Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
Sherlock sat on the bench outside of the Save-a-Lot after spending eight hours on his feet and discussing a fine balance of gossip, politics and produce quality. And now he was left with crushed tomatoes in the heels of his work boots and strip of grease across his forehead. The attempt in the bathroom to get rid of the grease had only led to it covering a greater area.
Very attractive for a first date.
It soon occurred to Sherlock that John didn't actually know what time he got off work. Even if he had mentioned it to the man once upon a time, most people didn't bother to remember particulars. For the sake of his honor, hopefully John wouldn't be part of 'most people'.
"Fuck, I'm such an idiot."
"I don't think you are, Arthur. Are you ready?"
Somehow, he managed to miss the familiar sound of John's truck, leaving his body in a state of shock upon the bench. The question was left hanging as he tried to process the single moment in the void.
"Arthur, are you okay? You seem a bit out of it. Long shift at work?"
"Yeah, something like that. Let's go."
Sherlock gathered the American flag backpack from the ground, pulling out his new sweatshirt. Emily had given him a new one for Christmas after a rogue dragon had incinerated the one she had initially bought him from Goodwill. When they had first moved back into her family's house and there was a couple hundred bucks between them. The sweatshirt had been someone's beat up Beatles collectible from the beach, to the point half the faces were gone.
The thought distracted him enough for John to notice the issue.
"It must have been a long day for you to be this quiet. For lunch, I brought us picnic stuff and then I think we'll go up to this spot I know along the Paw Paw Tunnel."
"What kind of spot? Tourists or-"
"Hang out among the local kids and young adults. It's nice if you can get past the cigarette butts and glass bottles."
John pulled the truck into a parking lot across the road from the park, pulling Sherlock and the picnic basket across the highway. The guided trek lasted for two miles, at least according to the markers along the way. And by the time they reached a clearing partially paved with gravel and littered with souvenirs, Sherlock's legs were feeling the pressure.
"Sorry uh to bring you all the way out here. I know it seems a bit creepy for a man like me to take a handsome guy like you out into the woods."
"No, I've dealt with serial killers. From what I've observed of you, I very much doubt you are one. I do, however, know that you are a big fan of Star Wars based on the tattoo at your waistline."
"How did you see that?"
"When you stumbled on the ivy."
The mechanic had begun sweeping ashes off a flat rock and covering it with a checkered blanket. Sherlock could tell his hand continued to go to his back to make sure the work shirt remained down.
"John, I don't want you to take that the wrong way. I mean it's a nice design. Just a bit obvious."
"Yeah, there aren't that many Han and Greedo shippers out there. Would you like ham or turkey or cheese?"
Sherlock's mind had drifted back to thinking about the tattoo and he let out a surprised, "What?"
"What kind of sandwich do you want? I didn't know if you were particular about any part of your diet or not. And I also brought us Coke and barbecue waffle chips, which are a staple of Cumberland."
A wind rumbled through the forest, directed by the tunnel and knocked a surprised Sherlock onto the rock. He felt a shard go through his jeans and into the skin below, but just brushed the dirt off and turned to a sitting position. The rock was cold from the winter temperatures and the blanket added little padding.
Maybe if he had brought another coat, this would have been easier.
"You do need to eat, Arthur. It's a basic demand of life and it wouldn't hurt you to put on more around the edges."
Sherlock picked up the assumed ham sandwich from the paper plate offered to him and managed to take a few bites. He was starving from working and not really eating breakfast. Or even dinner the night before, but he didn't want too many judgements to be formed. The ridges in the potato chips caused for a unique scraping texture, that could only be combatted by taking sips out of the soda bottle.
This is why Emily always kept dinner simple for him.
And he didn't even notice the blanket around his shoulders until John's form flashed into the corner of vision.
"What are you doing?"
"You looked cold. Thought you could use a bit more insulation if we get anymore gusts out here."
Sherlock pulled it tighter around his shoulders while almost whispering, "Oh."
He sat his plate down and the mechanic's rough hands were on his, followed by a string of apologies for misunderstanding.
"No, John, it's very thoughtful."
With a sudden burst of emotions and the moves learned from Paul Drake, Sherlock sat their plates down on the picnic baskets and pushing their soda bottles into the soft dirt. Kissing had never been at the top of his skills list, with observation and calculating coming far too the top. And even as he quickly sat his lips on top of John’s, the regret coursed through his mind, shutting off the feelings he had finally understood.
Sherlock pulled back quickly, folding himself into a ball and repeating, “I’m sorry.”
The familiar hands went to around his shoulders, pulling him into the other form that was wrapping the blanket around the two of them. Even through his sweatshirt, Sherlock could feel John’s leather jacket, mainly the wool sweater poking through at him. They sat together for a minute more before John’s voice came back to him.
“Why are you sorry, Arthur? I know it’s not because of your skills.”
There was a slight amount of laughter in John’s comments as he tucked his chin into the crook of Sherlock’s neck.
“It was too much too soon.”
“I’ll never have enough of you.”
John didn’t give him time to respond to that statement, resuming the gesture and moving his hands to around Sherlock’s waist. The pressure was surprising and the gears for this operation had turned to rust, creating a delay in his response time. He already had the compliment from John, the reassurance that he was okay at this. But still he felt the need to be edgy, using his teeth to bite against John’s lower lip.
He thought the joking tone was still in the mechanic’s voice and put more pressure with his teeth against the flesh. Then the familiar taste of blood fell upon his tongue and John pulling him off while saying, “Arthur, just stop for a second.”
The blood running out of John’s lip was further proof of his mistake. Sherlock picked up one of the crumpled paper napkins, trying to create a dabbing motion to fix the mistake, but only causing a quick jerk that knocked John off the rock. There was a quick groan followed by the statement, “Shit, I’m bleeding.”
Sherlock slipped off his side of the rock, suddenly remembering the damage to his knee and quickly limped over to where John was laying on the ground.
“Are you okay?”
It was all he could think of as he pressed the paper towels against the gash in John’s arm, knowing the answer was obvious. But instead of hearing something like Emily’s “What the fuck do you think, Sherlock”, John just remained silent against the ground. When Sherlock had gone through half the roll and steady pressure had been applied, John moved to sitting against the rock.
“I’m fine, dear,” he stopped to put his hand on Sherlock’s cheek. “It’s really not that bad but how about we head home now?”