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Sherlock walked. The music and lights of the post-wedding party faded behind him, and along with them the desperate, dissonant feeling of not belonging. He inhaled deeply. There, that was better. Alone, he knew – he could work with alone, could marshal his thoughts and emotions and lock them all carefully away again. Alone was safe and quiet. Logical. Predictable. He exhaled, and the tension in his shoulders began to seep away. Relief was a near-physical force in his body, almost a rush.

He was nearly to the main road when his mobile buzzed. He'd barely been gone ten minutes. Had his retreat had been noticed so quickly?

"Surely you two can finish the night without me," he muttered, fishing the phone from his pocket.

Ducking out as well. Share a cab?

Ah. Not John, but Lestrade. He swallowed a rough knot of disappointment. No, he did not want to share a cab. He'd had his fill of being sociable in the last six hours, and he planned not to speak to another human being for at least seventy-two more.

He pocketed the mobile and began walking again, only stopping when he reached a stretch of suburban road. Private cars shuffled back and forth, some filled with families returning from a day's excursion, others full of couples and groups headed into the city for an evening out.

And no taxis.

Four minutes passed, during which he grew more agitated by the second. He'd seen two cabs (both occupied), three lorries, twelve motorbikes, and forty-three automobiles. Clearly, he should have formulated a better escape plan.

He closed his eyes against the sharp fluorescent streetlight, and a map of the local area spread itself out in his mind. It was more than a mile to the nearest Tube station (and a ridiculously complicated journey to Baker Street, but the probability of hailing a cab increased with proximity to the station). There was a slightly dodgy hotel one-half mile in the opposite direction (with a more moderate probability of finding a cab, but a shorter walk). Neither possibility was remotely satisfactory. Neither got him as far away from here as possible right now.

The map crumpled in on itself as his frustration grew, and his thoughts spun away from his control. He fumbled in his coat pockets in hope of finding a spare cigarette there, but they were frustratingly empty.

"No luck yet?"

Sherlock groaned: He'd been so distracted he'd missed the approaching footsteps. "Why did you follow me?"

"This is the only exit. I didn't have much choice."

There was a familiar sound then: a rustle of cloth and paper, followed by the tantalizing click of a lighter. Sherlock kept staring straight ahead.

"Here." A lit cigarette appeared before him, clenched between Lestrade's fingers.

Sherlock reached for it before he could stop himself. He brought it to his lips and took a long drag, inhaling deeply, eyes closed. He handed the cigarette back and blew a stream of smoke above his head. "Thanks."

"You all right?"

Sherlock turned to look at him at last. "Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"

Lestrade gave him an appraising look. "The party was just getting started. Why'd you leave so early?"

"Why did you?"

Lestrade shrugged. "This is the part of the evening when people start pairing off. Thought I'd head out before it got awkward."

"You were near the top of the Maid of Honor's list. If the comics fan and the tabloid reporter both turned her down, you'd have had a fifty percent chance of being next, depending on your proximity."

Lestrade laughed and shook his head. "Well, as flattering as that is, it's not quite what I'm looking for tonight."

Sherlock reached for the cigarette again, holding Lestrade's gaze while he inhaled. "Feeling a bit cynical about love and marriage? Can't say I blame you."

"Perhaps. I'm happy for John and Mary, though." Lestrade took the cigarette back. He held it to his mouth and wrapped his lips around it, staring back at Sherlock with a curious expression. His eyes narrowed, and Sherlock realized he'd been fixating on Lestrade's mouth. He frowned and looked away again, down the road to where a distant pair of headlights appeared with a light on top. Lestrade made a sound almost like a chuckle. "I hear you were quite the wedding planner."

"Someone had to do it. John is useless at that sort of thing." The taxi turned off the road and disappeared, to Sherlock's dismay.

"The groom usually is." Lestrade laughed again at what was apparently a private joke. "But I'm just another guest, so I won't be missed. You, on the other hand--"

"Will hardly be missed after the spectacle everyone witnessed this afternoon. They'll be glad to see the back of me."

"Not all of them."

"Perhaps." Enough banter. Sherlock looked back to the road. "The taxi appears to be a lost cause, Gary."

"Greg."

Sherlock bit back a smirk and started walking in the direction of the Tube station. "Good night, Inspector."

"Wait, I'll walk with you."

Sherlock sighed heavily, but Lestrade joined him all the same. They walked in silence for three glorious minutes before Lestrade spoke again.

"I was ready to leave the wedding, but not to call it a night."

Sherlock glanced sideways at him.

"I'm off tomorrow. Was anticipating having a raging hangover."

Sherlock leaned into him slightly and sniffed. "You may still, though I suppose five pints in six hours isn't that much for you these days, is it?"

To Sherlock's surprise, Lestrade laughed amiably. "They barely made a dent. C'mon, let me buy you a drink."

Sherlock turned to look at him. "What?"

"A drink. We can toast the newlyweds." He shrugged. "Or… not. It could be a drown-your-sorrows type thing."

"I'm not--"

Lestrade's hand wrapped tightly around Sherlock's bicep. "Look, it's none of my business. I just… I know how it is when someone you're close to gets married, and—"

"Why does everyone keep saying that?" Sherlock wrenched himself out of Lestrade's grip and stalked down the pavement. Honestly, as if it wasn't completely, blindingly clear to him now that everything was going to change and he'd just lost John forever, and—

No. Best not to let himself think about that just yet.

Beside him, Lestrade had finally caught up. "Besides, you owe me."

"I owe you?"

"Getting yourselves thrown in the drunk tank before I could even get off work to join you. I'd been looking forward to John's stag night for weeks."

"Oh, for—" Sherlock clenched his jaw and sighed. "Fine. Yes."

"Yes?"

"I accept your offer. To buy me a drink."

"Right. Good." Lestrade seemed surprised, as if he hadn't expected Sherlock to agree. "As soon as we come across a pub—"

"Not here. Closer to home." At Lestrade's look of confusion, Sherlock sighed. "Considering the outcome of John's stag night, I'd prefer to be within walking distance of Baker Street."

"Ah, of course. Oi!" He looked past Sherlock's shoulder and raised his arm, and a taxi slid to a stop on the kerb.

Sherlock looked at the cab and back at Lestrade, and shook his head in disbelief.

"Let's go, then. The night's young, even if we aren't." Lestrade opened the cab door and grinned.

*****

"This is good, mate. Thanks." Lestrade handed the cabbie two bills through the plexiglass partition, then reached for the door and grinned at Sherlock. "I'll get the cab. You can buy the first round."

Sherlock stepped out onto the kerb and looked up. The pub was one he'd walked past dozens of times, but had never gone into. It was the sort that was unerringly popular with the locals: a place where the faceless masses met and drank far too much alcohol and made unnecessary amounts of noise when they staggered down Baker Street on their way home. It was full of people now, practically bursting with revelers despite it being a Sunday night. Sherlock took a deep breath and winced almost immediately: the smell of beer and sweat and mixed colognes was nearly enough to turn his stomach. The cacophony rolling out of the doors indicated that a pointlessly violent sporting event of some sort was being watched.

"Fantastic," Lestrade said, and headed right for the door.

"No," Sherlock said, and turned on his heel.

It was a mere ten seconds before Lestrade caught him by the elbow. "Hey, where are you going? I thought you wanted to get a drink?"

"I'd rather drink at home."

"Fine." Lestrade kept pace with him, hands stuffed in his pockets. "What've you got?"

Sherlock frowned. Had he implied Lestrade was invited? "I doubt I possess any alcohol that would meet your standards."

Lestrade laughed. "You're not getting out of it that easily."

"In fact, I may have nothing suitable for human consumption."

"I know for a fact that John gave you a very nice bottle of scotch last week."

Sherlock clenched his jaw. John had indeed done that, and had said some revoltingly sentimental things about how pleased he was to have Sherlock serve as his best man and how Sherlock would always be an important part of his life even though he was getting married to the woman of his dreams, blah blah blah. "I was saving that for a special occasion."

"A wedding isn't one of those?"

Sherlock gave him a long look and continued walking.

"It's not as if we'd drink all of it. But if you're that attached to it, we can probably swing by a shop on the way."

Sherlock imagined himself closing the street door in Lestrade's smirking face and going upstairs alone. The flat would be quiet. Perhaps he could find a case to work on. There was that monograph he'd been meaning to read, before he got sidetracked by wedding preparations. Surely there was an experiment he could do, something vaguely disgusting and dangerous enough that it was best to do it while John wasn't around.

Ah, but that was it, wasn't it? John wouldn't be around for weeks. Perhaps longer. Without a wedding to plan, there wouldn't be a reason for him to spend time with Sherlock. With a new wife and a baby on the way, not even unresolved homicide cases would be intriguing enough to draw him away from his newfound domestic bliss.

A glass of good scotch sounded better by the second.

Sherlock sighed. "Fine."

"Fantastic," Lestrade replied, and Sherlock resolutely ignored the smile in his voice.

The entryway was dark and quiet – Mrs Hudson had made it uncomfortably clear that he should not expect her to return that night. Just as well. Sherlock led Lestrade up the stairs and through the door, and switched on the light.

"Wow." Lestrade turned nearly a full circle in place, seemingly incredulous at the state of the flat.

Panorama displays, bridal magazines, folded napkins, diagrams, and various other wedding paraphernalia covered every wall and available surface. Sherlock hadn't thought twice about it before, but now, looking on it with a new perspective – he felt a knot of anxiety rise in his throat. Even in the soft light of the sitting room, it broadcast pathetic and obsessive.

Lestrade poked at an intricately crafted scale model of the church with one finger. "You could go into business doing this if the detective thing doesn't work out."

Sherlock rolled his eyes and turned to hang his coat on the stand by the door. Those models would be burned at the first opportunity. He crossed to the kitchen and pulled the bottle of scotch from the shelf where he'd stashed it, and poured a few fingers for each of them.

Lestrade smiled appreciatively and took the glass Sherlock offered. "To the newlyweds."

Sherlock gave him a tight not-quite-smile and slung back the entire contents of his glass. He managed not to wince at the burn, but it took effort. Lestrade's eyes widened slightly, but he followed suit before setting his glass on the table again with a clear gesture of bring it. Sherlock poured them both a second round.

Lestrade held up his glass and waited, and it was a moment before Sherlock realized he was expected to reciprocate with a toast.

"To… the newly divorced."

Lestrade grinned and clinked his glass against Sherlock's with enough force that a bit of liquor sloshed out. "Hell, yeah."

They both drank again, and it was easier this time. The burn was more manageable, or perhaps his throat was growing numb. And that was the point, wasn't it? To feel numb?

"Yeah," Lestrade said, and Sherlock realized he'd said the last part aloud. "But let's slow down before we both fall down, okay?"

Sherlock poured again.

"To you, Sherlock. You're a great friend to John. I hope he realizes how much you care about him."

Sherlock's hand froze in midair, glass halfway to his mouth. "He knows."

Lestrade stared at him for a long moment, his expression suddenly serious. "Yeah. Of course he does." He touched his glass lightly to the one Sherlock held, the backs of his fingers brushing against Sherlock's, and smiled. His gaze was warm and his eyes liquid brown, and Sherlock felt a pull in his abdomen that he hadn't felt around Lestrade in a long time.

"Weddings are about sex," Janine said, linking her arm through his. "There's love in the air, and everyone's in fancy dress. It's easy to get a bit swept up in the romance of it all."

"What has romance to do with the pursuit of casual sex with a semi-stranger?" Sherlock retorted.

"Nothing, but it gets your juices flowing, doesn't it?" She elbowed him and pointed out a muscular man in a sleek blue suit. "What about that one?"

"Gay."

"He's all yours, then. What about his friend?"

"Sherlock?"

Sherlock blinked: he still held his glass in midair, and Lestrade now stared at him as if he was beginning to worry. "He knows," Sherlock repeated, and took a measured sip.

Lestrade did the same, still watching him. He set the glass on the table and leaned against it. "Are you all right?"

"You've already asked that."

"And you lied and said you were fine. So I'm giving you another chance to say you aren't."

Sherlock took another drink. "Why? So we can discuss our feelings late into the night? Dull."

Lestrade groaned and shook his head. "Just… know that you have other friends, when you need them."

"I don't need friends."

"Yes, you do. We both know what can happen when you push them away."

A wave of anger rolled over Sherlock's skin, oily and hot. He slammed back the rest of his scotch and dropped the glass onto the table with a loud thunk. "I see, of course. That's why you followed me home, isn't it? Did Mycroft put you up to this?"

Lestrade groaned in frustration. "Oh, for— No one put me up to this. I wanted to buy you a drink, see how you were doing."

"Well, now you see." Sherlock gestured to the main living area of the flat, his arm sweeping out across the detritus of the previous few months. God, it really was pathetic, wasn't it? "Will that be all?"

"Maybe I'm here because I needed the company. Maybe I'm the one who needed a friend tonight. It's not always about you, Sherlock."

He was very close now, so close Sherlock could smell the scotch on his breath, could see the circles under his eyes. Hadn't been sleeping well; had recently moved into a smaller flat, possibly on a noisy street. His suit hadn't been cleaned since its last washing, judging by a stain on the sleeve, and his shoes badly needed a shine. Work and personal stress causing uncharacteristic absent-mindedness. Hair needed trimming, though he'd attempted to style it into something reasonably fashionable. Smooth cheeks, a whiff of aftershave and an unfamiliar, expensive cologne: he'd showered and shaved before the wedding at least.

"What about that one?" Janine nodded toward Lestrade, and Sherlock chuckled.

"Probably your best bet. Newly divorced after a long and unpleasant marriage, so likely up for a rebound shag. You're significantly more attractive than his ex-wife, as well as nearly half his age. He'll think you're out of his league, which increases your chances of success."

"He's kind of hot." Janine squeezed Sherlock's arm and took a step forward. "I think I've found my man."

Sherlock frowned at that, feeling an unpleasant twinge in his chest. "Of course, he's a good friend of the groom's. That might make things a bit awkward later on."

"Is he, now?" Janine stepped back again, peering up at his face. "Good friend of yours as well, then?"

Sherlock hesitated, watching Lestrade make awkward small talk with a woman in an insanely large hat. Lestrade's fingers wrapped around his glass and he gestured somewhat wildly with his free hand. The woman in the hat laughed in response. Lestrade turned at that moment and met Sherlock's gaze. He smiled and winked at Sherlock, and Sherlock felt an unexpected flutter of affection for him. "Yes."

Janine leaned in close enough to plant a light kiss on Sherlock's cheek. "Hmmm, I think he may be spoken for."

"I don't know what I was thinking, coming here tonight."

Sherlock looked up to see Lestrade watching him warily. "You were thinking that someone needed to look out for me, lest I stop off on the way home to purchase something stronger than alcohol or nicotine." He gestured towards the door of his bedroom. "Go on, have a look."

Lestrade rolled his eyes. "I'm not searching your flat tonight."

"Or perhaps you're still confused about the Mayfly man case and intend to grill me for details for the report you've yet to write."

"No, I think I've got what I need there. Nice work, by the way."

"Or perhaps—" Sherlock hesitated, surprised. "Thank you."

"You were really in your element tonight. It was amazing to watch." Lestrade's lips quirked into a smile. His fingertips traced the rim of his glass almost absently, drawing Sherlock's gaze. "You were saying?"

Sherlock pressed his lips together and looked up again. Lestrade raised his eyebrows, his expression one of long-suffering humor, and Sherlock's eyes narrowed. "Or perhaps you were thinking that I could help make a break in that unresolved murder that's been eluding you these last few weeks, the one you didn't want to bring up right before John's wedding."

It was Lestrade's turn to be surprised. "How did you know about that?"

Sherlock smirked. "Your right eye twitches when you're stymied by a case."

"Bullshit. You read about it in the paper."

Sherlock took a step closer, feeling adrenaline begin to pulse in his veins. "You've barely left the office in weeks. You've eaten nothing but takeaway and most of your hydration has come from consumption of cheap lager. You're clearly obsessed with a case."

"I'm not obsessed."

"Look at the state of your suit. And your hair. Honestly, Geoff."

"It's Greg, you—" Lestrade began, but Sherlock stepped forward and cut his words off with a press of lips. Lestrade made a sound of surprise, but he didn't push Sherlock away. His fingers clenched the fabric of the suit jacket Sherlock still wore and he breathed sharply through his nose, but he kissed Sherlock back.

Sherlock felt a sharp flood of panic: Why had he done that? It wasn't something he'd been thinking of at all. He started to retreat, but Lestrade's hand slid around to the back of his head and pulled their mouths back together. It was rough and hot, and Sherlock said "oh" against the smooth curve of Lestrade's lips. He'd forgotten how pleasurable that slide of tongue and lips and teeth could be.

Decision made, then. He pushed Lestrade back against the table, hands inside the suit jacket now, tugging shirttails out of trousers so he could touch the warm skin underneath. Arousal began to pool in his groin and he let it spread through him, let it guide his actions. There was soft skin beneath his fingers, and beneath that firm external obliques and rectus abdominus – ah, Lestrade had been working out again. Post-divorce ambitions, or stress relief, perhaps. His fingers explored further up, finding the sensation of touch far more intriguing than he would have expected.

"Sherlock, God." Lestrade arched his hips up against Sherlock's thigh, leaving no doubt about the state of his arousal.

Sherlock's mouth moved from his lips to his cheek and then to his ear and neck, his brain spinning hazily with the desire to consume. It had been a while since he'd done this, but it was all coming back now: the heat of skin under his mouth and hands, the scent of another human being at close range, the sounds he could extract from another with the precise application of his tongue, the decadent wash of endorphins after orgasm.

"I want you," he whispered, and he drew his fingers up the line of Lestrade's cloth-covered erection.

"Christ," Lestrade gasped. He looked up at Sherlock and wet his lips. "Me too, in case it isn't obvious."

Sherlock smirked. "It is."

"Good," Lestrade said, and kissed him again. His hands smoothed up the front of Sherlock's shirt and pushed the jacket off his shoulders. Sherlock shrugged out of it, let it fall to the floor in a heap, never breaking the kiss. Lestrade's hands found his hips and pulled him close again, pressed their groins together, and oh, oh. Sherlock made an embarrassingly needy sound, and Lestrade's lips curled beneath his.

"Jesus, Sherlock." He worked a hand between them and cupped his fingers against Sherlock's erection – through several layers of fabric, but still, it was enough to send sparks down Sherlock's spine. He'd forgotten what it felt like to be touched by a hand that wasn't his own, and it momentarily derailed him. He panted against Lestrade's shoulder, his hands clutching uselessly against the table.

"You really are human, aren’t you?" There was a hint of humor in Lestrade's voice.

"Sometimes." Sherlock nuzzled the skin under his ear.

"I never thought I'd see you like this." Lestrade's fingers worked at the buttons on Sherlock's shirt now. "Fucking gorgeous, you are."

Sherlock stood still while Lestrade finished with his shirt, and again while Lestrade's gaze roamed over his naked chest. The shirt and tie joined the jacket on the floor, and Sherlock kicked them out of the way. Lestrade brushed one hand over Sherlock's chest, fingers sliding through the sparse hair there, and then looked up at him.

Sherlock studied his expression, the slight crinkle of his forehead, the dart of tongue between his lips. It had been a long time since Lestrade had been with a man – possibly years. He was recalibrating, considering, trying to decide where to begin.

Sherlock had no such reservations. He sank to his knees.

"Oh, fuck," Lestrade said with a harsh growl, gripping the edge of the table behind him.

Sherlock had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop himself from grinning. It was heady, this feeling of being wanted. Heady and addictive, and that was part of the reason he'd not done this in a while. It was distracting, consuming – and exactly what he needed right now.

He looked up at Lestrade. "What do you want?"

"Oh, God," Lestrade half-laughed. He shook his head slightly, as if in wonder. "You… have you any idea what you're doing to me?"

Sherlock licked his lips. "What do you think?"

"Christ, you… your mouth."

Lestrade's cock strained against the front of his trousers, drawing Sherlock's gaze. He leaned forward enough to press his open mouth over the bulge, and exhaled. Lestrade shuddered above him and squeezed his shoulder with one hand, and Sherlock drew the tip of his nose down the length. Lestrade made a choked sound and squeezed his shoulder more tightly.

"I'll need you to be more specific," Sherlock said, nosing against his balls now.

Lestrade's fingers threaded into Sherlock's hair and pulled gently, just enough to tip his head back. "I want you to suck me until I come in your mouth. Is that specific enough?" Something about his careful, lopsided smile sent sparks down Sherlock's spine.

"Absolutely." He unfastened Lestrade's trousers and drew down the zip slowly, never breaking his gaze until Lestrade's heavy cock bobbed in front of his face. The foreskin was drawn back from the dark, shiny glans, and there was already a bead of fluid leaking from the slit. Sherlock leaned forward and licked it away with the tip of his tongue.

Lestrade made a hissing sound above him and stroked his fingers through Sherlock's hair. And there it was: the rush of endorphins, the sensation of power, of possibility. Sherlock closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against Lestrade's belly, and inhaled.

He'd start with his tongue and go slowly, excruciatingly so. He'd lap at every inch, find the sensitive spots that former lovers had missed. Experiment with pressure and speed, and only take the glans in his mouth when Lestrade was begging for it. Map every reaction, every gasp and shudder. Tug at the foreskin with his teeth, slide his tongue around the corona, flick it up against the frenulum.

And he did, until Lestrade was shaking from need. Sherlock had forgotten about the taste of skin and the very male scent of sweat. He'd forgotten how much he enjoyed this, the feeling of a thick cock against his tongue, the way it fit against his soft palate. He closed his eyes and opened his mouth, and let the glans just breach his lips. It felt glorious.

"God, I can't…" Lestrade was panting above him now. His grip on Sherlock's hair tightened. "Please just… please."

Sherlock flattened his tongue against his teeth and slid his mouth down Lestrade's cock, as slowly as he could bear.

"Ah, fuck, yeah," Lestrade said, and went completely still.

Sherlock pushed forward until his mouth was too full to breathe, then pulled back again, sucking as he did. His own cock ached in his trousers, and he pressed one hand down between his thighs and squeezed.

"Oh, God, can I..?" Lestrade shifted his weight from the table to his feet, and stretched out his fingers against the back of Sherlock's skull. He pressed his cock forward into Sherlock's mouth a few inches, and then pulled back again. Sherlock grasped his hips and looked up at him, and Lestrade did it again, and again, slowly fucking Sherlock's mouth.

"Your mouth, your fucking mouth," Lestrade whispered. Sherlock pushed him back against the edge of the table, taking control again. He worked Lestrade's trousers down enough to tug at his testicles, but Lestrade pushed his hand away.

Sherlock wrapped his fingers around the base of his cock instead and stroked. He worked the glans with his lips and tongue, increasing the pace until Lestrade's sporadic profanity faded into incoherent groans above him. He gritted out a word that sounded like a warning, and Sherlock sucked him down as far as he could manage. He swallowed around Lestrade's orgasm, letting him push deep into his throat until Sherlock's eyes began to burn from the need to breathe. He finally pulled away and sat back, gasping lungfuls of air. His brain was on fire, and already filing away everything he'd just learned. He'd gone far too many years without this.

Lestrade stared down at him, his expression somewhere between shock and wonder. His mouth opened and closed again, and he swallowed. After a long moment, he extended down a hand. Sherlock took it and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. Almost immediately, Lestrade pushed him back against the refrigerator, hard enough that Sherlock's head bumped back against it. He pinned Sherlock in with hands on either side of Sherlock's shoulders.

"Sorry," he whispered, and crushed his mouth against Sherlock's in a blindingly erotic kiss. Sherlock felt like he was floating, his hands grasping uselessly against Lestrade's shirt for purchase. Lestrade's mouth moved from his lips to his ear in a long wet slide. "You have no idea how many times I've fantasized about you like that. On your knees, my cock in your mouth." His lips trailed under Sherlock's jaw, down the long line of his throat, and he paused to suck hard enough to raise blood to the surface. "Want to know what else I've thought about?"

Yes, Sherlock tried to say, but all that came out was an embarrassingly hoarse moan. Lestrade's teeth nipped at his clavicle, breath hot and moist. Sherlock's skin was on fire, super-sensitized, and the one small part of his brain that was still online filed that sensation away, marked it for future examination.

"Do you?" Lestrade asked again, his fingers tracing a delicate line up the length of Sherlock's erection.

"Y-yes," he managed, eyes squeezed tightly shut.

"Then ask me." His fingertips circled slowly around the fastening of Sherlock's trousers.

"What… What have you—" Sherlock gasped as those fingers slipped under the waistband, so close that he ached. "Oh, God. Please, Greg, please."

Lestrade went still for a moment, then kissed him again, more tenderly than before. Sherlock could feel the smile on his lips. "Since you asked so nicely…"

There was a quick tugging at his waist and then a hand inside his open fly, and oh, oh – Sherlock's head fell back against the refrigerator again. Lestrade pulled his cock in short, quick strokes, working the foreskin over the glans over and over until Sherlock's vision began to white out.

"Christ, Sherlock," Lestrade whispered, panting from the effort. "So hot. So fucking beautiful."

Close, so close, and then he tipped over the edge, hips arching up into Lestrade's fist, one hand over his mouth (habit; never wanted John to hear), and his mind perfectly, blissfully blank. Nothing but sheer pleasure, white-hot and perfect. His knees gave out beneath him when it was over and he slid to the floor, his bare arse pressed against the cold tile. It was quiet for a long moment, almost long enough for Sherlock to come back to his senses.

"Jesus, Sherlock. Are you all right?"

He looked up to see Lestrade backlit with an almost otherworldly glow. He tried to smile, and was certain he looked like a complete idiot. "Better than all right, I should think." He clasped Lestrade's offered hand and let himself be pulled back up to his feet.

Lestrade drew him into the circle of his arms and kissed him softly. Sherlock closed his eyes, once again surprised that such a simple physical sensation could be quite so pleasurable – especially after both of them had experienced orgasm. It was something to be turned over in his mind, perhaps investigated further. More data was required, at the very least.

"You're much better at this than I would have expected," Lestrade whispered.

Sherlock pulled back enough to look at his face. "Have you ever known me to be less than excellent at anything?"

"No, but—"

"I assure you, I am very good in bed. I can provide references."

Lestrade laughed and slid his hands around to squeeze Sherlock's backside. "I'd rather find out for myself, if you're up for it."

Sherlock hesitated for a moment. He needed a distraction, it was true. But now that his head was beginning to clear again, he remembered why he generally avoided sexual entanglements. He pressed his lips together and considered.

"Sex only," he said at last. "No purely social encounters. No meals, excepting take-away when necessary. No vapid declarations of emotion, or overly personal text messages, or—"

"I get it," Lestrade said with a good-natured chuckle. "I've known you for almost a decade. I'm under no illusions."

"Right." Sherlock watched emotions play over Lestrade's face: relief, curiosity, excitement, fear.

"So..." Lestrade circled a fingertip around one of Sherlock's nipples. "How do you feel about sleepovers?"

"Tolerable," Sherlock replied, catching his hand. "My refractory period is approximately forty-one minutes. If you plan to stay the night, we'll need to eat something. The shop on the corner will likely have condoms, but we might have to be creative with lubricant. What?"

Lestrade's face had gone beet red. He exhaled smoothly and rubbed one hand over the back of his head. "I'm starting to wonder if I'm in over my head here."

Sherlock pulled his trousers up and refastened them. "Not to worry. I'll wait a week or two before I bring out the bondage gear." Lestrade sputtered in response, and Sherlock had to bite his cheek to stop himself from laughing. He bent to retrieve his crumpled clothing from the floor. "Hungry?"

"Yeah, actually. My dinner was interrupted, as you might recall."

"Chinese?"

"God, no. I've had Chinese eight times this week."

"Thai, then."

"As long as it's not spicy. And you're buying. That taxi cost me thirty quid."

Sherlock pulled his shirt back on and smirked. "I'll make sure you get your money's worth."

Lestrade pulled him into a kiss, his hands sliding beneath the smooth cotton of the shirt, hot on Sherlock's skin. He sucked lightly on Sherlock's lower lip and smiled. "Yeah. I think you will."