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It's Not About Pasta

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"I want you to kiss me."

Lestrade started out a sound sleep. One might say the sleep of the just, but Lestrade had been around too long to believe that was entirely true. More like sleep-of-the-occasionally-petty-but-trying-very-hard. That sounded about right.

He realized that he was up on his elbows and wasn't certain how he'd got there. His head flopped in the direction of that voice, and he saw Sherlock Holmes sitting not two feet away in a chair he was certain hadn't been there when he'd gone to bed.

"Where'd you get that chair?" he asked.

"From your table. And don't ask how I got in here. It's so simple even you'll figure it out."

Lestrade was tempted to bury his face in his pillow and hope this was all some strange dream. So he did, and groaned into the cheap foam recesses. "You burgled my flat. You fucking well burgled my flat. What are you doing here at bloody—" he glanced up, confirmed the time, and then dropped his face back into his pillow, "—two in the morning. Jesus Christ."

"I explained that already."

Lestrade realized that Sherlock wasn't going anywhere. He would sit there like a bleeding sphinx until Lestrade relented. And if there was anything that Lestrade had learned about their relationship, it was that he would relent. He pulled his face from the blissful darkness of his pillow and forced himself to sit up. He ran a hand through his hair, feeling it bristle.

"You want me to kiss you," he said at length, trying to wrap his mind around that. He was aware that Sherlock was always accusing him of being slow, but at two in the morning he has reason. "For God's sake, why?"

Sherlock didn't respond. Lestrade peered at him through the semi-dark. His brow was furrowed, and then he said, short and sharp, "That's irrelevant. Will you or won't you? I don't have all night."

Lestrade rolled his eyes. Of course the man waking him out of a sound sleep—the first in five days—would say that he didn't have all night. "Not until you give me an explanation, no. I won't."

Sherlock glared at him like a surly child. After a lengthy stare-down, Sherlock finally huffed and said, "John's on a date."

"Yes, well, people do that. Pretty common, from what I hear."

Sherlock looked on him with dispassion. "You don't." His eyes flickered over the room. "Dust on the bureau, at least several week's worth. Hamper full. Socks in the corner. If you had a date, even bearing in mind the uncertainty of such a venture, you would have cleaned up prior to. You've not had a date in at least a month. Perhaps longer."

More like a year, although there was no way he was telling Sherlock Holmes that. Besides, from his little smirk he'd already surmised as much. "Do you know," Lestrade said, "reminding a fellow of his lack of a sex life isn't the best way to convince him to kiss you." Before Sherlock could go off on some other tangent, Lestrade said, "So John's on a date. So what?" He narrowed his eyes. He'd always rather suspected it of the man, but . . . "Are you jealous?"

Sherlock scoffed. "Of course not! Don't be ridiculous. I simply don't understand why he's wasting his time on the improbable chance of finding love, however one goes about that. And why on Earth must he go about it for an entire evening? As if a chance meeting on the street and subsequent pasta could tell you anything about a person that a single, thorough look could not."

"Maybe for you. For the rest of us, pasta is something of a help."

"That makes no sense," Sherlock said. There was an edge to the words, a strange sort of plaintive something that made Lestrade want to reach across the distance between them. He didn't, of course. He knew full well that Sherlock would bite that hand off before he accepted any form of pity. "If he must have company during such dinners, I am available."

"Pretty sure it's not the dinners he's after."

Sherlock waved a dismissive hand. "Eh. Sex. Boring."

"Clearly you haven't had the right sex." Sherlock sent him an irritable look. In one of his odd moments of insight, Lestrade corrected himself. "Or any sex, perhaps."

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Sex is messy, impractical and unnecessary. There are ways of getting a jolt of endorphins that doesn't involve bad coffee and awkward dinners."

Lestrade nodded, things finally coming clear for him. "And John's still out there, likely having it."

"That's an assumption not based in fact."

"Fine. He hasn't come back to the flat because he's joined her knitting circle. But sex or knitting circle, he's not back from his date, and you don't understand why. And that galls you. Hence your breaking into my flat at two in the morning, hence you demanding I show you precisely why he'd go to all the trouble and the pasta. Am I right?"

Sherlock wouldn't look at him. "Those were all easy deductions to make."

"And you think one kiss from a man you're not even interested in is going to explain it all? Not likely."

"My interest, or universal lack thereof, is irrelevant. I can't imagine John is terribly interested in this girl either, but it hasn't stopped him. Now, you are the most painfully ordinary person I know who will still speak to me. John is on a date, and is therefore eliminated from this experiment. You are the only option."

And with that, Sherlock grabbed Lestrade by the t-shirt and hauled him in close. The kiss was hard, flat, and determined. Lestrade was relatively certain he'd bruised his nose on Sherlock's cheekbone. They pressed together and didn't move for several moments. Finally, Sherlock released him and sat back.

"I still don't understand," he concluded.

"Not with a kiss like that, you wouldn't!" Lestrade rubbed gingerly at his nose, hoping the damage wouldn't show at work.

Lestrade could hear Sherlock grinding his teeth. "This is why I asked you to kiss me, you imbecile. You have . . . greater knowledge in this one area."

Oh, how those words must have galled him. Lestrade loved it more than he should. "I will remember you said that," he said.

Sherlock attempted to wave it away. "Yes, yes. Get on with kissing me or throwing me out of your flat. Your wit is boring."

And really, seduction by insults only worked on the telly. But the challenge had been laid down, and it wasn't every day Sherlock Holmes admitted that there was any area other people had more knowledge in than him. Lestrade swung his legs off the side of the bed so that their knees bumped. He cupped Sherlock's face and considered his options. He'd thought about this in the past, both as idle speculation and a way to shut Sherlock up, but never in the context of a dare. The anticipation built as he studied that milk-white skin. Teaching Sherlock Holmes about something illogical was an insurmountable goal, but some wicked part of him was rather interested in having a bit of fun while failing.

He brushed a barely-there kiss against Sherlock's cheekbone, and then another, and then another, working his way out toward his ear.

"Your aim is off," Sherlock said, cool and curious all at once.

"That assumes you know my target."

"I always know—" Lestrade worked his way down to the angle of Sherlock's jaw and pressed his lips right underneath it, adding a slight suck. Sherlock's words were cut off by a harsh breath.

"No," Lestrade muttered, breaking the pressure for the ghost of his words on skin, "you don't." He scraped his teeth gently over the same area and felt Sherlock's hands flutter at his shoulders.

He listened as he worked, waiting for the increased rate of breathing, feeling under his lips for a quickened heartbeat. There was an art to kissing, and though he couldn't claim to be a master by any stretch of the imagination he hadn't done so badly for himself. Before the madness of being a DI coupled itself with his troubled genius of a consultant and foiled any hope he might have had of a normal life, he had been rather good at all this. He wondered if Sherlock knew that it wasn't his first time with a man, but doubted it. That sort of thing was irrelevant to Sherlock Holmes until you lay dead in front of him.

Only now Lestrade had Sherlock's full attention, and he had no intention of losing it until he was ready. He teased that spot until Sherlock's breath was ragged. Then he pulled back. Sherlock's eyes were dark. For a moment of vertigo Lestrade was put in mind of that day two years before when he'd walked into Sherlock's hovel of a flat on Montague Street and found him sprawled on the settee, ODing on cocaine. Bleeding idiot, thinking he could best something like that. For all his pretensions, he was just a man.

Lestrade nipped at Sherlock's neck to drive out the image. He cared too bloody much; that was certain. More than he'd ever let on to a self-centered bastard like Sherlock. Lestrade found another spot just over the pulse of the jugular that made Sherlock's hands clamp down hard on his shoulders and pull. Another winner, then. Who knew that a man made of bleeding marble would be so damn sensitive?

He pulled back to admire the red mark that slowly formed. Let John puzzle over that the next time Sherlock took off his scarf. The hands on Lestrade's shoulders slid up to the sides of his neck. Sherlock's eyes darted across his features as though he was trying to puzzle something out. Lestrade had seen that particular stare directed at more than one crime scene or corpse, but having it turned on him was something altogether more intense. Lestrade felt his stomach clench, and the voice of reason in the back of his head clamored for him to stop before he got himself in too deep. His life was too full already without adding inappropriate feelings for a sociopath to the list.

Sherlock's dark eyes still reminded him of ODs and cocaine, mocking him, telling him he was too late. He'd been in too deep for years.

Lestrade broke away and hopped up. "Pardon me," he said, trying to cover his retreat as something intended, "but if you want me to kiss you properly I'm going to need to brush my teeth. Don't want to put you off at this point, do I?"

He went to the bathroom and brushed his teeth with brusque efficiency. After a second he used a bit of mouthwash as well. Anything to give him time to gain the necessary perspective. Besides, Sherlock wasn't all that fastidious, but he was also more than a bit mad, and Lestrade wasn't about to neglect those details Sherlock was so very in love with.

He left the bathroom, only to find Sherlock ten steps ahead. His greatcoat was crumpled on the floor, his scarf on top, and his shoes in opposite corners of the room. The rest of him, all lanky limbs in charcoal trousers and a wrinkled white dress shirt, was reclining on Lestrade's bed.

Just as soon as he thought he had hold of himself, Lestrade was thrown into a tailspin. "Oi! What are you doing?"

"Logical progression," Sherlock said. "We'd already discussed that the root of the problem was not kissing, but sex. I should have thought that was obvious. Did you brush your teeth? Yes, you must have. I heard the sink go, which isn't conclusive in itself, but the small flecks of toothpaste on your neck are." He smiled like a razor's edge. "A bit eager, were we, Lestrade?"

Lestrade sighed, feeling ridiculous doing this in a t-shirt and flannel trousers, but grateful he had that much. He rounded the bed and sat on the side not currently occupied by a ruddy great length of amateur detective.

"I'm not having it off with you," he said.

Sherlock's smile vanished. "Why?"

God save Lestrade from geniuses and madmen, and especially from men who decided to be both at once. "Call me an old sentimentalist, Sherlock, but this is definitely something you should do with someone you're interested in." And unequal feelings led to nothing but disaster, he added to himself.

"You pose a false dilemma, assuming that because I've shown no romantic inclinations toward you they must lie somewhere else. I have none, and therefore cannot predicate sexual relations upon that criterion. Your argument is invalid. Kiss me again."

"No."

"Why not?" Sherlock had the temerity to act frustrated. As if he had been the one woken from a sound sleep by a curly-haired headcase demanding a tumble.

"Because you're insufferable," Lestrade said, ticking points off on his fingers as he went. "Because you expect to have things your way that you've no right to demand. Because you broke into my flat, woke me up on the one night when I could have got a proper amount of sleep, and demanded sexual favors. And mostly because I'm not your fucking guinea pig, Sherlock. Go find that girl from the morgue. She'd do it and more besides."

"I don't want a girl, and especially not Molly."

"Is that . . ." Lestrade wasn't certain how to ask if Sherlock was expressing some sort of genuine preference without receiving a verbal blistering. "Never mind. You tell me, genius: why in hell would I do this? I realize what's in it for you. Understanding a huge part of the human condition would be important for you, particularly considering how many people kill for love and lust. But what do I get out of this?" Sherlock was fiddling with his buttons as he spoke, and it was a struggle for Lestrade to keep his glances above Sherlock's neckline. At last he gave up and clasped Sherlock's hands to still them. "Stop that," he muttered.

Sherlock looked at their clasped hands and then back up at Lestrade. His eyes were wide, and Lestrade had to remind himself that Sherlock's innocent looks were products of lucky genetics and practice.

"You're interested in me," Sherlock said into the hush between them. "You never would have kissed me if you weren't; not after what you said. Sex would be a reward in itself."

"If I was interested," Lestrade said, making very certain he emphasized the 'if', "has it occurred to you that I'd want more than one experimental tumble?"

Sherlock's eyes narrowed, and for a second Lestrade thought he would simply leave. Then his expression was wiped clean with no hint at all what was going on inside that head. Sherlock freed one hand to cup Lestrade's cheek. Lestrade realized he was inches away from Sherlock, each of them breathing in the other's air, speaking in hushed tones, kiss close. What was it about this man that made Lestrade give in without even realizing he had done?

"You're practical," Sherlock said. "You'd take what you could get."

The assumption put Lestrade off, as did the basic gap in understanding. Sherlock couldn't imagine resisting sex because you wanted someone too much, because you couldn't stand the idea of tasting what you couldn't have. He started to draw back and shrugged. "Maybe I'm just contrary by nature."

Sherlock moved like a striking snake, one moment reclining and the next having flipped Lestrade onto the bed. He'd barely recovered from the almighty bounce and the spring digging low into his back when Sherlock's mouth was hovering an inch away from his and those long fingers were stroking at him through his t-shirt.

"Please," said Sherlock.

Oh, dear God, but Sherlock couldn't possibly know what that one word on his lips did to Lestrade. He was rooted to the spot, flat on his back, and the word sizzled across his skin.

Sherlock pressed a kiss against his mouth, darting and bird-like. "Please," he said again, following it with another light brush of lips. He learned quickly.

This was a manipulation, and an obvious one at that. Sherlock would say whatever he thought necessary to get what he wanted with no real truth behind his words. But the sound of it, the plea caught at Lestrade in the most unexpected fashion.

"Please," Sherlock concluded, "I need to know this. I need to understand."

When they came together they crashed, as always. For a second it was a confused jumble of teeth and lips as Lestrade tried to wrest control of the kiss back from someone who was equal parts eager and inept. Finally he just moved. He didn't have the grace or speed that Sherlock possessed, but he had two decades on the job. He rolled hard, bringing one knee up to Sherlock's side to ensure he came too, and Sherlock Holmes was flat on his back underneath him for a change.

Sherlock blinked up at him. "I didn't know you could do that."

"What? Not something you could read in me with one long look?"

"Shut up."

"Funny, I was about to say that to you." Lestrade kissed him, but each time Sherlock tried to take over he pulled away. Sherlock growled in frustration. "Calm down, won't you?" Lestrade whispered into his ear, then sucked the lobe into his mouth and scraped it with his teeth as he was letting it go. Sherlock shivered. "If you want me to show you something you're going to have to follow for a change."

Whatever Sherlock was going to say in response was cut off with another kiss, just as soft as the others, but Sherlock's lips had gone pliant and there was no way Lestrade was going to resist that offer.

There was a sweet sort of hesitation in the way Sherlock mimicked his parted lips. He wanted to know what this was like, but participation was perhaps something else entirely. Taking things slow was the only course to ensure that Sherlock wasn't spooked. The first tentative brush of a tongue against his own bottom lip startled Lestrade from his review of the game plan, and he chased it with his own. For a minute it was like shadowboxing. Tongues brushed, but scarcely connected long enough to be registered. And then it was nothing like shadowboxing. Then Sherlock's tongue wrapped around his and he was fully engaged. The kiss went from gentle and easy to hard and demanding in an instant, and it was all Lestrade could do to keep ahead of the curve, showing Sherlock what he enjoyed and consequently searching out the things that made Sherlock's breath catch, or even better made him moan. It was low, barely within the audible range, and it reverberated against Lestrade's lips.

He was barely aware when the body under him suddenly lacked a shirt. There one moment, gone the next, and his hands were gripping the soft skin and sharp clavicles of a nude torso.

Lestrade broke away, dazed to see that the shirt was, in fact, halfway across the room. "How—" he started, but was cut off by his own shirt being yanked over his head. Then it was all skin against skin, and fucking hell, but he hadn't had this for more like three years. He wasn't at his best when it came to saying no.

They were kissing again then, and Sherlock was a quick learner always. His lips and tongue and teeth all knew what to do and how much pressure to use, and Lestrade's head was swimming with arousal. Sherlock's hands were stroking again, reading him like Braille, and when his fingertips brushed against Lestrade's nipples they were greeted with a groan and an involuntary grind.

Sherlock broke away just long enough to mutter "interesting" in a register deeper and rougher than any Lestrade had heard him use before. Lestrade used his thumbnail on Sherlock's chest, scraping with the barest edge of pressure. Sherlock's hands fell away from him, and he sat back just a little to get the proper view and let his legs take the weight and get his other hand in on the action.

Sherlock's expression was puzzled at first, and then surprised, and then a bit shocked. Then his eyes closed and he bit his lower lip as he got torn between arousal and analysis. Damn genius never even imagined that sometimes the best thing to do was to stop thinking.

Lestrade kept on, watching, waiting for a cumulative effect. He wanted, more than anything, to see this mad genius come quite undone. He kept on until Sherlock was panting, until it was difficult to concentrate on that and not on the little pulsing thrusts of Sherlock's hips under his. Sherlock's hands clenched and unclenched the blanket, and finally he let out a soft, shattered noise. Lestrade leaned in and ran his tongue across one of Sherlock's nipples. The response was electric. Sherlock arched into him and twisted, crying out and grasping at Lestrade's hips. Then one of his hands twisted snake-quick and started down the front of Lestrade's flannels.

Lestrade caught the wrist and held it tightly. "I'm not having it off with you," he said, and the tenor of his voice made him sound like a liar. "Not if it's going to be just once."

Sherlock stared up at him out of pale eyes half-obscured in a tangle of curls. His lips were swollen and there were two hectic spots of color on his cheeks. His chest heaved with his breathing. Lestrade waited for Sherlock to say something.

Sherlock's tongue darted out to wet his lips, and Lestrade tried not to focus on its progress. "My dear Lestrade," he said, and his own roughened voice would have melted lesser men. "The proof of a good experiment is repeatability."

Lestrade shook his head. "Come again?"

"I'm interested, you moron," Sherlock growled, and then shoved. Lestrade was now the one on his back, and Sherlock's hand curled around his cock with an arrogant assurance. Lestrade let out a harsh breath and forced his hips still. "Use your reason," Sherlock kept on, his lecture unhindered by his attempt at a handjob. "If I was so very curious about sex that I would seek out any normal person who would speak to me, I would have done this years ago, likely at university. If John's dating habits were the cause I would have sought you out far earlier than this, or haven't you noticed that he rather excels in that area?"

Sherlock added a twist of the wrist that almost made coherent thought impossible. Somehow Lestrade managed to get out, "So, what? You say you're interested, but why tonight? Were you lonely?"

Sherlock's face twisted in enough irritation that Lestrade realized he'd got it in one.

"I'm right, aren't I?" he said. "Your flatmate left for more feminine company, and you got lonely."

"Shut up."

"You got lonely and came to find me."

"You're pathetic."

In response, Lestrade started whistling the opening to 'One is the Loneliest Number'. Sherlock shut him up with a kiss, and he had to admit that he'd rather set himself up for that one. He still couldn't quite believe that this was happening, or that Sherlock wasn't just pushing his manipulation a bit further, but his hands were already in Sherlock's hair, and his hips were surging against Sherlock's fist. He untangled the fingers of one hand to undo Sherlock's flies, fumbling a bit with all the buttons in his unwillingness to break the kiss and look down. Then Sherlock's hands batted his out of the way, deft and assured as the rest of him proved to be. Lestrade busied himself shoving both trousers and underwear down and off, hoping once the fabric got past his reach that Sherlock might take a hint and kick them somewhere.

Sherlock returned the favor, and once Lestrade had wriggled out of his flannels Sherlock sat back. His eyes took in every detail. Lestrade felt more like a crime scene than a lover. Maybe he was getting used to Sherlock's oddities, but somehow that was an even bigger turn-on.

Sherlock was a study in contrasts: white skin and ink black hair half-obscured by deep shadows. Lestrade ran a hand down his side, feeling the softness of his skin and the heat rising off him.

Sherlock quirked an eyebrow at him. "Do I meet with your approval, then?"

"Christ, but you're gorgeous," Lestrade said before he could think, and then felt the inevitable embarrassment that followed that sort of declaration to a man like Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock merely smiled and looked, if anything, rather pleased. "I must admit to having similar irrational thoughts about you at this moment," he said. "I suppose the hormones and such can be blamed if I think you to be altogether the most attractive man I have ever met."

"Definitely the hormones."

"I'm certain I'll revise my opinion the next time I see you looking particularly dull at some crime scene." The sting was taken out of the words by the way Sherlock licked his lips.

"Shut it, you ponce," Lestrade said, and then jerked Sherlock down against him.

After that, everything became a blur of sensation: the nap of Sherlock's hair between his fingers, the heat and then cold of a tongue tracing itself against his chest, the pinprick-intense feel of Sherlock's teeth catching at his nipples. Lestrade reached between them and found Sherlock's prick, hot and heavy and thick in his hand. Sherlock's groan was nearly a whine and his eyes were wild as Lestrade stroked him. It felt like they were riding the edge of some precipice, but wasn't that always the way with Sherlock? Madness, genius, revelation, wonder, terror, disgust, delight, and orgasm all compressed in a single act.

And then Sherlock twisted and scrambled down. Of course Lestrade knew what he was about, but couldn't quite believe it until Sherlock's brilliant, arrogant mouth closed about him.

"Fuck!" he shouted, hoarse and desperate. He squeezed his eyes closed out of reflex, but opened them again because the sight of that particular man sucking him off was the most incredible thing he'd ever seen. Those soft lips, that clever tongue, the curls that were in the bloody way . . . Lestrade swept them back with a shaking hand, taking a good grip but not trying to force Sherlock to do anything. It never worked.

And then Sherlock's gray eyes opened, and he looked up. Lestrade could sodding well feel him smirk around his cock, and could feel the chuckle vibrate through him. He threw his head back, his vision already whited out, and he came in pulses. He might have shouted. He knew the silence afterwards rang in his ears and he felt like his every nerve had been lit up. Christ, but it had been too long since someone had done that for him, and for it to have been Sherlock Holmes . . . he shuddered in an echo of his orgasm.

Sherlock, he realized, had already drawn back. Moreover, he was spluttering like a cat dropped in a bath. He had a shocked, disgusted look on his face, and a strand of cum on his cheek. "That," he said, "was a much worse taste than I was given to believe. You had best—"

Lestrade shoved him flat before Sherlock was able to kill the mood altogether. He ignored the heaviness in his limbs and swallowed Sherlock's prick to the root. It had been longer than a year since he'd done this, and it took a few seconds to remember how to properly relax his throat and not choke himself. The way Sherlock's words were cut off in a pleading, wordless cry made it more than worth the effort.

Sherlock's hands grabbed at his hair and dug in. He had about as much courtesy as Lestrade had come to expect when he pushed and pulled and fucked his mouth. Lestrade gave as good as he got, making up for his lack of overt control by varying the suction and using his tongue against the head. He found and focused on the bundle of nerves immediately under it, and Sherlock's cries rose, sharp and desperate. His rhythm shattered, and Lestrade sucked him down, swallowing about his cock as he came, shaking and pulling Lestrade's hair.

He pulled off once Sherlock had gone soft in his mouth, jaw aching. Sherlock was sprawled in his bed in a boneless sort of satisfaction, his face pink and his breathing still shaky. Lestrade risked a quick kiss. He thought about licking the cum off Sherlock's cheek, but rather liked the look of it in the end. It completed that thoroughly debauched air about him.

"Get it now, do you?" he asked.

Sherlock's gaze was hazy, but a hint of his old sharpness lurked somewhere under post-coital exhaustion. "As I said, I'll need several more duplications of this experiment to be certain."

"Duplications are boring," Lestrade said, loving the feel of Sherlock's favorite word in his mouth. "Let's step things up next time, eh?"

Sherlock's eyes widened as he considered, and the anticipation on his face nearly did Lestrade in. He'd known for five years how addictive it was to be the center of this man's attention, and being so in such a sustained fashion was even more incredible. Sherlock looked away, and for the second that the attention dropped away Lestrade's fears returned tenfold. He'd allowed himself to be vulnerable with a man to whom one should never show vulnerability. Sherlock could hurt him badly now, and likely would the second he felt petty or cruel. This was a terrible idea. The momentary bliss wasn't worth—

"Curry first, I think."

"What?"

Sherlock gave him a look. "Next time I rather think we should go for a curry first."

Lestrade was shocked into laughter. Bleeding hell, was Sherlock Holmes asking him on a date? The entire world had been turned on its head. "What?" Lestrade asked, "not pasta?"

"Of course not. Pasta is a pathetic excuse for a courtship ritual."

"And curry is?"

"Curry is delicious. It can also be spicy enough to dull the taste of anything that might come after."

Lestrade rolled his eyes and laid back, basking in Sherlock's warmth all along his side. "Right," he said, "curry it is, then."

There was a moment of silence, and then Sherlock said, "If you don't mind, I think I'm going to fall asleep. Or, frankly, if you do mind. I'm not certain what, if any, awkward sleeping habits I might have. No one has been in a position to tell me. I expect you'll deal with them as they come up."

"Sherlock."

"What?"

"Go to sleep, you overgrown hair-do."