Actions

Work Header

Were Stars to Burn

Work Text:

How had it started? After, John could never really recall. It wasn’t as though it was something he had planned, or fantasized about, or even thought about. It had never crossed his mind. Until it happened.

 

Sherlock was in a strop. This was not an uncommon occurrence, but this was a really epic strop, at least a nine on the stroppiness scale: pacing, muttering, hands flailing, cursing John’s insufferable presence. He was driving John mad. The kindling for this particular bonfire of strop had been supplied by his most recent case, which he’d bloody well solved already, but had kept him up and on the run for three days solid in spite of John’s repeated attempts to get him to take a rest: he was exhausted. The match had been tossed by Dimmock, who remained unconvinced by Sherlock’s reasoning and had refused to make the arrest until the DNA came back from the lab.

“Idiot,” Sherlock hissed, throwing his hands in the air as he swung around for another pass. John ducked. “Moronic, shortsighted, unimaginative, cretinous, imbecilic excuse for a—“ he kicked at a cushion that had been knocked off the sofa on a previous lap, sending it sailing improbably into the air to come down on John’s cup of tea, which fell to the floor and smashed.

John had reached his limit. “All right, enough,” he said, stepping forward; Sherlock stomped on his foot on his singleminded journey toward the window. “Stop it. I said stop!”

John reached out with the intent of grabbing Sherlock by both arms and shaking him until he was too dizzy to stand, but he only caught one arm, so Sherlock’s momentum carried him into a sort of half spin that crashed him directly into John. They both stumbled, John gripping Sherlock’s arm tight enough to bruise, and as he righted himself he suddenly realized what had just banged into his abdomen: Sherlock’s half-erect penis.

This was so unexpected and bizarre—did Sherlock get off on throwing a wobbly?—that John couldn’t quite believe it. Without even thinking about what he was doing he reached out with his free hand and cupped Sherlock’s groin: definitely an erection, or the respectable start of one anyway. In the exact instant John realized what he’d just done Sherlock seemed to realize it too. His whole body jolted in astonishment, pushing him farther into John’s hand. And then he froze.

John, who had been about to jerk his hand away, stopped in sudden curiosity. Sherlock was not pulling away. On the contrary, he was standing as though he’d been petrified, eyes wide and mouth agape, nothing moving except his rapidly filling cock. Which was hardening further in John’s palm.

This is cpmletely bizarre, John’s mind supplied helpfully, and then, Holy shit. He’s quiet.

Two minutes ago John had been thinking he would do anything, anything, to shut Sherlock up, and now like a miracle anything had fallen into his lap. If he let go, John was positive Sherlock would immediately resume his frantic whirling and then possibly John would end up going for his gun. On the other hand…this was ridiculous, an utterly bizarre thing to be doing, but somehow it did not seem as bizarre as it would if John had found himself with a hand on the groin of any other male of his acquaintance. John always seemed to end up putting his hands on Sherlock in inappropriate ways: getting his phone out of his pocket, shoving food in his mouth, pulling cigarettes out of his mouth, pushing him all over the flat (into the shower, out of the shower, into bed, off of John’s laptop).  He was more like John’s child than his flatmate. They were half a step away from John putting a tissue to Sherlock’s nose and telling him to blow, John thought. So in that light, this wasn’t all that strange. (Or possibly it was stranger.)

John experimentally pushed the heel of his hand down the length of Sherlock’s now-bulging erection. Sherlock sucked in a breath and then seemed to forget how to exhale. John dragged his hand back up, slowly, and then did it again, and Sherlock’s eyes fluttered closed. John did it again, a bit more like a caress now, watching Sherlock the whole time. Then he stopped and waited to see what would happen.

Sherlock’s eyes slowly opened. He seemed to remember he was supposed to breathe. “What—“ his voice squeaked and cracked and he stopped, blinked a few dozen times in rapid succession, and then started again. “What are you doing?”

“Calming you down.”

More blinking. John watched him in fascination. Sherlock’s eyes were no longer skittering about in demented nystagmus; they had gone cloudy and drifting. John was not really sure Sherlock could even focus on him. For the first time in days, his body had gone still.

“What…”

“Don’t talk.”

Sherlock blinked at him again, in slow motion this time, and John gave him another long stroke with his hand. Sherlock’s eyes fell closed again. John grinned in delighted astonishment—who knew it could be this easy!—and began to stroke him, gently, as though petting a cat.  After a minute he switched to a kind of circular massage; it was a bit easier with Sherlock’s cock constrained in his trousers. Sherlock, who had been standing there like a sleepwalker, raised his arms and draped them over John’s shoulders and clasped his hands loosely behind his neck, resting his forehead on one arm. John’s hand slipped off his bicep and fisted in the back of Sherlock’s shirt to hold him place. Sherlock’s hips began twitching, pressing forward into John’s hand in a faint, stuttering rhythm. John put a little more pressure into it and heard Sherlock’s breath rush out.

This is absolutely the most mental thing I’ve ever done, John marveled, but who cares, it’s working. Sherlock’s breath was coming faster now, the muscles of his back flexing under John’s handful of shirt, and John could feel the tension building; he switched back to the up-and-down motion, squeezing Sherlock’s cock as best he could through the fine wool. “Ah,” Sherlock gasped, barely audible, “Ah—“ his hips jerked. John pushed back, felt the wet warmth spreading, and let Sherlock thrust against his hand a few more times before he went utterly motionless.

After a moment John took his hand away, took Sherlock by the upper arms again, and stood him upright. Sherlock’s eyelids sagged at half mast. He looked exactly like what he was, John thought: an overtall, overtired toddler.

“What,” Sherlock managed slurrily.

“We’re done,” John told him. “Go take a shower and go to bed.”

Sherlock blinked slowly once.

“Sherlock.” John put a little snap into it this time. “Did you hear me? Go on and shower and get some sleep.”

After a few seconds Sherlock nodded, still looking dazed, and John let him go. Sherlock stumbled obediently off down the hallway and into the bath. John stood listening—he half expected Sherlock to sink down on the floor and go to sleep—but after a bit he heard the water come on in the shower. John sat down in his chair, picked up the Union Jack cushion, pressed it to his face, and doubled over in hysterical giggles.

 

Next morning Sherlock appeared bright and late, stumbling in to the kitchen several hours after John had finished breakfast and started on the blog. He was writing up the case from the day before, trying to decide whether to post it as soon as he’d finished and see if that would embarrass Dimmock into making the arrest.

Sherlock fumbled around with the coffeemaker and then leaned against the table, looking half asleep, until it finished, at which point he drank down his first cup in one go. He refilled the mug, wandered out to the landing and looked down the stairs as though hoping to telepathically summon Mrs. Hudson with a breakfast tray, and then plunked himself onto the sofa.

“Morning,” John said affably. “Writing up that case from yesterday.”

Sherlock made no reply to this. John could feel him staring.

“Last night,” Sherlock said. His voice was so deep it practically rumbled. “What was that?”

“I told you. You needed to calm down.”

Sherlock kept staring at him over the rim of his mug. John typed a sentence, considered, and typed another.

“But you’re not gay.” Sherlock’s voice was faintly questioning.

“Nope.”

Another silence. “Is it going to happen again?”

John shrugged. “Dunno. Maybe.”

Another, longer, silence. John erased the start of his current paragraph and started over.

“Am I expected to reciprocate?”

That made John laugh out loud. “God, no. I’m not gay, remember?” Was Sherlock? The evidence would seem to argue in favor, but it was entirely possibly Sally Donovan—being equally bossy—could have achieved the same effect, John supposed.

Sherlock took a slow sip of coffee, keeping his eyes still pinned on John, and just then they heard the clack of heels on the stairs and Mrs. Hudson appeared with a breakfast tray. She was chattering away, as usual, and John tuned her out as he kept typing and Sherlock went into the kitchen to eat. The kitchen table had the only clear space in the flat. Even after Mrs. Hudson had clattered off John could still feel Sherlock’s eyes pinned to his back.

 

Nothing happened for a few weeks. John had no idea if Sherlock kept thinking about it, but he himself rarely did; the whole experience seemed of a piece with other bizarre things he’d found himself doing since moving into Baker Street, like the time Sherlock had bought fifteen pillows of various types (down, feather, hypoallergenic fiberfill) and convinced John to let him press each one over his face to see which would work best for asphyxiation purposes. John certainly had no crisis of sexual identity. He hadn’t found the encounter arousing in the least—any more than when he’d been forced to strip Sherlock naked and haul him into the shower after he’d got himself doused in caramel sauce and locked in an ice cream freezer—and while he could objectively see Sherlock was attractive, he wasn’t attractive enough to make John suddenly consider playing for the other team.

So things went along as usual. The lab results came back and Dimmock rang, sheepishly, to say he’d made the arrest and would always listen to Sherlock in the future (“heard that one before,” John muttered). Sherlock solved few cases without leaving the flat and solved a few more in the time it took to run around London for half a day. There was one rather good case, but it only took two days, and at the end of it Sherlock was pleased as punch with himself and chattered happily away over dim sum before falling asleep in the cab on the way home.

What finally brought Sherlock down was not overwork but boredom. There came an unusually long stretch of quiet, London’s criminals taking advantage of some dreary weather to take a bit of time off, and Sherlock began to get irritable and started torturing his violin. John picked up a few shifts at the surgery. After one of these he went to get a bite to eat with a divorced gastroenterologist he’d been referring patients—not a real date, more testing the waters to see if they were both interested—and returned home to find Sherlock climbing the walls.

“Oh, John, good. He’s in a bit of a state,” Mrs. Hudson said, popping out of her door like a cuckoo clock. “I think he tried an experiment, but it didn’t go as well as he’d like.”

John sighed. “I’ll take care of it. You go on to bed.”

“Finally!” Sherlock shouted when John walked into the flat. “Where have you been? This can’t go on, it’s a nightmare.”

John looked around. Sherlock appeared to have been hurling lab glassware at a bullseye he’d apparently spray-painted onto the wall. John didn’t know if Sherlock was referring to the piles of broken glass—he was barefoot—or the lackadaisical performance of the criminal underworld. “For God’s sake, Sherlock, cut it out,” he said irritably, turning to the kitchen for the broom and dustpan.

Predictably, Sherlock chased after him, a toddler in need of an audience for his tantrum. “Why? What is the point? What’s the point of anything when the world is so insufferably tedious?”

John shoved the broom at him. “Cleaning up that mess should keep you from being bored for a bit.”

Sherlock’s eyes sparked dangerously. He tossed the broom aside and sent the dustpan hurtling after the glassware. “You don’t understand. All you little people with your little, little minds…”

“Oh, just shut up,” John said wearily, picking up the broom and taking a step toward the lounge.

Sherlock skittered around in front of him. “Or what?”

“Or I’ll make you.”

John looked up and caught Sherlock’s eye and saw the spark catch, heat flaring up behind his gaze, and Sherlock, deliberately taunting, said, “Are you going to calm me down again?”

“As a matter of fact, why not,” John said. He dropped the broom, fisted his hand in Sherlock’s shirt, and shoved him up against the wall. “I’m going to make you calm down and then you’re going to clean up that mess and go to bed. Understand me?” He didn’t wait for Sherlock to answer, just reached for his zip.

“Wait, what are you—“

“I said shut up.”

John unfastened Sherlock’s trousers and reached into his pants to pull out his cock, which was still mostly soft but hardening rapidly. He fumbled around a bit with the strange angle—a lot better used to doing this on himself—but finally got it right and set to work, pulling on Sherlock’s cock with brisk efficiency. Sherlock’s head thumped against the wall and John felt him still, all that vibrating intensity draining away and leaving him tense but docile. In a few minutes his breathing picked up and his hips began jerking, thrusting forward into John’s fist, and John got out of the way just as Sherlock gasped soundlessly and came spurting into his hand.

John held him up for a minute and then let go, turning away to grab a handful of kitchen roll and wipe his hand off.  “Here,” he said, tearing off some more for Sherlock, “clean yourself up and get that bit on the floor, and then you can get to work on that glass.”

Sherlock didn’t move. He just remained draped against the wall, still panting, eyes closed, trousers still open. John shook his head and wiped the puddle on the floor himself—that would be hell to deal with if it dried—and took himself off to bed. He didn’t hear a peep out of Sherlock the rest of the night.

The glass was still on the floor when he came down the next morning, of course.

 

The third time was after a case. The case had begun with vandalism and ended with a paedophile priest, with Sherlock spinning like a top the whole time. Unfortunately, when they finally tracked down the priest—by means of a chain of Sherlockian logic so arcane John never really followed it—he was hanging from a noose he had fashioned from his own stole. John found this dispiriting: no chance for closure for the victims, no justice. Sherlock, on the other hand, was furious. Dead perpetrators enraged him because they could not validate his dazzling deductions in front of the police.

By the time they got in the cab Sherlock was in such a towering temper that John didn’t even bother suggesting dinner. He was just glad Sherlock hadn’t kicked him out of the cab, and hoped he wouldn’t offend the cabdriver so much they wouldn’t both get kicked out of the cab.

He didn’t. When they got home he slammed his way out—leaving John to pay, as usual—and stomped inside, where John could already hear him storming about as he climbed the stairs. When he reached the door Sherlock whirled on him and demanded, “Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Are you going to take care of this or aren’t you?”

John sighed. He’d rather thought this might be coming. But he was dead knackered and really, couldn’t Sherlock just rub one out himself for once? John considered just leaving him to his own devices, but that was unlikely to turn out well. Best case scenario there would be hours of storming and ranting; worst case involved a needle. On the other hand, John could just get it over with, order in some takeaway, and go to bed in peace. “All right, fine. Take off your coat and open your trousers.”

John hung up his own coat, closed the landing door, and leaned against it, thinking how much he would prefer to be relaxing in his chair right now. Sherlock appeared in front of him, frowning, trousers slipping on his narrow hips. “What—“

John fisted a hand in his shirt and hauled him forward. He reached into Sherlock’s pants to free his cock, which was already quite hard, and wondered if this was all going to end in Sherlock’s sexual wiring being thoroughly banjaxed. Oh well, it wasn’t as though anything else were wired right.

John wrapped his hand around Sherlock’s stiff penis and set to work, bringing him to full hardness in quick, businesslike strokes. Sherlock exhaled and let his head drop. John felt an unexpected pang of sympathy. He looked so young and vulnerable like that, head drooping and arms dangling, his only human connection a man who would rather be eating noodles jerking him off. John’s hand slowed, the motion becoming less clinical and more gentle, caressing over the head and rubbing his thumb along Sherlock’s frenulum. Sherlock made a tiny sound in the back of his throat and lifted his arms to brace them against the door on either side of John’s head. It seemed intimate, almost an embrace, though their only point of contact was John’s hand on Sherlock’s prick.

John kept experimenting. He varied his speed and grip, trying to suss out what made Sherlock’s breathing pick up—Sherlock’s head was practically on his shoulder, so he had a pretty good idea of what was working. He finally settled on a stroke much lighter and slower than he himself preferred, but it seemed to do the trick for Sherlock, who was now panting in a manner alarming close to hyperventilation. When Sherlock began pushing into his fist John picked up the pace a bit and tugged Sherlock’s shirt free. Sherlock gasped, his whole body contracting, and began to come, and John caught the gooey mess neatly in his shirttails.

When Sherlock seemed to have finished John wiped his hand on Sherlock’s shirt—it was a lost cause anyway—and stood him on his feet. “I’m ordering in some Chinese,” he said, not unkindly. “Do you want some?”

Sherlock didn’t answer. He looked wrecked: face flushed and dazed, eyes bruised with tiredness.

“Okay. Go and get cleaned up now. You’ll want that shirt off.”

Sherlock blinked at him. John took him by the arms and turned him toward the bath, gently but firmly, and gave him a little shove. “Sherlock! Clean up!”

And off he went. John shook his head. He’d get extra, he thought, just in case. They could always eat it tomorrow.

 

It was much the same the fourth time, and the fifth, and the sixth, and the seventh. There were parameters, unspoken but clear to both of them. Always standing, only in the shared areas of the flat (except the time they’d been in Cornwall for a case, staying at a thin-walled B&B, where John had got Sherlock off in a dark corner behind the garden shed). Sherlock never asked, although sometimes he definitely hinted, but the final decision was always John’s. Once, when Sherlock was being particularly poisonous, John had stomped off to bed, only to come back down a few hours later when the flat went unnervingly quiet. He found Sherlock hunched on the fire escape, smoking.

“You all right?”

“Fine,” Sherlock said quietly.

He seemed calm enough. John went back to bed, but he didn’t leave Sherlock alone like that again.

Everything else remained unchanged. John had an actual date with the gastroenterologist, which went well enough that they went on a second, which ended in a bit of snogging that John thought went rather well. Sherlock was petulant and snippy when John made himself unavailable for the evening, but then he’d always done that, so John ignored him.

 

“I know my wife,” the banker with the unfortunate teeth said plaintively. “I know she wouldn’t just go off, not without a word, not with the kids and all. But I can’t get the police to listen. She’s an adult, they say, no sign of foul play, wives sometimes get a bit restless, she’ll turn up likely as not…”

“Mmm,” John said encouragingly. Sherlock was slouching lower and lower in his chair, boredom written in every line of his being; John knew perfectly well the only thing keeping him from chucking the banker out on the street was the fact that John kept shooting be nice glares in his direction.

“And then there’s these, I found them hidden away in her unmentionables, I can’t make hide nor hair of them.”

John took the sheaf of papers, frowned, and passed them over to Sherlock.

Sherlock all but rolled his eyes. He glanced indifferently at the top page, then abruptly sat up and flipped through the rest. He grinned.

“It’s a code,” he said. “A good code. I’ll take the case. Give John your number and go away.”

Unfortunately the code was a bit too good. Sherlock couldn’t crack it. They went to the banker’s house the next day and searched through all the missing wife’s things searching for anything that could be a code key, but there wasn’t even a book in the house (though they owned a telly the size of John’s bed). John couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but something made Sherlock take the whole thing more seriously than he had at the beginning. “She didn’t run off,” Sherlock said grimly as they rode back to Baker Street. “God knows why, I certainly would have, but he’s right. She was taken and she hasn’t much time.”

Two in the morning found John trying valiantly to stay awake, clutching a cup of builder’s tea whilst Sherlock tossed papers and muttered feverishly at his desk. He would have just gone to bed, but Sherlock’s sense of urgency was contagious, and he knew perfectly well that if Sherlock did manage to break the code he’d be out the door in an instant whether John was behind him or not.

Sherlock abruptly swept half the papers to the floor with his arm and stood up. John jerked awake with a start. “Wuzzit? Have you solved it?”

“No, because it’s unsolvable,” Sherlock snarled. “There’s nothing here, nothing to grab on to, no pattern. This isn’t a code, it’s the ravings of a deranged psychotic.”

Sherlock must be losing it, John thought; weren’t all psychotics deranged? Sherlock scrubbed his hands through his hair, making him look like an electrocuted dust mop, and began pacing the floor.

Oh, not this again. “You need to take a break,” John told him.

“A break? A woman’s life is at stake!”

“Yeah, and you’re not getting any closer to saving her right now, you just said so,” John said patiently. “Get some rest and have a fresh go in the morning.”

“Oh, it’s that easy, it it? I’ll just toddle off and have a little kip, shall I?”

“Look,” John began before realizing that Sherlock had a point. He would never fall asleep. He needed to…”You just need to calm down first.”

Sherlock stopped wearing a hole in the carpet to stare at John. “I’m on a case!”

“Yes, and you’re not making any progress—“ Wait, he’d just said that, hadn’t he? John made his voice snap. “Get over here and open your trousers. You know the drill.”

For a minute Sherlock just stood there, glaring, but then he stomped over with enough force to wake Mrs. Hudson from the dead and stood in front of John’s chair. He ostentatiously yanked his trousers open. “Well? Are you just planning to sit there?”

Actually, John had been planning to sit there—he was done in—but now he realized he’d have to sit all the way forward and then he’d have Sherlock’s cock basically in his face. No thanks. “Take your trousers all the way off. Go on, you heard me…pants too.”

Sherlock did hesitate a bit at that. He’d been fully clothed every other time, or as fully clothed as a bloke getting a handjob could be, but then it wasn’t as though John hadn’t seen his bits before. Eventually he wriggled his pants off and deposited them on top of his neatly folded trousers.

“All right, now kneel up here.”

Fortunately the chair had a wide seat, but John could see it was going to be a tight fit. The position was ridiculously awkward for Sherlock: there was no way he could balance on his knees for long, which meant he’d either end up leaning forward—which would be cramped—or back, which would put his bare bum on John’s knees. For the moment he perched awkwardly with his hands braced on the arms of the chair. John took him in hand and Sherlock relaxed immediately, sagging lower until he shifted to rest his arms on the back of the chair. It was a little stifling, but at least his whole weight wasn’t in John’s lap.

John was something of an expert at getting Sherlock off by now, and he found that with Sherlock’s hands off the arms of the chair he could prop his elbow there, which kept his arm from getting as tired. So he took his time, putting some finesse into it, until Sherlock’s breath had gone ragged and he was rocking his hips into John’s grip. “That’s good,” John said encouragingly, “Go on then,” and Sherlock whimpered and came, spattering John’s shirt with warmth. Oh well, with any luck he’d be changing soon anyway.

John waited until Sherlock seemed to have his breath back and then tried to push him off. Sherlock didn’t budge—he was either already half-asleep of his legs had cramped too much to move—so John shoved him bodily off and then grabbed his elbows to keep him from going down on his bum. Sherlock staggered, grabbed for the arm of the chair, and eventually got himself upright. “All right, off you pop,” John told him.

When Sherlock had disappeared in the direction of his room John went to the kitchen and washed his hands, using the dishtowel to dab at his shirt. He’d put both shirt and towel in the wash. He heard the floor creak and looked up to see Sherlock, still wearing his dress shirt but now in pyjama bottoms, wander back in to the lounge. He tipped face first onto the sofa and did not move.

Good enough, John thought. He took himself off to bed, only to be awakened at dawn by the distant crash of the front door banging shut. Evidently Sherlock had woken up and cracked the code. Well, John thought sleepily, I’ll never catch him up now, and he rolled over and went back to sleep.

 

John decided he rather liked the chair. He added it to the regular repertoire, mostly for special occasions when Sherlock seemed to need a little extra kindness; if he was being a prat, he got the stand-up quickie. (This was most of the time.)

In retrospect, John thought he should have known the case wouldn’t end well: the client had come to them because he said he couldn’t trust the police, because he believed at least one was involved in something illegal. As it turned out he was right, but, as might have been expected, the Met was less than delighted to have this brought to their attention by Sherlock Holmes.

“I don’t understand it,” Sherlock was snarling bitterly as they trudged up the stairs. “One would think the police would want to have dirty officers unmasked and dealt with before they can cause more damage; haven’t they any professional pride at all?”

“They aren’t thinking rationally about it,” John said, which earned him an acid oh, really glance from Sherlock. “That bloke was apparently fairly well liked, and, well…”

“I’m not,” Sherlock snapped. “So it’s the schoolyard all over again, is it? The popular can get away with with murder? Literally.”

“People don’t want to believe they’ve been taken in but someone they like, that’s all.”

“’That’s all’? Don’t you mean that they don’t like having it rubbed in their noses by someone they don’t like? By the freak?”

“Sherlock, in case it’s escaped your notice, I’m on your side, so can you stop biting my damn head off?” John was rapidly losing patience.

Sherlock whirled around and started back for the door. “Fine. As it’s clear you find my presence as odious as—“

“For God’s sake, stop that,” John said. “You’re not going anywhere in this state. Either sit down and have a drink or get your bloody trousers off and come over here.”

Sherlock blinked for only a startled second before the haughty mask snapped back into place, but it was long enough for John to see and know, viscerally, how desperately Sherlock wanted it. It made John’s chest clench, a little. To be that desperate to be—not even held, barely touched, just close to someone—and be so unable to show it: it made him ache.

“You heard me,” he said, keeping his voice brisk. “Take them off.”

Sherlock tossed his head and made rather a meal of taking off his coat. John let him; the Met weren’t the only ones with pride, it seemed. Sherlock folded his trousers and crossed over to John’s chair.

“Right, up you go,” John said. “Comfortable? Good.” Sherlock was still tense. Usually John held onto his shirt to keep him in place, but tonight, after a brief hesitation, he put his free hand on Sherlock’s back and rubbed in what he hoped was a soothing way. It seemed to work: Sherlock’s shoulders relaxed and he sighed, resting his head on the chair back as John wrapped a hand around his cock.

John took his time. He no longer wanted to just shut Sherlock up as quickly as possible; he wanted to make it special, make Sherlock forget everything about the whole beastly day. Before long he was feeling rather warm and sleepy himself, almost dozing as his hands moved with hypnotic slowness over Sherlock’s body.

Sherlock suddenly gave a low, bitten-off moan and John startled awake, realizing immediately that his right hand has drifted south and was now resting on Sherlock’s bare bum. He froze, horrified, and barely stopped himself from yanking his hand away. Why did it feel so much more transgressive, so shocking, to be stroking Sherlock’s arse than his cock? Clearly Sherlock hadn’t thought so. John hesitated for only an instant before he tentatively caressed the curve of Sherlock’s backside again. Well, Sherlock certainly wasn’t objecting, John thought. He badly wanted to hear Sherlock make that sound again; he was always so silent, even during climax. Really, what was the big deal? John was already masturbating him, what did it matter if he made it more of a deluxe experience? Which had been his goal for the night all along.

John decided to go all in. He resumed his slow stroking of Sherlock’s cock, but now stroked down the backs of his thigh, up between his legs, fondling his bollocks (resisting the ingrained instinct to check for hernias), and over his anus. Sherlock’s breathing hitched and stuttered and he dipped his back fractionally lower, which was the only way he could spread wider—his legs were constrained by the chair arms.

Sherlock really liked this, John realized. Getting bolder, he rubbed over Sherlock’s perineum and was rewarded by another choked sound. Sherlock’s hips had begun moving involuntarily as they did when he was close, so John put on the end-of-show fireworks: pressing his fingers just at the edge of his opening whilst he picked up speed with his other hand. “Oh,” Sherlock gasped, sounding astonished, “oh—“ and he pressed his head down, stifling his cry in the back of the chair as he came. 

John slid his arm around and wrapped it around Sherlock’s narrow waist as his tremors subsided. He felt an absurd urge to stroke his hair, say something tender and ridiculous, there, love, there, sleep now, as one would to a child who had cried itself out. He didn’t, of course, but he did not-quite hold him, and after a minute Sherlock turned his head and pressed his face into the side of John’s neck.

John went perfectly still. He barely dared breathe: it felt as though a butterfly had landed on his arm, the moment so fragile the slightest movement might shatter it. He didn’t even lift his hand, which was still wrapped around Sherlock’s sticky and slowly deflating cock. He just sat very, very still as Sherlock’s body gradually slackened and sank lower and lower, until he was only a hairsbreadth away from settling on John’s lap. Which was going to be very heavy and very uncomfortable, John thought, but just as he was trying to think of a way to extricate himself Sherlock’s knee slid off the chair and he woke with a yelp.

John caught him before he fell off entirely and manage to get him untangled and upright. Sherlock rubbed his face and stared at John, looking as though he were still mostly asleep.

“No, of course I won’t be needing any,” he said in his crispest Old Harrovian accents. “Thank you very much.”

John grinned. “Jolly good. Off to bed now, there’s a good chap.”

“Quite,” Sherlock said distractedly. He didn’t move, so John took him by the arm and steered him to his bedroom and into bed. Trying to get him to wash seemed a bit of a lost cause at the moment. Sherlock was asleep before John even tucked up the duvet.

John closed the door, washed his hands and poured himself a drink, and returned to his chair by the fire. That had been…nice. Part of him had even wanted to stay with Sherlock, climb in behind him and hold him so he felt warm and cared for. Well, that was perfectly normal, he told himself, a paternal sort of thing; Lestrade felt the same, surely. Perhaps not quite the same. But there’d also been…he’d enjoyed that, touching Sherlock, making him moan and writhe. He’d even thought about going further, wondered what his nipples would feel like, hard and aroused with no softness of breasts underneath. How Sherlock would respond if John had actually pressed his fingers in. He’d seemed to like being touched there—liked it a lot, if John was any judge—and some blokes liked that, didn’t they? Anal sex? John had absolutely no interest in trying it himself, but now he was desperately curious to see what else he could do to make Sherlock moan like that again. 

 

John, working a day at the surgery, had just opened a drawer to look for a throat swab. His eye fell on a box of hemoccult cards--which made him think he should ring the gastroenterologist; she’d gone on holiday with some friends but surely was back by now--and, next to it, a shallow tray full of lube packets. John paused. Should he? Shouldn’t he? He shouldn’t. He picked up the throat swab and closed the drawer, turning his attention back to his work.

At the end of the day, just before leaving, he tucked a handful of the packets in his pocket.

 

“Well, what would you call it?” Sherlock complained. “Her husband cheated on her twice and she still let him pick the new au pair! From a picture!”

“I didn’t say she wasn’t an idiot, I said it wasn’t the most helpful thing to tell her in detail how much of an idiot she was.”

“Maybe if she realizes what an idiot she is she’ll stop being one!” Sherlock shouted.

“And maybe if you realize what an insufferable pain in the arse you are you’ll stop being one!” John shouted back.

Sherlock shrugged. “Doubtful. I suffer myself just fine.”

“Shut up and get over here or I swear I’ll stuff those pants in your mouth.”

Sherlock was still arguing when he knelt up on the chair. Spoilt brat, John thought, not entirely affectionately: normally this would be the sort of night that ended with him silencing Sherlock as quickly as possible up against the door, but John had been itching to see what he could do with the lube packets ever since he’d stashed them in the end table, and his curiosity was stronger than his annoyance. Sherlock would shut up as soon as John touched him, anyway. John reached between his legs and wrapped a hand around Sherlock’s stiffening cock, and his voice stopped as abruptly as if John had flipped a switch. And off, John thought, relieved.

John played around with Sherlock’s arse a bit as he stroked him to full hardness, paying close attention to make certain he still seemed to enjoy it. Which he definitely did: when John rubbed the tight curl of muscle he actually shivered, dropping his back and pushing back subtly into John’s finger. This seemed as good as an invitation to John. He started doing the thumb-over-the-slit thing with his other hand he knew would get Sherlock distracted and reached out blindly for the drawer, fumbling out a packet of lube and managing to open it with his teeth. He set the packet back on the table and pressed it with the heel of his hand, then scooped up a generous dollop of lube with two fingers. He held his hand up a few seconds to let the chill fade and then pressed his fingers back over Sherlock’s arse. A quick rub to loosen the muscle and then…in.

Sherlock jerked in surprise and lifted his head. “What—“

“Shh,” John said authoritatively.

Sherlock hesitated only an instant and then dropped his head again, pressing it into John’s neck this time as he had before. His breath was hot and shaky against John’s skin.  John felt a wave of tenderness and gentled his movements, stroking Sherlock slowly as he kept his finger still and cupped his palm protectively. He felt Sherlock’s tense body gradually slacken, heard his breathing even out and pick up, and he knew the instant Sherlock tipped back over from fear into want. His hips began to twitch, just slightly, and John let the motion push his finger up a millimeter at a time. When he was up past the first knuckle he began to move his finger in concert with his hand--just the tiniest bit of in-and-out, but it made Sherlock’s breath hitch again, in arousal this time.

Brilliant, John thought happily. He realized suddenly that he was half hard himself, either from the muscle memory of fingering or from focusing so intently on Sherlock’s arousal, and that he was quite enjoying himself. He began to get a bit fancy, massaging around the ring of muscle to loosen it further and using his thumb to rub at Sherlock’s perineum. That caused Sherlock to make a new sound, darker and almost feral, and he thrust hard into John’s hand. John could hear his open-mouthed, frantic breaths and knew he was close. He grinned, feeling his check push against Sherlock’s curls, and thought let’s see how you like this as he pushed his finger directly over the smooth nub of Sherlock's prostate. Sherlock cried out so loudly he probably woke Mrs. Hudson and his whole body convulsed.

John kept his hands in place as Sherlock shuddered through the aftershocks and then carefully detached himself and wiped off on Sherlock’s shirt. He had some thought of putting his arms around him--the way Sherlock was still pressed into his neck seemed to require some kind of reciprocal gesture--and perhaps even settling him onto John’s lap for a bit of a cuddle, but when John let go his shirt Sherlock surprised him by lifting his head and easing himself off the chair. He stood there for a moment, looking, as he usually did at this point, as if he’d been rebooted and hadn’t yet come back online; but there was something bewildered and almost questioning in his dazed expression, as though he couldn’t quite comprehend what had just happened. He blinked for a moment before turning without a word and setting off for the bath.

John waited until he heard the shower come on before he opened his trousers and squirted the rest of the lube into his palm. Shame to waste it, really. He kept pushing away thoughts of Sherlock’s creamy arse clenching rhythmically around his finger, but they kept creeping back, and that led inevitably to the thought of his own cock pushing into that sweet tightness and...John had to bite down on the heel of his hand to keep from shouting even louder than Sherlock.

 

John had a problem. Now that the thought of fucking Sherlock had entered his head, he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it. At completely random intervals throughout the day he would find himself imagining spreading Sherlock wide with his hands, or pulling those narrow hips to his, or hearing Sherlock make that growl as John slid in deep. It was ridiculous, because of course John had no intention of fucking Sherlock or any other man: he wasn’t gay. And it would be crossing a line--an arbitrary line that John himself had drawn, but still. John getting Sherlock off was just another instance of John taking care of something Sherlock couldn’t manage for himself because Sherlock was a ridiculous genius. John getting off as well would be...something else.

So it wasn’t going to happen, and John needed to stop thinking about it. And yet it seemed that every time he looked at Sherlock all buttoned up in his pristine clothing he’d remember what he was like underneath--the way the pale skin of his neck flushed, how he moaned when John touched him, how tight and hot he’d been--and get inappropriately hard. He felt as though he were back in secondary school again. If this kept up he was going to have to start carrying a much larger notebook.

 

Fortunately the gastroenterologist finally rang back.

“Hello John, it’s Ana. I got back from Australia last week but it’s taken me ages to catch up--it’s terrible how long it takes when you’re gone for a month! But I think I’ve finally dug my way clear so I’d love to have dinner if you’re still available.”

 

John descended the stairs with a spring in his step. He liked Ana, who was funny and easy to talk to, and there had definitely been sparks when they’d kissed that last time. Besides, it was their third date, and she’d mentioned being off work the next day. A good shag was exactly what he needed to get his head back in order.

“I’m going out,” John said, sticking his head in the lounge. Sherlock was where he’d been for the past few days: hunched over the desk scowling at a stack of crime scene reports Lestrade had apparently got stuck on. “Might be late.”

“Mmm,” Sherlock said distractedly. John would swear in court he would have no memory of John ever speaking to him. He rolled his eyes and bounded off toward the door.

 


It’s ridiculous really,” Ana was saying. They’d just got their starters and were still on their first drink; so far the evening was going swimmingly. “How the NHS can expect us to keep managing with all these cutbacks--oh, hello. Can we help you?”

John looked up. Sherlock was looming over his shoulder, swathed in his coat and scarf and looking his most ridiculously Byronic.

“Terribly sorry to disturb your evening, but I’m afraid I need John,” Sherlock said politely.

Ana looked at John with her eyebrows raised. “Patient of yours?”

“In a manner of speaking,” John said. He stood up, grabbing Sherlock’s arm and trying to drag him toward the door, but Sherlock planted his feet and refused to budge. “What are you doing?” he hissed.

“I told you, I need you. It’s for a case.”

“What case? All you’ve been doing is looking at forensic reports!”

“There’s something I’m missing and I can’t work out what it is. If I talk it through with you I might be able to see it.”

“You want to talk to me?” John said incredulously. “Sherlock, I’m on a date!”

Sherlock flapped a hand dismissively. “Waste of time. You’ll sleep with her four--no, three times, she’ll turn out a bit too fussy for your taste--and then start ducking her calls and it will end with her angry and you too embarrassed to talk to her.” He lifted his chin to address Ana over John’s head. “I’m sorry, but it really is better this way. You’re clearly preoccupied with your biological clock and John isn’t keen on children.”

John resisted the urge to bury his face in his hands. Now that Sherlock had spelled it out he realized it was all true, probably even the fussy in bed bit, but that didn’t mean Ana would appreciate hearing it. Wincing, he turned to face her and took an automatic step back: she was still holding her drink.

“Is that true?” Ana said slowly, looking at John. “You really don’t want children?”

“Er...no. I really don’t. I don’t think so, anyway.”

“John’s father was a violent alcoholic,” Sherlock supplied helpfully. “He’s afraid of repeating the pattern.”

“Yes, thank you Sherlock, I think you’ve said enough for one night,” John said. “I’m sorry, Ana. Only, it isn’t the sort of thing that comes up on the second date, is it?”

“No, I suppose not,” Ana said. She took a considering sip of her drink, then tipped her head back and drained the rest. She set the glass down on the table and stood. “Well. I’ll let you get on with it then. You’ll take care of this?”

“Of course,” John said in the same instant Sherlock said, “John will.” John stepped on his foot.

John tried to walk Ana to the door but she declined. He came back to find Sherlock popping the last of the crostini into his mouth.

“Thanks for that,” John said. “Could you really not have waited til I got home? She’s going to hate me now.”

Sherlock waved this off, wiping his lips with John’s napkin. “She won’t. She's on her way to meet friends at a bar right now; by the end of the night you’ll just be an amusing anecdote. You might want to consider changing jobs if you hope to keep pulling at work though.”

“Oh God, you’re right. After Sarah and Verity and now this…”

“Which one was Verity?”

“The one I inadvertently poisoned because you’d stored some sort of reagent in the amaretto bottle.” John threw some cash on the table and said, “Come on, let’s go. You were in a hurry to talk through the case.”

Sherlock started in as soon as they were in the cab, hurtling along at his usual breakneck pace with no discernible pauses for breath. John could hardly follow half of it. Eventually something snagged his attention, though, and he said, “Hang on a minute, blue paint? Didn’t you say one of the earlier victims had paint under her nails? Was it the same blue?”

“No, of course not, that was--” Sherlock suddenly broke off, hands frozen in mid-air, eyes and mouth wide. John found himself subconsciously comparing it to Sherlock’s expression during orgasm. For God’s sake, now the sight of Sherlock solving a case made him want to fuck him.

“Oh. Oh. Paint!” Sherlock flung himself toward the front seat. “Cabbie, turn around!”

 

Several hours later they arrived back at Baker Street, happy and laughing and still buzzing with adrenaline and (in John’s case) a few drinks over their extremely late dinner.

“Now wasn’t that better than the gastroenterologist?” Sherlock said, taking the stairs two at a time as he always did.

“How did know she--oh hell, I haven’t checked my phone all night. I’d best make sure she didn’t text or anything.” John pulled his phone out and groaned.

Sherlock threw him an amused look over his shoulder. “Trashing you on social media?”

“Worse. It’s Lestrade. He wants to make sure you remember you have court tomorrow and that they need you there at eight to go over  your testimony.”

Sherlock made a face and looked at his watch. “It’s after three. I suppose I’ll just stay up.”

“Oh no. We’re not trying that again.” It had sounded like a good idea at the time, but then of course Sherlock had got bored waiting for his turn to testify and dozed off. Sherlock was not at his best when freshly awakened. He had reduced the QC to tears. “Trust me, you’re more tired than you realize right now. You just need to settle down and--”

Sherlock threw him a startled look as he hung up his coat and John realized what he thought he’d meant. He opened his mouth and then thought, oh, why not? So Sherlock wasn't actually in a strop. It would help him sleep, and it was no great strain on John’s part--he didn’t feel tired yet either. He could get Sherlock off and have a bit of a wank himself and maybe he’d be able to grab a few hours as well. “Chair okay?”

“Yes, of course, wherever you like,” Sherlock said, looking even more taken aback by the question.

John settled himself in his chair and Sherlock carefully placed his shoes and clothing in a neat pile. He left his shirt on, of course. John had half a mind to tell him to take it off as well, but there wasn’t a real reason, so he didn’t. John was getting hard just watching Sherlock strip--more aroused, in point of fact, than Sherlock himself, though he was beginning to harden up nicely. 

“That thing. That you did before,” Sherlock said, pausing just before climbing onto the chair. “That was...rather good. We could do that again. If you like.”

John gave a considering nod. “Might could do.”

Sherlock got into position, bracing his hands on the chair but not leaning all the way down yet. John put both hands on his back, just under his shirt, and began to caress him in big slow circles that gradually shifted lower until he was squeezing the underside of Sherlock’s arse. Sherlock exhaled slowly and John felt his spine sink as he relaxed into the touch. John moved one hand around and fondled his bollocks lightly as he pressed the fingers of his other hand where Sherlock was still clenched tight--not trying to penetrate, not yet, just loosen him up a bit. It felt a bit different this time, more like foreplay with an extremely passive partner than the one-way street it usually was, but maybe John was just distracted by his own erection. Just as he thought this Sherlock finally lowered his head and pressed it into John’s neck. John couldn’t help smiling. He turned his head slightly so Sherlock’s curls tickled his cheek and Sherlock moved his head as well. He was...sniffing? No he was nuzzling. Sherlock Holmes was nuzzling John’s neck whilst John was stroking his arse and his cock and this was so far over the edge into insane John wasn’t sure he’d ever find his way back.

No sense worrying about that now. John reached into the drawer and pulled out a handful of lube packets, next to the tissues he’d cleverly added after last time, and opened them up. He heard Sherlock’s sharp intake of breath and felt his cock surge and dampen in John’s hand: God, he wanted this, he was practically gagging for it. When John put a slicked finger to his entrance Sherlock all but shoved backward in his eagerness.

John gave his arse a warning squeeze with his palm--I’m in charge here--but Sherlock had already twitched forward in instinctive discomfort. He soon pushed back again though. John kept just the tip of his finger inside, rubbing at the tight ring of muscle to loosen it, until Sherlock relaxed around him and John began stroking in and out, keeping the depth just shy of Sherlock’s prostate. He had something else in mind first. When Sherlock was panting and thrusting he let go his cock, found the lube, and pulled his fingers out just enough to drizzle on more. Then he pushed in a second.

Sherlock made a small, startled sound and his rhythm faltered, but then he pushed back carefully and John felt his fingers sink in. He let Sherlock set the pace, pulling out an inch or so and letting Sherlock sink back onto his fingers. He kept his grip on Sherlock’s cock loose, not wanting him to get too close, and when he thought Sherlock had fully relaxed around him he let Sherlock’s momentum push him back far enough that John had only to curl his fingers and...there.

Sherlock jolted and cried out, pressing his open mouth against the skin of John’s neck as though to block the sound. John touched him again, slowly, and Sherlock writhed, moaning, “Oh, please…”

Please. Jesus. John turned his face far enough to rub his cheek against Sherlock’s hair--he only just stopped himself from kissing his head--but he wasn’t even sure it registered. “Do you want another?” he whispered.

“Yes,” Sherlock gasped and John pulled out and squeezed on more lube before tucking a third finger under the first two. He heard the scrtch of Sherlock’s nails digging into the back of the chair. John dropped the empty packet to the floor, realized as he did so that he was now uncomfortably hard, and as he shifted awkwardly in the crowded chair he felt something poking out of his pocket. A condom. That he’d tucked into his pocket a million years ago, when he’d thought the evening was going in a very different direction.

No, John thought. No, no, no. That is not a sign, I am not doing this, nope, no, no...even as he thought it he was pulling the packet out. Sherlock, working himself back and forth on John’s fingers, did not even notice as John opened his trousers and rolled the condom on one handed, still thinking, I’m not really going to do it, I just want to see what it feels like.

John pulled his fingers out and took Sherlock’s buttocks in both hands, pulling them apart as he lined himself up. He had to slide down so far in the seat that his face was next to Sherlock’s. “Sherlock,” he whispered. “Take a big breath. Now blow out.”

Sherlock did, and John pushed up. Sherlock made a sound like all the air had been punched out of him and turned his head, looking down between their bodies, and then back at John. His expression was almost pure astonishment, eyes shocked wide, but there was something else there John couldn’t quite read. They stared at each other for a few seconds, faces so close John could feel Sherlock’s unsteady breath on his cheek and then Sherlock closed his eyes again and sank down a millimeter. John closed his eyes too. The angle was terrible, he had no purchase for his legs, and he wasn’t going to push his luck, so he didn’t even try to move. He just wrapped his hand around Sherlock’s cock and pumped, letting Sherlock rock against him.

John felt the trembling start in Sherlock’s knees first, wedged tightly between John’s thighs and the arms of the chair. It spread to his arms, still bracketing John’s head, and he lifted his head again and arched his neck. He made a desperate noise so low it was almost subsonic. John jerked his fist hard and Sherlock made a frustrated growl and John, suddenly understanding, braced his feet as best he could and pushed. The tiny bit of friction was enough to make his own breath catch but, fortunately, it was enough to do it for Sherlock, whose whole body jerked forward as he came in wracking, shuddering spasms. John wanted desperately to push in farther, to feel that clench around him, but Sherlock lurched forward again and he slipped out. Sherlock dropped his head to the seat back, shaking, and then before John could move to touch him he slid backward off the chair and onto the floor, folding down over his knees.

John pulled off the condom, pushed himself up, slicked his hand with the last of the lube, and brought himself off in seconds. He leaned back in the chair to catch his breath and opened his eyes. Sherlock was still on his knees, watching him, with that same stunned expression on his face. This time John suddenly saw clearly what he hadn’t before, what that other look meant. It was longing, the desperate yearning of a man who is starving and has been given a single tiny bite of the most delicious food imaginable.

The intensity was beyond John's ability to bear. He closed his eyes again, pretending post-orgasm exhaustion.

“Would you like the first shower?” Sherlock said very quietly.

“No, go on,” John said without opening his eyes. “You’re the one who needs sleep. I’ll go when you’ve finished.”

Sherlock said nothing, but John heard the sound of him getting to his feet and padding off down hall. He did not open his eyes. He felt as though the very furniture of the room were judging him.

 

Later, what seemed most bizarre to John about the next few weeks was how normal everything was. His last thought before crashing into bed that night had been of concern that the next morning would be awkward, but he needn’t have worried. They both overslept, saved from disaster only by Lestrade having got anxious when John never answered his text and ringing Mrs. Hudson. There was a frantic scramble to get out of the house on time and get Sherlock coffee, and by the time they caught their breath that afternoon it was far too late to bother being strained.

If things appeared placid on the surface, however, John for one was anything but serene. Oddly, he had no real sense of a sexual identity crisis. It would be fairly ridiculous at this point to pretend he didn’t find Sherlock sexually arousing, didn’t enjoy sex with him (such as it had been), didn’t fantasize about him. He’d always prided himself on his open-mindedness; he could hardly prove to be a hypocrite to himself. In retrospect, he could see that his school crushes on older boys and intense bonds with certain Army mates probably hadn’t been as platonic as he’d convinced himself at the time, a delusion he attributed to different attitudes in his younger days and his designated family role as peacekeeper. Okay, he wasn’t as straight as he’d assumed. No sense losing sleep over it.

So, John wasn’t straight. And John wanted Sherlock--wanted him with a burning intensity he hadn’t even thought possible, except for perhaps Henry the Eighth. So they couldn’t carry on as they had been, because John knew very well that if he got his hands on Sherlock’s arse again with Sherlock spreading his legs begging for it, John wouldn’t be able to hold back. And they couldn’t go back to the way they had been before either, because John definitely couldn’t carry on living in the flat knowing he’d never touch Sherlock again. He’d either go mad or have to move out, and that didn’t bear thinking about. But what was the alternative? A relationship? With Sherlock Holmes, a man most of London couldn’t even bear to be in the same room with?

But those people didn’t know Sherlock the way John did. They didn’t know the man who giggled at crime scenes, who went soft and fluid when he played the violin, who would do anything for John. They hadn’t seen him as he knelt at John’s feet with his whole spun-glass fragile heart in his eyes.

Still...John wasn’t the settling-down relationship type. He’d meant that. And aside from anything else, surely it was madness to think of putting all his eggs--friend, flatmate, sometime co-worker, sexual partner--in that one chancy basket? Of course it was.

John considered, very briefly, trying some sort of friends-with-benefits arrangement, or that maybe if he had just one proper shag with Sherlock he’d get it out of his system. He dismissed both ideas immediately. He couldn’t do that to Sherlock. For John to have him, come inside him, hold his naked body in his arms, and then go off and shag someone else? It would shatter him. And John knew it wouldn’t work, anyway. Just from the tiny taste he’d had of Sherlock’s body, once would never be enough.

So it was a stalemate. And for the next few weeks they carried on like that, in a sort of holding pattern: everything outwardly normal but John, at least, simmering away underneath. Maybe the hunger would burn itself away if enough time passed, John thought...though he knew  it wouldn’t.

 

“Of all the parties affected by Brexit, it can be argued none have suffered as much as the drug dealer,” Sherlock lectured. He had been carrying on like this for some time. “And yet once inside the borders of the UK things carry on as always, with the most effective strategy being to hide the merchandise in plain sight.”

“I assume ‘plain sight’ means ‘visible to Sherlock Holmes but not the rest of us idiots’,” John said. “Care to point it out?”

They were skulking along an industrial district in the middle of the night, surrounded by warehouses and shipping containers. It all looked indistinguishable to John. He wasn’t even entirely sure he could find his way back to the road.

Sherlock grinned that thank-you-for-being-my-straight-man smirk that used to make John want to punch him and now, of course, made him want to fuck him. “This one, obviously.”

“Obviously. How are we getting past the cameras?”

“Oh, that’s easy. We’ll just aim them away from the doors.”

This sounded easier said than done to John, but surprisingly, it was easy. Sherlock simply tossed the end of his scarf over the camera, made a loop, and tugged, moving the camera in infinitesimally small increments. His patience was impressive. “Have to do it slowly, so anyone watching doesn’t notice,” he explained.

At the side door Sherlock switched on the black-light app on his phone and had John hold the beam on the keypad. “Standard five digit code, last one will be the star, first one obviously three, but only three keys are…” he frowned at the keypad for a moment before his face cleared and he punched in 3738*. The door swung open.

“How’d you--”

“It’ll be the address, the one to the right is 3740.”

Once inside they repeated the procedure at the alarm panel--which was also 3738*, to Sherlock’s disdain--and then Sherlock switched his phone back to flashlight mode and swung it around. “Hmmm.”

All John saw was a maze of boxes. He got his phone out too, thinking he could at least add some light, and held it up as one of the boxes caught Sherlock’s attention. “Shouldn’t this place have some guards if they’re moving this much product?”

“Well, it’s not all drugs, but it does seem a bit--ah.”

Sherlock had slit the tape with his pocket knife and now was pulling out a package about the size of a paperback book, heavily wrapped in some sort of clingfilm.

“What is that?”

“It’s certainly not light bulbs,” Sherlock said. “Probably cocaine. Hold your light on it.” He set his phone down on the box. 

John heard a scratching noise behind him, thought mice, thought no, and swung his light around. He just caught the dog as it launched itself at Sherlock. “Sherlock!”

Sherlock went down, the dog on top of him snarling at his throat, penknife skittering away somewhere in the darkness. John felt his vision narrow and clarify the way it always did in a crisis. Switch phone to other hand, pull out gun, safety off, inhale, exhale, fire.

The dog yelped and tumbled off. John turned and swept the warehouse, checking to make sure it didn’t have a pack lurking somewhere in the shadows. The coast seemed clear, so he scrambled to where Sherlock lay unmoving on the concrete floor. “Sherlock. Sherlock. Can you hear me?”

Sherlock’s eyelids fluttered and blinked and he squinted, trying to focus on John. “I’m all right, I think. Knocked my head on the concrete.”

John slid his hands under Sherlock’s head and lifted it slightly, probing. He found the tender swelling almost immediately and Sherlock grimaced, trying to pull away. “Hold still. Feels okay, I don’t think there’s a fracture...look at the light. Good. Can you remember what happened?”

“Vividly.” Sherlock turned his head again, looking for the dog, and John swung his light up. The dog had dragged itself several metres away and was crouched in the shadow of a stack of boxes, licking the wound. It growled as the light fell on it.

John felt his face hardening and swung the gun up. Sherlock grabbed for his arm. “No, don’t! It’s not the dog’s fault; he was only doing what he’d been trained.”

John glared, but he lowered his arm. “Might be kinder to put it out of its misery.”

“The police will call in animal control, they’ll get him to a vet.” Sherlock pushed himself up to a sitting position, wincing. John tugged the scarf off to check for any more damage, but he found none, though the scarf itself was torn in several places. It had probably saved Sherlock’s life.

Sherlock tucked the scarf in his pocket without comment and said, “We’d best be going. We’ll have to call this in anonymously because of the bullet, so we’ll want to be well away before the police arrive.”

“Oh, sorry my saving your life is going to deprive you off the chance to show off to the police…”

They squabbled amiably all the way to the road, where Sherlock rang Lestrade. It took two tries before he answered.

“Of course I know you’re not my secretary….no, it can’t wait until morning, there are injuries! I’m sure I have no idea. Thank you.” He disconnected and looked around. “Shall we get an Uber? We’ll never get a cab out here.”

On the way back John and Sherlock somehow ended up pressed against each other in the back seat, Sherlock’s shoulder solid and reassuring against John’s. John was buzzing with adrenaline and at the same time perfectly serene, a combination he hadn’t felt since the war. His thoughts were clear for the first time in weeks. He felt a moment’s grudging gratitude to the dog, and decided he was glad he hadn’t killed  it after all.

Sherlock put his phone away and John, on impulse, put out his hand. After a moment’s hesitation, Sherlock took it, and they held hands the rest of the way home.

“Well, that was fun,” Sherlock said cheerfully as they got out of the car.

“In its own way,” John agreed. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep for a while though. Might need some help calming down.”

Sherlock’s eyes flicked to him and then away, then came back and held there, eyebrows puckering slightly. “You want me to calm you down.”

John held his gaze. “I was rather thinking we could calm each other down.”

Sherlock kept staring at him and John stared back. Shit, just the intensity of his eyes was making John hard now. Finally Sherlock nodded once and turned for the door.

In the lounge, when they’d hung up their coats, Sherlock turned to John and asked, “Do you want me to sit in the chair?”

At that point John was burning for him so desperately that he’d have had Sherlock in the chair, on the floor, or in the kitchen sink; he was only barely restraining himself from pouncing on Sherlock in much the same way the dog had. But Sherlock was moving slowly, uncertainty in every line of his being, and John did not want to bungle this. “Maybe someplace a bit more comfortable.”

Sherlock considered this. “My room?”

“Your bed is bigger,” John agreed.

In the bedroom Sherlock toed off his shoes and stripped off his trousers with his usual quick efficiency. When he straightened, still looking watchful, John stepped forward and touched his shirt lightly. “Can I do this?”

Sherlock nodded warily and John undid the buttons carefully, slipping the shirt off Sherlock’s shoulders. He settled his hands on Sherlock’s waist, marveling: that hard torso narrowing to the slimness under his hands, the growing bulge in his pants. “God, you’re beautiful,” he whispered. He felt a fine shiver run through Sherlock at his words.

Sherlock raised his hands to John’s shirt, tentatively, and John gave his waist an encouraging squeeze. Sherlock worked the buttons open carefully and pushed John’s shirt off and John let go to pull off his own vest. He saw Sherlock’s eyes go straight to his scar, but then as John started to unbutton his jeans Sherlock tore his gaze away and reached to help, pushing the jeans down past his hips.

When they were both down to their pants John took Sherlock’s hand and tugged him over to the bed. “There’s something I need to say before we go any further.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes, all tentativeness gone in an instant. “You needn’t bother. I already know what you’re going to say.”

“Oh?” John said mildly. “What’s that then?”

“It’s just adrenaline, this doesn’t mean anything, nothing’s going to change.”

“Wrong.”

Sherlock looked affronted. “What do you mean, wrong? Which bit?”

“All of it.”

Sherlock frowned harder and John put his hands to his face. His skin was so soft, and John’s thumbs were on those sharp cheekbones. “It means everything,” he said. “You mean everything. Do you understand?”

Sherlock’s brows puckered and John gave up; he’d never been good with words for these sorts of things. He leaned forward and kissed him.

Sherlock sat petrified for about half a second before he surged forward like a dam breaking. John let the momentum carry them back and in a moment they were grappling like teenagers, rolling around on the bed in a frenzy of unleashed lust. Sherlock seemed to be trying to get his hands on every bit of John at once. His mouth was hot and desperate and utterly unskilled, which was fine with John, because the touch of Sherlock’s tongue against his was so electric that any finesse would have been wasted anyway.

At one point Sherlock pulled back just long enough to say, breathless, “But you’re not gay.”

“Jesus, Sherlock, do you still believe that? Don’t you observe anymore?”

Sherlock made an affronted squawk and John rolled him over and got his mouth on his nipple, and that was the end of the talking.

John finally worked his way back up so they could resume kissing. He managed to get a grip on Sherlock’s hips and pull them together, which made Sherlock break off and drop his head back, gasping. John grabbed a fistful of curls to hold him like that as he mouthed over Sherlock’s neck and Sherlock wrapped one leg around John’s waist and dug his fingers into his back. John was perilously close to coming in his pants, and Sherlock was even further gone than he was. He gave one final thrust and then shoved his hands down Sherlock’s waistband, frantic to get the stupid pants off as fast as possible. Sherlock wriggled and whimpered and grabbed for John’s pants and generally got in the way, but eventually they got both pairs off and flung aside and John grabbed two delicious handfuls of Sherlock’s arse and squeezed. Sherlock promptly flug both legs so wide he almost knocked John off the bed. John had never seen anyone so openly desperate to be fucked.

”Sherlock,” John whispered, getting one hand between Sherlock’s legs and fingering at his arsehole in a way that he hoped telegraphed his intentions, “I really want to make love to you, but if that’s not what you want…”

Sherlock snorted rudely in John’s ear. “If you’re referring to sexual intercourse, if you can’t tell how much I want it, you really are an idiot.”

“Okay then,” John said, pushing just the tip of his thumb in and making Sherlock groan and grind even harder against him. “Let’s--oh, shit.” The lube was still in the lounge. John growled in irritation, leapt to his feet, dashed to the lounge and collected the lube and tissues, remembered the condoms were in his room, hesitated, cursed, scrambled up the stairs, banging his toe and cursing again, and then crashed back downstairs and into the bedroom.

Sherlock grabbed for him and John said “Hold on,” dropping everything to the bedside table and ripping open a packet of lube. Then he ripped open the rest of them, just so they’d be ready. We need to get a proper tube, he thought, a great whopping economy size--Sherlock gave up trying to tug John back and simply rolled on top of him.

“Fuck,” John gasped, feeling Sherlock’s cock sliding against his. He grabbed for Sherlock’s arse again and ground up against him, pulling up forward so that his cock could slip free and rub up against his entrance. Sherlock moaned. John flailed an arm in the direction of the lube, but he couldn’t quite reach, and Sherlock was already getting heavy. John heaved him over and pulled him in with one arm, reaching for the lube with the other, and kissed Sherlock sloppily as he pressed one finger in. As he’d expected, Sherlock immediately went still and pliant, tucking his head into John’s neck and gripping his back as John worked him open. He had one leg flung around John’s waist again, and John could feel his cock throb and jerk against him whenever John touched a particularly sensitive spot. Who would have thought Sherlock could be so randy? John marveled. Not to mention so willing for John to take control.

John took it slow, enjoying himself hugely, and eventually he had three fingers buried inside Sherlock rubbing over his prostate whilst his thumb massaged his perineum and Sherlock slobbered frantically into his neck. John figured he could bring Sherlock off in about half a second if he touched his cock now, but what fun would that be? “Sherlock,” he said softly and,  when Sherlock didn’t answer, he got his other arm around so he could tug a handful of Sherlock’s curls again to get his head back. Sherlock wore the expression he’d always had when John had touched him before: slack and dazed. “Do you still want me to…”

Sherlock’s eyes blinked and focused. “Yes,” he said urgently and John kissed him and rolled him onto his back, pulling his fingers out. He got the condom on and slathered more lube all over everything and knelt to line himself up. “Ready? Breathe--” he pushed in a bare inch. Oh, God, that felt good. He had to hold himself still a minute to keep from losing his head entirely.

Sherlock’s eyes were closed and his head flung back, his naked chest heaving with great breaths as his abdomen hollowed. John pushed forward just a bit more to be sure he was seated, then leaned forward as far as he could to get his hands under Sherlock’s shoulder blades. Sherlock’s arm came around him immediately and he lifted his head so John could kiss him. They clung to each other like that, panting and kissing, as John slowly pushed his way in until he was buried as far as he could get. Sherlock dropped his head and arched his back. “Oh,” he gasped. “Oh, God.”

John pushed up until he was kneeling--his shoulder couldn’t hold his weight for long. “Okay, brace.”

Sherlock obediently put his arms up behind his head so his palms pressed against the headboard and John pulled out slowly and thrust back in. Sherlock cried out and dug his heels into John’s back. John did it again and then reached for Sherlock’s cock, stroking in slow counterpoint to his hips. The urge to speed up was strong, but he kept the pace leisurely and his grip light: Sherlock liked it that way, and it kept John from losing control completely.

Sherlock’s whimpers eventually got higher and more desperate and he dropped one hand from the wall and covered his face. John reached for his hand and wrapped it around Sherlock’s cock, taking hold of his hips with both hands and thrusting deep. “Do it,” he said. “Come on, Sherlock, give it to me, come on--”

“Ah,” Sherlock gasped. His hand was already flying and John began to count as he pounded into him: one, two, three, four, five...on the ninth thrust he felt Sherlock’s body begin to clench rhythmically and on the tenth John gave it all he had, aiming straight for his most sensitive angle and making Sherlock howl as his cock jerked and spurted. Again, again, and then he held Sherlock’s hips still and rocked as Sherlock shuddered his way through the aftershocks. John thought he could practically come just from watching him. He wanted to memorize every detail: the flush on his cheeks and neck, the sweaty tangle of curls, the arch of his back, the utter sensory overload of his silky skin and the warm velvet of his mouth and arse. I will never stop wanting this, John thought in vague bemusement, and then he put his head down and went at it. He didn’t keep count this time, but he came in a matter of seconds, groaning as he came so deep he could practically see it through Sherlock’s concave belly.

John stayed crouched on all fours over Sherlock for a few minutes as he got his breath back, then pulled out carefully and collapsed onto his side. Sherlock rolled over to face him.

“We should clean up,” John eventually mumbled. His voice was muffled by the mattress.

“Why? We’re only going to do it again when we wake up.”

John snorted a laugh into the bed and then pushed himself up, reaching for the wad of tissues. “Yeah, let’s see how sore you are first. But I’m certain we can find some way to make a bit more mess.” John was already dying to see what he could do to Sherlock with his mouth, not to mention what Sherlock’s mouth could do to him. He discarded the condom and swabbed at them both with the tissues before giving up and flopping back down again. He rested one hand lightly on Sherlock’s waist. “Should I stay then?’

Sherlock was already wriggling forward to insinuate himself into John’s arms. Their feet tangled together. “Obviously. Much more efficient.” He managed to get his face into John’s shoulder and nuzzled there sleepily before going still, half on top of John, his bony weight completely pinning him to the bed.

Greedy little prat, John thought affectionately. Lucky for him he was such a terrific shag. And that John loved him, of course. Not that he would be letting Sherlock know that any time soon. It wouldn’t do to let him get spoilt. Or more spoilt than he already was. John shoved at him in an effort to at least get his arm a bit free, but Sherlock just made a disgruntled sort of grumble and wrapped himself even more thoroughly around him. Too late, apparently. Well, John thought, wrapping his own arms more tightly around Sherlock’s knobby back, there were worse things.