It's not a timeshare. Whatever it is, it isn't that. Because John is not some sort of holiday home in the south of France, to be fought over by brothers who took the phrase 'sibling rivalry' and turned it into the plot of a Russian novel. One that's full of murder and betrayal and disguises. One where everyone dies at the end.
But neither Sherlock nor Mycroft seem to approve of the word 'boundary.' Neither of them can resist putting their fingers all over whatever the other has. Possibly they just consider it a new way to quietly war with each other over territory. Which would be...him, John realises. Which is fantastic. Because now John's not a timeshare, he's some sort of unclaimed foreign country. This is why he has a tendency to let this happen rather than confuse himself by trying to think about it.
So, he's not a timeshare. But that doesn't change the fact that it's Tuesday, it's Tuesday and so Sherlock is out and Mycroft is here. Carefully settled in a chair like he'd had it pencilled in his diary down to the very second. The fact that John has any business being in Mycroft's diary is still more than a little unnerving. He's still not quite sure how that happened. He was there for a lot of it, but he's still not quite sure. Which is worrying.
"I'm not a foreign country," John says quietly, frowning, because sometimes he honestly forgets that neither of them can actually read minds. As far as he knows - and that way madness lies.
"Undoubtedly," Mycroft agrees, like he's following John's random just fine. Which isn't entirely unlikely.
John doubts he has anything expensive enough in the cupboards to offer Mycroft - there's a chance there isn't anything in the cupboards at all. Except for perhaps some dead insects and Petri dishes full of unnameable substances. Usually there's at least tea or coffee, but Sherlock appears to have hidden or otherwise contaminated it in a fit of pique.
John thinks, if he was ever going to protest anything about this it should probably have been before he started sleeping with the both of them. Which isn't exactly true, he only really sleeps with Sherlock - whenever Sherlock's brain gives in and demands that he sleep, or decides to pass out. John is still getting used to that familiar tangle of sharp limbs and muttering and selfishness. Mycroft probably sleeps somewhere more heavily fortified than a badly heated flat on Baker Street. Somewhere with silk sheets and motion sensors and sleek guard dogs.
But for now John has his full attention, which is something he rarely gets from Sherlock, whose attention is so focused and brutal and impersonal that John doesn't always think it's a good thing.
Mycroft's attention is quiet and strangely disarming, and you're never quite aware of how very much he sees until it's too late. Come to think of it John's not entirely sure that Mycroft's attention isn't more frightening than Sherlock's.
The umbrella is leant against the chair, looking for all the world like an umbrella that absolutely anyone would pick up and take out in case of rain. Mycroft's probably has a sword in it. Or Japanese throwing knives. Very small ones, with poisoned tips.
Mycroft's mouth shifts ever so slightly, tilting up at the corner. He may not be able to read minds but John thinks he's had a lot of practice making other people think that he can. John's having a devil of a time convincing himself that he can't.
He's still deciding whether to cave straight away or pretend that he has better self control than that.
Mycroft ruins all his plans when he's not looking, by sliding a hand up inside his shirt - John hadn't even realised it was untucked - and suddenly there are smooth fingers tracing the curve of every rib and Mycroft is all sinister smile and curious eyebrow and John's room is really too far away. But the only alternative is using Sherlock's - which is no alternative at all.
Mycroft wears too many clothes, which more often than not means John is always naked and impatient first.
John wonders if Mycroft will let him fuck him while he's still wearing his waistcoat and shirt.
Mycroft doesn't object.
Mycroft doesn't really object to anything.
That's part of the problem.
Watching Mycroft Holmes dress is almost as distracting as watching him undress. He does it slowly and efficiently and no matter how long his shirt has been on the floor, or thrown over the back of a chair, or abused in general it still manages to look absolutely perfect when he puts it back on.
John still hasn't completely ruled out magic.
Mycroft is currently redoing his cuffs, one of his sleeves is still spread and dangling over the curve of his fingers. John's not quite sure how that manages to be almost as arousing as the sight of him naked on his bed. But he thinks he's getting used to the world not making sense. The world not making sense is becoming an expected part of his day.
Neither of them are anywhere close to young enough to be able to do this more than once. But John's still tempted to drag him back down by his tie just to see if he can. To see if he can leave finger-shaped bruises on Mycroft's pale skin.
Yes, he's in this far too deeply to pull himself out.
When Mycroft's gone, John goes downstairs and makes a cup of tea, which was hidden in the microwave. Then he stares at the bookshelf until he can hear shoes on the stairs.
Sherlock prowls his way into the flat and scowls around him like he's seriously considering burning everything Mycroft touched. Everything except John.
Sherlock holds out a hand, leaves it in mid-air until John makes him tea and then passes him the mug. Everything's fine, everything's absolutely fine. Sherlock takes his tea over to the sofa, digs his laptop out of the mess of paper and literature the table has become and starts a tirade about the nature of jumping to conclusions without appropriate facts. It's fluid and frenzied and contains the flailing arm gestures that John is fast becoming familiar with.
Sherlock invades his bed in the middle of the night and sleeps half on top of him in a way that John doesn't have to be a psychologist to read something into. John doesn't move away, not even when a hand slides up his chest and folds round his shoulder, digs in until there's a faint edge of pain. Especially not then.
Sherlock won't say anything about their arrangement, not a single word. He's never said anything outright. It's all snide comments and veiled insults. The one time John had brought it up directly, the one time he'd asked whether Sherlock wanted him to himself - Sherlock had told him not to be stupid. That he wasn't designed for normal, or for the dull, tedious work of conventional relationships. His tone had been all frustrated impatience and dismissal.
Sherlock's barely interested in sex at all. He seems to regard it mainly as an aggressive, selfish opportunity for endorphins and adrenaline when the noise in his brain becomes too much.
Mycroft - Mycroft is persuasive and inventive and quietly demanding in a way that resonates with the part of John that's still comfortable doing what it's told. The part that almost obeys by instinct rather than good sense.
He's also very good at the dull, tedious work of conventional relationships.
John never does find out what the text says that makes Sherlock throw his phone across the room on Monday morning. The thing is in shards and there's no putting it back together, even after Sherlock disappears like a force of nature.
John has to put in clinic hours for once, and Sherlock restrains himself and only texts him eight times, six times to tell him how stupid the rest of the world is in comparison to him, once to demand that he join him for lunch and once to ask him where his keys were.
Lunch apparently requires John to eat tomato soup in five restaurants while Sherlock steals breadsticks, all while wearing an expression of utter focus. Still, it's a lunch break where John gets to eat and he's not going to complain about one of those.
It's not until he gets back to the clinic that he discovers Sherlock had managed to turn his phone off. But then he's never been above subtle acts of sabotage so it's not surprising.
And it probably isn't good that everything about this relationship...these relationships? has a war theme.
John ends up in bed just after eleven, because he's genuinely tired after another of Sherlock’s hectic chases through the streets of London. Criminals want to get away almost as badly as Sherlock wants to catch them.
He drifts off for no more than ten minutes. But when he wakes up there are fingers in his hair, pushing up through the back of it in a way that's hypnotic and more than a little arousing. He opens his mouth - and then stops.
John can't remember what day it is.
There's a strange, dizzy and very worrying moment where he has absolutely no idea who he's in bed with. And the slow drift of long, clever fingers isn't helping at all. He's either going to have to wait until they speak, or he's going to have to turn around and look, to find out exactly which brother he's currently naked with.
John thinks this is probably one of those important life moments when someone can realise that what they're doing is insane - where they convince themselves they have to stop. Or to choose.
Instead John feels a hysterical laugh building up somewhere in his chest.
"I should be insulted, at the very least he's significantly heavier than I am." Sherlock's voice comes from the doorway. John shift his head on the pillow until he can look up. Sherlock is leaning lazily against the frame of his bedroom door, looking stern and dishevelled and wearing the bottoms of his pyjamas and nothing else.
John tries to sit up - but Mycroft's arm slithers round his waist and holds him exactly where he is. The man really is frustratingly strong for someone who's supposed to do nothing all day.
Sherlock takes two steps forward, one eyebrow arched curiously. John’s waiting for something venomous, something unhappy. Instead Sherlock strips off his pyjama bottoms and slithers into bed with them both.
John manages a breathless noise of stunned confusion. Which he thinks conveys the very basics of what he's feeling. Anything more complicated is...beyond him.
"Don't even pretend you'd never thought about it." Sherlock’s voice is rough like he's been smoking. His skin is cool where it drifts and presses against John’s own, and steals all the air in his lungs.
John has to give him that, but then there's no way he couldn't have thought about it, about the both of them at the same time. The both of them together, even, though that one more guiltily. He knows what both of them feel like after all.
Mycroft draws one of John's legs back so Sherlock's exceedingly longer ones can find a comfortable space to fit into. And then they're both touching him, Mycroft's palm heavy and warm, Sherlock's fingers cold and light. Their hands meet somewhere on John's waist, warm fingers spreading, briefly tangling, and then sliding down.
John can’t find a word to speak.
Mycroft shifts one of John's legs forward and up, Sherlock catches it behind the knee and draws it over his waist. John's breath whistles out of his throat, he's honestly not sure which brother he's touching more of.
"We've come to something of an agreement," Mycroft says quietly.
"More like a detente," Sherlock says archly.
"If you're amenable," Mycroft adds, voice vibrating through John's back in a way it's hard not to be distracted by.
"Oh god," John gets out. Which isn't a no, it's something, but it isn't a no. He can't process this. This is too much, this is insane. They've been fighting a subtle war over his time for weeks now, and suddenly this is an acceptable compromise?
They seem to take his incoherent lack of words as a yes anyway.
"I have a dozen things I should be doing," Sherlock says tightly, narrow fingers in John's hair, tipping his head back, dragging over his scalp. The kiss he lays against his mouth feels greedy.
John's next breath catches in his throat.
"This should probably be weird," he says faintly. "Weirder, considering the both of you."
That's really not a helpful addition to the conversation but it's all he has at the moment.
"We were already sharing." Sherlock makes it sound like a dirty word.
Mycroft hums agreement, fingers tracing a path down John's spine in a way that seems designed solely to destroy all coherent thought and John suspects he's going to need at least a little of that. It doesn't stop him from shifting, instinctively, when they trail low enough to drift, almost lazily down over the curve of his arse.
Something becomes very clear then.
"You already knew I wouldn't say no," John says, accusingly, though there's no heat behind it. Not that sort of heat anyway. He doesn't have a hope of pretending that he objects to any of this. Because Sherlock's close enough to feel the speed of his pulse and to see the way his pupils are probably twice their normal size. He’s definitely close enough to feel the fact that John's already painfully hard against the slim muscle of Sherlock's thigh. John doesn't have to say a word, to either of them. They know him too well. And he honestly doesn't know if that's comforting or terrifying.
"Naturally." Mycroft's fingers are just on the edge of breaching him. "Sherlock was being stubborn."
"I was busy." Sherlock's voice is tight.
"Stubborn," Mycroft says with quiet emphasis.
Sherlock grunts like the matter is dropped, raises a hand and traces the curve of John's mouth in one long ticklish stroke of movement.
"We want to take you at the same time," Sherlock says.
John's exhale is strangled and he can't make anything like words in answer to that.
Mycroft’s fingers press sharply into his skin, a moment of greed which feels more like his brother than him.
"Did you talk about it?" John asks, breathlessly. Because he can't help picturing that. The two of them somewhere discussing the mechanics of this new, potentially explosive twist to their arrangement. In excruciating detail. Jesus.
"Yes," Mycroft says against the back of his neck.
"Jesus," John's voice breaks. "How -"
"However you're comfortable," Sherlock's hands have strayed down, finding the dips and shallows of his hipbones and the hard line of his cock. Long fingers trace over it and John inhales and jerks. A long hiss falling out of him. They both know how to play him far too well.
"Whenever you feel comfortable," Mycroft adds. Which gives the impression this isn't just a moment of madness. That this is a natural progression. A way to make things work and John's still trying to work out if he's capable of wrapping his mind around that when a slippery finger presses into him.
His mouth falls open, and for a long minute no one talks at all. Sherlock wrecks his hair and kisses him and Mycroft slides a leg over one of his, pins him still enough that he could do pretty much whatever he wanted.
John doesn't think he'd object.
"You want him to break you, don't you," Sherlock says quietly against - into his mouth and John can't help but grunt protest. "Mycroft knows how to break people, he's very good at it."
There's a huff of air against the back of John's neck which is impossible to discern a meaning from.
"You like it when he has power over you, when he doesn’t let you move. Oh, and he's done that before, you didn't think you'd like that but you did."
John isn't sure whether he wants to cover Sherlock's mouth or let him keep talking. He can't spare the oxygen to tell him to shut up anyway
"I don't have the patience for it, but I could make the time, I could make the effort. It would be an interesting experiment." Sherlock’s eyes are suddenly bright, generous.
John can't breathe, can't breathe at all.
There are two fingers inside him now and Sherlock's watching his face like it's the most fascinating thing he's ever seen. Even though John's been sleeping with the both of them for nearly two months the fact that Sherlock's here while Mycroft's touching him - that he's listening for every cracked noise that comes out of his throat; watching the slow twitches of his hips and the hard line of his cock. It's wrong and good and perfect in a way that's so messed up he wants to drown in it.
"You like this, you like the both of us here. You like the fact that we're both touching you. That you belong to the both of us." The last part is said with such certainty.
John hisses, reaches out and tugs on Sherlock's insane hair. Sherlock comes forward obediently and lets John pull him down into a kiss that's too rough for any words to escape, all quick pushes of tongue and scrapes of teeth. They break apart every so often, so John can gasp air and make a strangled, approving noise at the deep, clever presses of Mycroft's fingers. He's ready, he's more ready than he can ever remember being, restless and impatient, digging his fingers in wherever he finds skin.
"You're worried you might not survive being between us - but then you don't really care do you."
"Sherlock," John says tightly, desperately, though Mycroft's the one who inhales and pushes John's leg up higher.
But instead of the penetration he's expecting Sherlock slides a hand down the back of his thigh, finds where Mycroft's fingers are pushed into him, and he presses in one of his own.
The noise John makes is fucking shameless.
"Sometimes you wish he'd fuck you like I do, careless, selfish, messy." Sherlock punctuates each word with a push.
John's nails dig so deep into Sherlock's skin that anyone else would have hissed. There are four fingers inside him now and he's hitching in every breath like it's his last, stretched out hot and tight and held in that awkward but perfect tangle of limbs feeling like his skin is on fire.
"Will one of you please fuck me," he manages, between gasps.
There's a pause, a subtle tug of war which suggests things aren't quite equal yet.
But John knows who wins.
One moment he's empty and the next - John's exhale is loud and shaky and lasts exactly as long as the steady push that fills him up.
Sherlock kisses his open mouth, purrs something he doesn’t catch and then bites the hard line of his jaw, palms sliding up his chest, one curling round the back of his neck fingers hard on the damp skin there, the other catching the side of his chest, easing them closer together, awkward and cramped and hot. Before Mycroft eases back, almost all the way out of him, and pushes back in.
Sherlock crushes the word and grips his thigh, leaves John with barely any space to move at all.
Mycroft grunts but doesn't object when one of Sherlock's slippery fingers presses in alongside his cock. It's a stretch John isn't prepared for and he blurts Sherlock’s name, accusation and then half unwilling interest when everything is suddenly just a little sharper and more intense than before.
The slow push of Sherlock's finger is careful and curious, like he's fascinated. He looks over John's shoulder and whatever he finds on his brother's face draws a tight, greedy noise out of him.
John's stunned exhale is just a rattle of air when Sherlock very carefully pushes in another.
Mycroft stops briefly, forehead pressed into John's shoulder. Sherlock's expression is quietly smug but he's also breathing hard, eyes wide and dark. The next thrust goes deep, hits exactly right and John nearly bites through his own tongue, he drags Sherlock's thigh in close, lets his dick slide and push against it in a way that's just a shade away from perfect.
Sherlock sounds like he approves, all shaky noises and focus. John slides a hand down Sherlock’s stomach only to have it smacked away.
"I want to watch you," Sherlock says and that's pretty much it. John swears and shakes his head in mute, desperate apology. Before he breaks apart, groaning his way through orgasm and leaving Sherlock's pale thigh wet in long streaks.
Mycroft says his name, lost somewhere in his hair and John's still shaking, still sensitive, pulling Mycroft over with him until he's buried in one moment of stillness, fingers leaving marks where they dig in that will take days to fade, while he groans his way through release.
John whimpers when Mycroft draws out, moves away and he barely has enough time to catch a breath before Sherlock presses forward, rolls him onto his back. Sherlock draws his legs up, fingers finding where he's still open and slippery and then positioning himself to slide all the way inside in one greedy push. John's choked groan sounds halfway strangled. Long past any form of objection or protest. He fists a hand in Sherlock's hair and lets him fuck him with quick, deep thrusts, ignoring the fact that he's going to ache in so many places tomorrow.
It doesn't last long at all. Sherlock has never been very good at self-restraint.
John's left gasping, head thrown back, eyes shut, while Sherlock gasps and leaves a bite mark somewhere on the sensitive skin of his neck. Angry enough that John's going to feel it as soon as the rush wears off.
Sherlock is all laziness, not even bothering to clean up before he rolls onto his back
John stares at the ceiling and takes deep, shaky breaths, skin too hot, too sensitive. Until smooth fingers catch his chin, turn it sideways. He's being kissed, slowly, thoroughly, while Sherlock murmurs nonsense in the background. Until John feels like he can breathe again without cracking apart. And then Mycroft lets him go.
John's sore and messy and not entirely sure he's going to survive this. Whatever it turns out to be. He tries to find a cool spot, fails, decides he's just going to sleep where he is.
"I think I'm going to sleep now, if you don't mind," he mumbles into the warm, rounded curve of Mycroft's shoulder.
Mycroft's laugh is slow and languid. John thinks this must be the part of the evening that has 'be a relaxed human being' pencilled into it.
Sherlock doesn't say anything, but he throws a narrow leg over the back of John's in a way that seems to suggest he doesn't object to this hideous laziness. John can feel where his toes just touch the front of Mycroft's shin.
He wonders exactly how long the peace will last before they start stockpiling weaponry again.