The second the Bee Gee’s crooned from his pocket, the tension between Jim and Sherlock snapped like a delicate bone. Jim closed his eyes and sighed.
“Do you mind if I get that?”
Sherlock waved the gun. “No no, please. You’ve got the rest of your life.”
Names didn’t show up on his phone, only strings of characters, a code of his own device. Irene Adler. She did work swiftly, but had the worst timing.
“Jim, is that you?”
“Yes, of course it is. What do you want?” He mouthed sorry, turned on his heels in an illusion of privacy. Sherlock wouldn’t shoot if he thought he could glean anything about Jim’s operation.
“I found your proof and I have a princess tied to my bed.”
“Say that again,” he shrieked, decorum abandoned. If she had even a scrap of information he needed from that simpleton at the Ministry of Defense, then he won’t have to flay her alive.
“Oh Jim, I thought you didn’t care for the details of my business.” Irene’s voice rippled with humor. “That man you had sent yielded spectacularly. Offered me all sorts of gifts, including an email labeled double-oh seven.”
Jim took a sharp breath; Irene obtained what thousands of pounds in bribes, weeks of hacking and a very creative torture session could not.
The thought galled him.
“Say that again and know that if you are lying to me, I will find you, and I will skiiin you,” Jim hissed.
Irene countered Jim’s threat with a haughty laugh. ”Somebody’s worked you into a lather. Is it that detective you’ve been obsessed with? Tell me, is he impressed by your display? You may want to try a more forward approach.”
He hit mute. Biting his lip, he regarded Sherlock. He weighed the probable outcomes of continuing his business with Irene versus the amusement of antagonizing Sherlock.
Letting his shoulders slump, his gaze wandered along the tile and back to Sherlock. After a beat he said simply, “Sorry. Wrong day to die.”
Sherlock, clever boy, picked up on cues right away.
“Has this all been flirtation? How-” A breath, head cocked. “Droll.”
Jim sauntered towards Sherlock, his steps a measured counter rhythm to the slow beat of the water. Sherlock’s aim wavered only to account for the receding distance between them. At arm’s length, Jim fearlessly leaned his forehead against the barrel of the gun, mirroring the little red dot that hovered on Sherlock’s brow.
With such a narrow gap between them, the acidic tang of chlorine all but obliterated the crisp scent of Sherlock’s aftershave. “Look how well you and I play together,” Jim murmured. “I wonder how much fun we could have with your body pinned beneath mine and your skin bruised and flushed. Just. For. Me.”
How unnecessary for Sherlock to deny when the twitch of his lip and an upward flicker of his eyes said for a moment, Sherlock entertained the idea to its logical conclusion.
“Better then you can imagine, my darling,” Jim said with a slow lick of the lips.
Sherlock held his gaze, spoke in a low tone. “I doubt that. I find the physical lacks in comparison to the cerebral.” He jabbed the gun against Jim’s skin for emphasis.
Before Jim could reply, the squeak of cheap rubber soles on the tile gave away John Watson’s half-formed plan.
“John, don’t move,” Sherlock said, his eyes fixed on Jim. Good. Jim would hate to end things because one of his assemblage shot Sherlock’s cur.
“Don’t sully the moment, Johnny.” Jim laid two fingers on top of the gun and pushed it down just below his tie pin.
Jim didn’t need to see John’s face to know the pitiful glare leveled to him, exactly the same as first time he and Sherlock met in the flesh. That first meeting in the lab was an exercise in restraint, giving nothing away, save what he wanted them all to see. Then, he had stood a respectable distance, eying Sherlock under his lashes. Now, as he laid his hand over Sherlock's, holding the gun firmly to his sternum, Jim could feel Sherlock braced for an attack. Prepared for every response, save one.
Jim pressed his teeth firmly in the bow of Sherlock bottom lip. Kissing Sherlock was like kissing a stone angel perched on a gravestone, cool and unyielding, the pleasure lying more in debauching something untouchable. A gasp from Sherlock became a concession for Jim to slip his tongue along the contours of Sherlock’s mouth. Sherlock shivered. Everything, Jim’s men poised in the mezzanine, John Watson crouched on the ground and even the sound of water beating against the pool ebbed away with drag of Jim’s lips on Sherlock's. It was obvious the dear boy hadn’t kissed many people and a wealth of games to play unfurled in his mind.
Jim couldn’t kill Sherlock yet, not when he just began to whet his curiosity. John, who barked Sherlock as if they were engaged in obscenities, he had no qualms about. Especially when the sweet contemplative look Sherlock bore hardened. He shoved Jim aside with the barrel of the gun.
The little toy soldier had stood up and stepped behind Sherlock with clenched fists. Half dozen laser sights wavered over his chest.
“Envious, Doctor Watson?” Jim said an exaggerated whisper. “Between you and me, I don’t think you’re his type.”
“And you are? A foul little-“
“John. Don’t.” Sherlock cut him off.
“Yes John, don't.” Jim mimicked Sherlock's cadence. Jim studied Sherlock’s carefully blank face, the overall effect ruined by his slick, bruised lips. Jim had an urge to bite Sherlock until blood pooled in the delicate crease in the corner of his mouth. Pity there was no time before the Iceman’s cavalry arrived.
“Sweetness, as much fun as our -” courtship came unbidden to mind, “tete-a-tete has been, I must be going. Until next time.”
A quick snap of his fingers called off the snipers. A half dozen plans to debauch and destroy Sherlock Holmes came to mind, each more complex and engaging than the next.
Perhaps courtship was an apt term.
He finished Irene’s call as he strode through the empty building, promising to trade stories with her of their respective evenings over tea.
Funny, Jim had only enjoyed kissing men on the mouth in the past when they’d been crying. Kissing Sherlock had been different, and he was intrigued by how grounded in the flesh he’d felt because of it. It was a contrast to the pure cerebral pleasure of their showdown. As soon as Jim slid in the passenger seat, Moran sped away. The car reeked of coffee and Moran’s hand rolled cigarettes. Both were waiting for Jim, but he waved them away. He wanted to savor Sherlock’s taste on his tongue.