It's near dusk when John unlocks the front door of the house at Cavendish Place, and he immediately pauses in the foyer, listening. The air seems too quiet, too - still, perhaps is the word he's wanting. Mary is not a loud person, generally, but Holmes is here in the evenings now more often than he isn't, and sometimes his very existence seems loud to John.
Not that John minds. Holmes is simply an undeniable presence.
"Mary?" he calls, putting his overcoat away before unbuttoning the jacket he wore underneath and loosening his cravat. He'd gone out to visit a small number of patients who paid very handsomely for him to attend to them in their homes, and after that he stopped at the chemist's for a few things.
"We're upstairs, darling," he hears her reply, voice floating down the stairs.
So Sherlock is here, and if they're both upstairs... Aware that his boots are muddy, and of Mary's newly beaten rugs, John removes his boots and lines them up underneath his overcoat in the hall closet. Then he goes up the stairs and knocks once to announce his presence before going into the bedroom. Mary is seated in the chair that they keep to one side of the bed and sewing, or at least looking like she's sewing. Holmes is on the bed, his arms tied by the wrists to the bedposts with what looks to John like a soft cord of some sort. His eyes are closed, but his breathing is somewhat uneven.
"Hello, darling," John says, bending to kiss Mary hello. "Has Holmes been naughty?"
"Not this time," she replies with a smile, returning his kiss. "Sherlock has been practicing his quietude while we waited for you to come home."
"Upon which your conversation is intruding," Sherlock drawls from the bed.
Mary sighs, and John hides his smile. "Now you've disappointed me," she says to Sherlock. "Well, I suppose John will have to decide what to do with you now."
"Ah! A doctor's orders."
This time John doesn't bother to hide his smile, and Mary returns it, rather wickedly. "I do think the best punishment for a Holmes is to have to remain still and quiet, and reflect upon whatever it is he's done that made Mrs. Watson tie him to the bed," John says, then, "I'm going to change my shirt before dinner, I think."
Mary sets her sewing back in the basket. "Shall I help?"
Sherlock's foot twitches at that, but he stays silent. John hears his breathing quicken for a moment, then return to a steady and clearly consciously slow rhythm. He unfastens his cufflinks as Mary unbuttons the front of his shirt, that same smile pulling at the corner of her mouth. John asks, "Is Holmes joining us for some supper?"
"I suppose that's up to him," she replies.
John doesn't dare look at Sherlock, who would no doubt smirk, and instead waits a few moments to see if Sherlock will answer of his own volition. He doesn't, and Mary winks at John. "We won't leave you like this for more than fifteen minutes, Sherlock," she tells him, as John pulls on a fresher shirt. "Remember: stillness."
Sherlock makes a soft noise and his foot moves slightly again, but his eyes stay closed.
"I think this is good for him," Mary says on the stairs.
John turns up his sleeves. "There's always been a part of Holmes that enjoys being told what to do just as much as he enjoys rebelling against it. And I do believe he likes it especially from you, my dear. He has no patience for women that behave in any way like wilting flowers."
"I do enjoy telling him what to do," she says in a firm voice.
John can't help but lean in and kiss her at that, and they kiss for several moments before he feels Mary shiver. She whispers, "Supper, John. There will be plenty of time for kissing later; you know it drives Sherlock mad when he's forced to watch and not touch, and can't leave."
That makes John shiver. "Indeed."
Since Holmes' return - found passed out on the chaise lounge in their living room when they returned from their proper honeymoon, awoken sputtering by Mary calmly flicking a bit of water in his face, but then looking as delighted at seeing them as John felt at seeing him alive - he's been quite the fixture at their address. Fixing a broken part of the stove for Miss Ford after her loaf of bread went completely up in smoke. Testing his new sedatives on Gladstone, much to John's continued dismay. Arriving only to read a single chapter in one of John's books, murmuring quickly to himself as he does, and depart again. Mary gave him a key at that point, as well as strict instructions that if he broke into her house one more time now that he had means of legal entry, he would be officially disinvited for at least a month.
"You would send me away and leave me to stew in punishment with Mrs. Hudson?" he asked, looking shocked, one hand clutching at his cravat.
Mary looked anything but shocked. "I would. You shouldn't try me, Sherlock."
"You really shouldn't," John added, sotto voce.
Holmes got a gleam in his eye, but he used the key from that day forward.
It was the day he'd arrived quite late, with a few flowers in one hand and an unlabeled bottle in the other, that things changed distinctly. Mary put the flowers in a glass of water in the sitting room, and John filched the bottle to sniff it carefully. Brandy. "Did you bring this to share?" he asked, and reached for the small cordial glasses without waiting for Holmes to respond.
"Sherlock, help me finish up the measuring for this jacket before we have a drink," Mary said, and held up the garment, shaking it out slightly.
"Certainly, my dear." Holmes slipped out of his own jacket. It appeared new to John, very clean and quite sharp on Holmes, and he realized that Holmes was clean-shaven and quite fresh-smelling for once. For a moment, he contemplated asking, but Holmes was now wearing Mary's unfinished work and holding completely still as she moved around him holding several straight pins.
"Now you're the experiment," John couldn't help but say, and he didn't miss the smile that flashed across Mary's face, nor the slight shake of Sherlock's hands.
He watched as Mary finished the last few joins with the straight pins, how she carefully smoothed the material over Sherlock's shoulders. He twitched at that as well. "Careful," Mary murmured to him, adjusting a seam. "The pins are sharp."
"Holmes has had worse," John said. He was aiming for a kind of informality in the words, but instead they sounded as though he was nearing flirtatiousness. Sherlock glanced up, meeting John's gaze, with an expression that John would classify as almost startled on his face. "Did Mary get you with a pin?" John asked, even though he was sure she hadn't.
Sherlock made a quiet noise, his gaze darting everywhere except towards John or Mary, and the slight movement of his body was visible to John a few metres away, and must have been clearly felt under Mary's hands. "Honestly," she scolded. "Do you have some complaint that requires a doctor?" John's breath caught in his throat, clearly audible. Mary looked at him, her gaze even. "As there is a doctor right here, willing and able," she continued, not breaking eye contact with John.
"Mary," he murmured, but smiled.
"I should go," Holmes announced hurriedly. "I - I arrived empty-handed, how thoughtless of me! Ouch, Mrs. Watson!"
"Shut your mouth and be still, you're not going anywhere," Mary said firmly, in her best Governess voice.
Holmes did as he was told. John took a few slow sips of the brandy - actual good brandy, he guessed from Armenia, despite Holmes' strange unlabeled bottle - and Mary finished her work on the jacket a few moments later. She helped Sherlock maneuver out of it, and John watched her hands linger on Sherlock's back and waist, knowing he was purposefully watching, and understanding most men would be overcome with jealousy to see their wife touch another man in such a way.
But John was not most men, and neither was Holmes. And Mary was no ordinary woman.
"Thank you, Sherlock, that was lovely," Mary murmured at that point, and put the pinned jacket carefully over a chair. Realization dawned on John - it was no doubt to be a gift for Sherlock.
It took Sherlock a moment to reply, his gaze moving between the two of them, clearly assessing. "I would be willing any time, my dear." His voice was low. This time it was John who shivered. "Watson, are you sharing that brandy, or keeping it all for yourself?"
"Ah, I can share."
Holmes reached for the bottle and John moved it away. "Sit down, Holmes," he said, and Sherlock hesitated only briefly before taking a seat on the settee, within touching distance. John poured him a glass. "Mary?"
"Yes, thank you darling." She finished putting away her sewing things and waited for John to finish pouring, then settled carefully on John's lap with her glass in hand. "Was there an occasion, Sherlock?"
"Confusion doesn't suit you. An occasion for the flowers and the brandy?" The hand not holding her glass found John's and squeezed lightly, and John stroked his thumb over her wrist.
Holmes shook his head. "No, no occasion. Are you certain I shouldn't go? It is late, after all."
"You've barely arrived. Do you have something important you need to awaken early for?" John asked. For a moment, he wondered if Holmes would say yes so that he could make an escape, and they would never speak of this strange feeling in the air again.
"No," Holmes said then, in that way he did sometimes, where he seemed to be picking up the thoughts straight from John's mind. "No, I daresay this is more important."
"I'm glad to hear it," Mary said.. Then she turned her head and kissed John sweetly, the taste of smooth brandy on her tongue. John returned the kiss, cupping her face with his free hand.
"Would you do me a favor, darling?" she asked when they parted.
"I think Sherlock needs to be kissed."
"Of course," John agreed, because this was where he'd been expecting the night to go from the moment he saw the flowers held too tightly in Sherlock's hand.
To Sherlock he said, "Object now, or hold your tongue."
"You hold it," Sherlock challenged, clearly more at ease now that the three of them had come to an agreement.
John knew his smile was sharp. "I intend to."
He'd kissed Sherlock once before, one night a long time ago, before Irene broke Sherlock's heart, before John had ever met Mary, one night when they'd both been considerably under the influence and it had seemed like a good idea to John to lean over and put his mouth to Sherlock's.
That was nothing like this. The weight of Mary on his lap for one. And Holmes was clean-shaven, his cheek smooth where it slid against John's before John found his mouth. Brandy on his lips, yes, but also menthol. He'd tried to freshen his breath before coming to them.
John heard Mary's surprised inhale as he kissed Sherlock a little harder, and touched Sherlock's tongue with his own. Then Sherlock shuddered hard and pulled away. His face was red, and his gaze unfocused. He reached up to press his fingers to his mouth. Then he started, "Watson -"
"We are all adults in our right minds," Mary said quietly, and leaned forward to brush her lips over Sherlock's.
"I - I must think on this," Sherlock said, the words fast. He tossed back the remainder of his brandy and set the small glass on the table in front of them. "Keep the bottle."
Then he sprang up and snatched his jacket from where it lay, and departed in a hurry.
Mary remained on John's lap, sipping her brandy. After a few moments of silence, she said, "I'm not certain if that went better or worse than I expected."
"You had expectations? I endeavor not to, when it comes to Holmes."
She leaned her forehead against his with a soft sigh and John stroked her cheek. "Do you think he'll return still tonight?"
"I would assign that a high probability," John replied, because he wouldn't put it past Sherlock to be gone ten minutes and then burst back into the room, for better or worse. Less than ten minutes, even. "What would you like to do, my love? Wait here a few minutes, or go up to bed?"
Mary pulled back enough to look him in the eye, her gaze unwavering. "That was our intended outcome, right? We didn't discuss this outright before, but I -"
"Yes," John hurried to say. "Yes, as long as that's what you want as well."
"It is." She kissed him again, longer this time. Against his mouth, she whispered, "Do you think he was actually surprised? It's not as though we both haven't been almost unbecomingly flirtatious since he returned."
"I find your flirtatiousness towards Holmes incredibly becoming," John murmured, stroking light fingers over her neck.
A smile tugged at her mouth. "I would remind you most men would not, but you are not most men."
She finished what remained in her glass, and John finished his, and then he began to undo the long row of small flat buttons that ran from the nape of Mary's neck down to her waist. "This should take me ten minutes at my slowest, so we'll give Holmes at least that," he said, and was rewarded with a rich laugh.
"I suppose it's best that I gave Miss Ford the night off," Mary said. "You'll take my hair down as well?"
"Ah, yes. But let me finish some of these buttons first, or your hair will cover them and I'll make a tangled mess out of everything."
"So practical, my love."
John leaned in and kissed the back of her neck as it was exposed, and Mary sighed softly. "How did that compare to the first time you kissed him?" she asked, the words barely above a whisper.
"I hardly remember the first time," John replied. "We were both out of our heads on drink. I do remember the room was spinning, even though I was on the floor. For some reason we were in my bedroom, which was unusual - I was always almost always in his rooms when I wasn't working or asleep."
"He probably had at least six experiments that required looking after."
"You're not wrong there."
"So what else transpired?"
"He passed out right after. I remember moving him so that if he was sick, he wouldn't choke, and then I crawled far enough to find something to use for a pillow and passed out myself. It wasn't until hours later that I realized what I'd been using for a pillow was Holmes' thigh. Not that he complained."
John slipped a few more buttons free and kissed the newly exposed skin of Mary's upper back, above the top of her chemise. They hadn't officially been expecting guests, so she wore her tea dress without a corset. John figured Holmes didn't actually count as a guest these days.
Mary made a soft pleased noise. He'd undone enough buttons now that her hair wouldn't get caught in them, so he began to slowly withdraw the pins holding it up in place, and pieces began to curl down her back. As he did every night, John slid his fingers through it carefully, loosening the places where the strands kinked oddly from being pinned up all day, until all of her hair hung free.
There was an obvious clatter from the second story and Gladstone woofed quietly from the place by the fire where he'd curled up after Holmes had departed. "That'll be Holmes breaking back in," John said, voice dry. "Should we make our way up before he comes down all askew?"
Mary slid off his lap onto her feet. "It would certainly be easier to undo the rest of my clothing upstairs," she said, and took his hand.
"Stay," John told the dog, who barely blinked.
Holmes sat in their bedroom, in the chair next to the bed where John sometimes hung his jacket and Mary her petticoats. He was a bit flushed, and there were several streaks of dust on his trousers.
"You weren't subtle," John informed him.
"I did not endeavor to be subtle," Holmes replied saucily.
Mary crossed her arms over her chest, which shifted her loosened dress slightly, and John knew Holmes would be able to tell it was not done up in the back. "What did I tell you about breaking into my house one more time, Sherlock?"
"That I musn't," Sherlock muttered, pretending to look up into a corner of the room.
"Undress me," Mary said, and John watched Sherlock's gaze snap back to her. She'd gotten his attention in an instant, with two words. John felt a swell of pride.
"As you wish, Madam," Sherlock replied, sounding as he always did - but John could see his hands were shaking.
Mary stepped forward and kissed him, cupping his face, then murmured something John couldn't make out.
"I only want to know you're certain about this," Sherlock said. "Both of you."
John sat down on the edge of the bed. Evenly, he said, "We are. The offer would not have been made if either of us had any concerns about wanting you in our bed, Holmes."
Sherlock nodded, and proceeded to carefully slide Mary's tea gown down off her shoulders, and to help her free her arms from the close sleeves. John could see him frown at the few buttons at the waist that John himself hadn't undone, but then his fingers moved swiftly and the skirt loosened. He and Mary both caught the gown before it could fall further, then he helped her step out of it, leaving her in the chemise, drawers, and stockings.
Holmes stopped. "I know you've gotten a woman out of her underthings before," Mary said. She tapped her foot.
"How a lady ties up all her garments occasionally requires some observation before the untying can begin," Sherlock replied, and Mary laughed, full and beautiful. John's breath caught in his throat and he had to swallow hard. It was becoming increasingly uncomfortable to keep himself still on the bed and only watch; he wanted to put his hands on them both.
Holmes untied and loosened, then shot John a triumphant look. Lastly, he eased Mary's stockings down her legs, and when he pressed tender kisses to her calves, John could not contain the sound that slipped out of his mouth.
"Now John," Mary said, with her own triumphant look, and quickly hung up her clothing before she sat naked in the chair to watch.
Sherlock came over to John. "Hello, old friend," he said, smiling. John was pleased to see the smile reached his eyes.
"Hello, darling," John replied, and he caught Sherlock's mouth in a warm kiss, one hand gripping Sherlock's thigh firmly as he did.
"I do believe this shirt will lift right off," Sherlock said, taking hold of the hem. "Do raise your arms, Doctor."
John was loathe to release his grip on Sherlock's thigh, and slid his hand left to cup Sherlock's very obvious manhood - causing him to jump - before lifting his arms so Sherlock could pull the shirt up over his head. "At least I know you're adept at unfastening trousers," John said.
"That makes me sound a tart."
John attempted to look his most innocent, and Sherlock chuckled. "Stand up for me?"
John did, and Sherlock made quick work of John's trousers, saying, "I have seen this before."
"When we were young and often debauched," John said to Mary, who merely lifted her gaze heavenward as though she didn't believe a word either of them said.
"Young," Sherlock scoffed, and yanked John's drawers down with a firm tug and without ceremony. The air was cool on John's skin. "There. Like Adam and Eve."
John kissed him, and enjoyed the feel of Sherlock's body against his own even through Sherlock's clothes. "What do we do with him now?" he asked Mary when he and Sherlock parted.
"On the bed, Sherlock," Mary said firmly, rising from the chair. "After you remove your jacket and shoes."
Holmes did as he was told, and without argument, although he looked as though he was about to say something several times. John put his arm around Mary as Sherlock untied his shoes, and kissed underneath her ear. "Plans, my love?"
She stroked a gentle hand over his chest. "Shall we see where things go naturally?"
Sherlock settled in the center of the bed and gave them a haughty look. John tsked him. "Perhaps Holmes needs a blindfold so he can't look at us like that," he suggested to Mary.
"Agreed." She went to the chest of drawers and found what looked to John like a scarf. "This should do."
"That will do nicely," John said, over the soft noise that escaped Sherlock's mouth. "You protest, Holmes?"
Sherlock arched a brow. To John's expert eye, he looked warm, flushed. "And if I did?"
"I would insist you wear it anyway," Mary said, and walked to him. John saw Sherlock shiver beneath her touch as she wrapped the scarf around his head, covering his eyes. "All right? Not too tight?"
Sherlock seemed to be breathing a bit faster. "It's not uncomfortable."
Mary kissed him, a sight John found even more captivating now that Holmes was blindfolded. Holmes didn't move his hands, either, simply kissed back at the same pace Mary was kissing him, clearly letting her control things. It made John shiver. He wondered if Sherlock would let them do as they liked. It seemed like he might. John got onto the bed on Sherlock's other side, and put his hand on Sherlock's hip, squeezing.
"Hello, Watson," Sherlock murmured, and resumed trading kisses with Mary.
John had been in that position before, where his wife wanted to be kissed until she was dizzy with it, which meant John usually ended up dizzy as well. What he could see of Sherlock's face was flushed and his mouth was red, and his hands twitched every few seconds like he wanted to touch. John slid up behind him and gathered Sherlock's hands in his own, and felt Sherlock's whole body jerk against him. "Ssh," he breathed. "Let her kiss you, she enjoys it."
Sherlock made a small noise. John saw the corner of Mary's mouth curve in a smile before she pressed a kiss to the spot on Sherlock's neck where his pulse throbbed visibly. "Do let me, darling," she whispered to Sherlock, and brought their mouths together again.
John fit himself closer to Sherlock. He settled Sherlock's hand on Mary's hip and, still holding the other, began to loosen Sherlock's clothes. Not to take them off, but to slip his hand inside and stroke gently over Sherlock's skin. "Ah, John," Sherlock murmured. "Thank you."
John kissed his neck, then Mary's. Sherlock moved a bit, clearly battling his usual restlessness, then asked, "Mary, may I touch you?".
Sherlock slid his hand from her hip to between her legs. "Here?"
"Yes." She kissed him briefly. "Yes, like that - oh."
John watched over Sherlock's shoulder, aware he was pressing his own interested member against the lower curve of Sherlock's buttocks. Mary's eyes drifted closed, and her mouth went slack where it brushed over Sherlock's mouth. Sherlock's hand moved slowly and John could guess what he was doing by the flex of tendons in his wrist and the visible part of his palm, and also by the noises Mary was making.
"Oh, Mrs. Watson," Sherlock said, like he was surprised.
Mary started to laugh. "You say that like John and I don't have a very active and satisfying marital relationship."
"Well, I would expect nothing else from healthy and beautiful adults such as yourselves," Holmes replied, in that tone of voice he gets when Mary's again matched him, a thing John has always enjoyed witnessing. "What I didn't expect -" he stopped, and John saw the small frown flicker across his face, so quickly it's barely there at all.
"You didn't expect we'd like to share it with you?" John asked in his ear, hitching his hips up against Sherlock again so Sherlock can really feel him there.
Sherlock tipped his head back and kissed the corner of John's mouth, off-center and clearly not aiming, only pressing his lips to the first skin encountered. "I did not expect."
"Oh, Holmes." John kissed him hard. "You couldn't deduce?"
Mary laughed again at that, and turned Sherlock's face so she could kiss him as well. "You've stopped moving your fingers."
"Ah, apologies," John heard Sherlock murmur, then, "Do let me remedy," and Mary's low moan. He unbuttoned a few more of the buttons on Sherlock's shirt, which allowed him more access. He toyed gently with Sherlock's nipple and felt him shudder.
Then he slid his hand down to cup Sherlock's erection, and whispered in his ear, "Bring her to completion with only your hand, Holmes, and I'll do the same for you." He traced light fingers over Sherlock's cock - not enough pressure to do more than tease - in what he hoped was a clear promise.
Sherlock hummed, then asked, "And what of your own pleasure?".
John pushed his hips hard against Sherlock in answer.
"I won't be able to leave in these clothes," Sherlock said.
Mary's laughter trailed off into a moan. "I think - oh, my, oh - you could borrow some of John's. Tomorrow."
"Whatever will the help think," Sherlock said, or at least John thought he attempted to say, because the words were interrupted by Mary's loud gasp. "A satisfactory pace, madam?"
John decided Holmes was certainly living up to his end of the bargain. He unfastened Sherlock's trousers and slipped his hand into Sherlock's drawers, then wrapped his fingers around Sherlock's cock. Sherlock groaned, and John smiled against his neck. "Very nice, Holmes," he said. "Perfect in my hand. And some wetness here at the tip that will make the slide easier."
He caught Mary's eye and smiled as Sherlock outright trembled. "How's he doing, my love?"
"I'm very close," Mary breathed, and John felt Sherlock shake even more. "If you'd press a little harder with your thumb, Sherlock - ah!"
John leaned over Sherlock to press his mouth against Mary's shoulder as she trembled through her release. Sherlock felt like a burning ember between them, soft noises escaping him now almost non-stop. Mary took a deep breath, hair falling over her face, then stretched lazily and asked, "All right, Sherlock?".
Sherlock lifted his hand and licked his fingers clean. That was more than enough answer for John and he stroked Sherlock a bit faster, keeping himself in contact with Sherlock's backside. The material of Sherlock's trousers provided a wonderful friction against his skin. Holmes murmured something John couldn't make out, and Mary brought her ear to his mouth. "What's that?"
Sherlock said it again. Mary smiled widely, almost wickedly, as she met John's gaze. "He likes being held between us."
"Good, Holmes," John said in his ear, tightening his grip a slight amount, and Sherlock keened, and spilled his seed all along John's hand. "Perfect."
Sherlock sucked in a long breath. "Watson - please use me."
John did, and made a mess of Sherlock's trousers. Mary watching made it feel even more intense, and at one point, Holmes reached back to grip John's thigh firmly.
"Very nice, Watson," Sherlock sighed, as John rubbed his face slowly over Sherlock's neck, attempting to re-gather his wits.
Mary leaned over Sherlock to kiss John. "You both look beautiful. Next time, though, we won't make Sherlock stay in his clothing, right, John?"
John chased her kisses for a second, still keeping one hand on Sherlock's hip. "Indeed we won't."
And they haven't, unless things happen quicker than Sherlock can be stripped, or he asks to remain dressed. Often he'll be tied up while still clothed, and lose things piece by piece. John thinks he's satisfied, and wonders if he's happy. He does seem to be misusing various chemicals less.
"It's hard to drug yourself when you're tied up in someone else's bed," Mary murmurs, when John voices this thought, softly in her ear as he thrusts into her from behind. Holmes is occupied between her thighs, his hands now tied behind his back. Every so often John feels Sherlock's tongue on his prick, and the dual sensations make him shiver. The first time they'd done this particular thing, Holmes had reached climax without even being touched, a fact Mary remained triumphant about for the next several nights.
John's hoping to finish Sherlock off with his mouth tonight, as a reward for remaining still, and not becoming impatient and freeing himself, while John and Mary ate their quick meal in the kitchen. There's a dish on the dresser for him, brought up by Mary and waved off by Sherlock who then announced, "I have other appetites at the moment. Remove your clothing."
Mary cries out and goes rigid between them for a moment. The sound Sherlock makes causes John to follow in his own release only moments later, then he slips around Mary to take Sherlock's cock into his mouth. "Ah, Watson," Holmes sighs.
John feels a hand touch his head - that's right, Sherlock's are still tied, so it must be Mary. "Lovely," he hears her say. "You can be loud, Sherlock, there's no one else in the house tonight."
That's the permission Sherlock must need, because John hears him groan. He's clean, smelling of skin and arousal, and he moves his hips just slightly, muscles flexing where John's hands rest on his thighs. John relaxes his jaw and breathes through his nose, and lets Sherlock do this.
Sherlock lasts half as long as he expects.
John feels a little bit smug as he dampens a handkerchief in the bowl of water on the wash stand and wipes his face. Holmes has collapsed on his back towards the foot of the bed, and Mary is sitting up, an indulgent smile on her face. "Holmes," John says. "Brush Mary's hair before we turn in for the night, will you?"
"Hm? Of course."
"Not in the bed," Mary says, and stands up. Holmes follows, languid. John hands him the clean hairbrush. Holmes goes slowly, working from the bottom up. John puts on a nightshirt and slides back into the bed, puts an arm around Sherlock's waist as he brushes the last of the city dust from Mary's hair, then plaits it neatly. "I didn't know you knew how," Mary says, touching the braid.
Sherlock scoffs. "I daresay I could accomplish a style much more complicated given five additional minutes."
"I'm going to hold you to that," Mary says, giving him a look over her shoulder. "Now get a nightshirt, Mr. Holmes, I don't want to dirty these sheets any more than we have tonight."
"Are you going to put this in your memoirs, Watson?" Holmes asks once he's gotten back in the bed, sounding drowsy, the words mostly a mumble against the back of John's neck. Somehow John always ends up in the middle, even if they'd started to all fall asleep with either Mary or Sherlock in the middle.
"I doubt our activities would be suitable reading for the masses," John replies dryly. "Although I suppose I could publish anonymously. The scandalous tale of a famous detective's sexual habits."
Mary's laughing softly now, and John presses his face to her neck. "I'm certain we could make some money from that, darling," she chuckles, running a hand gently over John's thigh. "And then we could keep Sherlock in the soft ropes to which he's become accustomed."
Holmes' shudder at that is evident. "Always a practical woman."