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Confounding Expectations

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"Are you going to do it, or not?" Sherlock asks, almost as if he were waiting to see if John would being making tea any time soon. Almost as if he were waiting to see if John would make tea, as he's face down on the bed, stark naked, with his voice muffled by the pillow he's wrapped his arms around.

John makes choked sounds of this isn't going precisely as I'd hoped in his throat, and Sherlock rolls his eyes behind closed eyelids, infuriated by everyone's constant need for things they can't or won't ask for.

"Have I in some way misinterpreted your proposition?"


"After all this time, John, I'm astonished that you haven't learnt to simply get to the point."

"There's usually some kind of...lubrication involved. And, er...well, it's a bit more..."



"You know full well there'll be none of that from me."

"I didn't mean..."

John takes his shirt off because Sherlock looks so very overwhelmingly naked, presented there as he is that it seems unfair. When he'd suggested they might fuck and get it out of the way, it was only a jocular response to an accidental instance of touching that John didn't pull away from as quickly as he might have. When Sherlock looked him right in the eye and said, "If you like," and stalked into his room, John waited for the punchline.

It didn't come.

"Ah," Sherlock says, craning his neck around to look back at John, who's self-consciously removing his socks. "You need some stimulation to begin?"

"At least you know something about how this works..." John mutters, mostly to himself.

"I heard that."

"Look, have you ever-"

"Does it matter?" Sherlock cuts him off, curtly, mid-sentence.

"I suppose not, it's just..." but he can't phrase his nerves, and so John replies by placing a hand on Sherlock's back, chill to the touch, no surprise in the draughty room, and stroking his way down the man's spine. An odd move, made first from curiosity about what it would feel like to touch Sherlock's bare skin at all, and second to check that this is something that can happen at all.

Part of him expects Sherlock to be slick, reptilian, marble. But instead, he's just skin and bone, and sinew and cartilage.

That's strangely reassuring.

Sherlock exhales a sigh of boredom as John continues to press and push at his flesh in a way that is neither beneficial, nor painful, and as such, is utterly inconsequential to him.

John ignores him, realising that he is, it seems, to be alone in this.

"When you've finished checking that I'm a real live boy, perhaps you'd like me to help you achieve an erection," Sherlock offers.

Something flips and twists in John's stomach, and a wave of cringing sweeps across his shoulders. "Speaking like that really won't help," he murmurs.

"I'm amazed you want to engage in sexual relations at all with that attitude," Sherlock replies, coiling up and around and elbowing John hard in the shoulder so that he falls back onto the bed. "Let's get on, shall we?"

John's instinct is to fight the shove, but Sherlock is too quick - still, after all this time, it is surprising and unnerving, the speed with which the man can move, when he's so inclined - and he's stripped John of trousers and underwear at a speed John can't compute and then he's there with his hands and his mouth which is as hot as his skin is cold and the motions are so glaringly precise that John may as well've been kicked in the chest for all the breath he can catch and he's gasping in seconds as all the blood in his body fights itself to get to his groin first.

If Sherlock hasn't done this before - and that's feeling increasingly unlikely - he has, at least, been watching some of those videos on John's laptop.

How the fuck is this...

John can't even finish his own unvocalised thoughts.


Sherlock continues, grip unnervingly tight, tongue distressingly accurate, and with a snap John reaches out and grabs at a handful of Sherlock's hair, pulling him back, guttering "Stop...oh fuck, stop..." because after all now he's this far and this hard he does not want to waste an opportunity that is suddenly twice as appealing as it's ever been and Sherlock is-

-Sherlock punches him full in the face, without care or attention to the force or placement of it. "Do NOT fucking do that. Not ever. You don't ever pull my hair."

His eyes are laser fucking serious and John loses every last shred of bravado...but none of his excitement.

It should be funny. Or at least curling, crawlingly embarrassing.

Sherlock runs his fingers pointedly, but ineffectively, through his hair. Then he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, looks pointedly at John's full and straining erection, then at John's abdomen, noting the way the taut skin there is quivering with interest. He lies back down where he was to start with, and says simply, "Fuck me, before I lose interest and leave you to your hand and Edgar Allan Poe.."

John could've done without the reminder of the creepy portrait on the wall, very much the kind of thing he doesn't need to see right now, but fortunately the first part of that sentence is the bit that resonates somewhere just behind his heart, which beats furiously as if it were trying to get out and to the vibrations of it, and he finds himself, punch-impact still ringing in his left ear, climbing over and onto Sherlock.

Naked, he doesn't seem so slight, so delicate as he does when he's suited, and when John's thought this through in the past it's been, retrospectively, more cruel than he's perhaps ever registered. This is sharp and burning and fuck he's going to come in a single push if he doesn't-

"Wait!" Sherlock starts, and John stops dead in his too-slow motion towards, a thump in his chest like Sherlock's going to kick him out - cold feet, change of heart, fuck knows, maybe he's even nervous - but no. Sherlock spits on his fingers and reaches back and shifts and squirms beneath John in a way that is virtually too much and then he's back flat on the bed, still as ever. "Lubrication," he explains, and John's teeth grit themselves tight, involuntarily, every fibre of himself focusing on not wasting this.

John has done this before. He isn't gay, no, but he is human, all too human at times, and his tastes have always run towards the thing they oughtn't to, and in the army that was the easiest of things to cater for. He'd play overly straight and a touch scared and it was all too easy to find someone who thought they were taking advantage of him. And yet even that wasn't as thrillingly bizarre as this. Even at this game, it seems Sherlock plays in a league of his own.

His body bows exactly where John wants it to, seems to accommodate before it's asked, but he's still so tight that John hesitates, and Sherlock (rolling his eyes to himself even now) says "It doesn't matter how you do this, I've a wonderful capacity for pain," which twists there again to hear because the thing that makes this so appealing and so necessary and so inevitable is the way that Sherlock is so relentlessly himself which is the most attractive thing of all, and that he is no different with three inches of John inside him and more to follow is, in its flat, lights-on, straightforwardness is the greatest turn-on of all.

He bites down on his lip and focuses on the pain of that and the black eye that's not far coming and pushes and breathes and holds himself still for just long enough to register through the heat and the sweat that prickles its way from his pores that this is actually happening and even now it feels precisely as wrong and as fantastic as he could have hoped.

"Go on," Sherlock says, and the fact that he speaks at all feels surprising, "at least move."

John obliges, and as he grips Sherlock's shoulders for purchase he feels, rather than hears, the man groan beneath him, and he pushes all the harder, just on the off-chance that somewhere in all this, Sherlock is actually enjoying it.

"Harder," Sherlock growls, each time John finds something approaching pace or rhythm, and each time he jolts and catches himself and doesn't let himself finish, and each time he has to fight that bit more to keep it so.

Beneath him, despite the way he keeps with and just enough against John's movements, Sherlock hasn't even broken sweat, and when John reaches around in an attempt to share the situation, Sherlock jerks his hips flat to the mattress, preventing him from discovering if he's even slightly aroused.

"Come on," Sherlock offers, pushing back, but the tone is less encouraging and more irritable. John slides the fingers of his right hand into the hair at the nape of Sherlock's neck and pulls.


John's orgasm is prompted by the way Sherlock twists and bucks and jerks his head away beneath him. It's quick and wet and loud and over in a moment that passes far, far too quickly, and then there's only the cold air encircling them and Sherlock, turning to look up at him. John half expects him to be angry, but there's nothing written there at all. He's so blank, that in itself sends a shiver running through him. This is, in every single way, very diffierent from any such encounter John's had.



"Find me a cigarette," Sherlock says, the second John moves away. Sherlock rolls over, pulling the quilt over himself.

"What? No." John's still reaching for an effective breath.

"I must smoke after sex." Sherlock speaks with all the pace and measure of the most reasonable of demands.

"I don't have any cigarettes." John wonders if this is a truth of Sherlock's or a fancy from a stereotype. Still both seem equally possible. Later he'll think he might have pointed out that it isn't quite as if Sherlock had a great deal to do with the sex, but then again, it's just as well that he didn't.

"There's a packet in the bag of sawdust in the bottom right-hand kitchen cupboard. The matches are next to the cooker."

"The bag of sawdust?"


"Why do you have a bag of sawdust in the kitchen?"

"To catch the blood. Honestly John, I have quite literally bent over backwards for you tonight, now would you please oblige me in what I think we can both agree is the smallest of ways, and fetch me a cigarette?"

John can't bring himself to disagree. He pulls his trousers on, because, or in case, whichever. The cigarettes are, indeed, precisely where Sherlock said they would be. John doesn't look through the rest of the cupboard. Now is not the time to make any further discoveries about a man who still, after all this time, knows how to surprise him.

"Thank you," Sherlock says, with a warmth apparently more driven by the speed at which he plucks the packet from John's hand than anything else. He extracts one, hands the pack back to John, who pockets it, taps the end with a forefinger methodically, places the tip between his lips with an obvious anticipation and lights it.

He sucks once, twice, then a third time, and holds the smoke in his lungs. Without exhaling, he lets curls escape bowed lips.

"You can go now," he says to John, with a smile.

John wonders if all this happened simply so Sherlock could get a grief-free cigarette out of it. He wasn't expecting hugs and spooning - and he wouldn't have been able to manage that himself, far too claustrophobic - and so the abruptness is, as it happens, not unwelcome.

"Well then, goodnight..." John offers, and it's all he can do not to bow or say thank you or something else completely inappropriate - might as well stick a tenner on the bedside table at this rate.



"Goodnight." Sherlock says this firmly, stretching fully flat on his back, switching his attention to a spot on the ceiling, and sucking in a half-inch of cigarette in a single inhalation.

John nods, leaves, and makes a mental note to check back in ten minutes that Sherlock hasn't fallen asleep with that lit and set fire to the whole fucking place.

The man's hard work, but tonight is one of many examples as to why he's so consistently worth it.