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John pulls aside the shower curtain and curls his lips in disgust. He can endure body parts, maggots, and a variety of decomposing wildlife. But, somehow, this is just too much. The floor of the shower is coated in a layer of dark pubic hair and soap scum.

“SHERLOCK!”

The door opens and Sherlock appears, wearing his blue silk dressing gown and rubbing his hair with his microfiber towel that John isn’t allowed to touch. He looks up at John slowly, his expression innocent.

“Come here.”

Sherlock shuffles to stand beside him, his eyes following John’s gaze to look at the bottom of the bath tub.

“What is that?” John waves his hand in the general direction of the bath.

“A bath tub.”

“You know what I mean.”

Sherlock kneels down by the edge of the bath and wraps one or two of the hairs around his fingers and then rises, holding them up close to John’s face. “These are obviously human pubic hairs, John.”

John bats Sherlock’s hand away. “I know that, you prat. Why are they all over the shower floor and how am I supposed to take a shower now? This is disgusting.”

Sherlock opens his dressing gown, “Well, I bought some new pants and I thought they would look better if…actually, I could use a second opinion on the matter,” he begins lowering the gown off of his shoulders and looking down to where a small pair of plum colored briefs sit low on his hips.

Flushing, John sputters and begins wrapping his flatmate back into the dressing gown, pushing him out of the bathroom. “You know what, never mind. Just go. I’m going to be late for my shift.”

*****

Sherlock hears the door to the flat close and realizes that John has left without saying goodbye. He must really be flustered; generally, he at least calls out that he’s leaving. It’s warm so Sherlock shrugs off the dressing gown and lays down on the sofa in just the new pants. They really are quite comfortable. He should have bought them in more colors. Sherlock dozes for an hour or so when he realizes that his groin is starting to burn and itch. He lifts up the waistband of the pants and peers down at his newly shaved crotch in annoyance. The skin is turning pink. He knows that he completed the shaving correctly. He watched approximately 8 demonstrations on Youtube, including one where the man had a particularly unsettling tremor. The only thing to do is consult a medical professional. He picks up the phone and texts John.

I am having a medical emergency. Please return immediately. SH

The response comes a few minutes later.
Call 999. JW

I am not sure if the emergency response team is equipped to deal with a case of pseudofolliculitis pubis this severe. SH

You’re right. Please don’t call an ambulance because you have razor burn on your crotch. JW

It may not be razor burn. Maybe I have acquired a sexually transmitted infection. SH

And how exactly would you have done that? JW

I think that the route of transmission is implied in the description of the problem. But, I think it would be best if you conducted a differential diagnosis. Shall I send a picture? SH
Sherlock smiles. John has started typing again before he finished that message.

When exactly did you HAVE SEX? JW

DO NOT send me a dick pic or I will NOT come home tonight or possibly EVER AGAIN. JW

Sherlock’s smile broadens. He has no intention of exposing his irritated groin to John’s scrutiny. But winding him up is quite fun. He flips over on his stomach and holds the phone to take a picture of his long pale back and the beginnings of the plum-colored pants after he adjusts them so they sit right above the swell of his bum.

He attaches the photo and types another message.
Don’t open it if you don’t want to see it. SH

He settles back on the sofa, still smiling. He waits several minutes with no response from John. He rolls his eyes, rewraps himself in the dressing gown, and continues playing with the phone’s camera.

*****

John reads Sherlock’s last text and immediately throws his phone into the drawer and slams it shut. His hand hesitates on the handle. He prefers to think of Sherlock as not possessing genitalia, more like a Ken doll with the underwear permanently engraved into the skin.

He imagines if Sherlock did start dating, he would be the type to buy new pants and spend hours debating the merits of the navy suit with the charcoal gray shirt versus the all black ensemble. Definitely the all black, John thinks, and is slightly surprised with himself for having an opinion. Is this what’s happening? Is he going to be helping Sherlock pick out outfits for dinner dates? He shakes his head to rid himself of the thought and turns back to the phone.

Naturally, Sherlock will find out whether or not he has opened the photo. He deletes the picture before he can change his mind. Rolling the phone over in his hand, he suddenly worries that Sherlock will be hurt that he didn’t look at it.
This is getting ridiculous, worrying about whether or not Sherlock will be sad that he didn’t open a picture of his irritated genitals. The phone pings again.

EXTREME CLOSE UP. Please review. SH

***
This is rather fun, Sherlock thinks, contorting himself to present his bum to the best advantage and then attempting to position the camera at the ideal angle. It is fortunate that he is so flexible. There seem to be about a thousand filters he can apply. Generic vintage bum, 1970′s bum, black and white bum, sepia bum. He saves them all to be distributed to John at later dates. Or he could have them printed and put into one of those frames designed for multiple pictures. He guesses it would be a bit not good to put that on the wall, though. Maybe as something artistic in the loo?

He is not entirely happy with the pants anymore though. He pulls them tighter, hiking them up a bit and takes some more photos. Not quite right. Maybe a thong? Sadly, he doesn’t have one on hand and doesn’t feel like a shopping trip. He texts Molly.

Thong underwear (preferably black) needed at Baker St ASAP. -SH

The morning light shifts, throwing a soft yellow glow on the carpet near the window. Excellent bum photo opportunity. He positions himself on his stomach in the rectangle of light. With his face feeling rather hot, he slowly pulls the pants down and kicks them to the side until he is naked. He grabs the phone but suddenly feels rather exposed as a breeze from the open window runs across his bare body. He sets the phone down and flips onto his back, running his hand lightly up and down his inner thigh and moving gradually higher. He hasn’t done this for quite some time. The sunlight feels warm on his chest, soaking down into his muscles. He cups his hand around his groin and rocks into it a bit, letting his head roll back and his eyes close.

Then his phone pings and his eyes fly open.

Can’t you just have John pick one up at Tesco? xx Mols

No. For one, I am unfamiliar with Tesco but don’t believe they sell that type of merchandise. Secondly, it is supposed to be a surprise. –SH

Ohhh. I see. xx Mols

NOT THAT KIND OF SURPRISE. -SH

Or was it that kind of surprise? What exactly was he playing at here? He had decided to buy very small pants, shave his pubic hair, and pretend to text pictures of his genitalia to John in order to have some fun. Now people were misinterpreting this as him wanting to instigate some sort of sexual relationship with “Three Continents Watson.” For God’s sake.

PLEASE DELETE MY PREVIOUS REQUEST. -SH

It’s no trouble. I’m sending Greg round with your delivery later this evening. xx Mols

Sherlock stands up and irritably kicks the purple pants under the sofa. The stinging and itching of the shaved pubic hair is really becoming quite unbearable. How do people do this? He goes to his room and puts on some trousers (no pants, better to let the whole area breathe) and then buttons a shirt the whole way up to his neck. On top of this he wraps himself in a dressing gown and puts on socks and slippers.

He flips open John’s laptop and opens a notebook. Best to try to make his whole foray into groin shaving, suggestive photography, and requests for lingerie seem either experiment- or case-related. Ideally, both. Sherlock rocks himself back and forth on the chair trying to find some relief from the itching without shoving his hands down his trousers.

He googles “shaving pubic hair male” and smiles when he finds his answer. This should act as a suitable explanation and deter any further questions. For good measure, he types in another search term and clicks on some particularly disturbing high-resolution images that he leaves up on John’s laptop.

***

When John returns from the surgery, Sherlock is perched at his microscope. When he says hello, Sherlock grunts in acknowledgement.

“Managed to get your crotch sorted?”

Sherlock gives him a sidelong glance. “No thanks to you.”

“I had a text from Greg. He said he’s stopping by later with something for you. We might go out for a pint then.”

Oh, for all the bleeding buggery thongs. Why couldn’t people just mind their own business? Now, Greg was probably bringing over the thong and he would have to get it from him somehow without John noticing. He picks up his phone.

Please do not make John aware of the nature of the item I requested from Molly earlier today -SH

The response comes quickly.
Molls already wrapped it up all nice, so it’s coming with me.

Just throw it away or donate it to the homeless and never speak of it again. -SH

Okay, mate.

Sherlock knows that he isn’t going to get out of this as easily as Lestrade is making it seem. Time to put his plan into action.
“John. I need to have a conversation with you.” Sherlock sits down at the kitchen table and folds his hands. John looks wary and sighs as he pulls back a chair and sits across from him.

“Yes?”

“I am sure you are concerned about the change in my personal grooming habits that you discovered earlier today.”

“Well, I’m not sure concerned is the correct word. What is to me if you want to shave your…things? Just don’t leave it all over the bath when you’re done.”

“Aren’t you curious as to why I might have started shaving my things?”

“No.” John starts to get out of the chair and waves his hand dismissively. “You do what you want. With the pants and the shaving and the things. You just do whatever you need to do.”

Apparently this is the end of the discussion, as John moves across the room and sits down at his laptop. Sherlock waits patiently as he opens it and takes in the web pages that are open. John’s expression shifts from vague discomfort to alarm.

“Sherlock, what did you want to talk to me about?” John’s tone is carefully controlled. He is waiting to be angry until he has all the facts.

“Pthirus pubis, John.” Sherlock stands and begins pacing. “I may have picked them up somewhere along the line. Possibly last week.” He waves his hand and then makes himself shut his mouth. Not too much detail, only lies have detail.

John is just staring at him, his mouth open. His face is becoming increasingly flushed.

“What the hell, Sherlock?”

“What does it have to do with you, anyway?” Sherlock is genuinely surprised at John’s reaction. “It’s all taken care of now. No thanks to you, I might add.”

“No, it is not all buggering taken care of, Sherlock,” John grabs a box of bin bags and opens one, throwing a cushion inside. “All the towels, all the sheets, all of your sodding clothes, everything is going to have to be washed in hot water.” He pauses and a look of horror spreads across his face. “You slept in my bed last week. You said yours was covered in moss from that experiment. My sheets! ME! You have probably given ME pubic lice, SHERLOCK!”

Greg takes that moment to start rapping loudly on the door. John goes over and flings it open, his expression enraged as though he is anticipating finding a giant Pthirus pubis waiting for him on the threshold.

“Great to see you, Greg! Don’t come in or you may get parasites. We should get that on a doormat! HA! Sherlock has some washing to do so let’s go.” John’s voice has the forced joviality of a man pushed to the brink. He smiles at Greg and then pushes him slightly back so he can close the door partially and turn to glare at Sherlock.

“I mean it, Sherlock. Everything has to be washed. The whole buggering flat. Start now. I don’t care how you do it. Just get rid of them.” He clenches his jaw to emphasize how serious he is and then slams the door.

Approximately ten seconds later the door is reopened and a pink gift bag flies through it, nearly hitting Sherlock in the head. He picks it up and shoves it to the bottom of the bin and then flops back on the sofa. He lies there for a few minutes and then gets up and takes all the lovely new pants from his drawer and throws them in the bin as well. They started all this, with their flattering cut and range of colors that allowed him to index them and match them to his shirts and socks. He doesn’t deserve them though. He closes up the bin bag and drops it out the window onto the sidewalk. He goes to his room and strips off his clothes, pulling the sheet up and wrapping himself in it like a cocoon. Closing his eyes, he tries to just forget about today. Unfortunately, his crotch is still itching like hell.

*****

John is silent and fuming as he walks to the pub with Greg. They slide into a booth. Greg watches him carefully, like he is a wild animal that might spring at him at any moment
.
“Did you know about this? About this pants thing he has?” John looks at Greg accusingly and takes several long swallows of his beer.

“I know nothing of Sherlock and pants.” Greg puts his hands up in surrender. “Nor do I want to. Unless you really need to talk about it?”

They drink their beers in silence. Greg looks like he has decided that an early night might be a good idea.

“Has he ever had a relationship?” John looks down at the table.

“Sherlock and I never exactly had late-night heart-to-hearts so I don’t really know. I have never known him to be seeing anyone. But he can be rather secretive about things, I suppose. I’m sure he could hide it if he was.” Greg shrugs.

“You think he would hide it from me?”

There is a long silence where they both drink and John stares blankly at a television in the corner.

“I’ll get some more drinks. Shots, maybe?” Greg manages to look both hopeful and afraid at the same time.
***
When Sherlock wakes up, it is still dark and John is looming over him, clutching several of the pants he had thrown out the window in each hand as though they are evidence against him. “200 pounds worth of poncy pants, Sherlock. Thrown out into the trash. You’re lucky that I found them before your homeless network did.”

“Second-hand pants don’t have much street value, John, not matter how poncy they are.” Sherlock turns his head so his face is buried in his pillow and wraps the sheet more tightly around himself. It is odd having John in his bedroom, hovering over him. “Anyway, I don’t want them anymore. They weren’t working out.”

“You didn’t actually wash anything.”

“No. I did throw some things out the window though.”

John flops down on the bed with a sigh. Shocked, Sherlock turns his head towards him and smells the alcohol on his breath as he exhales. John wraps his coat more tightly around himself and closes his eyes, seemingly preparing to go to sleep.

“You’re drunk.”

John remains silent.

“If you’re going to sleep in my bed, at least take your shoes off.”

“Says the man with moss blankets and pubic lice.”

Sherlock turns his head away on the pillow and waits to feel John heave himself off the mattress. Instead he feels John tossing and turning until he arranges himself into a comfortable position and settles in.

After about ten minutes, John speaks again.

“Greg and I decided that you probably ordered them online and infected yourself for a case. Said you don’t do sex as far as he knows but that he doesn’t really know know. I guess no one know knows except you. Well, you and anyone you’ve had sex with. And the lices, lice, I guess they know. They should know. Where they came from and all.” John’s breathing slowly deepens into snoring. Sherlock turns towards him, watching him until he knows he is deeply asleep. He runs his finger lightly down John’s nose and continues to look at him for a few minutes before closing his eyes.

****

When Sherlock wakes the space next to him in the bed is empty. He can hear John moving around, trying to make breakfast very quietly. He dresses and makes his way into the kitchen, sitting down and opening the paper with a flourish. John looks up at him and then looks away quickly.

“Sorry. I must have been pretty pissed last night. Didn’t mean to…intrude.”

“It’s fine.”

“I was serious about the washing, Sherlock, and there is an ointment you have to get and really you should see a doctor and get some testing done if you…”

“There aren’t any.”

“Aren’t any what?”

“Pubic lice. I lied.”

“Who the hell lies about having pubic lice?”

“Me, apparently.” Sherlock flicks to the next page of the paper he isn’t reading.

“I wouldn’t have to buy them.”

“What?”

“Last night, when you came in, you said that I probably ordered them from the internet.”

“Okay.”

“I could get them the usual way.”

“This is probably the strangest conversation I’ve ever had with you. Which is saying a lot.” John sits down at the table and rests his head in his hands. “Are you sure there are no pubic lice?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“Well, I didn’t find any on myself. Is this for a case?”

“No.”

John just stares at him while Sherlock keeps his gaze steadily fixed on the paper.

“Just drop it, John.”

John opens his mouth and closes it again. They finish breakfast in silence. Apparently, John is not leaving the flat today.

“Don’t you have to go to work?” Sherlock makes direct eye contact.

“No. Are you trying to get rid of me, then?”

“I have an appointment.” He is going to have to come up with some sort of appointment quickly.

“With a person?”

“No, with a lamp post. Of course with a person, John.”

“Oh. Are you going to wear your new pants?” Relieved of his worry about the lice, John is apparently in a teasing mood again.

“Can’t see how that’s any business of yours.” Sherlock mumbles and raises the paper to hide his face.

“Well, be careful. I don’t have to go through the whole putting a condom on a banana thing with you, do I?”

“What? Why would you need a condom to eat a banana?”

“Never mind.” John’s smile broadens and he is fighting laughter now.

Sherlock huffs and puts a coat on, slamming the door as he leaves the flat. Why should the thought of him having sex be so funny to John? He is walking too quickly with his head down and nearly runs into a couple standing in front of him.

He is busy examining a corpse a few hours later when his mobile pings with a text. He fishes it out of his pocket. John.

Are you coming back soon?

He shoves it back into his pocket. Twenty minutes later, another text.

I’m sorry.

He silences the phone and puts it into the inside pocket of his coat.

Hours later he is walking again, waiting for darkness to settle over the city. He opens his phone to more texts from John.

Look, can you just let me know where you are?

I suppose I’m interrupting your appointment, aren’t I?

Are you going to be home for dinner?

Fine, Sherlock. I’m going out for a few hours. If I don’t get a text indicating that you are alive I will contact your brother.

Somehow, this irritates him further and he wants to throw the phone onto the pavement and step on it. He is tired of John treating him like a child. John stays out for entire nights and doesn’t contact Sherlock. He’s not fifteen. He doesn’t have a curfew. He texts back quickly and then silences the phone and shoves it back into his pocket.

I’m fine. Please leave me alone. -SH

There is no way he is coming home tonight.
****
Three hours later Sherlock is sitting in a plush booth at an extremely discrete and high class club. He has indicated that he doesn’t want company at the moment and sits sipping an expensive whiskey, gazing into the distance. The club owner catches his eye and he shakes his head slightly.

Sherlock watches the scene, the agreements made between two (or sometimes more) individuals with a touch of a wrist and a flick of the eyes. He examines the men available, moving around the room either smiling or attempting to project an air of mystery. They are undeniably beautiful, but he feels nothing but an abstract appreciation of their forms. Nothing stirs in him. Nearly all of his prior attempts in this realm have been failures and he would rather not repeat the humiliation, not even with someone paid to overlook his deficiencies.

He remains seated at the booth, silently drinking himself further into his dejection. He thinks over his ridiculous behavior with John and hopes they can move past it, never speak of it again. Sherlock begins to observe less and less as the alcohol takes effect. He is looking down at the table when he notices a pair of highly polished shoes appear next to him, crisp trousers cut to show strong calves and thighs to advantage.

Sherlock sighs when the man sits down across from him and begins to voice his objection.

“Well, at least let me sit with you for a minute.”

Sherlock’s eyes widen and his mouth drops open as he realizes he has been joined by his flatmate, dressed in a suit that had been purchased for a case.

“I thought you liked this suit. You picked it out for me, after all.” John tries to smile but then begins to pick at the lapels of the jacket, looking uncomfortable. They sit in silence for a few moments.

When Sherlock speaks his voice comes out a bit choked. “You’ll have to forgive me. For a moment I thought you were moonlighting as an extremely well-paid sex worker.” He didn’t mean to say that at all.

“What? All Mycroft told me was that you were at a very poncy restaurant and that I would need to dress up and use his name to get in.”

John begins frantically scanning the room and his face reddens. He gives Sherlock a panicked look. “Oh… Oh…I’m so sorry. An appointment. I was just worried. You’re fine. More than fine. None of my business of course.” John babbles as he rises and bangs his knee on the table. He starts opening his wallet, and to Sherlock’s horror, produces some ancient condoms and attempts to palm them into Sherlock’s hand. Sherlock closes his eyes. “Be careful, huh?” He picks up Sherlock’s whiskey and takes a long drink. He pauses and drinks the rest of it.

“Oh, for the love of…” Sherlock bends his head over the table and covers his face for a few seconds and then grabs John by the wrist, dragging him towards the exit. Standing up and attempting to move quickly makes it apparent that he is much more inebriated than he initially thought. He’s still unsteady when they’re standing in the alley behind the building and John is holding him by the elbows. Sherlock opens his mouth to implore John to please forget about this entire incident when he realizes that John is smiling down at the ground.

“You thought I was a prostitute?” John looks up and meets Sherlock’s eyes.

“Just for a moment.”

“Sounds like one of those role play games. The sulky consulting detective and the rentboy. Down-at-the-mouth super sleuth deduces the hooker with a heart of gold and ends up finding love in all the wrong places.” John is giggling. “I suppose we would have to switch round if it were going to be a role play though. Not that I’m really a prostitute.” His smile broadens and he lifts his head to examine Sherlock’s face. Sherlock automatically smiles back for a second before he remembers that he is angry and whips around and strides down the alley.

“Sher—“ John has to trot to catch and keep up with him.

“What part of the request ‘leave me alone’ is so difficult to understand? I even said please!”

“I’m sorry I laughed about…the prostitutes.” John is obviously attempting to be serious but his face cracks into a smile at the last word. Sherlock is suddenly furious. He stops walking and turns to face John, narrowing his eyes.

“For god’s sake, John, do you think I need someone to follow me around and laugh at me? I already know that I’m ridiculous. I don’t need your constant commentary. LEAVE ME ALONE.” He all but roars the last sentence and John suddenly pales. Sherlock does not stay to examine him further but heads to the main street to hail a cab. He leans his head back against the seat and considers going somewhere else to spend the night. Sherlock sighs when he realizes that this will only result in his handlers continuing to track him. He may as well save everyone the trouble and return home.

Back at the flat, he shuts the door to his bedroom and pulls off his clothes, flinging them to the floor. He wraps the sheet around himself and lays back on the bed, turning to bury his face in the pillow.

***
About an hour later he hears the door to the flat open and shut. He hears John humming as he walks towards his door. There is tapping and then “Sherlock? Are you awake? Can I come in?”

Sherlock tucks his sheet tighter around himself and pulls the duvet up to his ears before murmuring “Yes.”

“Are you there?”

He wraps himself in the duvet, flings the door open, then throws himself back on the bed. John comes and stands inside the door, just slightly unsteady.

“Stopped for what, two pints?”

“Sorry. I needed a drink after that.” John comes and flops on his bed, face down.

“This is becoming a pattern.”

“Problem?” John turns his head to look at him.

“No. You’re not that drunk, though.”

“I just want to talk to you.”

Sherlock is about to instruct him that any conversation can wait until morning but then John would probably leave and he realizes he doesn’t really want that. There is something about talking to him while lying together on the bed.

“Talk then.”

To his surprise, John turns over and begins running his fingers over his hairline and tugs gently when he gets to the end of the curls. He pushes the hair to the side, fishes in his pocket, and then clips it with something plastic. He pulls back to consider his work in the light coming in through the window.
This is not what Sherlock was anticipating.

“What just happened?”

“Your hair is always in your face. It bothers me.”

“So you put a plastic hair clip in it.”

“I found it on the street when I was walking home.”

“You put a plastic hair clip you found in the street in my hair.”

“Yes. It’s blue. Brings out your eyes.”
Sherlock turns his head into the pillow and wonders if he has gone insane. Or John has gone insane. Or possibly both of them.

“Why are you in here?”

“You’re angry with me.”

“So you decided to style my hair with things you found on the street.”

“Am I bothering you?”

There is silence for a few seconds.
More silence. Sherlock wonders if John has fallen asleep.

“Is it true?” John is looking up at the ceiling.

“Hm?”

“That prostitutes won’t kiss you.”

“They certainly don’t kiss me. Or fix my hair.”

John rolls to face him. “I didn’t know you did that.”

“What?”

“Uh…interacted with prostitutes.”

“I don’t. Not really.”

“I didn’t know you had sex at all.”

Sherlock turns to bury his face in the pillow.

“I have, but it doesn’t usually work. There have been attempts, but mostly they’ve had to be…aborted.”

“What doesn’t work?” John looks up at the ceiling. “Oh. You mean your…”

Sherlock panics. “No, it works in general. Just not in company. Usually. Most company. At least when it’s expected. Sometimes when it’s not expected it does. I haven’t tried in years.”

“Well, there are different options to treat erectile dysfunction…” John has apparently gone into shock and slipped into robot doctor mode.

“You sound like you’re going to hand me a pamphlet.”

“I have some. Not here. At the surgery. Do you want one?”

“Oh for God’s sake. I don’t want one of your pamphlets. It works. Let’s just drop the whole subject.”

John keeps looking at him and then strokes his thumb up one of his cheekbones. He is looking at his mouth.
“John, are you having some sort of personal crisis?”

“I don’t think so. I told you, I didn’t know you did that at all.”

“Oh.” Sherlock flops over so that his back is to John.

“Come back.”

Sherlock flops back. “I’m not sure I understand what’s going on here.”

John just continues to stroke his face, over his eyebrows. His hand is somewhat shaky and his fingers slip down and prod Sherlock in the eyeball.

“Is poking people in the eyes normally part of your approach to foreplay?” He hadn’t meant to say that at all. Foreplay. Sherlock turns and buries his head in the pillow.

“No, that’s special. Just for you. Are you coming back?” He can hear the smile in John’s voice.

Sherlock does not respond.

“Do you want me to go?”

Sherlock reaches out to clutch at John’s wrist. “No.” He hesitates before turning his face back. John reaches out again and begins to trace his lips. He takes his thumb and pulls at his lower lip a little. He is squirming closer. Both of them are breathing rapidly.

“Are you high?” Sherlock blurts out suddenly and wraps the sheet around himself more tightly. John rears back and blinks. His expression becomes slightly annoyed, more familiar, and Sherlock relaxes a bit.

“No, of course not.”

“Are you sure? Someone could have put something in your drink.”

“No one put anything in my drink.” John sighs. “You’ve ruined the mood now.”

For some reason, Sherlock’s throat gets tight and his voice is a little choked. “I’m sorry. I just don’t understand what’s going on.”

“What do you think is going on?” John has turned onto his back again.

“You don’t have sex with men.”

“Never mind. Just go to sleep.” John throws his arm across his eyes. He is silent but still breathing heavily. After another minute he sits up and cracks his neck.

“Are you leaving?”

John doesn’t respond.

“Stay. Just give me a minute. Don’t turn around.” Sherlock quickly unwraps the sheet and pulls a pair of pajama trousers and a t-shirt from the floor. Once he has them on, he touches John on the shoulder. “Okay. I’m ready now.”

Sherlock lies very still on his back. No one moves for a minute. “Just do what you were going to do, John.”

“I thought we were going to talk first.”

“Talk, then!” Sherlock is tense and getting snappish.

“I don’t know what to talk about any more.”
Sherlock’s nervousness has turned to exasperation and he sits up and throws a pillow at the wall. “Just do it! Jesus Christ! What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?”

Now John looks almost angry. He sits up, pivots, and pushes Sherlock back onto the bed. “Alright. Just…be quiet.”

Sherlock feels like he might be sick. John just stares at him and then moves to take the clip out of his hair. “That was adding a whole extra dimension of weirdness to the situation.”

“I thought it was some kind of kink or something,” Sherlock mumbles, closing his eyes. He keeps his eyes closed as he feels Johns hands on his shoulders. He feels John’s closed mouth push against his lips and knows that he should open his mouth but he just can’t. He grips the sheets with his hands. The nausea returns.

“John, I think I might be sick.” He doesn’t open his eyes but rolls over to his side and pulls his knees into his chest.

“I’ll take that as a no then.” John sighs and leans back on his elbow. “Never actually induced vomiting before.”

“No. No. Just give me a minute. Stay right there.” Sherlock locks his hand around John’s wrist. They listen to each other breathe for a few minutes.

“Sherlock, do you want this or should I go?”

“Stay. Just give me a little time.”

“Okay, as long as you want. I’m just going to close my eyes a minute.” John promptly falls asleep and begins snoring. Sherlock sighs but stays awake the rest of the night, tracing his finger up and down John’s arms and legs, resting his head on John’s pillow and practicing how he will angle his head to kiss him.

He becomes particularly brave when John seems to have drifted into a deep sleep and actually presses his lips to John’s. John stirs but Sherlock leaves his mouth there, slowly breathing in and out with him. He presses his hands to the sides of John’s face and feels that his eyes have opened. Sherlock moves his lips, licking a bit into John’s mouth and suddenly John’s mouth is moving against his. They stay like this for what seems like a long time, just breathing and slowing pressing their lips together when John reaches over and pulls Sherlock flush against his body.

John runs his hands lightly over Sherlock backs and Sherlock pulls back to look at him. John smiles. “Seems like it’s working right now.”

Sherlock closes his eyes. “Do shut up. I never should have told you that.”

John’s fingers tease at the waistband of Sherlock’s pajamas and Sherlock sighs against him. John dips his hands down the back and runs his hand up and down the silky underwear. “Ah. My favorite pair of pants. We’ll have to have them framed.”

Sherlock smiles against his neck. “I have some photos you might be interested in. We can make a collage.” He clutches John closer to him and tangles their legs together, thinking of how now they will move John’s clothes into his room and he can index John’s pants in the drawer right next to his. He may even have to make some new purchases on John’s behalf.