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Cold As Ice

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“It’s me,” the voice says.

It’s what all his boys say, as though they think Rich keeps some kind of magical voiceprint analyser in his head. So that even if they turn up drunk, or high, or with a cold, Rich ought to be able to identify them immediately from a couple of fuzzy, filtered words over the intercom.

Luckily for them, he can – most of the time, anyway. And this particular one, always.

He buzzes the boy in, and smiles in anticipation, his heart beating faster, the adrenalin surging through his veins like a poor man’s high. Not that he is poor anymore. One gold single (Sigh in the Dark – 1988) and three albums gone silver (Delirium Dreaming – 1988, Skylight – 1991, Why now? – 1993) all produced under his hands, and he’s only just turned thirty-three. Add in his side businesses, and he’s doing quite well for himself, thank you very much. But he’s not stupid enough to sample too much of his own product. Just a little bit, now and then. Enough for some fun.

Rich has quite a few boys hanging around nowadays, but this one is special, for a number of reasons. Barely eighteen, and so nicely spoken, almost posh, quite unlike the usual kind who come through his door. He has a slim, beautiful body – Rich has always liked them young and pretty – an incredibly lush mouth, and is far smarter than necessary. In Rich’s opinion, knowing how to put that mouth to good use is all the education this one really needs.

There’s the soft squeak of footsteps and he’s in the doorway of the living room, a sullen angel. A bit rougher around the edges than when Rich first met him, but if anything, it’s only improved his looks. Rich might have had a little to do with that transformation, of course, but mostly he thinks it’s to do with the boy himself. His personality. The way he’s begun struggling against his own expectations of his world, the world’s expectations of him.

“Sherlock.” Rich caresses the name on his tongue.

“Rich.” It’s sharp and curt as always, even though Sherlock’s clearly gagging for it. The hunger’s in his eyes, both kinds, but he looks at Rich as though he hardly needs him at all. He’s proud, this one. He knows he shouldn’t be here – that he’s too good for any of it The drugs. Rich. That only makes it sweeter.

It’s something Rich understands, though, better than Sherlock might imagine. The pressure of expectations. If things had been different, Rich might have been almost-posh himself, but when he was three his dad had run off and his mum had had to make do, move somewhere cheaper. Too proud or stubborn to go home. Growing up, she’d told Rich over and over that he was better than this. Rich had just wanted to fit in and get along.

He still remembers punching that boy at school, the one who’d made fun of him, saying he talked like a right wanker. Rich had been eight, and so had the other boy, and actually the little shit might have been right, and maybe he had sounded like he had a stick up his arse back then, but he was good with his fists no matter how he talked. Rich had given the boy a split lip and a bloody nose and sent him crawling home to mummy. The school had called his mum, of course they had, and he’d heard her apologising for him, all prim and proper. And then she’d come and told him you’re better than this, and that he was smart, and that he could make something of himself, and as he got older it had gone on and on like that, the same bloody tune on an endless loop.

She’d meant well, and maybe Rich felt a bit sorry for her at times, but all he'd really cared about was music, and what good was smart when you didn’t have money? His mum had taught history at one of those church schools – a lot nicer than the state schools Rich went to – but from the way they paid her it was clear even Anglicans thought poverty was a virtue. So they didn’t starve, but there was never quite enough for all the things Rich wanted. His ever-expanding record collection, turntables, guitars, amps, fancy trainers and leather jackets. So because Rich was smart, he’d ignored school in favour of learning far more important things, only some of them legal.

Still, he thinks he’s done quite well for himself – found his own way into the music business, doing what he always wanted to do. Defying expectations. But then he’d never had much to lose.

Unlike some.

Sherlock is still glaring at him from the doorway. Rich smiles.

“And what can I do for you tonight, my lovely?” he says, deliberately roughening his speech to the point of parody. Just to see Sherlock’s lip curl. The sofa’s too comfortable for Rich to move – cherry-red leather, soft as clouds – so he beckons the boy over. Sherlock does as he’s ordered, insolent, dragging his steps.

“The usual,” Sherlock says.

“I’ll expect you to work for it,” Rich reminds him, just for the pleasure of it. Sherlock had paid cash once or twice, at the beginning, but the current rate of exchange suits them both much better.

Sherlock rolls his eyes, but answers civilly enough. “Of course.”

Rich grins, and reaches for his little drawer under the coffee table. He draws out a square of black cloth, one of his pipes, and a few sweet shards. None of it’s hidden too well – his security is good, and he pays off all the right people. Keeps himself out of trouble. He doesn’t indulge often, but he enjoys it when he does, like hearing an old song played on the radio. The pipe is chunky yet delicate in his fingers like a piece of art, and the rattle of rock is as satisfying as the clink of champagne glasses. A flicker of blue-orange flame from the lighter in his pocket, and then there’s the slow, steady bubbling. The chemical promise of bliss.

Sherlock’s been standing there all this time, just watching, and Rich pats the sofa beside him as though encouraging a puppy to jump. A bit of training’s good for all his boys. Sherlock sits, and Rich immediately puts a hand on his thigh, black denim rough under his fingers. He squeezes Sherlock’s leg, as though claiming ownership, but Sherlock doesn’t flinch. Good boy. He hands Sherlock the pipe, and nods.

Sherlock holds the pipe in long, thin fingers, and takes a deep draw. There’s the three-count of waiting, and then the long breath out. The shiver as it hits him. He smiles, a little of the arrogance seeping away.

“Give it here.”

Another flicker of the lighter, and Rich breathes in smoke, warm on his tongue, and there it is, the first flutterings of pleasure in the pit of his stomach, spreading out until every inch of his skin is tingling with it, singing with it. He exhales. The blood pounds in his ears and in his dick.

He inhales once more and reaches for Sherlock, who turns towards him willingly, willingly enough anyway. Up close he’s even prettier, his eyes clear, his skin fresh, the way they always are at the beginning. He parts his lips and lets Rich blow smoke into his mouth. Rich lunges forward into a kiss, and his hand goes immediately to Sherlock’s crotch. Sherlock’s dick is as slim and lovely as the rest of him, but right now it’s only a soft bulge beneath cloth. Rich coaxes it to hardness with his fingers as Sherlock tenses and twists away from the rough pressure of his hand, pushing himself back into the sofa.

“Come on, now,” Rich says, a warning, and Sherlock stops resisting, even though his muscles are still tense. Rich kisses him again – god, the mouth on him – and unbuttons the boy’s jeans, slides his fingers silky-smooth down along with the zip. Sherlock’s hot in his hand, and Rich palms him until Sherlock moans with it, soft and sweet.

“Take them off.” Rich releases him with a final squeeze, then adds, “Everything.”

He sits back to watch as Sherlock hauls himself up from the depths of the sofa, and begins shrugging off his jacket.

“Come on, turn around,” Rich demands. “Unless you’re going to bend over properly and show off that arse of yours.”

The set of Sherlock’s thin shoulders radiates disdain, but he turns to face Rich anyway, dropping his black bomber jacket on the floor. Nice bit of cloth – he could get fifty, sixty quid for it on the street any day. Shows the boy’s not exactly hard up for cash, which is what Rich has always suspected. Sherlock could pay any dealer around for crystal, or have just about anyone he fancied for sex, but he comes to Rich for something more. A taste of what Sherlock truly wants.

Sherlock’s arms cross as he reaches behind him for the neck of his white T-shirt, pulls it over his head. Rich grunts in approval. Skinny rather than fit, but lovely pale skin with a darker trail of hair leading south. No finesse at all, though, always takes off his clothes like a man stripping down for his doctor.

“Oi, slow it down, I’ve told you enough times. Piss-poor entertainment, you are.” Rich flicks a hand at him, and the corner of his mouth twists upwards at Sherlock’s exasperation. Jump, puppy, jump.

In response, Sherlock’s movements slow to an insulting degree, but Rich is in no rush, and Sherlock’s patience is no match for his own. He’s content to watch Sherlock’s hands caress the waistband of his unzipped jeans in long sweeps before pushing them inch by inch to his ankles. His navy briefs get the same treatment as Sherlock runs his hands around the edge of the elastic, front to back, before drawing them down his legs. He’s not making any big show of seduction, but his careless grace is enough to stoke the flames. Rich undoes his own trousers and gives himself a few sweet squeezes as Sherlock pulls the rest of his clothes off, tosses them in a heap on top of his jacket.

“Happy?” Sherlock says, hands on hips. His dick has wilted a bit under the pressure of performance, but Rich can still smell Sherlock's anticipation, see the faint sheen of sweat on his skin.

“Will be very soon, I expect. C’mere.” Rich spreads his legs wider and gestures between them. “Down, boy.”

Sherlock kneels, eyeing Rich’s erection with what he likes to think is a healthy respect. Some punters can’t even get it up after a hit, but for others it’s just the opposite – a hard-on that just keeps going. Rich has never had any complaints in that department. He grabs the back of Sherlock’s head – not too rough, just persuasive – and pulls him forward.

“Well, go on.” He groans as Sherlock’s mouth comes down around him, hot and slick. “That’s the way.”

He keeps his hand tangled in Sherlock’s hair, tugging it gently back at intervals to admire the view – Sherlock’s full, red lips, and his own dick disappearing between them. Rich sinks into a trance of pleasure, a timeless ebb and flow of sensation as Sherlock’s mouth works on him. Sherlock seems equally wrapped up the mindless rhythm of his movements, the smoke having chased all thought away. His lips look swollen, and a trickle of spit slips from the corner of his mouth and leaves a glistening trail. Rich catches it with his fingers, smears it thoughtfully across Sherlock’s cheekbones. Lovely.

Rich lets Sherlock continue on while he prepares himself another hit, then motions Sherlock off his knees to receive his share, blown straight from Rich’s mouth into his. Sherlock exhales, then slumps onto the sofa beside him.

“How's that, then?” Rich asks, smiling.

Sherlock doesn’t answer, but his pupils are enormous in his pale face as he grabs Rich’s hand, moves it to his own dick. As it happens, Rich is feeling generous, and so he obliges, giving it a few firm strokes, watching Sherlock’s face go slack with pleasure. Switching over so that his left hand is occupied with Sherlock, his right reaches over for the drawer again, gropes for the well-used tube of lubricant. Rich stops to put some on his fingers, and Sherlock’s eyes flick open, looking on with interest.

“You like this, don’t you?” Rich holds up his fingers, slick and glistening, then traces them over Sherlock’s shaft, down the curve of his sac, between his thighs. Sherlock melts under his touch. He lies back languidly on the sofa, taking up two-thirds of the space, his head pillowed on the armrest, his knees drawn up and apart. One foot slips behind the small of Rich’s back as Sherlock angles his hips up towards him. Rich fondles him slowly as Sherlock pushes into his touch, moaning.

“Well, Sherlock?”

Sherlock tilts his head up, briefly licks his reddened lips. “Yes,” he says.

“What was that?” Rich’s fingers circle the pucker of Sherlock’s hole, and then stop.

“Yes, Rich.”

“Good boy.”

Rich applies more lube and presses in with his finger, enjoying the squeeze of Sherlock’s muscles around him. As he pushes in a second finger, Sherlock’s moans grow louder, and the sound goes straight to Rich’s dick. He doesn’t touch himself yet, though – much more fun making Sherlock squirm. Sherlock’s always silent and stubborn when he starts off, but noisy once he gets going, and Rich likes experimenting with him, stroking him this way and that. Creating his own exquisite wall of sound, a glorious arrangement of gasps and moans punctuated by the occasional fuck.

It’s something Rich could listen to all night, were it not that his dick has other ideas. He wipes his fingers on his trousers and there’s still a bit of crystal left in the pipe, so he heats it up again and shares the rest with Sherlock. It doesn’t hit as hard this time, but still makes his skin prickle with sensation. He pulls Sherlock to a sitting position on the sofa, then gestures for him to turn around, getting a welcome eyeful of Sherlock’s arse as he obeys. Sherlock’s knees sink into the sofa cushions as he bends forward, leaning his forearms on the backrest. His skin stands out smooth and pale against the red of the sofa.

“Bottom out a little more… “ Rich says, mainly for the pleasure of running his hands over it as he guides Sherlock into place. Sherlock’s arse is nice and plump, unlike the rest of him. He squeezes a little, then slaps. “There, that’s it. Lovely.”

The coffee table is shunted aside to make a little more room, and then Rich takes a moment to strip off, leaving his clothes in a puddle of dark fabric on the floor. Sherlock watches impassively from over his shoulder as Rich strokes himself up for the job.

“I think I’ll phone him this time,” Sherlock remarks, out of nowhere. Cat-like, he slips off the sofa and rummages through his clothes, coming up with a mobile Rich didn’t know he had. They’re expensive little toys, and while Rich has his own, it’s not as small and sleek as Sherlock’s, and god knows the calls alone cost a small fortune. He very much doubts Sherlock’s paying for it all, which means that someone clearly wants him to keep in touch.

“Do you really think that’s a good idea?” Rich asks, but he’s already grinning at the sheer perversity of Sherlock’s intentions. He’s seen Sherlock maybe ten, twelve times this past year, has grown familiar with the song of his desires, but this is a brand new cover version.

Sherlock resumes his position on the sofa, the mobile tucked in beside him, and looks back at Rich with something very nearly a smile. It’s obvious that in this, at least, they understand each other perfectly. You’ve got to take your fun where you can.

“All right, then, have it your way. But first…” Rich smooths on a condom with practised ease, adds more lube, and presses up behind Sherlock. Hands on Sherlock’s hips, he rubs himself against the cleft of his fine arse for a little bit, warming them both up, then sinks inch by inch into the ferocious heat of Sherlock’s body. He sets a slow, easy rhythm, letting the pleasure ripple over and through him. Some people like to have sex to music, Rich knows, but for him that would only ruin both experiences. How could you possibly focus? This way, he hears it all, the slick sounds of latex and lube and flesh, Sherlock’s grunts a sweet soft bassline to Rich’s thrusts.

He sees Sherlock’s fingers scrabble for his phone, pressing buttons with remarkable sureness, given that Rich keeps right on fucking him. The call connects, and Sherlock tosses him back a wicked glance, holds the phone out like a challenge. Oh, he’s the devil, this one. Rich takes it with amusement.

“Hello, brother dear,” Rich says, because he knows just how much the accident of birth appals Mycroft. It’s how Sherlock found him in the first place, isn’t it, looking for his – their – father’s misplaced firstborn. The other one. Which makes them only half-brothers, technically, but he knows the inaccuracy will only piss off Mycroft even more.

There’s a pause, and Rich speeds up his pace, just a little. Fuck, that’s good.

“Rich,” Mycroft says, somehow managing to pack a world of disapproval into a single syllable. Poncy git. “Why are you… is Sherlock all right?”

“Sherlock? Oh, he’s right as rain.” Sherlock has his neck craned back, fascinated, and Rich tips him a wink without losing his rhythm. “I’m taking very good care of him.” Rich’s accent grows rougher than ever – he’s this close to dropping his aitches out of sheer spite.

“I thought I warned you to stay away from Sherlock. If you’ve harmed him…”

“Now, now, it’s not like I went out looking for him. He came to see me. Of his own free will. Like he always does. Don’t you, Sherlock?”

“You’ll let me speak with him. Now.”

“’Course you can, Mikey, no need to get your knickers in a twist.” Sherlock stifles a laugh, and Rich can feel it rippling through his body. “I’m not holding him hostage.”

He waits, but Mycroft is silent, and in the absence of further entertainment Rich hands the phone back to Sherlock.

“Mycroft,” Sherlock gasps, high and breathless. Pure dramatics – he was perfectly able to restrain himself a moment ago, despite all of Rich’s best efforts.

The reply is too muffled to hear, but Rich imagines Mycroft’s alarm.

“No, nothing like that,” Sherlock says, breathing hard. “Everything’s… fine. I just… thought… you’d like to know…”

Rich hears a low murmuring from the phone, but Sherlock talks right over it.

“…what you were… missing.”

Without waiting for an answer, Sherlock moves the phone away from his ear and presses it, face up, into the shallow crevice where two of the headrest cushions meet. He steadies it with one hand as he starts pushing back harder against Rich, urging him on. Rich is more than pleased to oblige.

Mycroft’s voice is audible from the phone’s speaker now, small but clear. “For god’s sake, Sherlock, what are you doing?”

Sherlock allows the force of Rich’s thrusts to draw a few more theatrical groans from him before replying. “What do you… think?”

There’s a long silence, and Rich can just imagine the horrified expression on Mycroft’s face. Rich doesn’t really understand the whole brotherly thing, having grown up thinking himself an only child, but his incidental relationship to Sherlock isn’t enough to make him squeamish about fucking him. And even if Sherlock were his full-blood brother, he can’t see the harm. If Mycroft is that way inclined to begin with – which Sherlock clearly believes he is – then he’s a fool to refuse such a delightful offering. Brother or not.

“Sherlock…” Mycroft says, with a pleading quality Rich can barely believe, coming from him. “I thought you… understood. Please don’t do this. Not with him…”

Rich’s grin develops a razor’s edge. “Shut it, Mikey. It’s not my fault you won’t take care of ‘im. Or so I keep hearin’. But don’t worry. At least one of us is up to it.”

“Harder,” Sherlock moans, and then. “Please, Mycroft. Fuck me.”

They’re back on familiar ground now, and Rich knows just what Sherlock wants from him. He usually does Mycroft’s voice in the spirit of good fun, but this time it’s just that little bit nastier.

“Of course, love. Anything for my darling baby brother.”

“Mycroft… god, now, please…”

“Yes, Sherlock, very soon…

Please…”

“…you’ve been such a good boy…”

The mobile beeps in protest – Mycroft has abandoned the call. Rich reaches for the phone and silences it before tossing it aside. His hand wraps around Sherlock’s dick.

“It’s all right, love,” he croons. “I’m afraid it’s just the two of us now. But I’ll look after you. You’re so close, aren’t you?” He bends forward along Sherlock’s back to kiss him.

“Yes, yes...” Sherlock looks remarkably blissful considering the reaction to his phone call. Ah, well, none of Rich’s business, really. He’s the one in six inches deep and about to get off, so he’d say he got the better end of the bargain. He speeds up his hand until Sherlock bucks hard against him and all his muscles squeeze tight. He comes moaning Mycroft’s name.

Preliminaries taken care of, Rich can concentrate on himself. Sherlock is slumped on his forearms, panting, but holds his position to let Rich use him at his leisure. Rich caresses his arse and allows himself to slide into sensation, the slow pulse of pleasure that transitions into a steady beat and then to an almost frenetic pounding. His orgasm hits him with a gasp and a shudder and a brief but overwhelming feeling of invincibility. God, it’s amazing. But like all highs, it doesn’t last nearly long enough. When the surge recedes, he holds himself upright with some effort, finding his breath again. He pulls out of Sherlock, groaning, and collapses on the sofa beside him.

“That was fucking fantastic,” he says, kissing Sherlock once more for good measure. He gets up to pinch off the condom, wrap it in tissue, and toss it into the silver-and-black bin.

Sherlock eyes him curiously. “This... really doesn't bother you at all, does it?”

Rich shrugs, settling back on the sofa. “Can’t say I’ve got much to complain about. It’s all a bit of good fun, isn’t it? You, on the other hand, seem to have set yourself up for a world of trouble.”

“Yes, I suppose that’s true.” Sherlock smiles, but there’s no humour in it. “Rich. I’m… sorry.”

“What for?”

“Not thinking it through,” Sherlock says. His pupils are huge, but he still sounds remarkably sober. “I know what he’s like. He’s going to come after you, now that he knows.”

“Over what? He’s not about to drag his little brother through… oh, you mean the crystal. Not to worry, I’ve already taken care of that, paid off all the right people. Enough to be left alone.”

Sherlock shakes his head. “It won’t be enough. Not against Mycroft. You don’t know what he can do.”

Rich has only met Mycroft once, back at the beginning, at a fancy restaurant in the Square Mile. Sherlock had wanted it, god knows why, but within five minutes it had become quite clear Rich wasn’t about to be invited to Christmas dinner anytime soon. Rich still hasn't caught up with dear old dad again – he's not even sure the man knows or would care that Rich has been found. Water under the bridge now, anyway. But just talking to Mycroft, listening to him, had made Rich want to lay into him hard with both fists. A brawl would probably have done Mycroft the world of good, dirty his delicate little hands.

Nothing of the kind had happened, of course. Rich was better than that. Instead he’d drunk far too much wine – the food had been rubbish, all tricked up and trying too hard to be clever – and groped Sherlock’s knee under the table. Mycroft had thrown him a venomous glare and warned him to stay away from Sherlock. Or there would be consequences. Rich had laughed in his face.

“He’s a twenty-five-year-old pen pusher,” Rich says. “Just what do you think he can do?“

“I don’t know.” Sherlock actually looks concerned, but then he’s always had a dramatic streak. Rich can’t bring himself to be frightened of a baby civil servant, no matter how influential Sherlock thinks his brother might be. “Even if he can’t do anything now, he’ll just bide his time.”

“Well, no point in inviting trouble before it’s due, ‘s what I always say.”

“I’ve never heard you say that.”

“You barely know me.” Rich grins.

“If it should… happen, I’ll do what I can, all right? I don’t think Mycroft would want you to lose everything because of me. At least, I hope not. I could probably talk him down to a year or two in jail. Just enough to make a statement.”

“Whatever you say, Sherlock.” Delusions of grandeur ran in the family, possibly.

“You don’t believe a word I’m saying, do you?”

“Does it matter?” Right now, Rich is far more interested in nuzzling into the side of Sherlock’s neck.

“No, I suppose you’re right,” Sherlock is still staring straight ahead, into the middle distance. ”As you’ve said, no point in inviting trouble before it’s due. Although I can’t decide whether he’s the idiot, or whether I am.”

Rich smiles, but doesn’t offer an opinion. It’s obvious that neither of the Holmeses are equipped with much in the way of common sense. He’s the only one of the three of them smart enough to be getting exactly what he wants.

“Time for a shower, I think,” he says, getting to his feet. “Join me?”

He heads off to the bathroom, casually patting his thigh, a command. Behind him, he hears Sherlock heave one last sigh, then slide off the sofa and follow him, trotting obediently at Rich's heels.