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Sherlock stared up at the ceiling. One of his arms dangled over the edge of the sofa, and one was placed carelessly over his head.

“I’m dying,” he announced.

Mrs. Hudson tutted as she brought a tray of tea and biscuits over to the coffee table. “You’re not dying, dear,” she told him. “You just need a nice case. That’ll cheer you right up.”

Sherlock refused to look at her and shut his eyes, trying his best to look like the corpse he would soon become. “I’m dying,” he said again. It had been days since anyone had even been up to check on him, and he had been in an even worse state without an audience nearby. Now, at least, he had Mrs. Hudson to fuss over him, and that was better than being abandoned up in 221B, left on his own to wither way into nothing.

As soon as his landlady was no longer looking at him, having retreated into the kitchen, Sherlock reached over and grabbed one of the biscuits off the tray. He ate it quickly, not wanting his hunger to be obvious.

Sherlock,” Mrs. Hudson called, sounding much like she’d done when she had discovered the toes in the fridge.

The man in question looked up to see what had horrified her. He grimaced when he caught sight of the sink, on the verge of overflowing.

“What have you done to the sink?” she asked disapprovingly. “This had better not be part of one of your experiments. Oh, and the toaster.” She moved over to that obviously damaged appliance and examined it. Her little exclamations continued for a bit, but he didn’t bother listening to her list all of the other items he had placed under distress.

“I’m dying, Mrs. Hudson,” he called, shutting his eyes once more, “so perhaps you could get me some more biscuits instead of worrying about the state of the kitchen.”

She carried on lecturing him about needing to not destroy things, but she did get him his additional biscuits, so he counted the interaction as a success anyway.

 


 

Three days later, Sherlock had managed to get himself out of the flat. After ages without a case, Lestrade had finally phoned him. Of course, as it turned out, the case was painfully simple, and Lestrade was only able to keep him occupied for the duration of the morning. As he re-entered 221, feeling that crushing boredom beginning to take hold once more, Mrs. Hudson popped her head out of 221A.

“Sherlock, dear, I meant to tell you before you popped off, but there’s a very nice man fixing up your flat a bit,” she said.

Sherlock’s mood almost immediately got worse. He glared at his landlady. “Mrs. Hudson, what have I told you about letting strangers come into my flat without my permission?”

Mrs. Hudson’s expression turned firmer, as if daring him to continue along this path. “221B is my flat, young man, and I am letting you stay in for a very low price, so I can let in repairmen when I see fit.”

Sherlock groaned and tossed his head back.

Mrs. Hudson smiled, clearly knowing that she had won their little argument. “Do be nice to him.” She retreated back into her own flat—which was undoubtedly free of strangers—and Sherlock glared at her door.

He would not be nice. He was very good at driving people away when necessary, and he would put those skills to the test right then. He stomped up the steps, determined to make as much noise as possible and to be such a nuisance that the repairman would eventually flee the premises. He flung the door open, letting it bounce off the adjacent wall, and he opened his mouth to say something rude, and—

And the repairman was the most attractive man he had ever seen. He stood there, in the kitchen, his too-tight T-shirt clinging to him over a fine sheen of sweat. His hair was sticking up a bit where he’d run his hands through it. It was a military haircut, Sherlock noticed, which fit with the overall stature of this man. He was strong and held himself like a soldier, and Sherlock had always loved a military man, and, damn, he was staring.

The repairman smirked and took a few steps toward him. “You know, with all that stomping on the stairs, I was expecting more than just a slender little thing like you,” he said.

Sherlock couldn’t quite get his mind to cooperate with him. He had no idea how to respond, and he couldn’t even begin to think of words to string together. He ought to be better at such things by this stage in his life. He was twenty-four and should have been prepared to handle hot military repairmen standing in his flat, smirking at him, looking so unbearably handsome.

“I’m John,” the unbearably handsome man said, wiping his hands on a scrap of cloth he must have brought with him before holding one out toward Sherlock.

Sherlock, unsure what else to do, stepped up and shook the repairman’s hand.

“Are you the quiet type, then?” John the repairman asked. His tone was teasing, and Sherlock again was struck by how little he knew about navigating such situations.

“You were going to be a soldier,” he blurted out, because his mind, in its current addled state, was only capable of repeating back the last deductions it had made.

Although John hadn’t been moving much before, after that comment, he froze completely. Even the air around him seemed to come to a halt. When he started moving again, it was mainly to look down at his feet and then back up at Sherlock, as if checking to see if the man was actually there in front of him. “How could you possibly know that?” he asked.

“Your stature,” Sherlock told him.

John raised his eyebrows, apparently unimpressed with that explanation.

Sherlock rolled his eyes, his confidence in his deductions overriding his horrible social skills. “You’re currently standing at ease.”

John blinked and glanced down at himself, appearing almost surprised with the fact that, yes, he was indeed standing at ease. He shifted awkwardly, clearly working to get himself out of that habitual stance. He looked back up at Sherlock. “Amazing.” And he really did sound impressed now. His lips had quirked upward into a little smile, and his eyes seemed to be sparkling, which didn’t seem strictly but was clearly happening nonetheless.

Sherlock felt a jolt shoot through him, almost like his heart had been shocked by the simple word of praise. He focused on the kitchen table just beyond John’s arm, unable to stare directly into those sparkling eyes any longer. “It was obvious.”

John took another step toward him, and while there was still quite a bit of space between them, Sherlock’s heart rate accelerated at having any distance between them removed. “Can I get your name?”

“Sherlock Holmes.” Like an idiot, Sherlock began reaching out to shake John’s hand again, and upon realising that they had already done that bit, he brought it up to run through his hair instead. The intention behind that movement was apparently not lost on John, who laughed in a way that made Sherlock feel simultaneously embarrassed and comforted.

“Pleasure to meet you, Sherlock Holmes,” John said, and he again was smirking that smirk that made Sherlock’s knees weak. “I think I’m about done in there.” He tilted his head in the direction of the kitchen.

It took Sherlock a painfully long time to comprehend precisely what John was referring to. “Oh,” he said at last when his mind began functioning properly again. “Oh, right.”

“Bit of a mess, but it should all be good as new now.”

Sherlock stood there, and John stood there, and they stared at one another for a moment. John’s expression was amused, and Sherlock tried to keep his expression relatively neutral.

“Oh,” he said again, startling himself into action, because he suddenly remembered that payment was necessary in exchange for services like this. He pulled his wallet out of his pocket and began flipping through it. “How much do I owe you?”

John laughed again in that embarrassing-yet-comforting way. “You know what? Don’t worry about it.”

Sherlock frowned at John, bills already in his hand ready to be passed over to the repairman.

John’s smirk was back in place, and he took another few steps toward Sherlock until the heat from his body could just about be physically felt. “For you, Sherlock Holmes, there’s no charge.”

And then John winked at him.

John, the handsome military repairman, winked at him.

Sherlock’s mind—like the hard-drive to which he always compared it—crashed.

Sherlock wasn’t entirely sure of anything after that. Given what he knew about himself, he was fairly certain that he had just remained in that spot, going over what had just happened again and again and again, all while John carried about his business and eventually departed. When Sherlock’s blinking eyes focused on the physical world once more, he noted that John and his tools were gone and that he was still holding his wallet.

“Christ,” he breathed into his now-empty flat.

And—for reasons entirely unrelated to John—he began looking around the room at his furniture, wondering what, if broken, would require a repairman’s assistance.

Chapter Text

Sherlock managed to hold out for one week. In those seven days, he kept himself busy by taking a number of private cases. He was still starting out his career, and while some cases did seem to be too boring to warrant his investigative skills, he was trying to build up his reputation and couldn’t afford to be too picky. Beyond that, it was really very difficult to turn people away when they included lines like, “You’re really the only hope I have,” in their emails to him. So he kept busy, taking every case of petty theft and runaway spouse the he was offered, but eventually his expedience caught up with the number of messages in his inbox, and he was left without any way to occupy himself once more.

While his boredom had previously hit him rather hard, his current state was quite different. Although there were no more cases, he still had a great deal to occupy his mind—namely, John Watson, whose surname he has learned from Mrs. Hudson. Sherlock had been unable to keep the man from his thoughts, muscular and handsome and soldierly as he was. And so confident. Sherlock had met many confident men in his time, but John Watson was the first man he’d met who deserved to be that way.

He was a bit obsessed, and the day his last case ended, he wasn’t able to keep that obsession from going to work on his flat.

Sherlock,” Mrs. Hudson said when she brought a plate of food up for him one afternoon. She was using that reprimanding tone that she so often took with him.

Sherlock glanced up at her from where he sat on the kitchen floor, the insides of the toaster scattered about him. “You may want to hire that handyman again,” he responded calmly.

--

Sherlock spent the majority of that following morning preparing himself. He showered and shaved despite the fact that his facial hair was minimal enough to likely go unnoticed. He spent nearly an hour obsessing over which trousers to wear, wanting to properly accentuate his arse, and the shirt he chose to go with those trousers was pale blue and remarkably tight. He evaluated himself in the mirror: professional but still a bit twink-ish. It was perfect.

As he heard the door to his flat open, no doubt Mrs. Hudson letting the repairman in, Sherlock fussed with his hair and straightened out his shirt once more before emerging from his room.

John smiled at him immediately from where he had set himself up in the kitchen. His eyes scanned up and down Sherlock’s body, and Sherlock felt himself heat all over. “Good morning,” John greeted.

“Good morning.” Sherlock made his way into the kitchen and propped himself up against the doorway so that he could watch John as he set to work on fixing the sink.

The handyman stuck his hand down the drain and pulled up a damp piece of cloth. He turned to look at Sherlock with raised eyebrows. “You know, I don’t think you’re supposed to attempt to clean out the pipes by shoving a flannel down them,” John said, clearly amused.

Sherlock grimaced. He hadn’t actually paid much attention to what he had done to the flat in order to get it into a state worthy of John’s expertise. “I have no idea how that got down there,” he said, jutting his chin out with pride he didn’t feel.

John didn’t look convinced. “Sure.” He tested out the draining capability of the sink and, satisfied, moved over to the kettle, which Sherlock had partially disassembled.

“Would you like some tea?” Sherlock asked, the sight of the kettle prompting him to remember those manners he’d been chastised about neglecting when growing up.

John laughed at that. “I’m afraid tea is off the table until I get this thing fixed.” To accentuate his point, he held up the insides of the kettle.

After that, Sherlock wasn’t quite sure what to say that wouldn’t make him look like even more of an idiot, so he stood there, watching as John moved about the kitchen—which, in hindsight, probably made him look even more like an idiot than speaking would have done.

Nearly an hour passed before Sherlock got the urge to speak again. “You were shot in the left shoulder,” he pointed out.

John did that same thing he had done last time where he froze for a moment, this time in the middle of brushing sweat off his forehead, and the position that resulted made Sherlock almost glad for having shocked him. “Have you been stalking me?” His tone was empty—not awed, not angry, not threatening, not anything. It was as if he was bracing himself, preparing to react in any way that he deemed necessary after Sherlock’s answer.

Sherlock shook his head. “No, of course not,” he hurriedly clarified. “We established already that you were a soldier, but you’re clearly not in the military now. You don’t seem to have actually gone off to war, so something must have happened before you were sent abroad. The way you move—you favour your left shoulder. It’s clearly been injured, and given that I know you never made it off to war, the injury must have been severe enough to warrant invalidation. Being shot in the left shoulder would fit, then.” He waited for a moment, but John didn’t reply automatically. “Was I right?”

John seemed to come back into action at that. He shook his head and smiled disbelievingly, which helped Sherlock to relax a bit. He hadn’t driven him off. “Incredible,” John said.

Sherlock felt himself stand a bit taller at the praise, unused to it as he was.

“You should be a detective when you get older,” John went on.

Sherlock rolled his eyes. “I’m already a detective.”

John raised an eyebrow and looked at him doubtfully. “They’re starting you young at the Yard.”

Sherlock made a face. “I don’t work for Scotland Yard, and as I’m already clever enough to solve crimes, I don’t see the need to wait until I’m older to start putting my skills to use.”

John held his hands up in front of him. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend.” He dropped the flannel he’d been holding in one hand back onto the countertop. “So, if you don’t work for the Yard, what sort of detective are you?”

“I’m a consulting detective,” Sherlock responded proudly. He’d only just recently come up with the title for himself, and he rather liked getting to tell people about it. “Only one in the world. I often take private cases, but sometimes a DI over at Scotland Yard will bring me in on some of his cases.” He cast a look over at John. “He doesn’t think I’m too young.”

John’s expression changed a bit. He looked disturbed, but Sherlock didn’t think he had done anything particularly upsetting in the last two seconds, so he had no idea what caused that. “What’s this DI like?” His tone was purposefully casual, but Sherlock could tell that something was wrong. He knew he wasn’t good at making friendly conversation, and perhaps his jab about John thinking him too young to be a detective had been more offensive than he’d intended.

Sherlock shifted uneasily. “He’s a normal Detective Inspector,” he answered, his words coming out far slower and more tempered than before. He tried to watch John’s reaction to see if he was doing it wrong still. When John merely continued to stare at him with that level gaze, Sherlock nervously began adding to his previous statement. “He’s cleverer than most by some standards, as he’s the only one that seems to recognise my worth at this point, but less clever by other standards, as he refuses to see that his wife has been cheating on him for months now.”

The tense lines of John’s shoulders relaxed slightly. “He’s married, then,” John said.

“Ye-es,” Sherlock responded, dragging the word out and attempting to figure out what about Lestrade’s marriage was important enough to John to get him to repeat back that bit of information.

“Good.”

They stood there for a moment longer, staring at one another. Sherlock had no idea what was going on, but John didn’t seem to be offended anymore, and he counted that as a success. Still, he worried that if he spoke again, he would end up saying something else seemingly innocuous that would upset John, so he merely walked over to the kitchen table and sat down there, where he flipped through one of his books about bees and tried to keep silent.

John went back to work and likewise kept quiet. It was almost nice working next to someone without talking, simply existing beside another person while also completing their separate activities.

John finished repairing the flat approximately two hours later, during which time Sherlock had essentially finished reading his favourite bits of his book. This time, he didn’t allow himself to be caught off-guard and instead immediately pulled out his wallet.

“How much?” he asked, prepared to pay any amount. Granted, he didn’t exactly know what amount was considered ‘normal’ to pay a repairman for three hours of work on most of the kitchen appliances, so John could have named literally any price without Sherlock picking up on the validity of it.

“No charge,” John told him like he’d done the last time, and like the last time, he smirked and gave a wink that left Sherlock’s knees weak.

“I have the money,” he argued, wondering if John was sparing him from paying out of some misguided attempt to offer financial help.

John laughed and walked up to him, pushing the hand holding his wallet down to his side. Sherlock was so distracted by their proximity and by that touch that he was unable to speak. “I don’t want your money, Sherlock Holmes,” John said in a voice that was slightly deeper than it had been before.

Sherlock merely blinked.

John smiled, and Sherlock imagined that he looked charmed, although that could have merely been wishful thinking. “Give me a call the next time something breaks.” And he patted Sherlock on the cheek.

Patted him on the cheek.

John Watson had used his hand to touch Sherlock’s face.

And he had been smiling while doing it.

Smirking, actually.

While patting Sherlock’s cheek.

After touching his hand.

And after winking at him.

Sherlock was glad that John chose to pack himself up and leave without further conversation, because there was no way he would have recovered from that sequence of events in time to see John out. As soon as he came back to his senses, he collapsed down on the sofa, wallet still in hand once more. His heart was thumping wildly in his chest, and he had the brief, romantic thought that perhaps John would be able to fix that as well.

Chapter Text

In hindsight, Sherlock probably could have been a bit more tactful. Instead of asking his client to meet him and then saying, “I informed your wife that her missing jewelry is with your mistress,” he probably could have sent a text and kept his doors locked. Unfortunately, he had not considered the fact that his client had a particularly violent temper before revealing his findings, and he was now face-to-face with a furious man who had just had his affair revealed to his wife of four years.

“You’re going to pay for that,” the man growled, and Sherlock did his best to look unimpressed in spite of the man’s fists gripping his suit jacket in a hold that would certainly damage the material.

“If you didn’t want your wife to be upset, you shouldn’t have hired me to find her missing jewelry,” Sherlock pointed out. The man had clearly thought that his decision to hire a consulting detective would absolve him of any guilt in his wife’s eyes, and he severely underestimated Sherlock’s intelligence.

Having certainly realised his mistake, Sherlock’s comment only made the client angrier. He released one hand’s grip on Sherlock’s jacket, and that newly freed fist immediately was drawn back. Sherlock had just a moment to grimace before he was forced to turn his head to the side and move with the hard punch colliding with his cheek. Lovely. Now he would have a bruise. The man then lifted Sherlock by his jacket and slammed him down on the coffee table, causing two of its legs to collapse under him.

Under normal circumstances, Sherlock might have fought back, but he could see that any aggression on his part would only make this man’s temper more dangerous, and with such a beefy opponent, Sherlock’s risk of injury only grew along with that dangerous temper. He had gotten good over the years of determining when to fight back physically and when to use alternative tactics. In this case, he would be sending the man’s wife a detailed set of instructions for getting as much out of her divorce as possible.

The man stomped off, his footfalls heavy with anger, leaving Sherlock alone in his sitting room on his collapsed coffee table. The air had been knocked from his lungs, so he allowed himself a moment to just breathe while the wood pressed uncomfortably into his back. He was glad that Mrs. Hudson wasn’t home, or she would have been fussing like mad.

When he finally managed to stand back up, his entire body aching from being thrown onto a piece of furniture, he took in the mess that had taken up residence in the sitting room.

Well, he thought, at least I get to see John again.

--

John came the very next day, and Sherlock prepared himself once more as much as he could. There wasn’t much that could be done about the bruise on his cheek, which had blossomed into something aggressive and red-purple overnight, but he fixed up his hair and picked an outfit that clung to him as much as any outfit could.

John walked up the stairs, and Sherlock stood in the sitting room, hands clasped behind his back, ready to present the problem to John.

When John opened the door, his eyes flicked to the coffee table and mess of papers strewn about. He already looked slightly amused, like he was ready to tease Sherlock about the state of his flat. “I see we’re going to make this a weekly thi—” All amusement drained out of John’s face and tone when he caught sight of Sherlock’s cheek. John stepped forward, only concern evident in his expression now. “What happened?” he asked, one hand coming up automatically, like he was going to try to touch Sherlock’s face again in spite of the distance between them. He dropped his hand after a moment. “Who hurt you?”

Sherlock waved away John’s concern. “A client decided that he didn’t like my methods,” he explained.

John frowned. His eyes scanned over Sherlock’s body with a sort of clinical intent that hadn’t been there before. He appeared to be assessing Sherlock for any further signs of injury.

“Oh,” Sherlock said as something clicked in place for him. “You’re a doctor.”

John didn’t seem to be listening to him. Instead, he went into the kitchen to fetch a cold compress, which he passed over to Sherlock once he returned to the sitting room. “There. Keep that pressed to your cheek for fifteen minutes.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes. “It’s hardly that bad.”

“Do it,” John said, his tone taking on a note of command that would have served him well in the army.

Sherlock felt a thrill go through him and placed the ice against his bruise. “Why is a doctor and former soldier working as a handyman?” he asked. He sat down on the sofa as John crouched down on the sitting room floor, assessing the damage to the table.

“I was planning on being overseas with the army at this point,” John explained distractedly as he simultaneously picked up the table’s collapsed legs to determine their viability. “And then suddenly I had a bullet wound instead of a job, and you kind of need a job, so here I am for now.”

Sherlock nodded, taking in John’s story with interest. “So you’re a repairman until you can find a job as a doctor again.”

“Exactly.”

Sherlock thought for a moment. He pulled the cold compress away from his face and dropped it onto the sofa. It was making his hand far too cold. “I could use a doctor in my line of work.”

John looked up from his work, his expression something Sherlock almost wanted to define as hopeful. “Is that so? Well, if you ever need an assistant, give me a call.”

Sherlock felt his stomach swoop a bit. “Are you going to give me your number?” he asked, trying to sound casual and not too eager.

John didn’t seem to be fooled. There was a slight smirk on his lips as he went back to work. “Are you going to continue to ice that bruise?”

Sherlock let out a put-upon sigh but put the compress back against his cheek.

After a moment, John picked up one of the papers that had been scattered around on the floor. He scribbled something on it before passing it to Sherlock. His mobile number. John had honestly given Sherlock his number. “This way you don’t have to keep bugging your landlady when you want me to come over.”

Sherlock immediately put John’s number into his phone and sent off a simple text (It’s Sherlock. SH) to ensure that John had his number as well.

It didn’t take long for John to get the table’s legs back in place, which was both impressive and disappointing, as it meant that John now had no further reason to stay in the flat. Still, Sherlock noticed that John took a ridiculously long time collecting his tools, putting each one away one at a time, making small-talk with Sherlock all the while.

When there was no more stalling to do, Sherlock stood from the sofa and pulled out his wallet. “How much do I owe you?” he asked, determined to actually pay this time.

John smiled at him. “For you, no charge,” he said, same as before.

This time, though, Sherlock moved to stand in front of the door, blocking John’s exit. “That’s a terrible way to run a business,” he told John. “You can’t honestly keep letting me call you here without charging me anything.”

John stared at him for a moment, seemingly steeling himself, before he licked his lips and slowly advanced, like a predator stalking its prey. “You could always repay me in some other way,” he murmured, his voice deeper than it had been before.

Sherlock frowned at him. As attractive as John looked right then, he made no sense. “John, there is no other way for me to provide you with the necessary payment for your services aside from giving you money.”

That had apparently been the wrong thing to say, because John’s predatory look dropped away, and he rubbed a hand over his face, shaking his head. “Christ,” he muttered, and even though there was a small smile on his lips, the mood had noticeably shifted.

“What?” Sherlock asked.

John shook his head some more, now looking amused rather than whatever he had been doing with his face before that had been very confusing but also so hot it had made Sherlock’s entire body feel warm. “It’s nothing.”

Sherlock didn’t understand what had happened, and he hated not understanding these things. He needed to have some grasp of them if he hoped to keep up with John.

John looked up at him and must have seen the concern on Sherlock’s face. He reached up to rub at Sherlock’s shoulder. “I don’t need your money, gorgeous,” he said softly. He stayed there for a moment, just running his hand down Sherlock’s back, before he stepped around him. “Until next time,” he said as he passed, and then he was going down the stairs out of the flat.

Sherlock was still confused after all of that, probably even more so than he had been before, but he was feeling much better about it, he supposed. John had touched him again, like he had done last time, for longer than he had done last time, and John had called him gorgeous.

He decided that he couldn’t wait another week before doing this again.

Chapter Text

[25 August, 3:14PM] The kettle’s broken again. SH

[25 August, 3:20PM] Is that so? Well, that sounds like an emergency. Need me to come over right now? JW

[25 August, 3:21PM] Yes please. SH

[25 August, 3:22PM] On my way over. JW

 

[25 August, 5:14PM] Had you been working another job before you came over? SH

[25 August, 5:16PM] Yeah, I had another potential client. JW

[25 August, 5:17PM] Did you get paid for that? SH

[25 August, 5:18PM] No. Why? JW

[25 August, 5:18PM] So you’re just not accepting payment for any jobs you take? SH

[25 August, 5:21PM] What’s wrong, love? Worried that I’m not giving you special treatment? JW
[25 August, 5:22PM] No, I just didn’t get paid for that job because I didn’t end up finishing it. JW

[25 August, 5:23PM] Because you came over to help me. SH

[25 August, 5:24PM] Yeah. JW

[25 August, 5:24PM] That's not great for your business, surely. SH

[25 August, 5:25PM] I don't know.  I think it worked out pretty well. JW

 

---

 

[27 August, 9:00AM] The kitchen sink is a bit leaky. SH

[27 August, 9:07AM] Well, we can’t have that. JW

[27 August, 9:10AM] Will you fix it? SH

[27 August, 9:12AM] Of course, love. JW
[27 August, 9:12AM] Why don’t you pick us up something for breakfast from Speedy’s? JW

[27 August, 9:13AM] So you’ll let me pay for breakfast, but you won’t let me pay you for your work. SH

[27 August, 9:14AM] Exactly :) JW
[27 August, 9:15AM] Kidding. I’m going to pay you back for breakfast. JW

[27 August, 9:15AM] No, you won’t. I’ll pay. SH

[27 August, 9:17AM] I’ll just buy you food from somewhere even more expensive next time. JW

[27 August, 9:25AM] I suppose I can live with that. SH

[27 August, 9:27AM] I’m sure you can, love. I’m ready to head over now. See you soon. JW

 

--

 

[3 September, 7:12PM] Any need for my services around the flat recently? JW

[3 September, 7:15PM] Unfortunately no. I’ve been distracted by a case. SH

[3 September, 7:16PM] Well, good. I was starting to worry you’d replaced me with another repairman. JW

[3 September, 7:17PM] Don’t be ridiculous, John. I could never find a better price than yours. SH

[3 September, 7:17PM] Yeah, suppose I got that going for me. JW

[3 September, 7:41PM] I think I may need your services after all. SH

[3 September, 7:42PM] Oh? What’s broken? JW

[3 September, 7:43PM] One of my mugs. It shattered. SH

[3 September, 7:43PM] Consider it handled. JW
[3 September, 7:44PM] Have you eaten yet? JW

[3 September, 7:45PM] I don’t think so. SH

[3 September, 7:45PM] What do you mean, you don’t think so? Do you not remember when you last ate? JW

[3 September, 7:46PM] No. I’ve been busy. I can’t keep track of these things when there’s a case on. SH

[3 September, 7:47PM] Have you eaten today at all? JW

[3 September, 7:48PM] Probably not. I finished the case this morning and then slept until now. SH

[3 September, 7:50PM] That’s not healthy, Sherlock. You need to eat. JW
[3 September, 7:51PM] I’ll bring over some dinner. JW

[3 September, 7:51PM] I’m fine, John. I don’t need you to bring me food. SH

[3 September, 7:52PM] You’re not fine, sweetheart. You need to eat. I’m going to bring some food, and I’ll sweep up the bits of that mug for you. JW

[3 September, 7:57PM] Thank you, John. SH

Chapter Text

Sherlock was almost grateful when his shower began to malfunction, as that gave him the perfect excuse to get John to his flat for a seventh time. The last several had been for relatively unimportant reasons. A broken mug was hardly an emergency, after all. John surely knew by that point that Sherlock was more interested in having him physically at the flat than having anything in particular repaired. But John had brought dinner for him the last time and had by that point called him “gorgeous,” “love,” and “sweetheart,” so Sherlock didn’t exactly care if John was on to him, just so long as those intimate things kept coming. He might have suspected that John was just flirting with him in order to benefit his business, but since John still refused to charge him for any of his services, Sherlock was hopeful that perhaps there was genuine interest on John’s side as well.

“The water pressure is definitely low,” John said once he’d arrived. He stood in Sherlock’s shower, straining up to fiddle with the showerhead.

Sherlock had perched himself on the little bit of counter space beside the sink to ensure that he had a good view of John working.

“Hand me my wrench, will you, love?” John said.

Sherlock barely refrained from letting out a contented sigh. He grabbed the wrench out of John’s bag of tools, which was currently in his lap, and passed over the requested object.

Even though John had essentially been calling him those sweet names non-stop, nothing additional had happened between them, not even when John had brought dinner over for them both last time. They had merely eaten together quickly on the sofa before John set to work on sweeping up the shards of ceramic on his kitchen floor. Because neither of them were keen on talking about whatever this was, it seemed to Sherlock that the intimacy was just going to be slowly increased until—well, until what he didn’t yet know, and he was hardly going to ask John.

Sherlock was pulled from his thoughts by a sound at the door to the flat. John had obviously heard it as well, as he too was looking in the direction of the noise, tense and poised like he was ready to fight an intruder. As fascinating as that was, Sherlock soon realised that John’s combat skills would not be needed; it didn’t take long before the distinctive gait of Lestrade became evident in the footsteps moving slowly into the flat.

“Sherlock?” Lestrade called.

“In here,” Sherlock shouted back. He placed John’s tools into the sink and hopped off of the counter. He could feel John shooting him curious looks, but Sherlock ignored him for the moment. John was clever enough to piece together who their guest was.

Lestrade entered the room and frowned upon catching a glimpse of the repairman, clearly having expected for Sherlock to be alone. Sherlock cleared his throat, getting the DI’s attention once more, and Lestrade turned away from John, seemingly determined to ignore him for the time being. “Got a case for you,” he said. He passed over a copy of the file, which Sherlock flicked briefly through. “It’s those murders you called in a tip about earlier this month.”

Sherlock nodded, recalling how Scotland Yard had dismissed his information. At least Lestrade knew that he had been right. “All the murders committed using a different method, all in the victims’ homes,” he murmured, eyes scanning the information contained in the file.

“Exactly,” Lestrade said. “The cases were originally considered to be unrelated.”

“But all the victims received a phone call from a withheld number shortly before their deaths.” Sherlock glanced up. “I assume you’ve found a new body.”

Lestrade nodded. “Just found him.” He paused for a moment, as if getting up the nerve to add, “Will you come?” He clearly hated asking for help from someone like Sherlock, a relatively young former drug user and all around unpleasant man, but at least he had enough sense to know that it was better to seek Sherlock’s help than let a murderer go free. That was more than could be said about half of Lestrade’s colleagues.

“Not in a police car,” Sherlock informed him. “I’ll follow behind in a cab.”

“Thank you,” Lestrade said, sounding drained already. He turned to leave, stopped, and turned around, this time looking over at John. “Er, bye.”

“Bye,” John said, waving with the hand holding his wrench. Sherlock wasn’t sure if John did that merely by accident or if it had been done as some sort of threat.

Lestrade nodded once more and left the flat.

As soon as Sherlock heard the door shut, confirming that he and John were alone, he snapped the case file closed and grinned. “A serial killer,” he said excitedly, pacing around that confined space as much as possible. “Always love one of those, and this one is so interesting.”

“Sorry,” John cut in, “but are you about to go track down a serial killer?”

Sherlock nodded, still smiling. “That’s the hope.” He made his way into his bedroom to grab his coat. The weather was warm, but he liked to have it on him regardless when he went out. He slipped it on and was distantly aware of the fact that John had abandoned his attempts to fix the shower in favour of following him.

Before Sherlock could leave his bedroom and rush out to get a cab, John reached out and caught his wrist. Sherlock felt a jolt at the contact, and he turned to face John.

“You’re not going to go do that alone,” John told him, and his expression held that some sort of concern that had been there when John had seen the bruise on his face.

Sherlock rolled his eyes, hoping that doing that would conceal the rapid increase in his pulse caused by John’s touch and concern. “Lestrade will be there.”

John gave him a look, clearly not pleased with that response. “Yeah, but are you really going to stick by him the entire time?” There was something in John’s tone that indicated that he wouldn’t have been pleased if Sherlock had answered positively or negatively to that question. Sherlock didn’t exactly understand why John wouldn’t want him to stay by Lestrade’s side the entire time, but he decided that figuring that out was not important enough to inquire about given the circumstances. John apparently took Sherlock’s momentary silence as a negative, and he nodded once. “Right. That settles it. I’m coming with you.”

And of all the things Sherlock had expected John would say, that response was not one of them. There was another jolt that went through him, this one similar to the one he felt when investigating a particularly interesting case. John wanted to come with him. He and John would be associating with one another outside of his flat. It wasn’t much, but that seemed like a very good sign indeed. “I could never turn down a medical opinion on a case,” he said, doing his best to seem unaffected by John’s assertion. “Could be dangerous.”

John grinned. “That’s never stopped me before.”

Sherlock looked away to hide the ridiculous smile on his face. “Come on, then.”

He slipped his wrist out of John’s grasp, and, feeling bold, twined their fingers together. John squeezed his hand so tightly that Sherlock didn’t even bother asking if there was anything he needed to grab before they left. It seemed clear that John had no intention of letting go of him long enough to fetch any of his belongings.

Still smiling, Sherlock pulled his doctor/handyman/heartthrob out onto the street so that they could catch a cab to their first crime scene together. This was going to be fun.

 

Chapter Text

“Poison,” John announced from where he was crouched over the body: a white male, mid-twenties, lying on the floor of his own apartment. John pulled apart the victim’s toes with gloved hands. His medical abilities had not rusted in his time as a handyman, Sherlock had discovered, and it was ridiculously attractive to watch him work. “Injected between the toes here. I don’t see any other indication that this man used drugs, so this mark seems to be from the killer.”

Sherlock might have kissed John right then for that insight had he not been so preoccupied by the uncomfortable knowledge that John would likely read tales of his own past usage on his arms at some point. He mentally scolded himself for even bothering to imagine a scenario in which John would see his torso partially unclothed and did his best to shut off all similar avenues of thought. He needed to get it together.

“Excellent work, John,” he said, stepping forward and playing it as cool as possible.

John smiled at him and stood. “Obvious,” he replied, clearly teasing Sherlock, who had said the word nearly a dozen times when they had first arrived at the scene, resulting in Anderson storming off in a fit of rage. Sherlock found himself fighting a smile. He wasn’t used to people teasing him in such a companionable way.

Sherlock studied the victim and stalked around the body in what he hoped was a sufficiently dramatic fashion. His coat flared out behind him, so that ought to make him look fairly mysterious in John’s eyes. “These aren’t random attacks,” he noted. “The killer seems to know the perfect time to break in. He calls them from a withheld number—taunts them. A true sadist.” Donovan muttered something under her breath, and although Sherlock faltered a moment, knowing what her comment had likely been, he almost immediately continued his spoken train of thought. “He develops a different method to end each victim. Strangulation with the first, bondage and suffocation with the second, stabbing, and now poisoning.” Sherlock knelt down by the body and picked up a limp hand. After a moment, he jumped back to his feet. “They’re meeting him at a bar.”

“Amazing,” John breathed, and when Sherlock turned to look at the man, he was shocked at the awe in his expression. It was so poignant that it made his cheeks heat a bit.

“Hold on,” Lestrade cut in, rudely taking Sherlock out of the moment. “How did you gather that?”

Sherlock rolled his eyes in a show of reluctance to explain his process, although he really delighted in figuring out facts that escaped the police. Besides, this was another chance to show off in front of John. “When you think about it, a bar is the only place that makes sense. He’s likely trying to pick them up. All the victims have been gay or bisexual men. That can’t be a coincidence. It’s got to be part of his system.”

“How do you know they’re gay?” Lestrade asked, seemingly more confused by the start to Sherlock’s explanation.

Sherlock let out an aggrieved sigh. Really, that bit had been painfully obvious. “The first victim—Richards—was wearing a brand of pants that caters specifically to gay men. Clarkson had a collection of eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick in his bedroom, and statistically that indicates someone who isn’t straight. McGrew owned a collection of sex toys which, again, statistically speaking suggests a gay man. And this man—Jason Murray—still has photos of him and his ex hanging up over the flat. A recent break-up with a long-time lover does lead some to seek out strangers at bars. He still has the entry stamp on his hand. The killer is flirting with these men, getting their phone numbers, and likely offering them company back to their flats. That’s how he knows their mobile numbers and addresses. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.”

His streak of deductions finally over, Sherlock suddenly became aware of the fact that John had moved right up to his side. He was glad he’d been too wrapped up to notice that earlier, or he never would have been able to focus long enough to get his observations out.

“Brilliant,” John said, and Sherlock’s cheeks felt warm again.

“Right,” Lestrade muttered. “Can you tell if he’s hit any of the same bars twice?”

Sherlock shook his head. “He hasn’t. Confirm with the victims’ credit card charges in the days prior to their deaths, but he seems to only strike once per location.”

“So if we can rule out which places he’s already gone to, we can figure out which bars might be potential targets for him in the area,” Lestrade offered.

Sherlock nodded, unable to find a flaw in that plan. “If his pattern holds, he’ll be picking out a new victim tomorrow night.”

“I’ll get teams together to try to prevent that from happening,” Lestrade said. “We’ll stake out the bars in plain clothes and hopefully stop this bastard from getting to anyone else.” He already sounded tired.

“Brilliant idea,” John said, placing one hand on the small of Sherlock’s back.

Even though there were layers separating their bodies, Sherlock still thought he could feel the warmth of John’s touch through his thick coat. He wasn’t even remotely used to people touching him so casually, and for John to do it in public was simply incomprehensible to Sherlock.

John, seemingly unaware of the effect he’d had on the young detective, continued: “Sherlock and I will make a team.” He looked over at Sherlock, who was doing his best not to look like he was twelve years old and talking to his crush. “Right?”

John’s thumb was moving from side to side on his back, and Sherlock suddenly wished that he hadn’t worn his coat so that he could feel it more intensely. He cleared his throat. “Right,” he said. “Of course.”

Lestrade was looking him in a strange way—like a twelve-year-old’s father observing his son interacting with his crush.

Sherlock decided that he didn’t want to be the subject of that look any longer. He grabbed John’s hand and tugged him toward the exit. “Text me the name of the bar John and I will be searching tomorrow,” he called over his shoulder, not leaving any time for a reply from the weary DI.

He didn’t release John’s hand until they were sliding into the backseat of a cab.

“You were really brilliant in there, love,” John murmured, keeping his voice low so that the cabbie wouldn’t hear. It was strangely intimate, and it made Sherlock feel all warm again.

Sherlock couldn’t think of a response aside from a slightly stiff, “So were you.”

He had never been treated the way John treated him. He had craved that sort of admiration and respect for so long, but now that he had it, he wasn’t sure how to react. He would have to figure that out, though, if he was going to survive an entire night undercover with John.

He stared out the window, doing his best to limit his glances at John’s reflection to about one per minute. You were almost sent off to war, he thought, awed at how lucky he had gotten. Had John not been shot when he was, they likely wouldn’t have met. John would have been in someplace like Afghanistan, and Sherlock would have been stuck in London, and they never would have known about one another. Or perhaps they would have met, but after John’s tour, and that probably wouldn’t have been very good, either. John would have suffered from PTSD in all likelihood, and Sherlock would have been alone for too long, and there would have been too many rough edges to fit together. Under those circumstances, he didn’t know how long it would have taken John to start touching him, to start calling him those sweet names.

Sherlock reached out and grabbed hold of John’s hand where it lay on the seat between them. John, for his part, didn’t seem shocked by the sudden move and merely turned his palm over so that he could intertwine their fingers. And just like that, Sherlock knew that whatever this was between them would need to be addressed soon.

He looked over at John, and John smiled back at him, and he lost his nerve.

Soon, yes, but maybe not quite yet, he thought.

Chapter Text

Sherlock spent a ridiculous amount of time getting ready, according to Mrs. Hudson, who had come up to check on him early in the afternoon. Sherlock had already been mentally cycling through outfits for hours by that point, and he happened to think that his dedication to his appearance was perfectly reasonable given that he was going to have to make himself appealing to a murderer. It was for the case, after all.

Mrs. Hudson, of course, didn’t believe him, and Sherlock didn’t blame her.

By that evening, he had changed outfits seven times, had changed his mind about eyeliner three times, had showered twice, and had carefully selected the appropriate cologne. Finally, he was ready. He wore arse-hugging jeans and a tight maroon V-neck that showed off a bit too much of his chest to be decent. He stood awkwardly in his sitting room, fighting the urge to fuss with his outfit and his hair, as he waited for John to arrive.

When John finally trudged up the stairs, Sherlock was grateful that he’d had time to mentally prepare for this moment; otherwise, he might have collapsed into John’s arms on sight.

“Hey,” John said, smirking a bit, clearly knowing how good he looked. His hair was swooped off to one side in a way that it normally wasn’t, and it seemed to increase his overall appeal to a drastic degree. He had similarly chosen to wear a tight T-shirt and jeans, although his neckline was significantly higher than Sherlock’s, and his jeans were loose enough to give him room to maneuver—practical and yet devastatingly sexy.

As Sherlock studied John, John seemed to be drinking him in as well. Eventually, John met his gaze and licked his lips. Sherlock very much wanted to kiss him. “Shall we?” John said, and he held out one arm, bent at the elbow in a gentlemanly fashion.

Sherlock held onto John’s forearm with both hands.

He’s courting me, he thought as they made their way out into the street and into a cab. He had never been courted before, and it was rather reassuring to know that John thought he was worth the effort. Realistically, John could have merely dragged Sherlock into his bedroom without any protest from the detective, but the attempts at chivalry suggested that perhaps John’s interest in him extended beyond the purely physical.

Once in the cab, Sherlock received a text from Lestrade: Everyone is in position. You two at your bar yet? GL

On our way now. SH

If anything goes wrong, text me. We’ve got men stationed near all the clubs just in case. GL

Sherlock didn’t bother responding. He knew that he wouldn’t text Lestrade. He had John there, after all. John was a soldier. John could protect him.

The soldier-turned-handyman exited the cab first when they pulled up outside of a brightly lit bar called Vitality, and Sherlock was grateful that at least John had let him pay for the fare, even if he had so steadfastly refused compensation for his services.

The two of them pushed their way up to the bar. Crowded as the place was, they still managed to remain beside one another.

Sherlock ordered a glass of rosé, and when John laughed at him, he muttered, “I have to make sure that I look gay enough for our killer.” And while that was true, he also knew that pink drinks generally tasted better than all other kinds.

John ordered a whiskey, and Sherlock rolled his eyes. He would have to get John to actually experience life outside of the confines of masculinity and give his taste-buds a break from such unpleasant cocktails.

Their drinks were set in front of them, and still no one had approached either of them. It hardly took a detective to figure out why that was.

“We look like we’re here together,” Sherlock said, frowning.

“We are here together,” John pointed out.

Sherlock rolled his eyes again. “Yes, but we need to look appealing to the killer, and we can’t exactly manage that if we look like a couple rather than two single men on the prowl.” As much as he liked looking like a couple with John, and as much as he wanted other people to see them looking like a couple, he knew that the case would require that they separate from one another, at least until there was word on their man.

John’s brow had an angry furrow in it, and Sherlock found it oddly charming. It was a shame that John looked so good when he was grumpy, because now Sherlock would have a thing for that. “Fine,” John muttered grudgingly after a long pause, “but keep your phone on you at all times. If someone seems suspicious, text me. And we stay in each other’s line of sight the entire time, understand?”

Sherlock spared a thought for how good an army captain John would have made if he’d gotten that far. “I understand,” he said, nodding once more at John before he grabbed his drink and made his way over toward a solitary table nearby.

John stayed at the bar, and when there weren’t too many people passing between them, they could still easily see one another. As Sherlock watched from his new vantage point, a young man moved into the space beside John and began chatting with him. Sherlock tightened his grip on the base of his glass, not exactly enjoying seeing John interacting with anyone aside from him, least of all some twink who probably wouldn’t even be capable of handling John in the slightest. This did prove that the only reason they hadn’t been approached when they first arrived was because of their proximity to one another, but there was no reason for John to even entertain any conversation with the idiot beside him. One quick look at the man indicated that he wasn’t the killer.

“Mind if I sit here?”

Sherlock tore his eyes away from John to look at the stranger who had just taken a seat at the other end of the table he had claimed. He forced himself to offer a polite smile. “Not at all,” he said, as charming as he could manage, even though he wanted to point out that the man had already sat down before getting permission, so Sherlock’s answer was quite pointless.

“What brings you here?” the man asked, grinning back with a smile that showed his teeth just a bit too much to be comfortable to look at.

He wore thick boots, dark jeans, and a checked shirt. He had a slight hunch in his shoulders that indicated that he worked at a computer for most of his day. He obviously hadn’t shaved in several days, probably hoping that his stubble would make him look more masculine in spite of his soft jawline and long eyelashes. Gay, clearly, but struggling with it, as he had attempted to make himself outwardly appear just like any other straight man. If Sherlock had to guess, he would bet that this was the sort of person who would feel so threatened by their attraction to men and so emasculated by their profession as to lash out at those he found appealing. A solid bet that he was the killer, then, although there was still no proof.

Sherlock also noted that there were no introductions being offered. The implication was clear—this exchange was intended only as a pretense for sex. The thought of someone besides John trying to seduce him made him feel a bit ill, regardless of whether or not this man was a murderer, so he gulped down the rest of his wine, hoping to alleviate some of his distress with that ‘liquid courage’ men were always going on about. “I’m just looking for a good time,” Sherlock replied, taking care to keep his voice slightly lilting and his expression interested.

The man smirked, and Sherlock found that he quite honestly never wanted anyone else to smirk at him aside from John, because this was nauseating. It left a bitter taste in his mouth rather than the intended sweetness of the rosé. “You found it, baby.”

And now the nausea was even worse.

Even still, Sherlock smiled and leaned forward on the table, like this stranger was truly fascinating. “Is that so?”

The man, still smirking in a way that made Sherlock want to slap him, had the audacity to reach under the table and grab Sherlock’s thigh. “What do you think?” he asked, his tone somewhere between playful and threatening.

Sherlock nearly stumbled in his haste to get out of his chair, his entire body breaking out in sickly chills at the feeling of someone else’s hand on him like that. He managed to make the movement look coordinated enough, he hoped, and he topped it off by leaning close to the man and whispering, “I’ll just get us another round, and we can get this night started.”

He turned and set off in the direction of the bar, completely ignoring an open section of it in favour of shoving his way into the unavailable space beside John. The idiot who had been chatting John up seemed to take the hint when no effort was made to move Sherlock out of the way, and he left. Sherlock leaned over the bar, looking forward so as not to indicate that he knew the man beside him, although John didn’t seem to be doing the same. In fact, he could feel John’s eyes burning into him.

“Did that man just grope you?” John asked, his voice dangerous and low.

Sherlock’s heart was pounding. Being near John was probably not a great idea, as he now wanted to press himself into John’s side and leave rather than go back over to the possible murderer with whom he’d been talking. “Just my leg,” he said. The spot where the stranger’s hand had been itched, and he rubbed his palm over it in an attempt to wipe away the ghost of the man’s touch.

“He’s the guy,” John said. “He has to be the guy. Let’s call Lestrade.”

“He hasn’t done anything to suggest that he’s the murderer,” Sherlock pointed out. “As much as you want it to be, being an entitled arse is hardly a crime.” He ordered two drinks, dreading the moment when they would come and he would have to go back to that man.

John was silent for a long moment, and Sherlock wanted so desperately to look over at him, but he couldn’t blow their cover.

“Look,” he said, breaking the silence. “I haven’t seen anyone else who’s likely to be a suspect.” He didn’t mention the fact that his eyes had essentially been glued to John and the twink who had been beside him up until the creep had sat across from him. “If this man turns out not to be the killer, we can sit together and re-group before picking out more potential suspects.” Having some time together would likely help ease some of the tension that had clearly been building in each of them.

Sherlock was starting to regret not having a conversation about his feelings earlier. This would have all felt different, he was sure, if he had been certain of where he and John stood with one another. As it was, he was unable to call upon more pleasant memories of being groped or called “baby,” as John hadn’t really done either of those things with him yet.

His drinks were pushed in front of him, and he paid, taking a moment to stand there afterward to steel himself for what was to come.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” John murmured, his tone much softer now that he was speaking from a place of concern rather than a place of rage.

Sherlock glanced over at him, just briefly, and said, “Suffering through a few minutes of small-talk with a creep is a small price to pay for catching a killer.” It was a very noble sentiment, he though after, and he did believe it, but it hardly made it any easier to pull himself away from John and return to his table.

He smiled cheerily as he sat back down and passed one glass over to his companion. “You look like a man who enjoys whiskey,” he said.

The stranger nodded, grinning at him again, and took a sip of his drink. “You know what I like already.”

Sherlock leaned across the table. “I’m good at knowing what men like,” he said with a wink, exuding a sexual promiscuity that he had never once felt.

The man smirked, and he reached one hand up to brush back some of Sherlock’s hair in a move that was entirely unwanted. “You’re going to be so much fun, aren’t you, baby?”

“You have no idea.” Sherlock leaned back in his seat, glad to put some space between them once more.

As he sat back, though, he noted that the world seemed to spin a bit more than it should have. He had only had one drink, and he had eaten earlier that day in order to prepare his body for the consumption of alcohol. There was no reason for him to be feeling drunk.

He studied the man across from him—truly studied him—and noted a bit of white powder on his sleeve. Not cocaine, obviously, as that had a slightly different texture. No, this was something else.

Everything seemed to be growing increasingly loud and confusing, and although Sherlock had never been horrifically drunk before, he imagined that this was what it felt like.

Only he wasn’t drunk.

He had been drugged.

He cursed himself for having been so distracted by watching John earlier. The man had clearly slipped something in his drink while he had been preoccupied, the remnants of what was probably flunitrazepam trapped on his sleeve in the process.

“Oh, baby,” the man said, and then he was standing, walking over to Sherlock’s side. “I think you’ve had a bit too much to drink. Let’s get you home.”

This was what he did with his victims, Sherlock recalled. This was how he figured out where they lived. He got their numbers, took them home, and then returned to kill them later. He struggled to pull out his phone as the man eased him out of his seat. He needed to send a text to John, but his limbs didn’t seem to be cooperating to their fullest capacity, and his vision was spinning so much that he could hardly see what he was typing. He was being led outside, not solid enough to fight, and he hoped he’d been able to press send.

Cmoe at onc. SH

The two of them shuffled past the bar, and Sherlock tried to look for John among the other patrons lined up there, but he didn’t catch sight of that now-familiar silhouette.

Cold, implacable dread dropped into his stomach.

What if John wasn’t coming to save him?

With the appearance of being a compassionate mate, the man led Sherlock outside, where the fresh air seemed to dampen the effect of the drug to a small degree. He stumbled slightly as he removed himself from the stranger’s side.

“Don’t be like that, baby,” he said with a laugh, like this was some sort of game they were playing. He stepped closer and handed Sherlock his phone. “Here.”   Sherlock took the phone with slightly clumsy fingers. “Put your number in. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Sherlock hesitated, and the man touched the side of his face. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to try anything tonight. You’ll put your number in, and we’ll get you home safely, and when you’re feeling up to it, then I’ll come over.”

Then you’ll come over and kill me, Sherlock thought. He was having a difficult time thinking straight. He knew that this was precisely the killer’s modus operandi and that a different sort of predator wouldn’t have been making promises about just getting him home safely and meeting up later. This had to be the man. And yet, he couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do in this situation. He put in a number that didn’t quite match with his, mostly due to his inability to get the image of the phone in front of him to stand still, before handing the device back to its owner.

Except, suddenly the man was no longer in front of him, and the hand that had been outstretched to take the phone wasn’t there to catch the thing as it clattered to the pavement.

Sherlock stared down at the shattered phone before lifting his head with concentrated effort to see what had happened to his suspect.

The man was on the ground, looking to be in a similar state as his phone, and standing above him was John Watson with fire in his eyes and fists clenched at his sides.

“Stay down,” John growled, and when the man on the floor made the mistake of moving, John kicked him in the abdomen hard enough to make him curl in on himself and wheeze.

John remained standing over the suspect, although he glanced back in Sherlock’s direction, his expression softening a bit. He reached one hand out and said, “Come here.”

Sherlock hadn’t realised that he’d been frozen in that spot until John was beckoning him over. He tried to walk as calmly as possible to where John was, concentrating hard on keeping his steps straight and even. When he was close enough, John pulled him in, using one hand to brush over Sherlock’s forehead, his cheek, his neck, as if checking for injury.

“Are you all right?” John asked, tone urgent but not carrying any of the aggression that had been in it moments before.

“Fine,” Sherlock said, and though he thought it would be difficult to slur one syllable, John’s expression, tightening with concern, seemed to indicate that he’d done as much.

There was the sound of movement on the floor beside Sherlock’s ankle, and John pulled the detective away from the perceived threat. “Do—not—move,” John growled down at the man, whose initial fear of John had apparently turned to angry acquiescence.

“Lestrade?” Sherlock mumbled. He was dimly aware of the fact that John’s arm was wrapped around him, which was good, as he wasn’t sure how well he would be able to stand up otherwise. He had thought he’d been hit hard by the drug when he’d first felt it, but now it was infinitely more intense.

John looked confused for a moment before his anger-addled brain seemed to make the connection. “I called him. He’s on his way.” He stroked Sherlock’s hair. “Just rest for now, love. It’s going to be all right.”

Sherlock laid his head on John’s shoulder and shut his eyes, and the whole world faded to black.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Sherlock woke with what could only be described as the worst headache in existence coupled with nausea so strong that he began to wonder if he’d vomited already during the night. He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut. God, getting drugged was terrible. The only substances he had willingly put into his bloodstream had induced an entirely different effect on his body. After last night, though, Sherlock felt like he was going through withdrawals all over again.

A hand settled on his shoulder, and Sherlock jumped upright in bed, his heart pounding as he tried to fight back the urge to vomit enough to fight.

“Sorry,” and that was John’s voice, and there was John standing next to him, and it had been John’s hand.

Sherlock took a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself back down, although his body seemed intent on punishing him for that sudden movement regardless of any deep breathing exercises he did.

John pulled his hand back, and Sherlock took it as a sign of how wretched he was feeling that he was almost grateful for the lack of touch, as it had made his skin prickle a bit uncomfortably. John’s other hand held a glass of water, and he pressed it forward. “Drink up,” the man said.

Sherlock took the glass and did his best to drink the entire thing. His mouth was dry, and his head ached, and he felt that water might help with that, but his nausea cautioned him against consuming too much.

“How’re you feeling?” John asked when Sherlock returned the remaining water to him.

“Like I was drugged in a bar,” Sherlock replied, and he was pleased that he could at least get the words out without sounding too shaky.

John huffed out an amused laugh, and there seemed to be some relief in the sound as well. “Fair enough.” He perched himself on the edge of the bed. “We got confirmation that it was Rohypnol he used on you. That stuff stays in your system for a few days. You should just try to sleep for the next seventy-two hours if you can.

Sherlock groaned and shut his eyes. He really did feel exhausted. His entire body seemed to regret waking up.

There was a warm, tentative hand on his forehead, and unlike the first time John had touched him that morning, this time the contact seemed to make everything a bit better. “Rest up, love,” John murmured softly to him, and although Sherlock had several questions he wanted to ask, he ultimately gave in to John’s gentle request.

-----

The next time he woke, he felt slightly better, though it seemed that the nausea had been exchanged for a bone-deep fatigue. It was dark and quiet outside in a way that indicated the early hours of the morning.

Despite the hour, as Sherlock shifted to pick his phone off his bedside table, John reappeared in his room, holding out another glass of water. Sherlock took the water from him and drank the entire thing without a word.

Only when he’d handed the empty glass back to John did he speak. “Was that man the killer?” he asked.

John nodded, absentmindedly checking his temperature again. “Andrew Horne,” he said. “Denied it when he was first caught, but Lestrade found Rohypnol on him, and his phone records showed he’d called all of the victims shortly before they died.” John smoothed his hand across Sherlock’s forehead and into his curls briefly before pulling it away. “He had your number in his phone, too.” There was some lingering tension in John’s voice, as if he was still somehow worried that the man would harm Sherlock.

“He’s in custody now, isn’t he?”

John nodded again. “Yeah, and from what Lestrade said when he stopped by earlier, he’s pretty much confessed to the murders. No way he’s getting out.”

Sherlock shut his eyes because that suddenly took less effort than keeping them open. He felt a light pressure on his forehead, and he briefly wondered what that had been, but the effort it would have taken to ask John was simply not feasible at that moment. Instead, he sighed and let everything else fade into the background as he once more drifted off.

-----

Sherlock was not conscious of anything else until nearly seventy-two hours after he and John had returned from the club, and for that he was grateful. He hardly wanted to be aware of feeling as dreadful as he had been. Now, he seemed to be doing much better, which was proven when he opened his eyes without his entire body immediately protesting.

“Good morning,” John said. He was once again sitting on the edge of Sherlock’s bed. He had changed since the last time Sherlock had seen him.

It startled Sherlock just how much he hadn’t been deducing during his post-roofie stupor. He pushed himself up so that he was propped against his headboard. John had only changed once in the last three days. His clothes, though relatively new, bore distinctive signs of the sofa, where John must have slept during his observation of Sherlock. He looked tired, and there were faint worry lines that hadn’t yet smoothed out in between his eyebrows.

“Morning,” Sherlock said, marveling at his ability to speak without feeling totally drained. “You slept on the sofa.”

John smiled, seeming relieved at Sherlock’s show of intellect. “That I did, yeah.”

“You didn’t have to.”

John rolled his eyes. “Believe it or not, I don’t actually want to sleep in the same bed as you while you’re drugged out of your mind and haven’t given me consent beforehand.”

Sherlock was struck by just how good John Watson could be. Granted, John hardly seemed to put much effort into being good for anyone else, but with Sherlock, he was a veritable white knight. Sherlock had the sudden urge to kiss him, and he might have done it if he hadn’t been so worried about the fact that he hadn’t brushed his teeth in three days.

“How’re you feeling?” John asked, his light-heartedness temporarily replaced by concern.

“Much better,” Sherlock assured him. His body was back to being its normal level of irritating, and he was able to ignore any residual aches or pains he was feeling.

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

Sherlock thought for a moment. “I remember waking up and seeing you a few times, and before that…” He looked over at John, a slight smile on his lips now. “I remember you beating up that man for me.”

John looked slightly embarrassed, but he was smiling. “Yeah, well, couldn’t have a murderer drive you home.”

“He wouldn’t have killed me that night,” Sherlock pointed out.

John didn’t look convinced. “Don’t care. I still wouldn’t have allowed it.” His expression dissolved into that cocky smirk Sherlock had become so familiar with during John’s courting of him. “You asked me to call you ‘baby’ after that. Do you remember that?”

Sherlock stared at John, but there was no indication he was lying. He let out a groan and brought his hands up to his face. “Please tell me you’re attempting to make a joke.”

John laughed at his embarrassment. “Nope,” he replied cheerily. “You said Horne had called you ‘baby’ and you didn’t like it, and you asked me if I would do it.”

Sherlock groaned even louder and sunk back down on his bed until he was laying flat once more. “Never speak of that again.”

John was almost audibly smiling, and it was annoying. “Whatever you say, baby.”

Sherlock tried to kick him, but his legs were too tangled in his sheets to allow that.

John laughed and leaned down almost carelessly to kiss Sherlock’s forehead.

Sherlock’s entire body froze, which had the effect of making John freeze as well. He suddenly remembered what he had felt the last time he’d drifted off to sleep. A slight pressure on his forehead. That same exact slight pressure he’d felt just then. John had been kissing his head. He forced himself to relax in the face of this earth-shattering revelation of very romantic contact he had apparently missed. “So sleeping in my bed isn’t allowed, but you’ll do that while I’m drugged?” Sherlock said, not unkindly, as he pulled his hands away from his face. He was starting to reconsider his ban on kissing John before brushing his teeth, because he very badly wanted more than just a forehead kiss now that he knew that John was comfortable with that.

John immediately sat further back on the bed, putting his hands up in front of him to profess his innocence. “You said it was fine. I asked if I could, and you said it was fine, and, oh, Christ, you were sleep-talking, weren’t you? I thought you were just resting your eyes, and you sounded coherent, and fuck—”

Sherlock found that he rather liked seeing John this flustered. Thus far, Sherlock had been the flustered one of the two of them, and it was reassuring to see that John was just as neurotic as he was at times. He reached out and grabbed John’s hands, worried that John’s stress would cause him to leave the room. “I was probably sleep-talking,” he confirmed. He hadn’t known that he was prone to that, as no one had ever really seen him sleep before, but given that he didn’t remember this exchange ever happening, sleep-talking seemed to be the most viable possibility, as John would have waited long enough after the drug’s effects to even ask for consent for forehead kisses.

“I’m so sorry,” John said.

Sherlock studied John briefly before responding, “It really is fine, you know.”

John stared at him for a moment, almost disbelieving. “Yeah?”

Sherlock released John’s hands so that he could push himself into an upright position once more. He leaned forward and gently kissed John’s forehead. “Yeah.”

When he leaned back again, Sherlock was startled by the brilliance of John’s grin. The man was positively radiant, even though his cheeks were still tinged with his earlier mortification. He had never seen John look so happy, and it struck him that he had been the one to make John look like that. He couldn’t help but smile in return.

Sherlock licked his lips. “You can do more than just kiss my forehead, you know.” He wasn’t sure where he had gotten the confidence to say that, but the words were out of his mouth, and he was hardly going to take them back, as that would have undoubtedly set back their relationship progress.

John raised his eyebrows but didn’t look too outwardly shocked. “Are we finally going to talk about this, then?” he asked after a long pause.

Sherlock was fairly confident that he knew what John was referring to, so he nodded. This tension between them and the continual flirting couldn’t have just been his imagination.

John nodded back and seemed to mentally steel himself for the conversation. The radiance his face had been emanating just moments before had dimmed somewhat, becoming more serious. “You know, I wasn’t planning on talking about this while you were recovering from being drugged,” he said, clearly aiming for levity, but there was a stiffness in his words that belied his discomfort.

“I’m fine now,” Sherlock pointed out. “You said it yourself—the drug takes a few days to get out of one’s system, and it’s been a few days.”

John licked his lips—a nervous habit of his—and was silent for a moment. Eventually, he said, “I’m not looking for a one-time thing.” He made direct eye contact with Sherlock with all the bravery of a soldier.

Sherlock hadn’t even considered the possibility of a one-time thing. Had John propositioned him when they’d first met, he surely would have assumed that a single night was all the man wanted, and he likely would have turned John down as a result. Now, though, after growing increasingly close to one another over nearly two months, Sherlock couldn’t fathom the thought that this might have all been in pursuit of a quick shag. “Neither am I,” he told John.

John seemed surprised, which was ridiculous, and his face broke out in a grin again, which Sherlock greatly preferred to the stiff expression he’d been wearing moments prior. “Yeah? Right. So we’re both looking for more. Good.”

Sherlock didn’t know what else to say. “What now?” he asked, genuinely not sure on how they were meant to proceed.

John was still smiling. He leaned forward and kissed Sherlock sweetly on the nose. “Now we move into the bathroom so that I can finally fix your shower,” he said.

Sherlock furrowed his brows. “You haven’t done that already?”

“Well, we got a little distracted with the case.”

“But you’ve been here for three days now,” he pointed out.

John actually looked a bit sheepish then. “Yeah, well, I was a bit preoccupied trying to make sure that you weren’t going to die.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes. “I was drugged, not shot.”

John pulled Sherlock by the arm until he got out of bed. “I have been shot, and let me tell you, you looked in worse shape than I ever was when recovering.”

Sherlock was mildly offended that John had essentially implied that he’d looked bad during the last seventy-two hours. “What were you shot doing?” he asked as John continued pulling at his arm until he followed him into the loo.

“Wrong place, wrong time,” John replied simply as he stepped back into the shower and grabbed a tool out of his kit that sat perched on the counter.

“You were trying to be a hero, weren’t you?” That seemed in keeping with John’s nature. Sherlock had to admit that he was irrationally jealous at the fact that John had gone out of his way to save someone else.

John shrugged, and his silence confirmed Sherlock’s suspicions. There had likely been some sort of petty crime, and John, trained soldier and healer, had stepped in to de-escalate the situation.

God, he was just so good. Sherlock’s fingers itched to reach out and pull John into a kiss, and he decided that he really needed to do that as soon as possible, lack of brushed teeth be damned. And then, before his brain had really agreed, in a surge of impulsivity in keeping with his character, he took two steps forward until his toes touched the corner of the shower, and when John looked over at him inquisitively, Sherlock took his face in his hands and kissed him square on the mouth. It was chaste and brief and sent Sherlock’s heart panicking almost immediately.

He pulled back.

John stared at him and licked his lips. Sherlock unconsciously followed the movement with his eyes. “Right,” John said. He nodded once. “Right.” And then he dropped the wrench that had been in his hand so that it clattered onto the tile, and he advanced on Sherlock with a fire in his eyes akin to that seen in predators right before they pounced on prey.

Sherlock took automatic steps backward until he felt his back hit the wall, effectively trapping him in that confined space with John, entirely uncertain of what was to come.

And what was to come, it turned out, was John looking him up and down for a long moment. John’s eyes still held that fire, that intensity, and then, before Sherlock registered what was happening, John pounced.

Chapter Text

Sherlock was almost immediately pinned against the bathroom wall, the full weight of John’s body covering him and preventing him from escaping. He spared a brief thought for how nervous he should have been in this situation, cornered in a confined space with a trained soldier he’d just surprised with a kiss, but his momentary worry dissolved into nothingness, for John was leaning closer, bringing their lips together, and oh, this was heaven. Sherlock had never been so attracted to the person kissing him before, and it left him feeling dizzier than he could ever remember being. He let out a noise as John licked into his mouth, no trace of that chaste first kiss lingering between them now. It was intoxicating and deep and unbearably sensual.

John’s hands were suddenly pulling at his thighs, and he broke away long enough to mutter a gruff, “Up.” Sherlock had barely processed what was being requested of him before John hoisted him up, hands firmly under Sherlock’s arse as the lanky man’s legs came up to wrap around John’s waist. Sherlock moaned, feeling his cock begin to fill out, unreasonably aroused by John’s strength.

The new position meant that their lips were pulled apart, but John immediately began to attack his neck instead, sucking love-bites there that would last for days.

Sherlock let his head drop back against the wall, panting as if he’d just chased a suspect across the entirety of London. “Is that a wrench in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” he asked breathlessly.

John huffed out a surprised laugh, his look of predatory concentration cracking with his smile. “Why don’t you tell me?” he replied, and he rocked his hips up so that his erection rubbed at Sherlock’s arse.

Sherlock moaned and tried to grind against John’s to get that feeling once more. John’s hands tightened on him in order to keep him upright as he undulated his hips. “Too big to be a wrench,” he said, caught between shock and lust. John must have been incredibly large, and while Sherlock had previously noted the distinctive way John walked, he hadn’t quite put together the implications of that particular stride on penis size.

And it was the thought of John’s cock that did it for him, that broke down the last of his restraint. “Bed,” Sherlock ordered, struggling to get out of John’s arms in order to pull them closer to his room.

John frowned and refused to release Sherlock from his grasp, although he did thankfully pull them away from the bathroom wall and move toward the appropriate door. “Bossy,” he reprimanded, but his pupils were blown wide, and he sounded like he was barely keeping himself under control.

Sherlock held tightly onto John as they moved—finally—into the bedroom. John tossed him down on the bed, and Sherlock grunted at being dropped so suddenly and shot John a half-hearted glare. John merely smirked at him.

“Take your clothes off,” John said, eyes still sparkling with mirth.

Although that was hardly a stern command, Sherlock found himself obeying almost automatically, which might have been troubling had he not been growing increasingly aroused at each passing moment. He stripped off the t-shirt and pyjama bottoms John had apparently dressed him in while he’d been unconscious and tossed them off the side of the bed.

“Those, too,” John said, gesturing at Sherlock’s pants.

He flushed at the thought of being entirely naked in front of a fully clothed man. He didn’t think he had ever been that physically exposed to anyone before.

John picked up on his hesitance and approached the bed, resting one knee on its edge as he leaned down to cup Sherlock’s cheek. His expression was softer now than it had been. Encouraging, almost. “You’re the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” he murmured.

And then John was kissing him gently, his hand on Sherlock’s cheek and the press of their lips the only points of contact between them. John paused the kiss only to lean back and strip off his own shirt, and he tried to resume it immediately. Sherlock, though, was a bit too distracted to kiss back after that.

He stared at John’s naked torso. John was tan and fit and unbearably attractive. There was a scar on his left shoulder that spoke of a gunshot and an infection, likely from the conditions under which the shot was received. Sherlock touched it with gentle fingers, but John flinched. He looked up at John’s face again, saw the discomfort (and shame?) there, and leaned forward to lay his lips against the scar.

John grimaced but didn’t push him away. “You don’t have to—”

“I want to,” Sherlock responded immediately, meeting John’s gaze. He kissed the scar again before moving his lips to other parts of John’s chest, trailing his lips reverently across every bit of skin.

John relaxed more and more, his expression softening. He let a hand drift into Sherlock’s hair, stroking it sweetly. “Come here,” he murmured after a moment, using his grip on Sherlock’s curls to pull him upward until their lips were pressed together once more.

Lips still connected, John pressed Sherlock back onto the bed so that he was lying down with John’s form braced above him. It was, all in all, an ideal position.

Eventually, John pulled back, his fingers drifting down Sherlock’s stomach until they reached the waistband of his pants. Sherlock felt a nervous thrill run through him, but he nodded, and John was soon tugging his pants down and off, tossing them off the bed to join the rest of Sherlock’s crumpled clothes.

John froze in place, and Sherlock felt his cheeks heat, anxiety beginning to take the edge off of his arousal. John was straddling his thighs, eyes scanning his body over and over and over again, like that for a little over a full minute. Sherlock thought about making a joke to break some of the tension, but he couldn’t seem to work up the nerve to be flippant about this.

“Christ,” John breathed, and, oh, there was something in his voice that sounded about as far from disappointment as possible, which was not what Sherlock had expected. John rubbed a hand over his face, sitting back even further on Sherlock’s legs. He seemed unable to take his eyes away from Sherlock’s body.

Sherlock started to fidget a bit. At that moment, he desperately wished that he really had been the mind-reader that some people had accused him of being in the past. He needed to know what John was thinking. “John?” he ventured after several more moments passed without either action or sound.

John blinked a few times and looked up at him, seemingly unaware that he’d entered into an almost trancelike state. John shook his head, as if in disbelief, and surged forward so that their lips were touching once more. “Such a goddamn treasure,” he murmured into the kiss. “So fucking gorgeous.”

There was no part of this that indicated that John was lying to him merely to make him feel better. If that had been the case, he doubted that John would have been attacking his mouth quite this vigorously. Sherlock relaxed, his arms wrapping around John’s neck to keep him close. His lips were practically bruised from the force of their kiss, and yet he relished in that tangible reminder of what they were engaging in.

It was a heated thing, and it didn’t take long before Sherlock’s cock began to fill out once more. He let out a moan and rocked up against John, and, unable to wrap his legs around John’s waist as his instincts told him to do with the way John was straddling him, his moan turned into a whine.

John pulled back and smirked down at him, clearly enjoying Sherlock’s petulance. John kissed his lips once more before moving down his torso, pausing briefly to tease Sherlock’s nipples with his tongue. Sherlock let out a number of breathless noises that might have been embarrassing if he’d cared enough to be embarrassed at that moment.

“Sensitive,” John murmured, grin hovering around Sherlock’s skin. Sherlock couldn’t even begin to respond.

John’s lips continued their trek down Sherlock’s body, leaving a trail of blazing kisses in their wake. Sherlock grew increasingly agitated the lower John got, as it became more and more apparent that John had no intention of stopping in this path he’d forged.

“Please,” Sherlock gasped out, squirming underneath John. John’s mouth was close enough to his cock at that point that Sherlock could feel every exhale against it. He whined again, hips moving seemingly of their own accord.

John laughed, eyes sparkling. “Eager, are we?”

Sherlock tried to glare at him, but he found that he was having a rather difficult time making the look as biting as it normally was. “Why don’t I put my mouth near your erection and see how eager you get?” he returned, proud of himself for getting all of the words out coherently.

John groaned, his playfulness evaporating as a look of pure lust settled on his face. “God,” he said, dropping his head down onto Sherlock’s hip as if he couldn’t bear to keep it upright anymore. “Now that’s an image.” He shook his head, hair brushing against soft, pale skin. After a moment during which he seemed to gather himself, John looked back up, smiling in a way that was a bit less cocky than his traditional smirk. “For another time, though. For now, I want to make you lose your mind.”

And before Sherlock could be grateful for the fact that there would be another time, before Sherlock could ponder what it would entail to ‘lose his mind,’ John’s mouth was on him, lips wrapping tightly around the tip. Sherlock tossed his head back, taken aback by the suddenness of the sensation. It was like nothing else he’d ever experienced. Hot and wet and unbearably erotic. He never could have imagined this, never could have anticipated what it would feel like. He gripped the sheets on either side of him tightly, not sure he could let go if he tried. John’s mouth went further down on his cock, easily able to accommodate his full length. Sherlock thought he might be dying.

John pulled almost all the way off before sinking down again, setting a steady rhythm that was far too slow in Sherlock’s mind. He tried to say so, but when he opened his mouth, all that came out was a breathless moan. John apparently didn’t like the sound, as he almost immediately moved one of his hands to cover Sherlock’s mouth, one finger slipping inside. Sherlock moaned again, unable to help himself even if John hated it, and did his best to imitate John’s movements with the finger in his mouth.

John did something particularly clever with his tongue, and Sherlock shouted, hips jerking up off of the bed. John’s finger slipped from his mouth, as John apparently decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to try to stifle him any longer. One of John’s hands pressed down on his hip to keep him from moving about too much, and the other one—oh—the other one had moved between his legs, the finger that had been in his mouth moments before now pressed suggestively close to his hole.

“Fuck,” Sherlock cried, and though profanity wasn’t usually in his vocabulary, there was no other word he could use here. He was breathing heavily, every breath coming out as an urgent, “Yes.”

It seemed that John had been waiting for permission, because as soon as Sherlock spoke, that finger was pressing more insistently at him. John’s movement on his cock slowed, for which Sherlock was grateful, because he didn’t think he’d be able to handle receiving a vigorous blowjob and the way John’s fingertip slipped into him at the same time. He had used his own fingers before, of course, but it was so different with someone else. John’s digits were thicker and shorter than his own, making the whole thing entirely new.

Fuck,” he said again, and John smirked around his cock.

The finger inside of him rocked further in, moving in time with John’s mouth. John sped up so that he was bobbing up and down much more quickly while fucking into Sherlock with his finger. It was, in a word, heavenly, and in two words, too much. Sherlock could feel the rising tension within him, the tumultuous heat that indicated that this was going to be over very soon.

“I—” he started, but he didn’t even need to finish the thought.

John could apparently tell what he meant just by watching his face. He pulled off of Sherlock’s cock and almost immediately replaced his mouth with the hand that had been on Sherlock’s hip, tugging at him almost ruthlessly. He pulled his finger out of Sherlock’s arse only to press at his hole again with two fingers. Once John had worked them inside, he set a pace that matched the one his other hand had taken on Sherlock’s cock. It was a masterfully coordinated effort, and Sherlock was appreciating it immensely.

He dropped his head back onto the bed, unable to hold it up any longer. That heat building inside of him was bubbling over now, and Sherlock gave one final shout as he came, body caught between pushing up into John’s fist and pushing back onto his fingers.

His mind went blissfully silent in a way that it never was.

He lay there, panting, recovering, for several long moments afterward, feeling the lingering traces of that incandescent pleasure in his veins.

“Fuck,” he heard, and he glanced up to see John kneeling in between his legs, hands grappling at his trousers and pants. He pulled out his own erection, and Sherlock let out another little moan at the sight. John was well above average—thick and hard and long—and Sherlock was overcome with the urge to have that inside of him. John didn’t seem able to wait, though, as he almost immediately took himself in hand. Sherlock licked his lips, eyes stuck on John’s cock, thinking about all of the things he wanted it to do to him. John groaned, and Sherlock looked up to find John watching him. Whatever he saw must have been enough, because a moment later, he grunted and stilled, spilling over Sherlock’s stomach, mixing their come together on Sherlock’s skin.

When he was finished, John collapsed onto the bed next to Sherlock, rolling on his side so that they were as close as possible. Sherlock turned his head to face John, studying the man’s expression.

“You, Sherlock Holmes, are a goddamn treasure,” John said.

Sherlock’s cheeks heated, and he smiled. “I could say the same thing about you, John Watson.”

They looked at one another for a moment longer before their giddiness got the better of them, and they dissolved into a fit of giggles.