John remains still and lets him work, lets him do whatever it is he needs to do.
He's never had to do quite so little to help someone before. He feels ridiculous and lazy, and there's a laugh somewhere in his chest that he forces back down. Sherlock goes still suddenly, fingers still half over John's forearm, they squeeze and then slide away. When Sherlock does touch him again it's slower, less purposeful and more curious.
He unfolds John's fingers, feels the weight of them. There's a rustle of fabric, a second moment of stillness. Like Sherlock is watching him, careful and uncertain now. John thinks that Sherlock already has what he needs, that he's already filled in the missing pieces.
John doesn't say any of them, he keeps his mouth shut. Keeps it firmly shut and breathes, slow and steady while Sherlock spreads his fingers and drags his knuckles up his wrist. There's a forced slowness to it, a careful, whispery drag of air that suggests - that suggests Sherlock is aroused. John's never known him to find anything arousing and it's so unexpected that he doesn't know what to do with it. He'd half convinced himself that Sherlock honestly didn't have any interest in sex at all. That it was completely irrelevant to him.
It's an admission, of guilt, of the fact that Sherlock is no longer pretending this has anything to do with the current investigation. John has to make a choice whether to stop this now, or let Sherlock indulge Because he knows if he opens his eyes, if he moves - the moment will break and Sherlock will go back to his photographs.
He'll pretend this never happened. They probably won't ever speak about it again. John listens to the unsteady thump of his heartbeat, the roar of blood in his ears. The world is still dark behind his eyes. His fingers touch John's face, a slow slide of warmth and barely-there pressure against his forehead, cheek and mouth - before they drop to his throat, curl down in a long tickling trail before drifting away once they reach his shirt collar.
They slide back, fold round his jaw and turn his head, John feels his skull roll on the carpet, hears the tiny noise that Sherlock fails to hold on to. Sherlock sees everything, every tiny detail, things John doesn't even know about himself. He wonders, absently, if Sherlock is imagining that he's dead, if he's trying to find some reason, some evidence that would explain his body here in the flat - cold - no, not cold, Sherlock isn't wearing gloves. A recent death then, so he still retains most of his body temperature. So the feel of his skin doesn't jar him out of whatever strange place he's in.
The thought of it, the suggestion - John should find it disturbing, but instead it's just another curious piece that may or may not fit into the puzzle that is Sherlock. Sherlock turns his hands and feet, feels the texture of him, examines him through the curved lens of a magnifying glass - John can feel where the plastic digs into the skin.
It starts slowly, Sherlock's voice a low murmur, telling John things he already knows about himself, about where he's been, how long he was there. He's listening but he's not really hearing. There's a subtle tremor under the words, something soft - intimate and that's what John's following, the tension of it. If Sherlock ever came home to find him dead this is probably what he'd do.
Undercurrents - Deseret Book
No moments of sentimentality, no calling the police, he'd strip the room for every piece of evidence he could. How he was lying, how much blood there was, the colour of his skin, the trace materials on his shirt and jeans. Every detail, every tiny insignificant feature. Sherlock would see it all. John will never have as much of Sherlock's attention as he does right now. It's a slow realisation that leaves him almost dizzy, lying there on the floor. Sherlock is concentrating absolutely on him and nothing else.
It surprises him how much that affects him. John didn't realise how much he wanted Sherlock's attention until now. He certainly didn't realise that he could want it like this. That he could lie passively under it and encourage it. Sherlock's still processing, still thinking. His fingers ease the buttons of John's shirt open, efficient little flicks of plastic through the holes. The shirt slides apart, both halves pushed aside and John resists the urge to inhale at the slow drift of cold air across his skin. He doesn't shiver, or twitch, he doesn't do anything but lie still and breathe as quietly as he can and pretend that he's not almost hard inside his jeans.
Sherlock's fingers drag and press, drift over the tiny imperfections where John knows there are scars. The larger, more obvious scars. The softness over his ribs, broken by the occasional raised white line.
Not recent wounds but Sherlock gives them the same attention. He finds the faint, dull ache of a bruise where John walked into the kitchen cupboard Sherlock had left open yesterday. Sherlock spends a minute tracing the outline of it with his fingers. Like he can match it perfectly with the part of the flat that caused it -. But then he does, it melds into the low shiver of his explanation effortlessly. Committing it all to memory like it's important, like it's all 'important details. His hand has slid down, the heel of his palm resting on John's belt. It pauses there and John knows that Sherlock is letting him decide.
That it's his choice whether this thing becomes more obviously sexual. John knows, without doubt, that Sherlock will let this go exactly as far as he allows it to and no further. When John doesn't move, chooses not to move, Sherlock's fingers carefully slide his belt open, thumb unsnapping the button on his jeans.
Sherlock's breathing is rougher now, he's not trying so hard to hide everything. Or maybe he's simply forgotten to. John knows that this isn't exactly normal. He even knows that Sherlock knows this isn't normal. Hell, it's probably not even tasteful. Today, today he's lying on the floor of their flat being treated like a crime scene and Sherlock is aroused in a way John had assumed was either impossible for him or at least highly unlikely.
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God, that makes him sound like the most generous flatmate in existence. No, he's not deluded enough to pretend this is doing nothing for him. Because Sherlock's not the only one of them that's hard. He's not the only one who's breathing too fast and slowly crossing the line from friendship to John wants this too, he wants this strange, quiet intensity that's fragile and new and strange in a way that feels utterly Sherlock. Who's probably never done anything the easy way in his life.
To stop it being an audible rush through his nose. His zip is strangely loud and there's a moment, a quiet moment of panic and hysteria where Sherlock is roughly and efficiently working his jeans and underwear over his hips, where John wonders what the fuck they're doing. And how exactly things could ever go back to normal after this. He lets his heel roll on the carpet when his jeans slide free. He hears them land somewhere across the room. Sherlock doesn't have the breath left to explain, to examine, but he tries. The words are low in his throat, voice almost too deep to be real.
And then the words are gone completely.