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In Plain Sight

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In Plain Sight

 

i

Sherlock turns a page of the newspaper, though he’s not particularly concentrating on any of the articles. They’ve hit a dead end in the Pyotr Kazakov case and what he really needs to do is think. The lead they were following turned out to be useless and he’d finally agreed that they could come home so that John could sleep and Sherlock could think.

Thinking is also proving futile at the moment; John’s sleeping form on the sofa is turning out to be a slight distraction. Sherlock shakes out the pages of the newspaper and tries to pretend that he isn’t listening to John’s regular, deep breaths or occasionally glancing over at his slight, trim frame. They’re not like that. They never have been, no matter how much he might wish that they are. He reminds himself to be content that John came home again. For awhile things were a mess: during the autumn, after he was shot, John had come home to stay with him while he recovered, partly to take care of Sherlock’s wound and partly because he and Mary weren’t speaking and he didn’t want to be at their flat. But then he’d gone back. To Sherlock’s great (albeit silent) disappointment, John had finally decided to forgive her and moved back to his flat.

In retrospect Sherlock wonders if John has ever thought that deciding to move out again was a spectacularly poor Christmas gift to him, though apparently a slightly underappreciated one to Mary, who seemed to consider it her due (according to John). Probably not: at the time John was likely only thinking that it was a nice gesture to make to his wife on Christmas Day. (She should have been over the moon. Possibly she hadn’t realised how close John had been to not forgiving her at all.) He’d been thinking of her, not Sherlock. Never mind, Sherlock reminds himself. That’s all over now. John hadn’t lasted six weeks of the forgiveness, moving home on the fifteenth of February at last. Mary had taken the newborn and gone to live in Finland – with, apparently, the baby’s actual father. Sherlock had been mildly surprised to learn that Mary had found time for more than one dalliance. He’d already suspected David Lewisham. This one was someone he’d never heard of. Another of Mary’s secrets, it seemed. Anyway, John had come home and after he’d spent a few days shouting out the entire story to Sherlock, he’d calmed down surprisingly quickly and life had resumed as it had been before Christmas, only Sherlock wasn’t an invalid any more. He’d been pleased when John agreed to come with him the next time a case came up, and just like that, their old life fell easily back into place.

Except. Except. He always thinks of these exceptions now, the things which he never noticed were missing the first time they did this, shared a flat and a life. There was something missing, something he’d finally been made aware of as of John’s wedding reception. He’d never seen John that way before, not consciously, though Sherlock is well aware that subconsciously it must have existed for quite a long time already. But now he’s fully aware, and it’s dangerously interesting because John no longer telegraphs a complete lack of interest in such things. He hasn’t actively pursued it the way he did that first night, their first dinner together of what must be thousands by now, but Sherlock occasionally catches what he thinks could be interest, but he isn’t certain.

He has always known that John is both attracted to him (though he would never admit it; his prized heterosexuality is a point of stubborn pride, it seems) and tremendously possessive of him. He has always had a preponderance for showing overt jealousy, even with clients who stand too close (according to his judgement) or display overly familiar behaviour toward Sherlock. He will immediately bristle, move into Sherlock’s physical space, and lay physical claim to him in some way. Just a hand on the shoulder, the back. A spoken phrase bracketing the two of them as we versus the other party’s you. Sherlock secretly relishes this every time it happens, basks in John’s jealousy as much as he does his praise. As for the attraction, John touches him frequently and unnecessarily even when there are no other people around to take it as a territorial indicator. He touches Sherlock unapologetically, as though this is simply part of their relationship. Which, Sherlock supposes, it is. He has started consciously touching John more in return – started years ago, for that matter. Well before his jump from the roof of Bart’s Hospital. Before John, he never experienced any sort of desire for physical contact with anyone. He was contentedly self-sufficient. But John breaks all of his rules, somehow.

The divorce is not yet official but the separation is. John’s barrister explained that divorces must wait a full year before being legally processed. Sherlock is keeping track of the days. The wedding was the eighteenth of May and it’s now the sixteenth of April. Thirty-two days and then John Watson will officially be a free man once again.

The not-as-yet-free man stirs on the sofa, a low, sleepy sound emitting from his mouth. Sherlock looks over. John is still asleep. He allows his eyes to travel down the length of John’s body and notices with something not unlike alarm that John is sporting a partial erection, visible through his trousers. Sherlock swallows, noting the proximity of John’s hand, currently resting on his thigh, to said erection. He shakes the pages of the newspaper out again and turns a page, but his eyes steal back to it. John’s hand moves, settling directly over it, and just like that, Sherlock discovers that he himself is aroused in turn. There is – evidently – something about merely knowing that the object of one’s desires is aroused that has the power to stir his own flesh in response, just watching from across the room. John makes another soft sound. He’s dreaming, Sherlock thinks, hardly breathing. His small hand is rubbing rhythmically over his tented trousers, following the hard line of his erection, tracking its length through the layers of material. Sherlock swallows again; saliva has collected in his mouth without his having noticed. He’s mirroring John, he realises belatedly, his own hand cupping himself between the legs, palm pressing into his corresponding hardness. John is making little sounds in the back of his throat and now his hand is pushing into his trousers, the button and flies still fastened, but Sherlock can see the outline of his fist as he strokes himself roughly. He stealthily slouches in his chair and opens his own trousers, drawing out his penis, gripping it and moving his fist along its length, matching the movements of John’s hand.

It must be a very good dream, indeed. John is panting, brows compressing, his mouth open, his free hand rubbing over his chest and thigh and his testicles, fist jerking so hard it looks painful. Sherlock bites his lower lip hard to choke back the moan that wants to escape, his exhalations shaking, jerking himself at lightning speed now. “Sher – ” John breathes, then a spasm passes through his body and his eyes fly open precisely as he reaches orgasm.

Alarmed, Sherlock instantly feigns sleep, the newspaper spread over his lap and chest, disguising his penis and the hand curled around it. His head is tipped back against the back of his chair and he tries desperately to slow his breathing, make it sound as though he’s merely breathing deeply as he naps. John is struggling mightily to keep his orgasm silent, his choked breath nonetheless bursting out through his nose. He’s likely mortified, Sherlock thinks, waking up from a sexual dream mid-climax with another person in the room. He can hear the spatter of John’s release making his hand wet as he finishes himself off as quietly as possible, and resolves to remain absolutely still. For John’s sake – John would hate knowing that Sherlock accidentally witnessed him masturbating. And John will be scrutinising his every move, trying his best to determine whether or not Sherlock is actually asleep or not. Sherlock tries mightily to keep his chest from heaving, feeling he will die of carbon dioxide poisoning from holding his breath for so long. It’s torture, having to let it out so slowly like this when his lungs are still straining to pant, fighting against him.

John regains control of himself after a minute or two. Sherlock hears him moving, probably sitting up. There’s a long moment where he can feel John looking intently at him from over on the sofa and he wills himself to remain utterly still, or as still as a sleeping person should look. He can feel a thin page of newspaper resting against the wet tip of his penis and hopes very much that the protrusion of his fist and erection won’t show from the other side. John yawns then, gets up and goes down the corridor and into the bathroom and Sherlock lets his breath out in a gasp. He hears the sound of the water running in the sink. He waits, not moving. Will John come back immediately, or… ? He listens. No: the shower has just been turned on. Good. Thank God. Sherlock leaves the newspaper where it is and resumes his furious masturbation, thinking of the choked-off sounds of humiliated desperation escaping from John’s throat and nose as he climaxed and within two minutes his own orgasm rises and bursts out of him in hot pulses, spattering the newspaper and probably his shirt.

When it’s finished, the last emissions slippery against his fist, Sherlock feels his limbs go limp and sprawls in the chair. He’ll need to go and change but if he wants to maintain the fiction that he was sleeping all along, it will have to wait until John has seen him here in the same position on his way upstairs to change. Unless he just puts the same clothes back on. Sherlock considers. Will he? He thinks: no, they were out all night and all of the previous day; John will definitely change. He will just have to wait there until John has finished his shower and gone upstairs. As for the rest of it, he’ll simply deny it if John ever manages to find the least awkward way possible of asking about this, whether or not Sherlock was aware of it, and he’ll act as though nothing has happened. They both will. John is very good at denial and Sherlock is a highly accomplished liar. It should be easy enough.

 

ii

The fact is, though, Sherlock can’t forget that it did happen and doesn’t try to. John said his name; ergo, John was dreaming about him. Having a highly sexual dream about him, in fact. Somehow this pleases Sherlock to no end, regardless of the fact that John is seemingly never going to mention it. He cannot possibly fathom how such a conversation would even go. So, Sherlock, I sometimes have sexual dreams about you. – Oh, really? – Yes, fancy giving it a go in real life? Perhaps not. Nonetheless, his hypothesis is confirmed: John is definitely attracted to him. And if he’s having sexual dreams about him, he must know. Perhaps he’s dreamed of Sherlock before. Sherlock rather badly wants to know the precise nature of what transpired in John’s dream, but despite spending an hour thinking about it that should have been devoted to thinking about the case, he is unable to think of a way to ascertain this information or bring up the topic in casual conversation. And neither of them mentions the incident in the sitting room. Perhaps John really believed that Sherlock slept through it and is unaware of John’s resultant humiliation. He glances at Sherlock on occasion, but never mentions it, and neither does Sherlock.

Meanwhile, another lead has come up in the case and they are on their way to the location Lestrade provided in a taxi. Pyotr Kazakov is a fine arts broker from Moscow on the surface but Interpol suspects him of arms dealing on the side, and somehow a local auction house has been drawn into the case and thereby into Lestrade’s jurisdiction. The problem is that they haven’t been able to catch Kazakov or any of his associates doing anything other than dealing in paintings, not arms or money laundering or any other suspicious activity. However, one of the homeless network came by Baker Street in the morning to tell them that the auction house had been receiving a lot of deliveries late at night. He and John had checked and there were no upcoming auctions, so it was slightly suspicious. The fact that it’s a small auction house and that Kazakov’s name had been on a bill of lading a year and a half prior made it worth checking. The girl who had come by (Sophie, no family name) had said there had been voices and lights in the building after ten in the evening the previous two nights. Sherlock gave Lestrade a head’s up; Lestrade’s team is currently arriving in place on the other side of the building. He and John are in the alley.

The cab leaves them at the end of the alley and John leads the way, revolver in hand as they keep to the shadows and make their way quietly down the lane. Sophie was correct; there are indeed lights on, but not overhead lights – torches. Suspicious. John glances back at him, silently sharing his thought. There is a door with a wire-reinforced window – a pedestrian door, not a delivery dock but next to it. The door is wedged between a narrow opening perhaps a little over a metre deep, and looks down into a receiving bay. John creeps up to the window and peers over the edge.

“Can’t see much so far,” he tells Sherlock under his breath. “I see five torches.”

“Any other movement?” Sherlock asks. “What else can you see?”

“Not much,” John admits. “It’s too dark.”

Sherlock’s phone buzzes. He unbuttons his coat (it’s too warm to have it buttoned anyway; it’s April) and pulls it out of an inside pocket. Lestrade. We’re in position round front. All quiet so far. Sherlock ignores it and puts the phone away. Behind him, the sound of a loud motor approaches; clearly a large lorry is turning down the alley. As it approaches, Sherlock realises that he is partially visible from the lane. The space in front of the door is really only large enough for one person and John is occupying the majority of said space already, but there’s nothing for it. He presses himself up against John’s back, the lorry lumbering ever nearer, and holds onto John’s waist to keep himself out of sight.

“Well, that’s cosy,” John mutters, but Sherlock shushes him; the lorry is drawing to a close. Hopefully the driver will pull the front section ahead of their tiny alcove, which would allow the body of the vehicle to block them from view.

He glances over his shoulder as the lorry wheezingly gears down, then shudders to a stop, the motor still running. Excellent: the cab is out of sight, as is the rear of the vehicle. There is approximately one foot of space between the wall and the truck through which they could slip if they needed to get away, but the doors are opening and the sound of men’s voices emerges from the cab. They cannot leave without being seen. John looks back at him, the comprehension (and apprehension) clear in his eyes. Sherlock makes an apologetic expression with his brows and a slight shrug and John’s shoulders shrug in return, accepting it, that they’re going to be stuck this way until the truck leaves.

Sherlock strains to listen to the voices. They’re speaking in Russian, which he partially understands, but this is a rural accent, guttural and slurred and they’re careful to keep their voices low. That, and the rumbling motor of the lorry is blocking out some of the words. He catches delivery and on time and delay, then the other man responds with something about payload (although Sherlock isn’t one hundred percent certain of the word). He would text Lestrade but his arm is wedged between John’s side and the wall and he can’t get at his coat pockets. He keeps listening and tries to ignore the fact that his hand is resting against John’s front, not pressing in with his palm but touching it nonetheless. The voices have retreated too far to be heard now; the shipping door is opening with a creak that causes one man to say something sharp to the other.

“Three torches moving to the loading dock,” John says under his breath. “The other two are staying put.”

“A lookout.” Sherlock is aware that John is holding himself tensely, possibly uncomfortable about their unusual proximity. They lapse into silence again, listening, waiting for the drivers to unload their delivery and leave.

Several sets of footsteps come back into the lane and around the back of the truck now, opening the cargo section. Three, no, four voices, Sherlock determines. Is this all of it? one man demands. An affirmation. A growled question, threatening in nature. A hasty reassertion. Another muttered remark from one of the others.

John, who can’t follow it, shifts slightly, and Sherlock’s focus unwittingly goes back to him. He’s so tense now that he’s trembling slightly. Sherlock is puzzled. What is John so tense for? Then it dawns on him: not tense, aroused. He’s pressed to John front to back, his hipbones aligned with the upper curve of John’s arse, and obviously it’s a very suggestive position to be in. John has already demonstrated clear signs of attraction and he isn’t nearly as able to focus single-mindedly as Sherlock is; therefore he’s become distracted. And aroused. This knowledge causes heat to plunge through Sherlock’s body, his own quite suddenly every bit as aware of their position as John’s is, and arousal floods his frame. For God’s sake. Of all times.

Sherlock clears his throat almost silently; the Russians are still standing behind the truck. Focus. They’re bickering about some delay now. (John is trying to subtly shift again, his erection likely uncomfortable in his jeans. Sherlock feels himself grow harder still. He wonders if John can feel it through their trousers.) Finally the rolling door of the lorry is pulled shut with a slam and the footsteps retreat, though the engine is still running. They’re back inside the factory. Or are they? The sound of a match being struck comes from near the cab end of the truck; they’ve left a lookout behind here, too. (High security.)

This is torturous, physically. By the time they are allowed to make their escape it will be painful to move. John must surely be aware that he’s in a similar state by now. He is breathing hard and trying to disguise it, but his back is quivering with it, which sends a thrill through Sherlock’s spine. He hears his breath escape his nose in a too-loud exhalation of his own and presses his hips forward, silently declaring himself. John gasps; luckily the lorry gives a belch of motor-related distress at the same time. Sherlock’s desperation mounts. He makes up his mind suddenly and grasps at John’s crotch through his jeans. He’s a bit too far gone to even fully consider that John might react in hissed rejection, horrified What the HELL are you doing?! – which he doesn’t. He doesn’t say anything at all, though craning his head forward Sherlock can see that John’s eyes have closed, his mouth opening. The feel of John’s penis, hard in his jeans, is intoxicating. Sherlock rubs his palm along it, then manages to undo the button and zip with both hands, his elbows pressing into the concrete walls. (It doesn’t matter.) He reaches into John’s pants and draws out his erection, his own straining hard against the zip of his own tailored trousers. He pushes himself against John’s arse, rubbing through all the layers as his fist begins to jerk roughly over John’s already-leaking erection. Even with all the material dulling the sensation, it’s still wonderfully pleasure-inducing, just knowing that it’s John’s arse that he’s frotting against. John is gasping and trying desperately to keep it quiet, head falling back a little. Sherlock increases his speed and the pressure of his left fist, reaching lower with his right to cup John’s testicles in his fingers, rubbing them, the sensitive place just behind them. He can feel his undergarments dragging wetly over the head of his own penis, so hard it’s nearly painful, his orgasm rising sharply. John exhales hard through his nose, body shuddering, then his teeth are digging into his lip and his body goes rigid as he climaxes, silently but for his breath, hot pulses of semen erupting over Sherlock’s fist. The stimulation is too much; Sherlock closes his eyes tightly and has an orgasm in his trousers for the first time since he was fourteen years old, and even then never in public, or semi-public like this. Certainly never with a witness. He is helpless to it, the heat and wetness of it soaking his underwear, hips jammed up against John’s arse as his release spends itself within his clothing.

John sags against him, Sherlock’s arms still around him, panting and trying to be quiet about it. He’s not talking, not even in a whisper, as Sherlock’s hands coax the last fat drops from his penis. When he twitches in over-sensitivity, Sherlock withdraws his hands. The left one in particular is coated in John’s semen but it seems rude to wipe it on John’s clothing. He settles for twisting his wrist a bit painfully and wiping his palm on the concrete wall. He wonders if he should say something, but given the proximity of the smoking lookout man and the fact that the lorry is still running, perhaps silence is the most prudent course of action in any case. Besides, he has no idea what he would say.

Finally a single set of footsteps approach again and there’s a brief exchange of words. The cigarette is dropped and extinguished (Sherlock hears the grinding of a heel against the pavement) and both doors open and the two men get in. The lorry shifts gears again, then grumblingly lurches forward and drives off. Sherlock finally relaxes and takes a cautious step backward, his legs feeling strangely weak and shaky now that he’s paying attention to it. It seems extremely quiet now that the loud motor of the lorry has gone. John stays where he is, peering through the window of the door. “The torches are all on the far side now. You should text Lestrade and tell him they’re coming to his side.”

His voice sounds very normal – too normal; it’s at least partly feigned, then. Somehow this is reassuring. “I will,” Sherlock responds, aiming for the same level of normalcy, and takes out his phone and types the text with sticky fingers. His trousers are exceedingly sticky on the inside, too, and despite feeling quite uncertain about John, he nonetheless does feel cautiously rather pleased about the entire thing. John has been attracted to him for awhile, at least, and now he knows that it’s mutual. They have just shared an orgasm – at the least convenient possible time, perhaps, but knowing that John’s was brought about by his hands, his touch, is vastly pleasing. He types Delivery made from back alley just now; five agents inside (minimum), headed your way. SH “Come on,” he says, putting the phone away. “Lestrade will catch them from his side. We might as well go home. I’ll get a taxi.”

“All right,” John says, and falls into step beside him. It feels oddly companionable as they exit the alley and onto the main road. And neither of them says anything whatsoever about what just happened.

 

iii

They don’t talk about it. They make no mention of it whatsoever, neither that evening nor any evening following. Sherlock thinks he catches John looking at him more often, usually calculated so that Sherlock won’t notice. He’s clearly failed to recall that Sherlock’s peripheral vision is excellent, and he catches nearly every look. He’ll turn suddenly and find John’s eyes in the act of flicking away from the area of his arse or legs or back, or look back at John only to catch John’s eyes blinking up from where they had just been hovering near Sherlock’s mid-section. Or possibly lower. On such occasions, Sherlock will occasionally very nearly stumble over whatever it was he’d been about to say, but he normally recovers before John has a chance to notice and just carries on with whatever he was saying.

Five days have gone by since the incident in the alley. Lestrade caught the men inside the warehouse and seized the shipment, but all five men refused to speak and getting nowhere, Lestrade had been forced to pass them on to Interpol for a more thorough processing, surrendering the delivery as well. The delivery was shielded in more layers of protective wrapping possible, locked with multiple combination codes and impenetrable to scans due to the uranium layer in its packaging. Forceful opening could have meant an explosion if any of the suspected arms within were volatile, so Lestrade had had to give that up, too. He was frustrated and all the more determined to catch Kazakov and the rest of his operation.

In the meantime, there was a murder in Leyton. When Lestrade had stopped by on his way to the crime scene, he’d said that the neighbours thought it was a domestic murder caused by the wife’s affair with the gardener. Sherlock had immediately agreed to come and after Lestrade had gone, John asked why.

“Have you ever been to Leyton?” Sherlock had asked, pulling his coat on.

“No, why?”

“Easy. None of those houses have gardens. Come on.” He’d swept down the stairs, John hard on his heels, and the murder had taken up the better part of the day. Not domestic at all; for once the beleaguered husband actually was in it. Turned out to have been the neighbour, in fact. He’d been the one having an affair with the wife, while plotting to steal from her husband’s fine jewellery boutique. She’d found out; he’d used the affair to threaten her silence, then killed her regardless. Simple enough, but when they searched his house they found a stockpile of missing jewellery from half a dozen other unsolved cases – none of which had been Lestrade’s; therefore Sherlock had not been involved. It was all very satisfying and Lestrade, getting to take the credit, had felt slightly mollified about Kazakov.

They’re leaving the house now, strolling toward a busier street to get a cab when they realise that neither of them have any cash.

“Never mind,” John says, as Sherlock huffs in exasperation. “We’ll just have to take the tube. Where’s the nearest station?”

Sherlock heaves a sigh and consults his inner map. “Leyton,” he says, after a moment. “Central line.”

John groans. “It’s coming on five – it’ll be murder at this time of the day.”

“Bring cash next time,” Sherlock orders.

You bring cash next time,” John grouses in return.

The station is as busy as John feared and the train already crowded when they board. Sherlock holds a hanging strap and John manages to claim a piece of pole to hold, at least until Stratford when a swamp of new people board and they’re pushed further into the carriage. Sherlock is forced to switch to another strap, which is just a bit too high for John, who has lost his pole.

“Just hold onto me,” Sherlock says, striving to make it sound neutral, glancing over John’s head at the press of people crushing in from the other doors as well. In fact, if it’s this packed, it’s not likely either one of them needs to hold anything, but it doesn’t seem necessary to point this out. John doesn’t argue, just puts his hands on Sherlock’s waist and looks down and away as the train lurches to a start again. John staggers a little, tightening his grip. Sherlock continues to ignore it, hoping that his nonchalance will put John more at ease. The fact is that now he’s thinking about the alley five days ago and strongly suspects that John is, too. Yes: the set jaw, slight furrow to the brow, the steady evasion of eye contact. (Definitely thinking about it.)

The train stops just before Mile End and sits in the tunnel for about five minutes before moving again. Central line, peak hour: Sherlock knows that the wait could have been much longer and doesn’t say anything. Neither does John. They arrive at Mile End station and yet more humanity swells into the train. There is space between them and John will get swept away from him if Sherlock doesn’t do something about it. He takes John by the waist with his free hand and drags him closer, pulling him out of the stream of people attempting to squeeze by behind him. John is still looking away from him but they’re touching lightly in several places: at one hip, their thighs, and John’s hands are still holding him. It’s quite pleasant, actually. Perhaps they should both forget to bring cash for a taxi more often.

Sherlock clears his throat as the train starts moving again and someone staggers behind John, causing him to shift closer still. They’re actually touching crotch-to-crotch now, even with their height difference. Sherlock subtly bends his knees a little and is rewarded as the swaying of the train occurs at precisely the right moment to press them into each other. John gives a sharp intake of breath, but neither looks at him, nor makes any attempt to move away. This is only partly satisfying; Sherlock would frankly prefer it if John would look at him, acknowledge this, acquiesce somehow. He doesn’t, though, resolutely keeping his eyes averted, but his fingers tighten on Sherlock’s lower back. The train is barrelling down the tunnel, its every movement causing them to rub against each other in the best possible way and the carriage is so crowded that no one can even tell that they’re pressed together at the pelvis, John tangibly hard in his trousers, the stiffness pushing against Sherlock’s answering erection. The very audacity of doing this in public, surrounded on all sides by witnesses, is thrilling. People are pressing against both of them on all sides and meanwhile they’re subtly frotting against each other, Sherlock’s thigh pushed between John’s knees. He angles his face down, looking at John’s eyelids. John knows precisely what’s going on; he’s allowing it, pressing himself against Sherlock despite the lack of direct acquiescence.

John is wearing his longer coat today. Sherlock risks moving his hand from the waistband of John’s jeans to cup around his left arse cheek beneath his coat, pressing him closer still and John’s teeth appear, digging into his lower lip, his breath releasing noisily through his nose. Sherlock wants to let go of the strap and put his other hand on John’s arse, too. Wants to get off this train and do this properly somewhere less crowded, but the very crowd is half the fun of this. The train stops three times and each time it does so, they silently stop moving and endeavour to look like nothing more than two men who happen to know one another and have been forced into this ridiculous proximity thanks to the busyness of the Central line at rush hour. But then the doors close and the heady swaying of the train starts again, the growing pleasure collecting in Sherlock’s lower body like the sun beginning to rise. How many stops has it been? He hasn’t been paying attention. He only has thought for John, who is breathing hard and trying to hide the fact – even from him – yet still rubbing himself against Sherlock, their erections straining and wanting and beginning to gather more and more of that incredible pleasure building. The train stops again. Half the carriage empties and even more people enter. St. Paul’s. If they can hold on for five more stations, they can change to the Jubilee line at Bond Street where it’s only one station to Baker Street. If not, Sherlock will drag John out of the train at Oxford Circus and rip open his jeans somewhere there in the station and finish this properly. John will complain because Oxford Circus would mean taking the Bakerloo line, which is two stops from Baker Street, but Sherlock doesn’t particularly care. The doors close again. Mind the gap. John’s arm slides further around his back and he steps closer, pressing himself hard to Sherlock as the motion of the train starts its magic again, and Sherlock is suddenly concerned that they may not even make it to Oxford Circus. He would personally prefer not to have an orgasm with so many witnesses so extremely close to him; he doubts he would be able to keep that completely discreet.

As it is, he’s breathing a little too hard. He stops looking down at John and instead stares out over his head, trying to read the adverts across the way even as his right hand grips John’s arse, pinning them together. There is a jolt as the train hits a crooked patch of train, forcing them even harder together. Chancery Lane. A brief respite as the train stops, but then they’re moving again. Sherlock decides then and there that they will have to exit the train at Oxford Circus. Holborn. Sherlock’s fingers are cramping slightly and he is sweating lightly at the temples, his penis hard as a rod and leaking damply. John is every bit as hard against him. At Tottenham Court Road, something changes: John glances up into his face, just for a second, then looks away again, his expression unreadable. Finally the train slows for Oxford Circus. “Come on,” Sherlock says under his breath and takes John by the wrist, dragging him off the train.

John doesn’t protest or respond, just follows him, his gait uneven, as Sherlock’s must be. He’s so hard that it’s painful to walk. The crowds of pedestrians are surging around them. (He couldn’t care less.) Somehow they get themselves up the stairs and around the corner to transfer to the Bakerloo line. This will do. It’s as good a place as any. He glances up to check for security cameras (they’re in a gap between two), backs John into a tiled corridor wall and pins him there with his thighs.

“Sher – what – ” John stammers, glancing around at the hundreds of passersby.

“Shut up,” Sherlock growls, leaning over him. The sides of his coat are open and provide a tiny bit of screening as he thumbs open the button of John’s jeans and pushes down the zip. With his other hand he manages to free his own, aching erection and lines them up together in his hand. When he closes his hand around both of them at once, John gasps.

“We can’t – and I’m not – ” John is protesting as best he despite the fact that his hips are bucking forward into Sherlock’s fist.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Sherlock is irritated, and besides which, nothing about John’s body language is dissuading him. It’s a token protest, only meant for show. Indeed – John makes no response to this except to reach under Sherlock’s coat to grip him by the arse cheek as Sherlock’s fist works over both of them at once. He’s breathing hard against John’s temple, wanting to kiss him but that would be even more obvious. (Not that he knows whether or not John wants to kiss him. Never mind, then.) It has to be obvious to anyone what they’re doing, but at least his coat is shielding it somewhat. Besides, it’s hardly as though it’s going to take a long time. John’s penis is thick and they’re both wet enough that Sherlock’s hand is slick with it, jerking over them.

John moans and his head drops forward, breath hot on Sherlock’s neck as he comes, body spasming in Sherlock’s hand. The stimulus of his orgasm, the added fluid, and the exhilarating rush of doing this in such an incredibly public space proves to be overwhelming for Sherlock’s mind and body both and he comes a second later, the side of his face pressing painfully hard into John’s head as his body jerks in its climax. It seems that withholding the orgasm made it more powerful for both of them; they’ve made a mess of themselves. For a moment or two, they just stand there, panting and coming down from it, then Sherlock reaches into his left pocket where he remembers that he had stowed a couple of serviettes two days ago when they had fish and chips on their way home from the lab. He silently gives one to John, staying where he is so that his coat will still offer some protection and they spend a moment hastily cleaning themselves up. John zips himself away, avoiding his eyes, and Sherlock does the same and steps away. “Come on,” is all he says, heading down the corridor toward the Harrow & Wealdstone-bound trains.

John joins him on the platform, not saying anything, but Sherlock thinks that he’s standing closer than he normally might. The set of his shoulders is stiff, but once the train arrives – considerably emptier than the Central line had been – he sprawls onto the Barman-patterned upholstery across from Sherlock, his body language open and relaxed. “Hungry?” he asks, putting his shoe on the bench beside Sherlock’s leg.

Sherlock keeps himself from looking at the shoe, from smiling. “Mm. Quite,” he replies. It’s a bit early, but then, they never ate lunch.

“Chinese?” It’s hopeful.

“Sure.” Sherlock does smile then, just a little. John almost smiles but directs it toward the window and the dark tunnel going by instead.

 

iv

Their silently agreed upon policy of just not talking about it continues to be in effect. Sherlock doesn’t push it. John is slightly more affectionate with him, he notes, but still makes no move to instigate a repeat occurrence of either the alley or the Underground incidents. Presumably he’s still unaware of the first incident, the one that took place right there in the sitting room, which Sherlock counts as technically the first time which they’ve engaged in some manner of sexual activity together, even if one of them was unaware of it. He thinks it counts. It counts for him, at any rate. If it had never happened, he might have continued being unaware of the full extent of John’s attraction to him.

It doesn’t feel constrained or awkward between them. No more so than any other time, at least. John still steals looks at him when he thinks he can get away with it and Sherlock pretends not to notice – but savours it each time it happens. He keeps his own incidental touches light and free of agenda. One of these times, John will say something and then he’ll finally know where they stand. Meanwhile, he’ll just wait for the opportunities to arise.

Lestrade phones three days after the incident on the tube to say that there’s a new lead on Kazakov. Interpol has apparently grudgingly allowed a joint investigation and he wants them to come to the Yard, so they go down and get a taxi at once. Or rather, Sherlock goes down and gets a taxi while John turns off the gas under his Bunsen burner before grabbing his own coat and pelting down the stairs after him.

When they arrive, Lestrade meets them and explains as he leads them into his office. A number of documents have been intercepted going from someone in Kazakov’s organisation to someone in London and they’ve been forwarded to the Yard. “It’s all in code, though,” Lestrade explains as Sherlock listens intently. “I thought maybe you’d like to take a look.”

“All right,” Sherlock says as they all arrive in the office. “Where are they?”

Lestrade hesitates. “On my computer. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve got to be in a press conference for the jewellery thief and I don’t really fancy leaving you alone on my computer. God only knows what you’ll get into.”

“He won’t be alone,” John says, a bit defensively. “I’ll keep him out of trouble.”

“Yeah, that’s why I was thinking maybe you could be the one who uses my computer,” Lestrade says. His eyes cut over to Sherlock. “No offense intended, mate.” It comes with a lopsided smile.

“None taken.” Sherlock waves it off. He’s entirely content to leave the boring task of flicking through the files to John. He pulls off his coat and hangs it up on the coat stand.

“Right, then. I’ll just get you logged in,” Lestrade says to John and goes over to the desk while Sherlock inspects the dusty bookshelves.

“Your password is ‘division451’,” Sherlock says a moment later, already bored.

Lestrade and John both stop and look up at him, John’s mouth agape. It takes Lestrade a moment to react. “No, it isn’t!”

“Yes it is.” Sherlock taps a copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. “It’s more handled than all of the other books, and is also the only piece of fiction on the shelf. Your favourite book, therefore. That and your preponderance for stating what is or is not included in your division: it was no great leap.”

Lestrade curses under his breath and shoots John a dark look. “He’s all yours,” he says grimly. “I’ll be back in about twenty. See what you can do by then.”

He leaves and John snorts with laughter. “Impressive,” he comments.

Sherlock fights down a smile, a touch of heat coming into his cheeks. “Obvious.”

John puts himself in Lestrade’s chair and begins to scroll through the material. “He wasn’t kidding. There’s loads here. Total gibberish. Come and see.”

Sherlock glances at the windows lining the front of Lestrade’s office and goes to hover over John’s shoulder, deliberately too close. (He’s determined over the years that John likes it when he does this, anyway; he always smiles.) This time is no different. John’s smile is tight and kept to himself, but still there. Sherlock gazes at the screen for four seconds, then says, “Easy. An amateur could do it. There was no reason to call me.”

John clears his throat pointedly.

“Us,” Sherlock amends.

John frowns at the screen. “I’m not seeing the pattern.”

“Sure you are. You’re looking right at it.” Sherlock straightens up and walks back to the bookshelf. “See if you can figure it out.”

John makes a pleased sound in his throat and leans in, studying the script in front of him. Sherlock leaves him to it and inspects the other things in Lestrade’s office. A framed photo, at least ten years old, of Lestrade and some other officers. Sherlock recognises (and dislikes) two of them. A photo of his parents, clearly, no one else it could be. He could just tell John the code and they could get to work on what it means, but for a few minutes, at least, he’ll let John have fun with it. He bends forward to inspect a trinket made of pewter and decides it’s the Kölnerdom in miniature. Behind him, John clears his throat.

Without standing up, Sherlock looks back over his shoulder to see that John’s eyes are not on the screen but rather affixed to his arse. Sherlock catches his eye and smirks. “Distracted?”

John scowls and resumes looking at the screen. His cheeks are a bit red and Sherlock is pleased. He’s called John right on it and he hasn’t denied it.

Sherlock goes over and stands behind him again, resting his hands on John’s shoulders. “Getting warmer?” he asks.

John’s shoulders twitch as though he wants to throw Sherlock’s hands off. “Maybe,” he says cautiously. “I’m getting that you have to skip words, but the frequency changes and I haven’t got the pattern yet.”

“Good,” Sherlock says, bending to say it in John’s ear and taking the opportunity to look down at John’s lap. Sure enough, there’s a slight bulge in the stiff material of his jeans. Jeans. Always jeans with John, unless he’s in professional mode. (He loves John in jeans.)

John reacts immediately to the proximity of his mouth and squirms as if on cue. “Going to help me out here, or what?” His discomfort makes him irritable. “With the pattern,” he adds, clarifying, face staining more deeply still.

Sherlock doesn’t move. “Sure, if you want,” he all but purrs into John’s ear. “I’ll give you a hint: the first skip is three words.” He slides his hands down over John’s collarbones, glancing at the windows. There are passersby but so far no one is looking inside or stopping.

He can feel John’s increased heartbeat through his upper chest. “Okay,” John says, staring at the screen. “How many parts are there to the pattern before it repeats?”

“Three,” Sherlock says, lips actually on John’s earlobe this time.

John breathes deeply. “I – okay,” he says, evidently changing his mind about what he was going to say. He also glances toward the windows, then briefly down at himself, at the erection quite visible to the outside viewer. He shifts again, crossing one leg over the other and clears his throat. “Maybe you should, er, let me focus, then,” he says, obviously aiming for a casual tone.

Sherlock withdraws his hands and takes several steps away. “You were the one staring at me.”

He can feel John’s hesitation. “I just… well, here?” he tries.

Sherlock turns and pins John with his stare. “You like it when it’s in public,” he states factually, not specifying what it is. They both know precisely what it is, but this the closest either of them has got to verbalising it specifically.

John swallows, the red flush spreading down his face and neck, disappearing behind the collar of his striped shirt. “No, I don’t.”

It’s as blatant a lie as he’s ever told before. Sherlock goes back to the desk and pulls John’s chair around, swivelling it to face him. “Yes, you do,” he contradicts, and drops to his knees, eyeing John’s crotch. He fits himself into the space under Lestrade’s desk and pulls John and the chair closer. His hands on the button of John’s jeans, he looks up and says, “I’ll tell you the other two parts of the pattern if you can keep quiet.”

“Oh God,” John says. His eyes go back to the door. “Here?” It’s weak and he knows it; he’s not protesting at all, his hands unresisting on the arms of the desk chair.

“Here,” Sherlock agrees, working the zip open. “Get working.” He frees the erection curled in John’s underwear and slides his mouth over the end of it. He’s never done this before (or had it done to himself), but surely it can’t be rocket science. John breathes in sharply through his nose, body jerking a little, and Sherlock is pleased.

“Someone could just – walk in,” he says, but his legs are spreading to give Sherlock better access even as he says it.

“Mm,” Sherlock agrees, not taking his mouth from John’s penis. It’s a bit cramped under the desk but it suffices to shield him from view. He decides that he likes the taste of John very much as he moves his mouth up and down on him, taking care to keep his teeth out of the equation, his tongue massaging the thick vein running along the underside of John’s penis.

John’s entire body is quivering. “Ah – let’s see – if the first skip is three words, that makes the first sentence these shipments are and then I think the – ah – next one must be, er, four words, because that would – that would make the next word – er – sensitive.” His voice is shaking, too. “Is that – how is that? Is the second part a four-word skip?”

Sherlock hums his agreement directly into John’s flesh, running his hand along it now as he explores the head with his lips and tongue. John is leaking heavily already, which he takes as a good sign. He pulls John forward in the chair, causing him to slouch, but giving Sherlock better access to his testicles, which he cups and rubs at now. He lets his free hand steal southward to unbutton his own trousers and slip inside, grasping himself as he continues what he’s doing to John.

John is gasping and trying hard not to. “Okay, the next one,” he says, obviously panting. “It m-must be – hnnnngh – God, Sherlock, I can’t – ”

The door bursts open suddenly and John scrambles to push himself upright in the chair without pulling his penis from Sherlock’s mouth. “Oh, John,” Sally Donovan says in slight surprise. “What are you doing here? Going through that code?”

“Yeah,” John says, licking his lips. “Lestrade gave me the password.”

“Huh.” Sally sounds unimpressed. “Freak with you? I see his coat’s here, at any rate.”

“No – he, er, he went to… get some coffee,” John improvises. It sounds like every inch the lie it is. Normally he would say something about the freak bit, but he’s understandably distracted at the moment. Sherlock applies a generous amount of tongue to the head of John’s penis, closing his lips around it. John pushes at his head with one hand, possibly a strong hint to keep himself out of sight. Sherlock responds by licking a long stripe up the underside of John’s erection, his hand gripping it firmly.

Sally is chatting unconcernedly. “That must be a first, him doing something for you for a change,” she remarks.

“Actually he, er, does a lot for me,” John manages, sounding half-strangled. Possibly choking on the irony.

Sherlock can only envision the odd look she must be giving John as she says, “Really. I’ll believe when I see it.” Sherlock smirks inwardly. That could be arranged easily enough, he thinks – all he would need to do is push the desk chair away from the desk and expose them both). He takes John fully into his mouth again, causing John to gasp, which he attempts to disguise as a cough. “Are you all right?” Sally asks.

“Fine!” John is vehement. “I just – er – need to – to concentrate, so if – ”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Sally says. “Well – when Greg gets back from the press conference, tell him to call me.”

“Will do,” John says, and glancing up, Sherlock can see how red his face is. The door closes and John gasps. “God, that was – oh fuck, fuck yes – ”

His hips push upward sharply into Sherlock’s mouth and Sherlock takes the hint and sucks even harder, rubbing his tongue as firmly as he can on the head of John’s penis. John comes hard, one hand still in Sherlock’s hair while the other clenches the arm of the chair, his fingernails white. Sherlock moans despite himself, his fist working hard over himself as he endeavours to swallow down John’s salty release without choking. John’s penis erupts again and some of it escapes out the corner of Sherlock’s mouth. Finally John is spent and Sherlock lets his penis slip from his lips as he lays his forehead on John’s thigh and jerks at himself, his orgasm nearly upon him – it’s coming, it’s there – he comes with a splatter onto the cheap carpeting of Lestrade’s office, exhaling hard into the leg of John’s jeans, making them damp, the feel of John’s fingers in his hair somehow enhancing the orgasm, making his entire body react with heightened sensitivity.

When he can breathe normally, he lifts his face and looks up at John, who is looking down at him, wordless as he always is in these situations. He silently reaches down and wipes away a bit of semen from the corner of Sherlock’s mouth with his thumb and licks it clean. Something about it feels… closer than it has before, Sherlock thinks. “The last part of the pattern is one word,” John says quietly. “The pattern is skip three, skip four, skip one.”

“Very good,” Sherlock says, meaning it. He actually wasn’t expecting John to get it. John scoots the chair back to let him out, zipping himself up as he does so. Sherlock crawls out from under the desk, taking care to avoid the wet spot he’s left, and does the same. He straightens his clothing and hair and says, “Let’s get these decoded, then. Find out what Kazakov is up to.”

“Right, yeah,” John says, tone neutral, and like that, they’re back to normal and have over half the documents decoded by the time Lestrade gets back from the press conference.

 

v

John still doesn’t talk about it. Sherlock follows his lead and keeps his mouth shut. Nothing changes at home, save that John is as affectionate as he has been – no more and no less. He’s casual about it, and still watches Sherlock more than he used to. Sherlock’s noted that since the incident in Lestrade’s office three days ago, he’s started looking at Sherlock’s mouth considerably more than he used to, too. But if he isn’t going to talk about it – or instigate it himself – then Sherlock will just have to keep going about this the way he has. He’s beginning to feel an ever-increasing urge for John to touch him back, however. To reciprocate in some way. He doesn’t understand what the problem could be. Surely John isn’t still clinging to some ridiculous notion of not being interested. A sexual dream and three live orgasms literally at Sherlock’s hand must have dissuaded him from that idea by now. So why the hesitation?

Meanwhile, the Kazakov case has finished. The decoded messages gave Interpol the leads they needed and Kazakov has been arrested, his entire operation exposed. Lestrade received a small measure of the credit, and now it’s back to the usual for everyone. John is going back to the clinic tomorrow. It’s a Friday and Sherlock fails to see why he couldn’t have just waited until Monday if he had to go back at all, but John’s insisted. Perhaps he’s anxious to get some space away from that which he refuses to talk about with Sherlock. Which only makes Sherlock more stubbornly determined to pursue it. After John’s gone up to bed, he devises a small plan.

The following afternoon, he’s seated on the visitor chair in John’s office at his scheduled time, clad in nothing but a blue gown and the slight beginnings of an erection, one knee crossed over the other.

John opens the door, chart in hand, stops short and groans. “Christ, Sherlock, what are you doing here? I have an appointment now!”

“Yes,” Sherlock says serenely. “With me.”

John gives him an incredulous look, then looks at the chart he’s holding. “The appointment is for – oh, for fuck’s sake. ‘William Scott’. I should have known.” He looks back at Sherlock, glaring. “You made an appointment for a prostate exam?”

Sherlock is unmoved. “It’s an important check-up for any male,” he says.

John’s eyes travel down the length of Sherlock’s seated form, lingering in the region of his crotch. “And you had to have me do it. I see. Fine.”

He sounds slightly exasperated, but Sherlock’s observations say otherwise. John isn’t wearing a lab coat, just beige khakis and the maroon checked shirt that is one of Sherlock’s favourites. These trousers will prove more revealing than jeans, and the brevity of John’s attempted protest alone suggests that it’s not really a problem. Token protest only. Sherlock smiles. “What do I need to do?”

John shakes his head and puts the chart down on his desk. He gestures at the paper-lined examination table. “Most people find it most comfortable to either kneel on their hands and knees or else to lean up against the table.”

Sherlock considers. “What do you prefer? For giving the examination,” he clarifies smoothly.

John clears his throat. “On the table. You can, uh, take the gown off.”

Sherlock calmly unties the strings around his neck, not having bothered with the set at his back and lays the gown over the visitor chair, eyes not leaving John’s as he does so. He’s never been entirely nude in front of John (though, thanks to Mycroft, he came quite close that day at Buckingham Palace). John swallows, visibly uncomfortable, but once the gown is disposed of, his eyes rake over Sherlock’s nude frame, stopping at his burgeoning erection and not moving from there. Sherlock gestures at the table. “You want me on the table now?”

John coughs. “Er – yeah. You can keep your arms fully extended or balance on your elbows, your preference.”

“Certainly.” Sherlock tries both, then settles onto his elbows.

John snaps a pair of gloves onto his hands and retrieves a jar of vaseline from a cupboard. “You’re not actually concerned about your prostate health, are you?” he asks. “I’m serious, Sherlock – there’s nothing wrong, is there? It’s just a check-up?”

“Of course,” Sherlock says, voice muffled a bit, his face hanging downward.

“Good.” John uncaps the jar. “Do you know how these exams work, then?”

“Of course,” Sherlock says again. “Researched them last night.”

John sighs. “And when did you make the appointment? This morning?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever had a prostate exam before?” John presses. “I can’t remember you ever seeing a doctor for anything other than stitches or burn treatment, and even then you usually just see me, at home.”

“I am seeing you,” Sherlock says. “Are you going to do the exam or not?” Just thinking about it, and kneeling like this with his arse in the air, has made him harder already. He knows it has to be visible to John.

John takes a deep breath. “Yeah,” he says. “Of course I am.” He places one gloved hand on Sherlock’s back. “It might be slightly uncomfortable. Try to relax.”

“Okay.” Sherlock closes his eyes and waits. John’s gloved fingers slip deftly into the cleft of his arse and then a single finger pushes into him, well-coated with lubrication. Perhaps it’s only because he’s used to doing this to himself that it’s not at all uncomfortable – on the contrary, knowing that it’s John makes it instantly rather enjoyable, and his prostate hasn’t even been touched yet.

“Okay so far?” John asks, clearly striving for a professional detachment, but his voice has gone slightly breathless.

“Mm-hm.” Sherlock keeps his eyes closed, penis harder than ever.

John’s finger presses further into him and then he’s touching it, Sherlock’s prostate blooming in sudden pleasure as John rubs it from within him. Sherlock gasps in pleasure before he can prevent himself, and John’s breath catches sharply. “God,” he groans.

“Mm.” It’s all Sherlock can manage.

John rubs it a little harder and Sherlock sucks in breath as though he’s asphyxiating. “You’re so hard,” John says, his voice strained.

“I know!” Sherlock’s fingers are tearing the paper, clenching. “Do it again!”

John’s breath is ragged and Sherlock is willing to bet any amount of money that he’s completely hard in his flimsy trousers. He moves his finger in and out of Sherlock’s anus, pressing and rubbing at his prostate each time. Finally he pulls the glove off his left hand with his teeth and grasps Sherlock’s erection, stroking it slowly and firmly.

Sherlock bathes in the sheer pleasure for several moments, then realises he’s much closer than he’d prefer to be to orgasm. “Stop!”

John’s hands still, the one inside him slipping out, but he’s still holding Sherlock’s penis. “What?”

Sherlock turns himself with painful care so that he’s sitting on the table, eyes hungrily drinking in John’s flushed face, the obvious tent in his trousers, the need to touch him in return consuming him. “I want to touch you,” he says, his voice wrecked with arousal.

John doesn’t even try to disguise his moan, teeth digging into his lower lip. He nods, wordless, eyes devouring Sherlock’s body, his pale skin flushed in its arousal.

Sherlock steps off the table, hand going to cup John’s erection through his khakis, squeezing. “Take off your trousers.”

For once John doesn’t actually protest, though his eyes go to the door, confirming that it’s firmly closed. He unbuttons his trousers and kicks off his shoes, then pushes his trousers down. “All the way off?”

“Yes. Underwear, too.” Sherlock likes this new compliancy and watches as John does as he’s bidden, stepping out of his clothes, turned partly away from him. “Turn and lean against the table.” He doesn’t say what he wants to do, but assumes it’s clear: he wants to see if he can find John’s prostate, too. Make him feel what Sherlock just experienced. He picks up the vaseline but doesn’t bother with gloves. He runs his hands over John’s arse, which he has never seen nude before and is rewarded with a shiver on John’s part. He dips his middle finger into the petroleum jelly and slides his fingers into the heat of John’s arse, rubbing first at the entrance before pushing his finger inside. It’s tight, but he waits a moment for the sphincter to relax and it does. He goes slowly, waiting for any sound of discomfort, any physical tightening, but so far John is mostly silent, just breathing hard. He slips his finger in and out as John’s body opens to him, then tries a little deeper, searching.

John gasps, fingers making the paper on the surface of the table crinkle. “Oh, that’s – ”

“That’s it?” Sherlock asks, confirming.

“Yeah, you’ve – definitely – ahh!” John’s head falls back. “Oh God, yes!”

Pleased, Sherlock withdraws his fingers and returns with two, just to see how that will be received. John makes strained noises, but then pushes back onto Sherlock’s fingers. He finds the unique texture of John’s prostate again and nudges at it with his fingertips. With his left hand, he reaches around to feel for John’s erection, which is hard and lying against his belly. Sherlock gives it a stroke and John moans again. “Shh,” Sherlock reminds him, with a glance at the door.

John curses again and bucks in his hands, forward into Sherlock’s fist and then backward onto his fingers. Sherlock helps him, matching his rhythm and pace, then when John starts making delightfully desperate sounds, he withdraws both hands and drops to his knees. John appears discomfited. “Sher – what are you – ”

“Shh,” Sherlock says again, eyeing John’s arse at close range. He leans forward, pushes the cheeks apart, and licks at John’s hole. The choked noise John makes sounds positively tortured, his hands scrabbling on the edges of the examining table, looking for something to hold onto. He likes it, then. Sherlock is pleased. He does it again, then again, licking at John’s arse with ever bolder strokes, even pushing his tongue right inside.

John is gasping and nearly whimpering as quietly as he possibly can, possibly begging, and when Sherlock reaches for his leaking erection again, he swears aloud, his legs trembling.

Sherlock finally takes pity on him – and on himself. His penis is flushed dark, thick and throbbing with unsatisfied desire. He gets to his feet and presses it into the cleft of John’s arse, leaning forward to lip at John’s ear. “Going to penetrate you,” he says, unable to think of a less clinical way to put this, but he makes his voice as low and sultry as he can to make up for it. Judging by John’s reaction, he doesn’t seem to mind.

God yes – please!” He sounds frantic, already pushing back against him.

“You’ve got to keep quiet,” Sherlock reminds him, reaching for the vaseline again to coat himself well. He guides himself to the entrance of John’s body, then pushes forward. The sensation is so overwhelmingly good that for a moment he fears he may actually pass out. John’s body is tight around him, so tight that the pressure against his incredibly sensitive penis is nearly unbearable. John sounds so desperate that his words have stopped being words, meaningless, pleading gibberish scored with profanity as Sherlock slowly penetrates him all the way. When he’s fully seated, he looks down at himself buried in John’s body and nearly reaches orgasm just at the sight of it. John is still wearing his shirt. Next time he’ll get John all the way nude first. Nonetheless, he reaches around John, unbuttoning his shirt and giving his body a moment to relax around the intrusion of his penis. He rubs his hands up and down John’s front, touching his chest and nipples and abdomen before taking his penis in hand again to stroke back into full hardness. He’s read that the partner being penetrated often won’t be hard – but he wants John to like this. It seems he needn’t have worried; John’s penis moves and swells within his hand the moment he touches it. Sherlock shifts experimentally and John’s body allows it, so he continues, pulling out a little, then pushing back in. John is trembling. “All right?” Sherlock pants, only becoming aware then of how unsteady his voice is.

“You could say that.” John’s voice is tight, his penis wet in Sherlock’s hand. “Keep – keep doing that – yeah – like that – oh God, oh God – ” His eyes are closed as Sherlock starts to thrust into him, long, slow, deep thrusts angled to target John’s prostate, and John is falling apart in his hands, his voice rising into a strained tenor.

Sherlock can barely speak; he concentrates on finding and re-finding that same place within John over and over again, his own pleasure flooding his brain and every nerve in his body so thoroughly that he cannot possibly think rationally. All that exists at the moment is this, the tight, inexorable, inescapable feeling twisting up from the soles of his feet, heat soaking through his chest as he plunges into John over and over again, fist flying over John’s erection, his other hand gripping his chest, bent over him like two animals rutting together in the wild.

John gives a sharp cry, his hands tearing the crinkling paper and Sherlock clamps a hand over his mouth. “Shh!” he gasps, and John makes a muffled sound against his palm and comes, semen spurting over Sherlock’s fist, the muscles of his anus clamping around Sherlock’s penis, and it’s too much – Sherlock, still gripping John’s face with one hand and his penis with the other, feels the climax overtake him, flooding John’s body as he thrusts himself as deeply into John as he can, coming and coming, unable to stop it, to pull himself free of John for it. Their hips are glued together as Sherlock’s body stills against John’s, his testicles discharging themselves entirely into John.

At least it passes and the blinding spots clear from his vision. They’re both panting as though they’ve just run a marathon. There is sweat running down Sherlock’s temple. A knock sounds suddenly at the door.

“Dr Watson?” The handle is turning.

“Not now!” John shouts, panicked and out of breath.

The handle stops moving. “Sorry,” comes the voice of his receptionist. “Your next appointment was due to start fifteen minutes ago. Just letting you know.”

“I – I might be awhile longer,” John says. “See if Dr McKee can take it, would you?”

“Sure thing.”

Sherlock recovers enough to chuckle under his breath. “Close call,” he says, and eases himself reluctantly out of John. He watches as his own release dribbles out of John’s body as he does so. “Stay there,” he says. “Don’t move.” John doesn’t respond to this as Sherlock goes to a cupboard and finds a container of wet wipes of some sort, non-alcoholic. Baby wipes or hygienic wipes of some sort. He extracts one and cleans his semen from John’s body, which John lets him do without comment. Next he cleans himself, then goes and washes his hands before retrieving his clothes from where he left them folded on a shelf.

John locates his underwear and puts it back on, then his trousers and shoes. Sherlock finishes buttoning his shirt and goes over to him. “All right?” he asks carefully.

John gives him a quick, partial smile. “Yeah. Fine,” he says.

Sherlock helps him change the paper on the table, which is wrinkled and torn and has John’s semen all over it. Then he picks up the blue gown and puts it in the trash. There’s nothing else to do. They face each other. Sherlock takes a step toward John, then puts his hands on John’s shoulders and kisses him for a long moment, just lips on lips. John makes no move to touch him back in any way, but when Sherlock pulls back, he sees that John has closed his eyes. He’s not sure what to say. He clears his throat. “See you at home, then,” he says.

John opens his eyes. “Right. Yeah,” he says, and that seems to be it.

Sherlock feels a little deflated, but turns and goes, pulling the door closed behind him.

 

vi

He waits for John to come home. Waits and waits and waits. Normally John finishes somewhere between four o’clock and half-past, depending on the day. If he takes the bus and the traffic is heavy it can take him up to forty-five minutes to get home. Twenty if traffic is light. If he didn’t leave until four-thirty and the traffic was heavy (it’s Friday; it’s therefore likely to have been heavy, Sherlock reasons), the latest John should be home by is quarter past five. It’s now close to six and Sherlock is worried.

It’s not like him to worry, but this time he’s almost afraid, a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach. Where is John? If he has plans after work, he normally tells Sherlock. Usually invites him along, even. Or if it’s something that Sherlock can’t come along to, he’ll explain. I’ve got that boring conference on tonight and tomorrow. Be home late. Or Dinner with my parents. Sure it will be awful. See you later. Or Harry’s having a crisis. Bad break-up. Possibly staying overnight. See you tomorrow. But otherwise…

Sherlock gets up and paces by the window. Did he cross a line, going to the clinic, instigating it there? John would have said, though. Wouldn’t he? Sherlock stops at the window, leaning his head against the glass. Was it the kiss? This is what he fears: he kissed John; now John will know how he feels. That it isn’t just sex, for him. That it was never only sex that he wanted. That, as much fun as their public or semi-public adventures have been, what Sherlock really yearns for is all of the rest of it. To go to sleep next to John. Wake up with him in the morning. Have all manner of athletic, adventurous sex but also just regular, unadventurous sex in a bed, at home. With John. To kiss him for hours. Actually be properly romantic. This feels like a shameful admission, even to himself: to admit that he wants to run his fingers through John’s silvering hair, kiss his throat, do small, insignificant things for him. Cook for him. Show him the mitosis cycle of a rhododendron through his microscope with Sherlock hovering over his shoulder to catch his every tiny reaction to it. Share cups of tea and be able to pull John into his lap or have John come home and come to the sofa to stretch out over him, all just to kiss him hello. But perhaps John only wanted sex and now Sherlock has ruined the possibility of having even only that, by having these inconvenient feelings.

Worse, what if John is so uncomfortable because of it that he won’t want to stay, go on living with someone who feels that way about him? It would be uncomfortable for both of them now that Sherlock’s feelings are out of the bag. He shouldn’t have kissed John like that. It was just… he’d felt the need to do something then. He’d been inside John’s body; they’d just had spectacular, overwhelmingly good orgasms, and he could hardly just put his clothes on and walk out of the room after, could he? Sherlock sighs and watches his breath fog the cool glass. The April evening is a bit chilly. Has John decided to walk home, perhaps? It’s a very long walk but he’s done it before. Is he avoiding Sherlock?

Sherlock turns from the window and starts pacing again. After three more circles, he goes to the violin and takes it out of its case. He wants to play something, anything to distract himself, but he doesn’t know what to play. Fine, then: the Bach Chaconne in d minor. Always Bach when he needs to school his thoughts and find rationality again. John will come home when he comes home, unless he doesn’t come home. In which case, worrying about it won’t help. He tunes a little, then starts to play, hating that he’s constantly aware that he’s half-listening for the door, playing facing the window in case he sees John approaching. He changed when he got home from the clinic, then lain on the sofa for a long time committing every detail of the appointment to his memory. And then began to wait for John to come home. Somehow he knows instinctively now that today was the last time that something like this will happen. The next time he sees John, John will talk about it. And Sherlock is afraid of what he might say.

He plays and plays, the notes coming to his fingertips before his mind has a change to consciously remember them. He is close to the end when a sound outside the door startles him. John is already inside the building, on the landing outside the flat. How did he miss the sound of the door? John must have crept in as silently as possible. The violin falls from beneath his chin, dangling in his hand, and John decides to come in then. He comes around the doorway and stops there.

“You don’t have to stop,” he says, sounding awkward and scratching at the back of his head.

Sherlock shrugs and puts the violin back in its case. “I was just occupying myself. Waiting for you,” he adds, then wishes he hadn’t; it sounds too accusatory.

He hears John’s breath release. “Yeah, er, sorry I’m late,” John says. “I just… I was walking.”

“You walked home?” Sherlock glances at him. John hasn’t taken his coat off yet. Is he thinking of leaving again? (Please, no.)

John nods. “Yeah. I left a bit early – uh, not long after you, actually – and went for a long walk. I just – needed to think, too, I suppose.”

Sherlock isn’t breathing. “And what are you thinking?” he asks, a bit too sharply.

John glances at him and Sherlock realises that he must look ridiculous, completely tense and anxious. He tries to make his shoulders release but can’t. John takes a deep breath and lets it out again. He turns and closes the door to the flat then, the way he always does when he’s about to say something that he’d rather not have Mrs Hudson overhear, but he also takes off his coat and hangs it up before turning back to face Sherlock. “Look,” he begins, looking like he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. “I just – I guess I should have brought this up sooner, but I… yeah.”

Sherlock waits, heart beating unpleasantly quickly. This is it: John is about to tell him that he doesn’t want this, and then he will bring up Sherlock’s inconvenient, unwelcome feelings, and – something bad will happen next. John will, in the best possible scenario, tell him that he doesn’t feel the same way and that they can’t go on having sex, in public or private. Or it will be something worse. John will insist that he’s not gay. Maybe John will tell him that he’s already started seeing another woman. Or maybe John will decide that this imbalance of feelings between them can’t work with their friendship, and he will leave. Maybe he’ll consent to helping with cases, still, but he won’t want to continue living here. “Go on,” he says, heart in his mouth.

John rubs his forehead now. “This is awkward,” he says. “I just – I mean, we should have talked about it after the first time, right? And then the longer we kept not talking about it, the harder it was to bring it up. So I just didn’t, and you didn’t, so… but I guess it comes down to us both needing to know what the other person wants. Because if it just keeps on like this, I feel like someone’s going to get hurt. I don’t really like talking about this sort of stuff any more than you do, but I think we have to.”

“Okay,” Sherlock says cautiously, still unable to breathe properly. “So what do you want?” It comes out sounding far too abrasive. Defensive.

John puts his hands on his hips, looking a bit defensive, himself. “The sex thing – that doesn’t need explaining, I don’t think,” he says. “I don’t know why it just started when it did, but maybe it was just time, finally. I mean, I guess it’s safe to say by now that we’re attracted to each other.”

Strike one possible objection, then. Sherlock nods, still cautious, and waits for John to continue.

“And the public thing,” John says. “I get that. Obviously we both must get off on the risk factor. Not completely surprising, there.”

“You’re an adrenaline addict,” Sherlock points out.

“So are you,” John counters. “So: right. The public thing. I get it. But – ”

Sherlock closes his eyes and waits for it.

“ – you kissed me,” John says.

“I’m sorry.” Sherlock delivers it quickly, neutrally.

John pauses. “What?”

“I’m sorry,” Sherlock repeats, opening his eyes. “I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me. It won’t happen again.”

There’s another long pause. “I don’t think I went about this the right way,” John says, looking at the floor. He looks and sounds frustrated. “Damn it. I guess I’m trying to ask why you did, but if you don’t know why… I don’t know.”

He trails off and Sherlock bites his lip. Are they are a stalemate, then? The silence grows and Sherlock rubs back of his head, uncomfortable. Perhaps he should just ask, hear John say it and expose the root of the problem. “You didn’t like it,” he says. (That isn’t a question. Well: John could still deny it if he wants to.)

John looks up at him. “I really liked the sex,” he says. “Or… what you do…?”

“The kiss,” Sherlock says flatly. “You didn’t like it that I kissed you.”

John’s mouth purses the way it does when he’s contemplating something. “It’s not that I didn’t like it,” he says very carefully. “I just didn’t know what it meant. If anything.” He hesitates. “Did it mean anything?”

“Did you want it to?” Sherlock counters, feeling exposed and even more defensive.

John’s eyes meet his for a long moment. Then his shoulders square a little, as though he’s about to go into battle. “Yes,” he says, rather quietly, but very clearly. “I did. Hence my confusion.”

This is not at all what Sherlock was expecting. He feels thrown off balance. “What?” he demands. “`You did want it to mean something?”

“Yes,” John says again.

Sherlock gesticulates wildly. “You didn’t even kiss back!”

“Because it took me by surprise, and I didn’t know how to react,” John says. “I thought it was just sex.”

“It – ”

“For you,” John interrupts. “I thought that was all you were interested in.”

Sherlock blinks. “It isn’t all that you’re interested in?”

John’s lips purse again and he looks away. “I was sort of hoping to avoid ever having this conversation, but I guess we’re having it regardless,” he says, with a humourless laugh. “No, Sherlock. That’s not all I was interested in. And that’s the problem: now that you know that, I think it’s probably best if we don’t go on having sex – fantastic as it’s been – because it’s been getting harder and harder for me to keep my feelings out of it.”

All of it comes together in a thunderclap then. Sherlock feels almost breathless. “Oh, for God’s sake,” he says, his breath expelling in a rush. “John. Why didn’t you say so? I kept thinking that you would bring it up if you wanted something more. That’s why I kept instigating things – but I always thought you were just barely tolerating having sex with me. I mean, you never – ”

“Wait, what?” John cuts in. “What, Sherlock?”

Sherlock puts his hands down from where they’ve been making random gestures to punctuate what he was saying. “I thought you didn’t want anything. I did.” There: that should be clear.

John blinks three or four times, then says, his voice slightly unsteady, “You did?”

“Yes.” Sherlock is firm. “I… a good deal more, in fact.” He clears his throat, suddenly nervous.

John laughs.

This is startling. “John…” Sherlock is uncertain. “What…?”

John crosses the room swiftly and puts his hands on Sherlock’s face and before Sherlock can say anything else, kisses him. It starts the way Sherlock’s awkwardly given kiss at the clinic did, just John’s lips pressing into his, but then John’s tongue is touching his lips and Sherlock understands and opens his mouth, his tongue hesitantly touching John’s. (He’s never kissed anyone this way before and isn’t fully clear on the rules.) John isn’t protesting, though, drawing Sherlock closer, deepening the kiss. Sherlock finds his hands have found their way to John’s hips of their own accord, but he wants to be closer still and slides his arms around John’s back, holding him tightly, their chests touching as John’s tongue strokes over his, his lips caressing Sherlock’s, leaving no room for doubt as to how much sentiment he is actually prepared for as far as the two of them go. It’s wonderful. Sherlock feels light-headed from the kiss, from John’s proximity, from the sheer relief of knowing that John isn’t going to leave, that John does want him, even wants him this way. Kissing on the sofa may just be in the cards, after all.

John releases him after a longish while, but doesn’t let go entirely, his hands settling on Sherlock’s shoulders. “You’re an idiot,” he says fondly. “So: you’ve been seducing me in all these highly public places, when you could have just told me how you felt ages ago.”

“How was I supposed to know you felt the same way?” Sherlock asks, though less defensively than before. “You were married. To a woman,” he adds pointedly.

“You weren’t,” John admits. “Supposed to know, I mean. I thought it was pretty hopeless and that the best I could do was keep it to myself. I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable, or make things weird in our friendship.”

“So how could I have said anything?” Sherlock demands.

“I suppose you couldn’t,” John concedes. He kisses Sherlock again. “When you kissed me today, I guess I was mainly thinking that it wasn’t fair, that we couldn’t also start kissing just during sex and have me still pretending I didn’t feel anything for you. Not when I wanted so much for you to be kissing me for real.”

“That was for real,” Sherlock says, frowning. “And if you wanted us to be having sex, why did you never instigate it?”

“Oh, I thought it was just the public thing that you liked,” John says. He laughs. “It seems I rather get off on it, too. But yeah, I thought it was just a bit of a kink we were both indulging in, I guess. I didn’t realise there was more. I should have, maybe. That’s why I never said anything, though; I just didn’t know what to think about it.”

“I want to hear you talk during sex,” Sherlock says spontaneously. “And afterward. I want to know what you thought of all of those times, what you were thinking during them. And I want to have sex again.”

“Yeah, you’re not going to hear me complaining,” John says, the corner of his mouth quirking. “Though you’ll have to wait a day or two if I’m bottoming again.”

“We can do it the other way,” Sherlock volunteers instantly. “I only thought that you would only want to do it at all if I seduced you into it. If I’d thought you might have been up for penetrating me during my appointment today, that would have been fine. More than fine,” he amends.

John’s eyes gleam. “I quite liked what we did today, in fact,” he says. “Somehow I have a feeling that you and I are never going to be bored when it comes to sex.”

Sherlock’s smile morphs into a stupid, uncoordinated grin before he can help himself. “Now?” he asks hopefully.

“Dinner first,” John says firmly. “I’m starving. I’ve spent the entire afternoon wondering if talking about this was going to cost us our entire friendship and I’ve been worried sick. But let’s order in.”

Sherlock unbuttons John’s shirt for the second time that day and kisses the base of John’s neck. “Can we eat naked?” he asks, lips on John’s skin.

John exhales heavily. “Yes. Christ, yes. You call. I’ll go open a bottle of wine.”

“Done.”

The food arrives and they eat on the floor in front of the fire, the armchairs pushed away – nude, as John promised. John unpacks the food and sets everything out, passing Sherlock a pair of chopsticks. Sherlock passes him a glass of wine, unable to take his eyes off John. John seems completely at ease sitting nude on the blanket from the back of his chair. “Ta,” he says, accepting the glass.

Sherlock sits down and attempts to arrange his long legs beneath himself. He both is and isn’t hungry; he feels vaguely empty in the way he so often does when John hasn’t reminded him to eat something while he was preoccupied, yet his interest is decidedly not on the food. This is precisely the vague sort of thing he had imagined when he was thinking about wanting to be romantic with John, yet he feels decidedly ill-at-ease. John glances at him and smiles, possibly seeing too much.

“Eat,” he says. “Or I’ll feed you myself.” There’s a gleam in his eye that promises much for later.

Sherlock thinks that the sooner the eating part is finished, the sooner the rest of the it can all begin. Besides, he does like eating with John. Everything tastes more interesting if John is there. He picks up a piece of broccoli with his chopsticks. “You wouldn’t.”

“Don’t test me on that.” John lifts his glass. “Hey. To us. Finally getting it together.”

Sherlock smiles at this and allows his glass to be clinked. “Indeed.” He chews the broccoli and swallows it, taking a sip of wine and John shifts a bit closer, leaning against him. Oh. That is nicer, Sherlock thinks, and cautiously relaxes a little.

“So,” John says conversationally. “What made you decide to just go for it, that day in the alley? The first time?”

Second time, Sherlock thinks but doesn’t say. He shrugs and eats a piece of beef. “I don’t know.”

“Liar.” John reaches for the chicken and scoops some onto his plate. “Clearly you’d deduced the state I was in, having you pressed up against me like that. What made you think it would be… safe to just – do what you did? Go for it?”

“Well, you had obviously realised that I was in a similar condition,” Sherlock points out. “Wouldn’t it have been more awkward if neither of us had said or done anything about it? We both knew by that point.”

“True,” John says. “I was amazed that you did it, though, especially in the middle of an investigation like that, though.”

“I was sufficiently distracted, you could say,” Sherlock says dryly.

John laughs and holds a piece of chicken to his mouth. “Try this. It’s delicious.”

Sherlock hesitates, contemplating the fact that he has some on his own plate, then realises he’s missing the point. This is supposed to be romantic, after all. (He’s clearly a complete amateur when it comes to romance.) He accepts the chicken and refrains from pointing out that he’s had it probably hundreds of times before, given that they order from the same Chinese restaurant every single time. John kisses him on the cheek as he’s chewing, which he likes, but – “Makes it harder to chew,” he says through the mouthful, and John snickers.

His arm is around Sherlock’s bare back, his plate balanced on his legs, feeding himself with his left hand, clumsy with his chopsticks. He’s doing well, until a bit of sweet and sour sauce drips onto his chest. Sherlock doesn’t hesitate to lean over and lick it off, causing John to laugh, hand tightening on Sherlock’s side. The laugh is a bit breathless and when Sherlock looks down, he’s pleased to see that John is getting hard. It’s so easy like this, he thinks, not having to provoke it perforce, trying to con John into wanting it. He keeps eating, trying not to make it look like he’s in a hurry. John licks a bit of sauce from the corner of his mouth and it turns into a longish kiss, and Sherlock is fully erect by the end of it. He turns toward John and puts his arms around him, his chopsticks still in hand. John sets his plate down and pulls Sherlock closer. He’s flushed by the end of it and quite hard, his legs bumping into Sherlock’s. “Okay, you win,” he says, his breath already heavier than usual. “We can finish dinner later.”

“Oh, thank God,” Sherlock says in relief and John laughs at him. He pushes anything within kicking range off to the side and pushes Sherlock down to his back, climbing onto him. It’s precisely as Sherlock envisioned it could be and he’s struggling to hide the fact that he’s delirious about it – there are better things to concern himself with at the moment, like the sensual tangle of their limbs, the warmth of the firelight heating his skin as John’s body slides against his, their penises touching and rubbing together as John kisses him, tasting slightly of garlic and white wine.

John opens his eyes and lifts his face just enough to speak. “Bedroom?”

“Please,” Sherlock says, and John gets up and pulls him to his feet. They stagger down the corridor, hands all over one another, and nearly trip on their way into the bedroom.

Just inside the door, John twists him into the wall and presses himself up against Sherlock. “You were driving me crazy that day in the alley,” he says, his teeth grazing Sherlock’s shoulder. “Feeling you against me like that – it was torture!”

Sherlock exhales heavily. “And on the train?”

“God, I’ll never be able to take the tube with you again!” John releases him and Sherlock turns around, pulling John back to him. John responds hungrily, one leg lifting as though trying to climb him, their erections knocking clumsily together. “I’m serious, Sherlock,” John says between kisses. “I’ve wanked thinking about that practically every day since – and in the station after – Oxford Circus during rush hour! That’s the most audacious thing I’ve done in my life!

Sherlock laughs, despite the fact that he’s panting. “And when Donovan walked into Lestrade’s office the other day?”

“Oh my God!” John groans. “I was honestly worried I was going to come while she was still in there. And her talking about you never doing anything for me while my cock was in your mouth, too!”

“I found that amusingly ironic.” Sherlock gasps; John’s hand has closed around his penis, stroking firmly.

“You like this?” John asks, voice dropping, his eyes on Sherlock’s mouth.

“Yes – ” Sherlock attempts to catch his breath. “I’ve been – wanting you to touch me so much – it’s why I made the appointment today. Anything to finally feel your hands on me.”

“I should have known.” John rubs him harder. “Come on. I am absolutely going to touch you – and this time I’ll finish you off the way I was going to earlier, too.”

“Were you really going to?” Sherlock breathes, as John leads him, still holding his penis, to the bed.

“Well, yeah,” John says. “I wouldn’t have just left you like that.”

“Do you finish all of your patients off, Dr Watson?” Sherlock allows himself to be pushed down onto the bed, on his back.

John gives him a glare without any real heat to it. “Oh, yeah, that’d be professional, wouldn’t it? Of course not, you tit. Some blokes do find it extremely arousing, though. It’s usually rather embarrassing for them.”

“Not for you?” Sherlock watches John go to the nightstand, presumably in search of lubrication. He finds it and crawls onto the bed, straddling Sherlock’s hips.

“No,” he says. “It’s perfectly normal. It’s just that I’m not used to having someone that I’m massively attracted to – and have been having rather spectacular, if completely unacknowledged sex with – come in and demand a prostate exam. I knew I was in trouble the moment I saw you sitting in the chair, sporting nothing but a gown and a bit of wood.”

“Could you see it through the gown?”

John bends over him. “Yeah. I could. Besides, your cheeks were pink. You never blush and I’ve only ever seen your face colour like that when you’re aroused, so yeah. And I was looking for it.”

Sherlock touches his face. “Am I flushed now?”

John stops just before their lips touch. “Yup.”

He stops talking then, letting their legs twine around each other’s as they kiss, his arms digging under Sherlock’s back to lift him from the bed, holding him as close as possible, and Sherlock feels as though he’s drowning in it, in John’s proximity, in his own, suddenly boundary-less emotions, running rampant through his bloodstream and across his face for all the world to see. His brow is tightly knit, impossible amounts of sentiment coursing through him. But it’s all right, he tries to remind himself. John feels the same way. He’s said. He wouldn’t lie, not about that. (Not about most things.) He’s so much braver that way.

“For the record,” John adds, “I nearly came in my trousers as it was, during your exam. I know I haven’t touched back much – but it was only because I was so afraid my feelings would show, and that would make you not want to do all that any more. But I always wanted to.”

The pleasure of his words sends a shudder through Sherlock’s nervous system. He opens his eyes and sees all of his own feelings reflected back in John’s. “Then touch me,” he requests. “Please.”

“I intend to,” John says, voice dropping again. “I want to touch you absolutely everywhere. Do everything you’ve done for me. Though, just as a side note, I’m rather hoping that we didn’t make it onto the surveillance system at Oxford Circus, or your brother will make both our lives hell for the foreseeable future.”

“We were in a gap between two cameras,” Sherlock assures him. “Though I suppose one never knows.”

“Well, time will tell, I suppose,” John says philosophically, and slides down Sherlock’s body, marking his path with his mouth. Sherlock watches him, shivering, propped on his elbows. When John reaches his penis, he stops and looks up. “When’s the last time you had oral sex?” he asks, curious.

Heat returns to Sherlock’s cheeks. He hedges. “The last time I participated in that was three days ago at Scotland Yard…”

“That’s not what I asked.” John studies him. “Have you ever had a bloke go down on you?”

“No,” Sherlock says stiffly.

John scowls. “Who was the last, then? Janine?” he asks, the single word conveying a considerable amount of resentment.

Sherlock hesitates again. “No.”

John’s brows lift at that. “Really,” he comments. “Huh.” He considers. “Irene, then?”

“Who?” Sherlock draws a blank.

“Adler,” John supplies. “The Woman.”

“Oh.” The light goes on. He frowns. “No. Of course not!”

The light begins to dawn. “Wait – this isn’t – ” John stops. “Is it?”

Sherlock makes himself hold the eye contact. “Afraid so,” he admits, more embarrassed than he wants to let on. (Can’t be helped.)

“Oh, Sher – but you’ve done it yourself, before?” John seems dogged about this. (Why can’t he leave it?) “I mean, the other day, that was – ”

“My first,” Sherlock fills in. “Come on, John.” He sounds impatient, and is. “It’s not the end of the world. Some people just – never get around to it, I suppose.” He’s not sure why he just put that in such general terms when obviously they’re discussing him, specifically. Defense mechanism, he supposes.

John is watching him and his eyes go soft and compassionate. It’s decidedly un-arousing. “Sherlock…”

“Please stop pitying me,” Sherlock says stiffly. “It’s fine. I never wanted it particularly before you. Too complicated. Lots of factors. It doesn’t matter.”

“I’m sorry,” John says. He moves back up so that their faces are side-by-side and Sherlock wonders if John has changed his mind about what he was going to do. “I shouldn’t have pried. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot, or make you feel… badly,” he tries.

Sherlock feels slightly miserable. “Does that mean you don’t want to…”

“Not at all,” John assures him. “But we have all the time in the world. I just want to go into this – properly, I suppose. If it helps, I’ve never, not with a bloke, either. I just thought – you’re so good at it already, I just – but I guess that’s just par for the course, with you.” He smiles wryly. “Tell me what you’ve liked best so far.”

“Today,” Sherlock says instantly, relieved they’re going to stop talking about his paltry level of experience with this. Easy answer. “You, touching me. And after. Being inside you.”

John wraps his hand around Sherlock’s erection, which has softened a little. “What else?”

“When you put your fingers in me – and on the train, doing that with so many people all around us.” Sherlock feels himself hardening again, remembering it, aided by John’s tight fingers on his flesh. “And going down on you in Lestrade’s office,” he adds. Then, because he feels the need to confess, and also in slight revenge, he adds, “And touching myself while you were having a sexual dream about me on the sofa.”

John freezes. Then he groans and presses his face into Sherlock’s shoulder. “Oh, God,” he says. “Oh, God. I thought you were sleeping!”

“Meant you to think that,” Sherlock says, smirking. His spirits have lifted considerably all of a sudden. “I thought you’d be embarrassed, so I pretended to be asleep. I didn’t want to wake you – it started rather suddenly, you realise. It was extremely arousing. I couldn’t help myself.”

“How did you know it was about you?” John asks, his face quite red.

“You said my name right before you climaxed,” Sherlock tells him. He rolls them over suddenly so that he’s looming over John and lowers his voice to a predatory range. “I had to wait until you went into the bathroom before I could finish off.”

“That explains why all this started so soon after,” John realises, putting it together. “Well – I can’t say I’m not embarrassed, but I’m glad it happened, if it helped inspire you. So – where were we, then?”

“You were going to…”

“Yes, I was. Bring that here,” John says, pushing himself up so that he’s sitting against the headboard. Sherlock follows him, his penis bobbing in front of John’s mouth. John puts his mouth onto it without using his hands, which he places on Sherlock’s arse, massaging deeply as he moves his mouth over Sherlock’s penis. Sherlock closes his eyes and moans, a guttural sound coming from his pelvic floor. The sensation is incredible – as good as being within John earlier. He has to hold John’s head to keep his balance, to keep himself still so that he won’t inadvertently thrust into John’s throat. John lets his penis go for a moment. “Tell me all the other places you plan on ambushing me in public.”

As he resumes sucking Sherlock’s penis, Sherlock finds it slightly difficult to think. “I can’t say that I’ve – ah – made a schedule as such – ”

“Improvise,” John interrupts himself long enough to say. “Make it up as you go. Where do you want to – ?”

“In – the park,” Sherlock begins, closing his eyes and letting the wash of sensation roll over his body like a wave. “Regent’s Park on a Sunday afternoon, with all the people there. Out in the open where everyone can see it. We’d have a blanket or something but everyone would still hear the noises you wouldn’t be able to help making. Under the table at a nice restaurant. I’d crawl under it and suck you off while you were eating dessert, your knuckles going white around your fork, your entire body shaking as you try to keep quiet. On the phone with your parents. I’d crawl into your lap nude and take your penis out while you’re chatting about inconsequential things, trying to sound casual while I’m jerking you off with my fist.”

John moans. “Tell me more,” he says, pushing Sherlock down onto his back, leaning over him, fingers probing at his entrance, sliding inside. “Even dirtier.”

“A public toilet,” Sherlock says, struggling to continue speaking clearly as John’s fingers twist and stretch within him. He’s still slightly looser than usual from the exam earlier but it will be very different once it’s John’s thick penis pushing into his body, rather than his slender fingers. “We’d go in to urinate and I’d reach over and touch you until you were too hard to go. We’d have to go into a stall to finish each other off, because I’d get hard just watching you get hard.”

“Oh, God,” John gasps. “And I’d fuck you so hard we’d be afraid of breaking down the cubicle walls, and everyone would hear you coming from miles away.”

Sherlock moans in earnest at the mental image. “John – ” He reaches for John, wanting to live out this particular part of the fantasy, at least, wanting to feel John within him at last. John understands and nods, fitting himself into the correct place and pushing a little. It feels impossibly large but Sherlock craves it, wants it desperately. “Yes – ah – keep going!”

John’s cheeks are stained with the flush of his arousal, body trembling as he keeps himself in check. “Keep talking,” he gets out, his voice tight. “The more disgraceful, the better.”

“I want you to suck me in the back of a police car,” Sherlock says at random, his eyes squeezed closed as John drives slowly into him. “I want to walk over to you in a crowded room and jerk off in your face until you pull me down and penetrate me right there and then. I want to fuck you at a crime scene, in the next room while the forensics team is bagging evidence, when any one of them could walk right in. I want us to jerk each other off under the table during a press conference, with all the cameras on us.”

“Jesus, Sherlock!” John is gasping, thrusting into him. “I want that, too, to have sex in a crowded room, where no one can tell that I’m inside you – or you in me, I don’t care, or standing around at a posh cocktail party with two fingers up your arse. And if your parents invite us for Easter like usual – in your old bedroom upstairs, with everyone downstairs and us trying to keep quiet while they all know exactly what we’re doing. I want to have sex with you absolutely everywhere. In a taxi. In a capsule on the London Eye, you standing behind me with your arms around me, your cock up my arse with only your coat to hide it, like the other day in the tube – oh God, God…”

His words are jolting as his body pounds into Sherlock’s and Sherlock can’t talk any more. His nails are digging into John’s back and arse respectively, the pleasure overtaking him at a furious rate. He feels like he may explode when his orgasm hits. John is panting into his face, his eyes on Sherlock’s, sweat forming on his brow. Their bodies smell musky and masculine and it enhances all of the other sensations, every place where their skin is touching, Sherlock’s feet on John’s arse now, his penis straining upward, flat against his stomach, John’s torso brushing it occasionally. It’s the best thing he’s felt in his life – on par with earlier, in John’s office. He can hear the noises he’s making, ragged and desperate. Sex makes people devolve, he thinks; it’s as animalistic and primal as it was earlier and he admits privately that he rather loves it. He manages one more utterance – “I – want – to fuck you – in the judge’s seat – in the courtroom at the Old – ” He can’t finish; he can’t breathe. (John knows the room he means, he thinks dimly).

John makes a nearly inhuman sound and reaches between them to jerk hard at Sherlock’s penis, but starts to come even before Sherlock can. They’ve never come at the same time before, not precisely, but they are now – Sherlock is spilling helplessly over John’s fist, his body on fire from John’s thick erection within him and the liquid heat is gushing out of him in streams, his abdominal muscles bunching and flexing as his entire body attempts to ejaculate itself into John’s hand, or so it feels. He can’t hear anything but a noise like wind over the pounding of his own heartbeat in his ears and then, gradually, the sound of John’s hoarse crying out as he comes violently into Sherlock’s body, the warm waves of his semen flooding him from within. He’s slick with it, with John’s release and John is still pumping into him as his orgasm slowly subsides, his hand still wringing thick drops from Sherlock’s penis.

Sherlock is breathing as hard as though he’s just run a marathon. Both their bodies are gleaming with sweat, and he can feel John’s racing pulse through his own skin at multiple points. “That,” he pants, “was – ”

“That was amazing,” John agrees fervently, leaning his damp forehead against Sherlock’s, Sherlock’s legs relaxing and tangling limply with John’s. “That was the best one yet. Well, up there with earlier today – that was really good, too.”

“Apparently we don’t even have to be in public,” Sherlock notes, still breathing hard. “Who knew?”

I knew,” John says, and kisses his throat before laying his head on Sherlock’s shoulder. “God, I’m absolutely spent.”

“So I am.” It’s true; Sherlock feels wrung out and exhausted.

“You,” John says, suddenly chuckling into his shoulder, “have the dirtiest mind. I never imagined you could be so crude. What a delightful surprise.”

Sherlock chuckles back, or approximates a breathless chuckle, at any rate. He’s slightly relieved by this. “You said you wanted me to say dirty things.”

“Yeah, well – apparently even just the thought of completely inappropriately public sex is a turn-on for me. Who knew that, too?”

“It seems we have a list,” Sherlock says, and waits for John to tell him that he’s out of his mind, that most of these things are far too extreme, too risky.

But John responds by lifting his face, a gleam in his eye. “Yes,” he agrees. “It seems we do.”

Sherlock smiles. This, he thinks, is going to be rather fun.

*