”Do you take sugar?”
”Honey, if you have it.” Irene smiles politely as she watches John move around the kitchen, opening and shutting cupboards until he finds the jar. He extracts a heaping spoonful. It starts to run off the sides of the spoon as he turns to show her, eyebrows raised. She nods, her gaze sliding back out towards Sherlock. “What’s he doing?”
“Thinking. He’ll be like that for hours.” The kettle clicks off and John fills two mismatched mugs. The jar of honey is returned to a different cabinet than the one John found it in. He picks up both mugs then looks about, frowning, before he pushes a drawer shut with his hip.
“But he’s still talking,” Irene says. There is a low mumbling coming from the living room, combined with the seemingly random plucking of violin strings. John leans across the table to look out at Sherlock as he slides the mug of tea between beakers and Petri dishes. Sherlock is staring into the middle distance, his brows arching and furrowing as he moves from one stream of thought to another.
“Yeah, he’ll do that, but its fine. I used to set up a recorder if I was going out, but it only makes sense if you can see what he’s seeing when he’s talking. Sometimes he explains afterwards.” John blows on his tea and returns to where he’s been leaning against the door frame between the living room and kitchen. Irene glances from John’s patient, watchful expression to Sherlock’s knife-blade detachment and back.
The flat is silent but for the sounds Sherlock is making in the other room and the scrape of Irene’s mug against the table. John rubs a hand over his mouth and chin as he watches him. Irene has been sitting with one knee drawn up to her chest, but now she crosses her legs and leans forward, one elbow resting on her knee, hair hanging around her face. The dressing gown falls away, leaving her legs bare more than halfway up her thighs.
“You can call me John.”
“John.” Her voice is low and deep when she says his name, and he turns to face her. “I think I can help you.”
“With what, exactly? Seems to me you’ve been the one to cause our problems.” His brows knit together even more when she laughs to herself, mouth curled into a half-smile.
“’Our problems.’ It’s never just about you. You’re always thinking about him.” She sets her teacup on the table and uncrosses her legs with deliberate slowness. She stands, tightening the belt of the dressing gown as she crosses the room, her bare feet padding across the floor.
“Look, don’t start with that again,” John says, watching her over the edge of his mug as he takes a sip of tea.
Irene takes his teacup from him and sets it on the table, then returns to his side, standing so that their arms are brushing against each other. John shifts, turning slightly to avoid the contact, but she just moves closer. He glares at her out of the corner of his eye.
“I’m not starting anything. It’s been going for some time. I’m just saying I can help.” Irene turns to face him, glancing significantly from Sherlock to John. She unfolds her arms from her chest, exposing the stretch of pale skin where the dressing gown is hanging open, a narrow V from her collarbone to where the sash is tied around her waist. She pushes a hand through her hair, fluffing it at the back of her head. John inhales sharply.
“What could you possibly help me with?” John’s eyes trail up Irene’s body, settling on her mouth as she bites gently at her lower lip. She smiles, and he flushes and looks away.
“Close your eyes,” she says, and he obeys, swaying slightly as she wraps her fingers around his wrists. The hand that was holding the teacup is warm, but the other is cool, and her body is warmer still as she moves forward, pressing their chests and stomachs together. She lifts his hands to place them on her hips. John swallows and takes a shaky breath, his thumbs rubbing circles, drawing the silk of the dressing gown along her skin.
There is a break in Sherlock’s mumbled litany and John opens his eyes to glance at him, his hands stilling. Sherlock starts talking again a moment later and John sighs, closing his eyes again and turning back to face Irene.
John lifts a hand to his face and rubs at his eyes but doesn’t open them. “When you showered earlier, you...”
Irene nods and runs her fingers through her hair. John breathes deeply, his nostrils flaring as he takes in the familiar scents.
“Sherlock’s shampoo, his soap, everything. And I’ve been wearing this dressing gown all day.”
John’s breathing is fast but deep, and the hand on Irene’s hip tenses, fingers pressing into flesh. She pushes up onto her toes and wraps a hand around the back of his neck, pushing their lips together. He pulls back but she follows and then he’s answering the kiss, one hand cupping the back of her head while the other moves to the small of her back, pulling her closer. She slides her tongue over his lower lip and his mouth falls open. A small gasp comes from somewhere far down in John’s throat as the kiss deepens.
John pulls back, panting. His pupils are blown wide and he stares at Irene, who looks back calmly, one eyebrow arched.
“You told me you’re gay,” John says.
“I have male clients.” She kisses him again, this time sliding a hand between their bodies to cup his cock through his trousers. She drags her thumbnail along the coarse material of John’s jeans and he groans into her mouth.
“How did you know he takes honey in his tea?”
She lifts an arm and turns to look at the sleeve of the dressing gown, her fingers curled in to hold the edge in place. There is a long, thin stain where someone has drizzled honey along the sleeve.
“Will he notice if we’re not here?” Irene asks.
“What?” John replies. “No, he’s… no, you’d have to shake him pretty hard right about now to get him to – once he started while he was cooking but not even the fire alarm – Oh, God.”
Irene rolls her hip against John’s erection, her tongue and lips ghosting kisses along the side of his neck. She sucks lightly on his earlobe and his voice breaks as he lowers his head to her shoulder, breathing in the scent of Sherlock’s shampoo in her hair. Irene looks at him from under thick lashes and steps back. She takes his hand and leads him to the stairs, letting go as she turns to go up to his bedroom. He watches the sway of her hips under the dressing gown as she climbs and his gaze is hooded when she turns back to look at him.
Irene stops outside his room and waits until John arrives, opening the door to let them in. The room is neat and simply decorated, a framed photo of his unit from Afghanistan hanging on one wall. Dust swirls in the grey rays of afternoon light that slant in through the window. A writing desk stands under the window, adorned by a reading lamp and John’s laptop, which is open, screen dark. John moves to the desk, snaps the computer shut and stows it in the top drawer, then turns and leans against the edge of the desk.
Irene steps to the center of the room and turns, taking it all in quickly. She unties the sash on the dressing gown, letting it fall open. She is wearing black g-string panties and nothing else. She shrugs the gown down off her shoulders as she steps towards john but he stops her, catching it between two fingers and gently drawing the fabric up again.
“Keep it on. For now, at least.” He curls his fingers in and draws his hand along her upper arm, knuckles dragging against the fabric. She moves forward, one bare foot on either side of his shoe, his leg between her thighs.
John places his hands on her hips and pushes her back slightly, stepping to one side. He circles slowly behind her, the fingers of his right hand trailing on her skin. He catches the edge of the dressing gown between thumb and forefinger and fondles it, runs his fingers along it. He presses himself against Irene, knees to waist to chest. He runs his left hand up her back, fingers tangling in her hair even as he spreads them wide on the back on her head, pushing to bend her forward over the desk. Her nails scrape against the wood as she balls her hands into fists. He lies on top of her, chest heaving as he nuzzles the nape of her neck, surrounding himself in her thick, dark hair. John rocks his hips against her behind, the coarse fabric of his jeans catching and snagging in the delicate silk, his small exhalations hot against Irene’s skin even through the curtain of her hair.
He moves his left hand to the side of her neck. She rolls her shoulders and turns her head, flicking her tongue out over the tips of his fingers. He places his hand lightly over her mouth, the tip of his middle finger playing along her lips. She opens her mouth and envelopes his finger, dragging her teeth from the second knuckle to the tip. John growls, his hips stilling.
“That bloody gorgeous mouth.” John’s other hand is still pawing at Irene’s hip, nails digging lightly into the soft flesh there. He licks his lips to mirror the sensation of Irene’s tongue sliding around his finger as he draws it out of her mouth and pushes it back in. “I could spend hours imaging that fantastic mouth wrapped around my cock.”
She hums, cheeks hollowing as she sucks, hard, at the finger in her mouth. Her eyes flare wide as his right hand moves to the inside of her thigh, sliding higher and higher. She shifts her hips, squirming underneath him as she pulls her head back, releasing his finger.
“Don’t rush, you’ll spoil it,” she whispers.
He pushes off her, exhaling hard through his nose as he straightens. She turns to face him, her lips swollen and pink. His eyes are dark as he looks at her, hands clenched to fists at his sides. She moves to meet him, walking to the center of the room. He turns, following her, his eyes roaming over her body. He settles a hand on her hip, leading her closer to him, his eyes moving from her lips to her breasts to the bed behind her.
She rests a hand on his belt buckle, red nails tapping a rhythm against the metal. “Shall I?”
“No, no. I can.” He makes short work of his shirt buttons, toeing off his shoes at the same time. She walks in a circle around him, watching as he undresses. He rolls his shoulders as he takes off his shirt, then dips his head to pull off the t-shirt that was underneath. Irene closes the space between them. John tenses as she wraps her arms around him, her breath warm on the back of his neck, her breasts pressing under his shoulder blades.
“Close your eyes and let me help, John.” Her voice comes from somewhere deep in her chest, rumbling against John’s back. He takes a deep breath and pushes it out through his nose as he flicks open his belt buckle. Irene nuzzles the hair at the base of his neck and draws a thumb lazily over one of his nipples. John’s hips begin to roll slightly in time with the movement of Irene’s thumb. She moves her other hand down his stomach, following the trail of pale hair until she’s palming his cock through the fabric of his pants.
“Christ.” He blows another breath out through his nose before hooking his thumbs into the waistband of his pants and pushing them down his thighs. He shakes his legs to drop them the rest of the way, then steps out of the pile of clothing gathered around his bare feet.
He turns and pulls Irene closer to him, eyes flicking open only long enough to make sure his hand finds her hip under the dressing gown. He palms her bottom as they kiss, his other hand buried in her long, dark hair. She tugs at his lower lip with her teeth, her hands moving up and down his back. Her left hand stops, fingers ghosting over the chaos of scar tissue. She pulls back to look at him. He doesn’t open his eyes, only gives his head a little shake and leads them back until his calves hit the frame of his bed.
He sits down and Irene stands in front of him. She runs her fingers through his hair, holding his head still. She arches her back slightly, the side of her left breast pressed against his cheek. His cock twitches in his lap as he turns his head, mouthing kisses on the soft skin there until she turns, bringing her nipple to his open mouth. He drags his lips over it, just letting her brush against his teeth.
“You smell so good.” He opens his eyes, but they’re hooded and dark when he meets her gaze.
“Shall I blindfold you?”
“No, this is… no.” He presses his nose to the skin between her breasts and breathes deeply, his hands skimming up and down the backs of her thighs. They stay that way for a long moment, her hand cradling the back of his head as he breathes in the scents of Sherlock on her skin, his hands roaming over her body. His fingers follow the line of her back, the outcrops of her shoulder blades and the firm curve of her behind, all still hidden under the dressing gown.
“How can you be so soft?” John pants against her skin, turning his head from side to side to drag his lips against her. She tucks her chin, letting her hair fall down around him, tickling his face and shoulders. He shivers and puffs out a breath.
John skims his fingernails along the silk on her arms and gently cups her breasts in his hands, all while his forehead rests against her chest. He slips his fingers under the strings on her hips, and she covers his hands with her own to work the scrap of fabric down off her body. She straddles his hips as she steps out of them, pushing him back onto the bed with a hand at the center of his chest. She lifts the hem of Sherlock’s dressing gown so it pools around them on the bed, then pinches the sides between two fingers and fans it out as she rests her forearms on John’s shoulders, surrounding them in Sherlock’s gown. Her pale skin takes on an unearthly pallor as the light filters in.
Irene tips her head and arches her back, pushing her breasts into John’s face as she grinds down into his lap. He moans, his mouth forming a perfect O-shape that turns into a lazy, open-mouth grin as she works her body against his cock.
John hooks a hand behind her thigh and lays her down on the bed, dressing gown spread out underneath her. Her hair fans out on the pillow but she lifts her head and collects it along one shoulder. John pushes his face into her hair and breathes deeply.
“Extraordinary. You’re incredible.” He rolls his hips, pressing his cock into the side of Irene’s thigh. He lifts his head and cups her cheek, turning her face to meet his for a kiss. His tongue trails over her teeth and maps the outline of her lips as he strokes her hip. “Your bloody mouth.”
“I don’t do-“ He pulls back only far enough to shush her, his lips against hers. Then he kisses her again, jaw and tongue working, her head almost pinned to the pillow as he explores every inch of her mouth.
“Tastes just the way I thought.” John breaks the kiss, trailing his lips along her jaw line and down the side of her neck. Irene rakes her nails across the muscles of his shoulders and upper arms as he works his way down her body. He cups her left breast in his hand, mouthing gently at her nipple until it hardens. His other hand moves down her side, caressing her stomach and hip, slipping under the curve of her bottom as he kisses her breast. He reaches back, drags his fingers lightly along her leg from ankle to knee, then up along the back of her thigh. He leaves a warm, wet line of kisses as he moves to her right breast, and repeats the exploration of her other leg. His hands are still slightly calloused at the base of his fingers, pulling at the skin on the inside of her thigh as this time he moves upward from her knee.
She lets her leg fall to the side as his fingers trail along the crease of her thigh, playing in the dark patch of hair. She shifts her hips uncomfortably, pressing herself up into his hand. He sucks hard on her nipple as he slips two fingers into the warm wetness there, sliding and teasing. They both moan.
“Christ you’re wet.” He strokes harder as he moves his mouth down her body, open-mouthed kisses along her stomach. He dips his tongue into her navel and she shivers, pushing on his shoulder to encourage him downward.
“Thought you were gay?” he murmurs against the skin of her hip. She laughs.
He drags his nose along the inside of her thigh, nuzzling the skin there. He breathes deep, taking in the scent of Sherlock’s soap and clothing as it mingles with something distinctly female.
“Perfect. Oh god. Oh god,” he sighs as his tongue slips out from between his lips and he presses the tip flat against her. Irene’s body tenses, then relaxes but for the insistent rock of her hips against his mouth. The sheets rustle beneath them as John works his tongue against her. She hums appreciatively as he mouths at her clitoris, then lowers his head, his tongue flicking into her.
“Oh, Jesus that’s good.” he says, pulling his knees in closer to his own body. He wiggles a hand under his stomach, resting his weight on his other arm so he can grip his cock. John groans and hisses, his tongue pressing and moving against her. He rolls his thumb in the leaking pre-come coating the tip of his cock, breath hitching at the intensity as he drags slow circles, pushing his hips into the bed in rhythm with the movement of his mouth.
For a long time the room is filled with small sounds. The rustle of linen and silk as skin moves over it, the soft sound of John’s breath and the warm, wet sound of him sucking and licking, lips and tongue working against Irene’s body. There is a slight creak as John’s bed complains, unaccustomed to the shifting weight of two bodies. Irene’s nails scrabble for purchase, tugging at the duvet under her as she keens, arching her back.
She drags a hand up her body, cupping her own breast, biting hard at her lower lip as she pinches her nipple, rolling it between her thumb and forefinger. His tongue flicks and circles. He pushes it inside of her and draws it out. His lips graze against her, intensity increasing as she moves her body, pressing herself against him.
Irene’s thighs tense and the fingers that have been carding through his hair suddenly grip tight. John leaves his cock and draws his hand up the inside of her thigh. He lifts his head just enough to be able to look up the line of her body without breaking the contact of his mouth to her body.
“Can you come like this?”
Irene nods messily. He slides two fingers into her and curls them slightly. His mouth and hand work in counterpoint to each other and he moans against her as he feels her orgasm. She keens and growls, her nails digging deep into John’s shoulder, his muscles working as he flexes his fingers and pushes them deeper into her. After a long moment she sighs and laughs, her grip on him relaxing. John lifts his head.
“Can I fuck you?”
“Yes.” She wiggles up onto her elbows and looks down at him, her face flushed, a lock of hair clinging to her cheek. She runs her tongue over her upper lip and John advances, crawling up her body. He wraps a hand around her breast as he leans down to kiss her, tongue pressing hungrily into her mouth. She squeezes his hips with her knees and rocks underneath him.
John rears up and takes his cock in his hand. He runs his other hand up and down the length of her thigh as he pumps his fist along his cock, getting himself completely hard again. He blunders the tip against her then pushes in, only a couple of inches. His breath catches in his throat and he stills.
“Christ, you’re amazing,” he growls, and his chin drops to his chest as he thrusts, burying himself in her as deep as he can. He leans down over her as he pulls almost completely out, then kicks his hips, pushing back inside her. She hums appreciatively, stroking her hands up and down the tensing, shining muscles in his arms. Beads of sweat form at his temples as he rolls his hips, keeping his tempo agonizingly slow. Irene moves with him, watching him as he sucks in breath through clenched teeth, his eyes fluttering open, taking in her body but not her face before falling closed again.
Every muscle in his body works in concert to maintain the rhythm John’s established; his thighs tense and relax, the muscles in his forearms twitch under the strain of holding up his body. He reaches down and slides a hand under her arse, lifting her as he changes position, lowering himself down onto his forearms, head resting on her shoulder.
“Bloody brilliant you are. I knew it would be like this.” His voice is a hoarse whisper. Irene mouths the curve of his ear and he shudders, eyes squeezed shut. His breath catches in his throat and his tempo increases. He extends his legs and pushes his toes into the mattress. The new angle means he can no longer pull as far out of her but now he rolls his hips more, moving inside her as far as he can, faster and faster.
“Fuck me, John. You’re so hard, my brilliant soldier.” Irene lowers her voice as deep as she can, all her consonants crisp. John fists a hand in the blue silk pooled by Irene’s shoulder, hooks the other under her hip to lift her, change the angle again. He grabs at the back of her thigh, lifting her left leg, resting the weight of his upper body on his right forearm.
“Shut up. Just don’t. Don’t. Talk.” he hisses. He moves his right hand to cup her cheek, curving his thumb to tuck it into her mouth. Her eyes flare before she closes her lips around it and hollows her cheeks. Her tongue peeks out from between her lower lip and his thumb. Irene extends her arms above her head, bracing herself against the headboard as John thrusts in earnest, every kick of his hips echoed in a hollow, wooden thunk as the bed hits the wall behind them. Irene looks up at the headboard, her mouth falling open in order to keep hold of John’s thumb, although her teeth dig into the fleshy pad as she tips her head back.
“So close. Oh, sshhh…” His eyes flick open, taking in her face, meeting her light eyes as she looks up at him. Her hair is spread out around her head, dark wisps clinging to her high cheekbones. He pulls his thumb out of her mouth, brushing it along her lower lip. She dips her head to catch it again, sucking once, hard. John groans and mutters something under his breath.
Irene twists her head, his thumb leaving a wet trail as it drags along her cheek. “Say it, John. Let it out.”
He squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head. “Nope. I. No... oh Sherlock. Sher-“
The kick of his hips turns erratic as he comes with a sob, one hand still gripping tightly onto Irene’s hip. His eyes close and his chin drops to his chest. Sherlock’s name tumbles out of his mouth in a broken stream of semi-formed words as the jerking of his body slows and stops.
He leans forward, one hand ghosting over Irene’s body, mapping her stomach, her ribs, her collarbone. His eyes follow his trailing fingers as if the name was visible, letters scattered and draped on her skin so that he could sweep them into a pile with his hands, run his fingers through them, take them back and pretend it never happened.
He runs his thumb over her softened nipple and she jerks her hips in response. He collapses on top of her, flexing his right hand as he releases his hold on the dressing gown. He rolls off of her, settling into the space between Irene and the wall. She shifts slightly to give him more room.
“Was it what you wanted?” She turns onto her side, studying him as he stares up at the ceiling, one arm behind his head.
John sighs and blinks slowly. He brings a hand up to his mouth, covering it as his breathing stills abruptly. He looks at Irene with wide, panicked eyes, then pushes himself up off the bed, climbing over her. He gathers his clothes from the floor and looks down at his body, shaking his head.
He disappears briefly into his bathroom. The water runs and he brushes his teeth. He emerges clothed, although his shirt is unbuttoned. His face still flushed and he’s made only a cursory attempt to right his hair. He rakes his fingers through it now as he looks Irene over. She’s lying on her side, propped up on one elbow with the dressing gown drawn over her.
“Doctor Watson.” She calls to him and he stops in the doorway. He turns his head fractionally, just enough so she can see his jaw clenching.
“Is this how you misbehave, then? Gathered enough information now, you manipulative-“ He wheels around, eyes blazing as he advances on her, moving back into the room. She swings her legs over the edge of the bed, holding her hands up, palms. Her face is stricken.
“I had no idea. How can you carry that with you, every day?” she asks. His chest swells, and his whole body seems to sag as he blows out a long breath, lowering his head to his chest.
“If he comes around and I’m not back, tell him I’ve gone out, will you? As for the rest of it,“ he gestures towards the bed, “tell him what you like.” John turns on his heel and leaves. His steps are rushed down the stairs and he slams the door behind him.
Irene stares out the open door for a moment before standing and walking into the little bathroom attached to John’s bedroom. She hangs the dressing gown on a hook behind the door. The shower sputters to life, faucet squeaking as she adjusts the temperature. She hisses as the water hits her back, and this time all the products that she uses are John’s.