Five Times Sherlock Holmes Kissed for The Work, and One Time he Worked for the Kiss

There’s a tunnel being built into the bank vault. That much is obvious. John had been bemused and a little offended when Sherlock had insisted that the doctor bring his cane along for this case, and then attentive and indulgent when Sherlock took it and started whacking various spots on the ground with it. It took the majority of his mental energy to listen to the resulting sounds and analyze the likely path of the tunnel; the remainder, however, was taken up with watching John. Sherlock finds himself watching John most of the time, these days. John’s strong hands. His broad shoulders. His delicate pink lips.

John’s lips.

Now they are standing in the dark of the vault, surrounded by actual goddamn gold bars and hordes of other peoples’ family heirlooms, waiting for the would-be thieves to appear. Lestrade is present, but he’s not paying attention to Sherlock; he’s paying attention to his mobile, through which Donovan is giving him updates from the street level. Usually Sherlock would be irritated at someone not paying attention to him. But since John has showed up, Sherlock has found that so long as John is paying attention, he’s happy. And John is always paying attention to Sherlock.

They are standing very close, face-to-face in the cramped space. It’s very dark. Sherlock wonders if perhaps there is something he could trip on. Perhaps if his foot caught on something on the floor, he could just tip forward a little and his mouth could just…

…the mind is a powerful tool. Sherlock’s mind especially. Brains tend to blindly carry out the instructions they are given, regardless of whether or not those instructions were really… finalized. Sherlock manages to trip over his own feet before any conscious intention has crossed his mind. There isn’t room to fall over properly, so it’s more a skidding of his legs into John’s, and John catches him by the shoulders and Sherlock’s hands grab onto John’s elbows and in the scuffle, some part of Sherlock’s wildly besotted, entirely distracted intellect manages to prioritize brushing his lips over the back of John’s wrist.

“Hey, you okay?” John pants.

“Slipped,” mutters Sherlock, and forces his mind back to the impending arrival of the aspiring bank robbers and off of the subject of his abject failure to kiss John Watson in any way that really counts. “Quite alright.”


Grimesby Roylott is an idiot. Sherlock has figured out what he’s attempting within three minutes of entering the young Helen Stoner’s room. It was dumb luck that he managed to kill Julia with a poisonous snake; it must have taken months. The snake is the least dangerous thing about Roylott, however; the complete insanity is a little bit more worrying.

“The snake is evidence,” Sherlock hisses, as Helen slides down the wall as far away from her bed as possible to wait and John flicks off the light. “Catch the snake, we put him away.”
Helen gestures furiously, and Sherlock rolls his eyes. He is very aware that Roylott is only on the other side of the wall, and had precisely calibrated the volume of his voice such that only John and Helen could hear him. Still, even John is looking nervous at the precarious position they’re in; two men in a young girl’s room in her father’s house, hoping to collect enough evidence to prove the man is murderously insane.

Sherlock shrugs, and sidles right up close to John. The ticking of Helen’s clock sounds deafening in the quiet room. So Sherlock leans in so close that his lips are practically touching John’s ear, and keeps one eye on the fine blond hairs just above the cartilage as he whispers about snakes venom, gives medical instructions about the treatment of various kinds of snakebite– John just rolls his eyes, but doesn’t object– and when he pulls away, a small madness over takes him.

If I kissed John’s cheek, he would not be able to confront me about it until we got home. And by that time, he will be crashing from the adrenaline rush we are both currently experiencing, and willing to chalk up just about anything to the dark and the nerves. So if he hates it, he’ll not mention it, and I can simply deduce tomorrow morning from his toast and the amount of milk in his coffee and the way his eyes flick over me when I come out of my room whether I should do it again.

John’s cheek is warm and soft and smooth, and John doesn’t react at all when Sherlock presses his lips to it.

Perhaps it is normal for soldiers to kiss each other before going into battle. Sherlock suspects this is not the case, but really has no way of knowing.

Repeated trials will be necessary.


Sherlock wonders if there is something about the middle-aged, middle-class British gentleman that makes him more likely than other species to attempt to keep his children locked up. Perhaps there is something in the cultural DNA, princesses locked up in castles, which–

That’s ridiculous, he interrupts his own train of thought. It sounds like the kind of thing that John would open a blog post with. Perhaps you should give it to him, once this thing is over.

This thing is in fact seemingly racing towards being over, one way or the other. Alice Rucastle, locked up by a father intent on preserving her from the vices of the world, is clutching at her face, watching through the window as her overbearing patriarch’s starved dog turns on its master. Violet Hunter, hired to unknowingly impersonate Alice to the poor girl’s boyfriend, had turned tail the moment John pulled the gun out of the hidden holster by his right hip, and is nowhere to be found.

There is a shot– Sherlock mentally calculates the chances of any other police officers responding to the scene before Lestrade, who he’s just texted, and decides they’ll probably be fine– and Sherlock rounds the corner of the house’s backyard to find John physically pulling the bleeding dog off of the also-bleeding senior Rucastle. The dog, not the man, is the one bleeding from the bullet wound, however, and Sherlock watches in mute horror as the thing thrashes, then lands a long, ugly scratch down the entire upper side of John’s left arm.

“Call 999,” John orders gruffly, kneeling down beside the abominable man to tend to his starved-dog-induced injuries despite the obvious poetic justice of them.

The ambulance arrives before the police, and Rucastle is already gone from the scene by the time Sherlock finds himself called upon to explain how the man mauled by his own dog managed to keep his adult daughter under his thumb for so long.

He is very distracted, however, because John’s arm is bleeding where the dog scratched him. His sleeve is rucked up enough to stop the fabric from rubbing at it, but John isn’t otherwise paying attention to it, he’s just standing solidly beside Sherlock as Lestrade is basically slumped against the wall of the house, his eyes pointedly avoiding the bullet would in the dead animal’s head. Lestrade is a very good man, thinks Sherlock, and rather indulgent. He pauses in his narrative for long enough to pick up John’s arm.

John lets him, which doesn’t exactly surprise Sherlock, because thus far his observations have all borne out the theory that John will let Sherlock do basically anything where he, John, is concerned. Still, it is somewhat thrilling when John manages to keep his eyes straight ahead, as if nothing is even happening, when Sherlock raises John’s wrist to his lips and kisses the skin, open-mouthed, laving his tongue over the welts and tasting the tiny drops of blood oozing out.

Lestrade’s eyebrows raise.

“Wound-licking is an instinctive behaviour in many animals, including humans, which promotes blood clotting,” Sherlock snarls. “John is just overly polite. Fortunately, I have no such hang-ups.”

“Right,” says Lestrade. “I didn’t actually ask. Please note that I have never in my entire life asked a question about anything that goes on between the two of you.”

“So Rucastle hired Miss Hunter, and required her to dye her hair to match his errant daughter’s, in order to convince Alice’s boyfriend that Alice was uninterested,” continues Sherlock quickly, cheeks pinkening.

John’s scratches are probably going to heal up just fine, thanks to me, he thinks.


Sherlock should have been able to save Hilton Cubitt.

He leans against the antiseptic-smelling wall outside of Elsie Patrick’s hospital room. The faint beeping of her heart monitor drifts out to him– a reminder that she’s alive, if only barely. No thanks to him. Stupid. Stupid. An abusive ex-husband starts sending threatening emails, and you get so caught up in the cryptography that you forget to save their lives. Idiot.

“Hey,” comes John’s voice. Sherlock opens his eyes. John looks very doctorly, despite nothing about his appearance having actually changed. Just the fact of him being in a hospital seems to change him, and now nobody who’s paying attention could mistake him for anything other than what he is. A healer. Sherlock glares. John probably wants him to feel better, wants him to accept that he did the best he could and it’s not his fault that his client is dead.

Sherlock has no intention of feeling better any time soon. “Sod off,” he tries.

John just smiles; the small, humourless, resigned one. “Nope,” he says, “Not sodding off. Nice try, though.”

He steps forward, into Sherlock’s space just the tiniest bit, and Sherlock finds himself swaying forward, the sadness and exertion of the failed case finally catching up to him.

John catches him by the shoulders, and Sherlock’s forehead comes to rest atop the smaller man’s skull.

John doesn’t say you did all you could, and anyway, you did technically solve the case, but he’s thinking it so loudly that Sherlock hears it anyway. “It’s not enough,” he answers.

“I know,” says John. “I know, love.”

Love. It still isn’t enough, Sherlock still feels the yawning chasm of a failed case in the pit of his stomach, but John just called him love, and that requires at least a few moments of additional thought.

Sherlock’s lips are right in front of John’s brow.

He leans forward and presses a kiss above John’s left eye, and John lets him. John’s hands rub up and down his arms, soothing.

It’s not enough, thinks Sherlock. But it’s something.


There really is no good reason for two decently-attired men (well, one decently-attired man and one ludicrously overdressed one) to be skulking in an alley, peering out into the street.

“This,” says John, as the third pedestrian on their way to the Tube station frowns at them suspiciously, “Is very conspicuous.”

“It’s also the exact route the bicyclist has followed our client along every single day for the past week,” says Sherlock testily. His back is pressed to the stone of the building behind him, affecting as much nonchalance as he can. “It’s not like we have a ton of other options for concealment, unless you’d prefer the roof of this building.”

John shudders and leans away from the wall slightly, peering out into the street again. “No. Alley. Alley is good. We just need to… look like we’re doing something here. Or move back farther.”

“Mmm,” says Sherlock. “Only really one reason people get together in alleys.” He remembers, somewhat nostalgically, his first time buying cocaine in London, and then hastily recalls that John probably wouldn’t appreciate him giving voice to that particular line of thought. And pretending to be in the midst of a drug deal won’t actually make them any safer than they are currently, so best to just leave it.

“Damn,” says John. “You’re right.”

Sherlock registers a moment of surprise– John wants to pretend to be buying drugs? Or selling them? What for? His eyes flick over to his friend, whose shoulders are set with determination.

“Nothing for it, then,” says John. He places one hand on either side of Sherlock’s biceps, leans in, and presses his lips to Sherlock’s, hard.

Sherlock’s eyes go wide. You’re supposed to close your eyes when you kiss, he knows, but if he closed his eyes he would lose sight of the benevolent prison of John’s arms pinning him to the wall in his peripheral vision, and the pinkish blob that is John’s face swimming in front of his eyes close, very close, too close and yet not nearly close enough, and oh, he also wouldn’t be able to notice if the stalker bicyclist drove right past them, yes, that is the point of all this. He tries to continue peering out into the street, but John’s tongue is lapping at the seam in between his lips, and Sherlock opens his mouth instinctively. John is kissing him.

Kissing him… as a cover story. Right. Sherlock suppresses the shudder of sensation that threatens to take him out at the knees, and tries to concentrate on looking for a suspicious bicyclist. He’s trying to multitask, attempting to explore John’s mouth with his own tongue while staying alert, but it’s practically impossible, what with John tasting sweet and woody and his hands still pinning Sherlock in place, fuck--

“There,” Sherlock gasps, more a desperate moan than an actual English word, but it does the trick. “That cyclist.” John breaks away, and Sherlock continues, the deductions practically registering as he takes the man in, “the innocent one. He’s watching out for her.”

“Right,” gasps John. “Right.” His lips are pink and wet. “Well? Shall we go talk to him?”

He’ll know what we’ve been doing, thinks Sherlock, but he steps out of the alley anyway.

After the cyclist helps them foil the abduction plot, Sherlock and John take a cab home and settle in the sitting room.

John is typing on his blog, but the laptop is out as far as it can go on the tips of his knees without falling off, and he looks up every so often to take in Sherlock.

Sherlock is perched on the end of the thinking-couch, trying to deduce John.

John kissed me. He kissed me for a case, and it was the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me, but now he’s not talking about it. I wonder if he’ll type it up on the blog. If he doesn’t put it on the blog, it means he thinks it’s private. If it’s private, that means he thinks it was about more than the case. If he doesn’t kiss me again this instant, I may die.

John glances up again, and this time there’s something sharp in it, almost reproachful.

Ah, realizes Sherlock. I’m going to have to do the heavy lifting this time.

And John might be an even better mind reader than he thinks Sherlock is, because he chooses that moment to state sullenly, “Don’t think you’re going to get off that easy again.”

Sherlock stands. If I want to kiss him, he thinks dizzily, I’m just going to have o do it. No short-cuts. “Oh,” he says, “I’ve no desire to get off easy.”

John starts smiling as Sherlock grabs his laptop and places it carefully on the floor. He leans in, and their lips crash into each other.

There, thinks Sherlock. Solved.