his mood. He glances down at John, relaxed into the bed. Covers tangled between his legs. Sherlock’s chest tightens painfully.
Sherlock dresses, head to toe in well tailored black. He knows John will likely come out in only pyjama bottoms, sleep mussed and relaxed. He’ll probably smile while he makes tea. Sherlock feels like he’s armouring himself as he does up his buttons.
He sighs and heads to the kitchen, pokes his head into the fridge and cupboards, pulling out whatever he can find. He cranks the knob on the stove, puts out pans. Mixes, chops, stirs. By the time John wakes up, there is a mostly done omelette in the pan, replete with cheese and bell peppers. John is deeply surprised, if his expression is anything to go by.
“Did someone abduct you in the night and switch your brain?” John asks, pleasant. He runs a hand absently across Sherlock’s lower back as he passes him to the cupboards. Sherlock freezes as it happens, an ache spreading through his chest. He turns and smiles winningly at John, but doesn’t trust himself to respond.
John holds up a mug and silently asks Sherlock if he’s interested. He nods, and turns away. Busies himself with cooking. It’s always different in the daylight.
Sherlock would give anything for it to be different.
He sets the table, John provides the tea. Sherlock eats toast, and a quarter of the omelette off John’s plate. There was only 3 eggs. John makes appreciative noises and small talk. His feet keep finding Sherlock’s under the table.
When they both finish, Sherlock clears the plates to the sink.
“Got a case?” John asks, nodding at Sherlock’s clothes, “It’s only 9.”
Sherlock looks down at himself, then out the window. Considers the sunlight, the incessant chirping of a bird outside. Doesn’t bother to categorize the birdcall which disturbs him. Too distracted. Even worse.
Sherlock turns and faces John, steady now, grips the counter behind him surreptitiously.
“I can’t be with you, John.” I love you too much.
John goes very still. His mug is halfway to his mouth, which is set in a very hard line. Sherlock recalls very vividly exactly how that mouth tastes and feels. He imagines how it would taste now. He waits for John to say something. He is pretty sure that’s the correct thing to do.
John doesn’t speak.
Sherlock, impatient, ventures to repeat himself a bit more clearly.
“I can’t be with you.” He pauses, waits for a response, then: “I’m going to get you killed.”
Sherlock’s heart is pounding. John doesn’t seem to have a response, and is just watching Sherlock with a very measured gaze. Sherlock turns back towards the window.
“I almost killed you, myself.”
“It’s one thing to protect me, as a lover or a friend.”
“I love you now, though, and it’s distracting, and I almost killed you.”
“So I can’t do this anymore. We can’t be together.”
“I’ll leave by the end of the day.”
Silence. Breathe in.
It’s always different in the daylight.
Jim laughs, first. Delighted. His tiger is finding his claws. Sebastian’s eyes flash, the tip of the knife pressing harder into the soft skin of Jim’s neck. Jim grins at him, teeth and teeth and teeth. An unspoken threat.
Sebastian’s hand encompasses Jim’s smaller wrists, holding him still in one calloused palm. He raises his eyebrows at him. Are you going to fucking fight me on this? Jim pouts, simpering. Satisfied, Sebastian pulls the knife from Jim’s neck, running it across his collarbone, grazing it down his side. He slides his palm and the hilt of the knife under Jim’s ass, shifting the both of them around, Jim’s legs around his hips. As soon as Sebastian settles, with Jim’s legs around him, Jim twists, gripping Sebastian with his thighs. Sebastian presses harder against Jim’s wrists, trying to keep him in place, but in the end the shorter man is too slippery. They both roll, fighting for dominance. In the end, despite Jim’s agile body, Sebastian manages to separate himself from Jim’s limbs and press him against the floor - chest down, ass up. Jim bares his teeth, Sebastian’s hands pressed against his shoulders, using his height to encompass Jim’s entire frame.
He considers killing him. Later, when he’s not expecting it to come. He’s the only person he would dirty his hands for.
Sebastian runs his hands roughly down Jim’s body, growling something close to his ear, derailing Jim’s plotting. Sebastian gathers Jim’s wrists behind his back, using his other hand to pull his hips up, forcing his knees under him.
“I’m done paying, Jim.” Sebastian’s voice is rough, gravel. It makes Jim want to roll in it. He closes his eyes, a smile stretching across his face.
“Repenting.” Growl. ”Time for you to spend some time on your knees.”
Sebastian rolls his hips against Jim, forcing him to curve his back. Mmm. Sebastian reaches around running his open hand across Jim’s cock, teasingly. Jim rolls his hips towards Sebastian’s hand, greedy.
“Ah-ah. No. You’re going to get what I give you.” Sebastian snaps his hand to Jim’s hip, holding him still, pulling him tight against his own body. “When I give it to you.”
Maybe kill him very, very, slowly. Knives. He likes knives.
Sebastian leans back, separating his body from Jim enough to allow for his rehardening cock to slip between them, resting against Jim’s ass. Seb slowly slides his hand from Jim’s hip, wrapping it around himself, being extremely conscious of the fact that Jim can feel his hand, his knuckles, bushing against his skin as he very, very slowly strokes.
Jim growls, trying to arch around, but finding himself very firmly held by Sebastian, who has pushed both his grasped wrists up the middle of his back, pinning his shoulders to the ground. Jim hates not being able to see. There are few things he enjoys more than watching Sebastian handle his cock, and this..this. Jim can feel Sebastian’s hand twisting around his cock, very slowly picking up speed. Sebastian groans, a chesty sound of pleasure. He starts to speed up and Jim is convinced, convinced, that he intends to just jerk off all over his back and ass in which case he will absolutely flay him to his very nerves. He continues trying to twist around, earning himself Sebastian’s knees braced against his legs, further inhibiting any sort of around motion.
“Patience.” Sebastian grunts, deliberately testing the edges of what Jim will stand for. He’s got the sneaking suspicion that he’s going to pay for this, dearly, but is intent on taking what he wants.
Sebastian releases his grip using a thumb to provide enough pressure to line his cock up with the curving lines of Jim’s ass. Jim stills. Sebastian rolls his hips, rubbing the length of his cock against Jim, sliding between the cheeks of his ass. Jim is slicked with sweat from their previous activities, and from recent struggles, so the slide is slick and he can’t help it when a groan escapes from his mouth. Sebastian responds in kind, a laugh tucked inside the noise. Sebastian continues the motion, purposefully spending time to ensure that the head of his cock runs against Jim’s opening. He does this for longer than Jim thinks is fucking necessary. He’s achingly fucking hard now, and waiting for Sebastian to follow up on his god damn promise. Seb repeats the motion, drawing a frustrated moan from Jim. He grits his teeth around the noise.
“You said you were going to fuck me, god damnit. Not play with yourself.” He grits out, trying his best to sound mocking despite the fact that he wants wants wants.
“I want you to beg me for it,” Sebastian says, focused on continuing. He’s careful, gripping the base of his cock now, intent on lasting as long as it takes. Jim rolls his hips back into Sebastian, intently trying to move the process along. All he gets in response his Sebastian pausing against him, cock still pressed against his ass. Jim bites his lip, frustrated. Sebastian doesn’t need to say a thing to impress upon him: Don’t do that now, honey. He remembers.
Instead of resuming, Sebastian runs his fingers down Jim’s ass, circling him slowly. Jim muffles a moan into the floor stubbornly. Sebastian stills, and Jim tries to crane his head around to find out why. He can feel him shifting behind him, his hand disappearing. A few moments later and there’s a wet-plastic pop and cold, jesus fuck.
Seb drags his fingers through the lube, pressing gently and smoothing in turns. Jim moans when Sebastian slips a finger inside of him. He tries to bite down on the noise when Seb slips in a second one, stretching him open, but he can’t. Sebastian pulls his fingers out slowly, re-entering over and over until Jim is keeping up a steady stream of gentle moans into the floor. At this point Sebastian shifts back to running his cock along Jim’s ass, reveling in how slick and warm he is. Jim whines at this and Sebastian tries his luck, teasing Jim with the tip of his cock, swaying his hips gently.
“Hmm?” Sebastian prompts, as if he’d heard Jim say something. Jim presses his forehead to the ground. It’s a long several minutes of Sebastian continuing to tease Jim infuriatingly before he bites out a reply.
“For fucks sake Sebastian! Fuck me already!”
Sebastian mockingly cops Jim’s voice, “Say pleeease!” He singsongs.
Jim grinds his teeth around the idea. Maybe tie him up and then flay him.
Sherlock watches John down the hall, feeling his chest constrict, contract into him. I shouldn’t have. His mouth still feels warm from John’s, and he is silently pressing his fingers to his lips an hour later when they are stepping into a cab together.
“You going to tell me what happened?” John ventures into the silence. Sherlock gazes out the window, long fingers pressed to his lips. He doesn’t respond.
“Greg tells me you were just…there. And you left your phone at the flat.” John pauses, “You never forget your phone.”
Sherlock could feel John shifting on the seat next to him, his posture leaning away, his gaze turning outward to the passing sidewalks. Silence stretched between the two of them.
The night passed similarly. Sherlock hoped against hope that John just assumed he had fallen into non-responsiveness. Thought. Somehow, when he left himself catch glimpses of John through his peripheral vision, he knew that wasn’t the case. Guilt bubbled up inside of him, washing his vision. This was all his fault.
Hours later, after John had fed himself take away (and unsuccessfully attempted to feed Sherlock as well), after John had showered and watched the news at length on a very low volume, after he had sat in front of his laptop, watching the cursor blink into a blank blog post, John slipped away to bed. Sherlock’s heart began to pound, expecting him to gather pyjama’s from Sherlock’s room and disappear upstairs. He didn’t. Sherlock heard the distant creak of the mattress, and fractionally relaxed.
If only he could forgive himself. John seemed to.
He allowed for 45 minutes. He assumed that John would be asleep by the time he crept in. And 45 minutes later, it seemed he was right. John was on his side, breathing evenly. The blanket was pulled only halfway up his chest, and dulled moonlight lit his bare skin. Sherlock’s chest contracted.
He undressed, and climbed in, unable to breathe around the sensation.
He’d prided himself so long on not needing contact or comfort from anyone else, his entire life. But less than half a foot away was the one person in the world Sherlock needed more than anything and all he could do was watch helplessly as he shattered everything they had together.
Helpless, he pressed he forehead into the skin between John’s shoulder blades. Felt his warmth. He was always warm while sleeping. Sherlock was, too, creating a veritable sauna under their covers every night, which always resulted in all the sheets kicked off. It hadn’t in the last few months, as Sherlock constantly put off coming to bed. John looked so vulnerable and loving while he slept, on good nights.
Sherlock shifted, nuzzling into the warmth of John. Breathing him, deeply. He smelled clean, soapy. A bit like the curry he’d eaten earlier. He followed the underlying scent of John up his back, to the curve of his neck. Before long, Sherlock found himself pressed along John’s entire length, as if he was attempting to use his warmth and smell as a salve to sooth his entire aching soul.
John shivered. It was small, and strangled. Like he was desperately holding something in, trying not to break the spell. Sherlock could hear him breathing, in measured stops and starts. In, two three four. Out, two three four. He placed a kiss on John’s shoulder, and the bands around his chest eased open to hear the hitch of breath.
Experimentally, he trailed slow, chaste, kisses along John’s bare shoulder, pausing in the crease of his neck. Here. This was the John smell. Warm and loving. It made Sherlock think of sunshine, warm blankets, and gunpowder. John twisted towards him, just slightly, lifting his chin. Questioning. Sherlock responded by pressing his face deeper against John’s neck. Gunpowder. He felt John’s pulse, pressed his lips against it. Blood. John’s breath quickened, but he bit his lip against questions. Don’t break the spell.
Sherlock would have done anything to package John back up into the relative safety of just being his flatmate and friend. But he couldn’t quite fit him back into that space, no matter how hard he tried. He needed him too badly, too selfishly, he needed him.
In a rustling of covers, Sherlock shifts his body and John’s. John peers up at him from his back, eyes bright in the dark. Sherlock hovers over him, hands bunched into the sheets on either side of John. He places warm, open, kisses on his cheeks, neck, collarbone. He trails them down John’s chest, and back up. He listens to John’s breathing fast and short in the dark. Feels his heart speed up under the thin skin of his throat. Pressed there, feeling John’s pulse jump desperately, he speaks for the first time since the morning.
“I love you, John.”
“I need you, John.”
Sherlock winds his way to the scene rapidly, thoughts of Moran whittling away at the back of his mind. Three months of silence. The damage was done, but he could be anywhere, waiting. Waiting. What if John had followed?
Minutes later Sherlock is slowing down in a long laneway, taking in the scene. Female. Late 20s. He circles, eyes catching on the spray of blood, the burns on her forehead, the stray bullet holes in the wall nearby. A struggle, personal. His eyes fall to her hands, marking tan lines and defensive marks. A 2 at best. Shouldn’t have bothered. Simple. His hand dives into his coat pocket to text John and then Lestrade, but comes out empty. He swears loudly and paces to the opening of the lane, listening for sirens.
Well, he could wait for Lestrade, at the very least. Tell him who to look for. Surely that would be alright? He hadn’t been invited, obviously, but. Sherlock considered his options carefully. At this point, someone had surely called the police, and surely seen him. Fleeing now would likely look worse than waiting. He sighed, resigned, and propped himself up against the brick wall. In a few minutes, sirens finally approached.
Two patrol officers Sherlock barely knew, but who recognized him, spilled out of the car. They frowned deeply, but radioed Lestrade when Sherlock asked. This was a homicide after all.
He watched impassively while they taped up the scene, and clumsily gathered clues. No point in telling them what to look for. He would only have to repeat himself to Lestrade.
Sherlock was getting restless when Lestrade finally showed up.
“Sherlock! What the bloody hell are you doing here?” Lestrade demanded, looking thunderous.
“I was in the neighbourhood.”
“Really. Look, you might be cleared now, but there isn’t a single person above me who trusts you farther than they can throw you. You do know that, don’t you?”
Sherlock rolled his eyes, turning towards the crime scene.
“You should check the apartment, boyfriend. Fiancee, more likely.”
“He was angry. Not a very good shot, obviously.” Sherlock pointed at the holes in the wall, “He’ll be shaken up. Probably hasn’t gotten rid of the weapon, or anything he was wearing.”
“Sherlock, look at me.”
“They likely live nearby, it doesn’t look like she had been intending to go out.”
Lestrade steps between Sherlock and the scene, resolute.
“Sherlock, I have to take you in. You realize how bad this looks? You just showing up at a scene before anyone else? Knowing what will likely turn out to be all the right details?”
Sherlock let his gaze wander toward the ground, refusing to respond.
“Get in the car, Sherlock.”
Sherlock takes an involuntary step back, eyeing the surrounding area. Suddenly aware of the other present witnesses, the small gathering of civilians starting to wander from their flats. He presses his lips together and meets Lestrade’s gaze.
“I won’t, if you just get in.” Lestrade nods, bringing his hands up to show them empty. Sherlock lets Lestrade put him in the back of the cruiser, hands unbound.