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This is a terrible idea.

No, scratch that. This wasn’t just a terrible idea. This was quite possibly the worst idea that John Watson had ever had, and that included signing up for the Army when he knew there was a more than likely chance that he was going to be sent into an active war zone. Even though that had been a stupid decision of monumental proportions that had indirectly landed him in this very situation, it still paled in comparison to the idiocy of what he was about to do tonight. Because joining the Army, at the very least, was justifiable by some means – he could cite the love he bore for his country, the drive to serve others, the need to make a difference in a world that so desperately needed it as reasons for his poor choice to those who wondered and have not a question asked of him in return. The fact that he conveniently left out the need for something dangerous, something insane, something ridiculous in his life to make him feel even the tiniest bit alive was just a side note, really.

It was that desire for something more, anything at all to make his heart beat with life and danger once more that drove him now. Life had been too quiet these last few weeks, so quiet that he felt like he was slowly unraveling at the seams from the maddening boredom of it all. He had tried everything he could think of to keep the tedium at bay: trying to write a blog post had been an exercise in frustrated futility, walking in the park had only bored him further when he saw absolutely nothing of interest there, not even fighting with Harry over the phone had managed to arouse any emotion in him other than weary resignation. But when he caught himself staring longingly at the loaded gun sitting heavy with memories and potential in the drawer of his desk, John knew that he needed to do something to distract himself, even if it was a terrible idea. Perhaps it needed to be a terrible idea. Perhaps he needed to make a colossal mistake now to shake himself out of the circling gloom and ever-approaching despair that was closing in on him so that he could come back to reality, back to responsibility, back to everything that he had been before this need for adrenaline and danger and idiocy had taken over his brain.

But before he could return to normal, whatever normal was, he needed to do this one last, monumentally stupid thing. He needed to feel the danger singing in his blood, his heart pounding in his ears, his every nerve humming with so much risk and anticipation and excitement that he very nearly forgot all about the twisted mass of pain that his leg had been reduced to. How could he concentrate on the ridiculous agony of undamaged muscle now, when he was huddled into the back of a cab about to make one of the most absurdly pointless decisions he had ever made? How could he be bothered to remember the searing tear of a bullet into his shoulder when he was watching the lights of London flash by the window and feeling the time slip ever away as he drew ever closer to his goal? It wasn’t too late to turn back now. He could still tell the cabbie to turn around, to take him home, to take him anywhere other than the darkened street corner he had furtively looked up on the internet that was his destination. But he didn’t speak up, didn’t even move as he looked out the window and felt his pulse climb ever higher in anticipation of what he was about to do.

Why am I doing it like this? He wondered idly to himself for the thousandth time, the words almost meaningless now as he repeated them again. It’s not like there isn’t another way for me to go about this that won’t potentially end in humiliation, or God knows what diseases, or something worse. It was true, the ultimate goal of this excursion could be accomplished any number of other ways – whether by means of a bar or a website or even just chatting people as he met them, there was no shortage of ways for John Watson to meet someone that did not involve the hasty exchange of cash in the darkness. Countless conquests on multiple continents were enough to prove that John was no stranger to such methods, but even the thrill of the chase and the joy of victory would not begin to satisfy him now. He needed the forbidden, he needed the illicit, he needed the danger that this evening promised him. Because even if it was legal, even if there was nothing technically wrong with what he was doing he knew that if he were caught, or if he were seen by someone he knew, or if he were found out in any way the shame would never, ever die. What would his regiment say? What would his family say? What would anyone say if they discovered that he was currently in a cab on the way to pick up a male prostitute for the evening?

He didn’t even know where this ridiculous idea had come from in the first place. It wasn’t like he regularly thought about picking up escorts, not even when he was suffering from a particularly bad dry spell that was threatening to drive him mad. Paying for sex was simply something that never crossed his mind as a solution, not when he knew that if he just tried hard enough at the local pub or dragged himself down to the dance clubs he despised so much he was bound to find something eventually. But it wasn’t about suffering a dry spell, not this time. The sex wasn’t even the motivation this time, although it would certainly be a more than welcome side benefit that he was looking forward to eagerly. No, it was the lure of the forbidden that called him inexorably onwards, the call of something so insane that he should have never even entertained the notion that first fanned the spark of an idea into a flame that consumed his every waking thought until he was driven into action. There were even other ways that he could purchase sex, he knew. He could go through a reputable website, or find the highest-class escort he could afford on his modest pension, or employ a service that was specifically designed to send lovely young ladies his direction. But that wasn’t enough, not by any means. It had to be like this – in the dark, in a cab, on the street with the threat of discovery just around every corner. And he needed a man. No matter that he usually preferred the softness of a woman’s warmth, tonight he needed someone hard, and powerful, and strong.

Just the thought of the man he could find waiting for him on a darkened street corner was enough to send his heart racing once more, and he leaned forward eagerly in his seat to look out of the window of the cab in anticipation. They were close now, so close to the area of town that he had been informed would give him exactly what he was looking for. He had never been to this part of London before, but just looking at the state of the buildings and the street that they were headed down was enough to tell him that they were drawing near. Darkness crowded in around them as they traveled, buildings tall and crooked and filled with the secrets of decades of silent vigil leaning in around them to block out any whisper of the world beyond. Pools of glowing warmth gathered and fled beneath flickering streetlights to reveal the dirty glamour of the pavement beneath and cast uncertain spotlights on the residents who roamed there.

Ah yes, there they were. Coming out from the shadows as cars flashed by, leaning desultorily against buildings and posts and parked cars, showing themselves for the world to see in hopes of catching an eye and a wink and the nod they desired. They were all here: young and old, exotic and plain, beauties obviously on their way up in the world and the desperate in their tattered finery on their way back down. The women far outnumbered the men of course, flashing long expanses of white leg and tantalizing amounts of breast at anyone who drew near as they catcalled and strutted their way up and down the street as if they owned it. But there were men too hidden among the ladies who so overshadowed them, men young and beautiful in their strength and virility who lounged with artful carelessness against walls in clothing that left nothing at all to the imagination.

The cabbie who had smirked at John knowingly when he had mumbled his directions slowed the car down to a crawl, evidently more than familiar with the proceedings and kind enough to accommodate the embarrassed but excited fare in the backseat. John leaned forward to look out the window, eyes wide and heart thumping as he scanned the throng of eager bodies for the one he would take home with him. The possibilities danced before his eyes, endless in their sinful delight. Young men, barely more than boys really, flexed the muscles they tended so carefully as they preened and eyed him with sly coquettishness. Older men stood more solid and yet just as tempting, promising strength and power and a hundred other things that made John’s head spin at the barest imagining. But no, none of them were right. Even if he could not pinpoint exactly what he was looking for tonight, he knew that none of these men with their bulging muscles and sleek, oiled elegance were what he wanted, what he needed to fulfill the desire that had taken him over. These creatures of the night, as gorgeous as they were, as tempting as they were with their beauty and sultry promises, were not the man he was searching for with mindless determination.

But wait, there. Apart from the others, on his own corner that was shrouded in darkness and smoke that poured from the end of a flickering cigarette, stood a man that made John’s heart skip in its frantic racing and his breath catch just so in his throat. He was gorgeous, though nothing like the conventional, professional beauties who stood apart from him in every way imaginable. They blanketed themselves in confidence and swagger and a thin skin of pride, but beneath that there was nothing. Nothing exciting, nothing dangerous, nothing that called to John the way the mystery and darkness and coiled potential of this strange man sang in John’s ears and drew his eyes like magnets. The man wasn’t even doing anything, simply leaning against a light post and smoking with sinful elegance, lips curling around his cigarette like a lover and dragging smoke into his lungs in a rhythm so hypnotic that John could not look away. He was strange, and aloof, and the most beautiful thing that John had ever seen. John had to have him.

“Wait, stop. Stop here.” His voice was rough as he spoke to the cabbie, husky with sudden desire and excitement as he stared at the man lounging so elegantly on a street corner that he seemed perfectly at home there. John knew he should be ashamed of being affected this way, that he should try to hide his excitement from the total stranger who was driving him and try to present himself as calm and collected for what was to come. But how could he? This was too new, too exciting, too much for him to process to stop and worry about how his voice broke in anticipation. So let the cabbie’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise at the person he had chosen – he had more important things to worry about right now.

The cab slid to a stop in front of the man who was still leaning against the post with not a care in the world. Everything about him was incongruous, from the way he stood to the clothing he wore to the expression of absolute disdain and disinterest that schooled his face into calm impassivity. Where all of the other men were posed to carefully display their most alluring attributes, whether by flexing powerful arms or standing with legs spread just so, this man simply leaned with careful nonchalance as though it did not matter to him one bit who saw him or what they thought. A great black coat was wrapped around him, highlighting the sharp angles and planes of his ghostly pale face even as it obscured his body entirely and left the viewer wondering what could possibly be hidden underneath. But it was that face, that haunting and impossible face that stared at John so intently it felt like he was the one being weighed and measured and inspected that stood out in such sharp opposition to all else and drew John in with an irresistible pull. This man did not bat his eyes at John, did not try to make himself look more appealing or sexy, he did not even smile as the two of them locked eyes through the window of the cab. He simply stared, and evaluated, and waited.

Finally, after an eternity of locked eyes and in-held breath and muscles so tightly tensed they were poised to explode, the man pushed himself languidly off of his resting place and sauntered slowly over to the waiting cab. He moved with carefully contained grace and power, and the breath seized in John’s throat once more to see the tantalizing hints of long limbs and lean body offered by the gaps in his coat. Realizing too late what was about to happen John fumbled at the button to lower the window with clumsy fingers, cursing his ineptitude and hoping that he didn’t seem like too much of a naïve clot with no idea what he was doing. The fact that he was a naïve clot with not the first clue of how to proceed into this unfamiliar territory didn’t help that charade in the slightest. But it was too late to retreat now even if he wanted to, and within moments those piercing blue eyes were locked on John’s with laser intensity.

John had no idea what to say. How did one begin this conversation? Was he supposed to say hello, to try and strike up some pretence of conversation before they approached the topic they both knew was coming, or should he simply get down to business and start negotiating a price? The moments dragged out between them as John continued to hesitate in confusion, until finally he swallowed heavily and decided to simply bite the bullet and plunge ahead, consequences be damned.

“How much for a night?” The words were uncertain, unsure, and so awkward that John wanted to send the cab speeding away into the night where he could hide the angry red flush that was stealing over his face or the grimace that came with his question. But he held his ground, praying that he would not be laughed at and trying not to think too hard about how desperately he wanted the approval of the man he was going to pay for sex.

But instead of laughing at him or walking away, the man looked John up and down, eyes sliding quickly from face to hands to body in rapid succession before flicking back up to dance teasingly over his lips. His own lips, full and hypnotic and gorgeous beyond imagining, curved into a tiny smirk that sent John’s stomach into knots as he answered “A hundred and fifty pounds.” The rumbling baritone of his voice nearly undid John right then, gravely with smoke and yet still liquid and deep and more enticing than anything John had ever heard. He paused, and his lips ticked upward into a smirk that was very nearly a grin. “Two hundred if you want kissing.”

“Christ, with a mouth like that you can sure as fuck bet I want kissing.” The words flew from John’s mouth before he even registered that he was saying them. His face flushed even redder, something he had not thought possible until that moment, and he hastily swung the door of the cab open to cover up his slip. From the small snort he heard as the man stepped away to let the door open, John was fairly certain it hadn’t worked at all. “Get in, then. You have a name?” he asked gruffly, trying to maintain at least the barest minimum of dignity in this ridiculous situation.

With another smirk he slid into the cab in a flurry of long coat and even longer limbs, dragging his hand suggestively along John’s thigh as he did so. “Sherlock.” The name barely even registered as that devilish hand burned its way across John’s leg, sending every nerve ending alight with sensation and clouding John’s mind with one thought and one thought only.


By the time Sherlock had settled himself in the seat across from John he had finally recovered his composure, or at least regained the use of his brain enough to adjust his trousers slightly and clear his throat roughly. “Evening, Sherlock. I’m John.”

The smirk that had danced over those gorgeous lips quirked momentarily into a full smile, brilliant in its intensity and so fleeting that John could not even be sure that he had seen it. “How very appropriate.” And with that wry statement the door of the cab slammed shut and they pulled away from the island of flickering lamplight into the darkness of London’s streets.

The cab ride that followed was one of the longest and most uncomfortable of John’s life. He had no idea what to do as he fidgeted uncomfortably under Sherlock’s gaze – should he try to make conversation now that they were alone together, or would that simply make things worse? Should he wait until they were back at his flat, or could he start right now? Oh Christ, how would he start? Panic started to bubble up inside of him as the silence continued and Sherlock still did nothing but stare, and John began to wonder not for the first time if he was going about this all wrong. I should have just found someone online or through one of those services. It would have been so much easier and less awkward, why am I such an idiot? But even as he was internally berating himself, John knew that he could never have taken the safe route, the comfortable route, the easy route to achieve his goal. That would have defeated the entire point of this evening, and no matter how uncomfortable the silence was now it was worth it entirely in the thrill of excitement that was coursing through John in a way he had not felt for far too long. And it was worth it, more than worth any troubles he might face, to have found the man sitting across from him with the passing lights of London dancing over pale skin and lighting up eyes so blue they were hardly to be believed.

Beheld up close and in the somewhat more steady lighting of the cab, Sherlock (God, that can’t be his real name, can it? No, that’s just some ridiculous fake name he came up with, it has to be.) was revealed to be not quite as ethereally, impossibly beautiful as he had appeared in the twilight gloom. Oh, he was still gorgeous beyond measure to be sure, but now that he sat but a foot away from John it was clear that he was in fact a creature of flesh and blood and not some figment of smoke and haze and lust that had wandered from the darkness. Skin so pale it was nearly translucent in the evening light revealed deep circles under luminous blue eyes and shadows cast in sharp relief by cheekbones so high and prominent that they hardly looked real. As John looked at him now he could see in the tight stretch of skin over those cheekbones and the empty draping of a too-large coat that Sherlock was thin, perhaps too thin, a creature of spun glass who looked as though he would shatter to pieces at the slightest touch. But John had seen the contained power of his movements as he walked over to the cab, and with the long practice of a man who has spent years assessing other men he knew that Sherlock was no wilting flower. He was perhaps not in the best of health, and could use more than a few good meals in conjunction with lots of sleep, but there was danger lurking beneath the surface of Sherlock’s fragility, and mystery, and something so dark it reached out to touch everything around him.

It should have frightened John. Sherlock, with his wild eyes and piercing glare and impossible mystery, would have frightened any sensible person. All of this, this whole situation, should have made John want to call the whole thing off before he could make a colossal mistake he would always regret.

It made him feel alive for the first time since he’d been shot.

After a cab ride so long that it should have taken them across the entirety of England, they finally arrived back at John’s tiny flatshare. John managed to pay the cabbie more money than he cared to think about without once making eye contact with the man, although he could have sworn that he saw a quick wink and grin from the man as he counted out the fare. Oh God, this his humiliating he thought angrily as he fumbled in his pocket for his keys, doing his best to ignore the looming presence of the man behind him and praying fervently that none of his neighbors had decided to look out their windows at this particular moment. He didn’t know any of them, and he doubted that any of them took any particular interest in his comings and goings, but the last thing he wanted was anyone seeing him bringing a strange man back into his flat at one in the morning. And yet despite the fear that made his fingers numb and his heart race and his breath come sharp and painful in his chest, for the first time in months John knew that yes, he was alive. He was afraid, utterly terrified of being discovered, and he was loving every single second of it. When the door finally swung open he looked over his shoulder to see Sherlock still standing impassively on the pavement and with a quick grin gestured that he should follow him inside.

John had never felt quite so much like a naughty teenager as he did now leading Sherlock through the darkened hallways of his building, but thankfully the man was a silent shadow behind him and before long they were safely within the walls of John’s flat with nosy neighbors none the wiser of the whispering iniquity that had passed them by. They were safe now, safe in the tiny flat that John so grudgingly called home, safe and sound and burdened with the weight of expectation and desire and loaded potential that had yet to begin. The room hummed with the energy of the moment, the shuddering anticipation of what was to come, the breathless tension of excitement and fear and the looming unknown.

Eager to begin but with no idea how to start, John cleared his throat slightly to break the silence and gestured around the small room with a wave of his hand. “Well, this is it. Um, it’s not much, sorry, but –“

“The two hundred quid” Sherlock said quietly, interrupting him dispassionately and sticking out his hand with brusque efficiency and expectation.

John flushed once more and fumbled in his pocket to fish out his wallet. “Oh, right, sorry. Um…” He trailed off uncertainly as he pulled out the cash, hesitating slightly before he handed it over.

But Sherlock seemed to read his mind and stepped over to take the money from him with a snort of derision. “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. But as the odds are far more likely that you won’t pay me than I’ll run out on you, I always take my cash up front no matter what. It keeps things…simpler.” He pocketed the money in his coat quickly, not even bothering to count it before it disappeared into the depths of a coat that had certainly seen better days. With an elegant shrug of his shoulders the coat was removed and laid carefully over the back of the only chair in the room, revealing a lithe body sparsely clad in a black tee shirt and jeans so tight they made John’s eyes boggle. Those jeans clung obscenely to every angle and meager curve that Sherlock possessed, leaving nothing to the imagination and sending John’s pulse racing as he stared with no shame for how obvious he was being. Sherlock turned toward him slowly, using John’s attention to his best advantage and stretching just so to hike up his shirt and reveal the tantalizing Vs running into the waistband of pants that were just barely visible.

“Well then. Shall we begin?”

Suddenly, before John could even nod an assent to the murmured question, Sherlock had crossed the room and pressed himself up against him. Long arms wrapped around his waist to pull him in close, an impossibly thin body molded itself to his own, and in moments lips hot and wet and searching were pressed to his. John nearly froze in shock, unable to believe that things were moving this quickly or that Sherlock’s tongue was already working its way into his mouth. Hands seemed to be all over his body, hot breath was washing over him, and he was already dizzy with the feeling of being touched, really touched for the first time in far too long. It was wonderful, to feel wanted like this even in this circumstance, but John’s mind still rebelled and instinct drove him to pull away from the suddenness of it all. No, this isn’t right. This isn’t the way I wanted it.

He pulled away slightly, disentangling himself from Sherlock’s embrace and gasping out, “Wait, this isn’t –“

Sherlock did not pause in his attentions, rumbling words into John’s ear as he kissed and licked and bit his way down John’s neck and across his shoulders.“I know what you want, doctor. I know what you crave, what you cannot admit to even yourself that you long for in the dead of night when no one is around and the darkness seems to suffocate you with its emptiness. I know the slow death of the soul by encroaching tedium, the restlessness of a mind tearing itself apart for the lack of anything else, the feeling of madness creeping in around the corners of your mind when there is nothing there but your own thoughts to keep you company.”

 The flow of his words left John hypnotized, frozen still by too much sensation and a whisper that caressed his ear as gently as the hands working their way under his shirt to leave trails of electricity across his too-sensitive skin. But Sherlock returned him to reality with a sharp bite to the skin of his neck, and John could not quite bring himself to be bothered by either his jump of surprise or the low moan that escaped him. “I know what you feel, John. And I can distract you from it. Isn’t that what you want, to be distracted?”

Yes.” The word was breathed out in a desperate gasp, involuntary and truer than anything John had ever said before. He wanted it. He wanted to be distracted, entirely and completely, by this beautiful and impossible man he did not even know, and he wanted it more fiercely than he had ever wanted anything in his entire life. Looking up into the wide expanse of bright blue eyes, John knew with absolute certainty that Sherlock could give it to him, could take him out of his own brain long enough to forget the pain and the loneliness and the crushing monotony that threatened to swallow his life whole. Sherlock may be strange, may be dangerous, may even be slightly terrifying to a man like John who had lived his life according to tightly regimented rules and regulations, but he was very likely the one man who could save him from his own brain right now.

Wasting not another moment, John leaned forward and tangled his hands in Sherlock’s beautifully messy hair to pull him down into a searing kiss. This second kiss was far more active and passionate than the first, with John’s entire being and repressed energy and emotion thrown into this one moment. Sherlock was the more reserved of them this time as he let John kiss him and pull at his hair and run his free hand down his back to grab desperately at that gorgeous arse. John clung to Sherlock as though he would utterly fall apart if he let go, as though this man were the only thing holding him up in a world that was spinning wildly out of control. Perhaps he was – Sherlock was certainly the only thing that felt real any more, the only thing John could fix his mind on as it raced and spun and whirled faster than he could possibly manage. Before he even knew what he was doing, John was running his hands underneath the thin fabric of Sherlock’s shirt and pushing it up over his head, desperate to feel more, see more, touch every inch of gorgeous skin that he could get his hands on. Sherlock’s arms got caught up in the fabric of the shirt, stretched impossibly long over his head, and John paused momentarily to admire the picture of this incredible man arced so gracefully above him. Delicate limbs, marble-white flesh, neat rows of bright red dots fading to white as they ran up the insides of his forearms…

Oh, no.

The intensity of his gaze, the gauntness of his face, the sag of his clothing on a body that clearly had lost too much weight too fast, it all made sense now. Sherlock was not simply underweight, he was not simply tired, he was not simply living too hard in a dangerous profession – he was a drug addict. Cocaine was the most likely suspect, although heroin was a terrifying alternative, and John nearly kicked himself for not realizing it sooner. He was a doctor for Christ’s sake, how could he not have immediately recognized the obvious signs of a drug addiction? But the answer was simple, obvious even, and it whispered maliciously in the back of his head to flood him with guilt and shame for his actions. You noticed, but you didn’t want to acknowledge it. You were too horny, too wrapped up in your stupid little fantasy to notice that you’d taken home a crack whore. Horrified regret flooded through John and he jerked backwards, desperate to stop things before he made a mistake that he would regret for the rest of his life.

Sherlock brought his arms down slowly, watching John with a carefully neutral expression. His eyes tracked John’s every movement, every horrified facial expression, and after a moment of stunned silence he said quietly, “I’m clean.”

John snorted in disbelief, staring pointedly at the fresh trackmarks that stood out like angry, damning brands on skin as white as paper. “Clean? Please. I’m not an idiot, I know the mark of a fresh injection when I see one.”

“I mean it - I don’t have any diseases, and I always use a clean needle. I’ve never had unsafe sex with a client and I’ve never used a needle that wasn’t fresh out of the package.” The words were spoken calmly and with quiet certainty, with no trace of begging or frantic desperation. They were simply stated and facts, laid out before John for him to evaluate as he would. “The packet of condoms in your pocket clearly says that you intended to use protection no matter who you took home, which is smart of you considering the high risk of diseases in the prostitute population. I am clean, and you will be protected. There’s no reason for you to stop now.”

John hesitated, so torn that he felt like he was at war within himself. He shouldn’t do this, he really shouldn’t. It was a bad enough idea to begin with, he had known that from the start, but to have sex with an unknown man who was clearly addicted to heavy drugs was quite possibly the worst idea he had ever had. It was stupid, it was dangerous, and it was so thrilling that John could feel every nerve in his body singing with the excitement of it. He wanted this, wanted Sherlock and all of his danger and wildness and impossible allure, and if the sight of those damned trackmarks made him recoil he could not help but admit to himself that the added danger they brought thrilled through his body like nothing he had felt before. Even as he felt his resolve slipping, melting away under the intensity of Sherlock’s gaze, one last whisper of common sense and ethics cried out desperately before vanishing into the ether.

 “Are you high right now?” He asked, praying with little hope that the answer would be no. No matter how much he longed for Sherlock, no matter how much he wanted to risk his health and everything else for this night of sheer insanity, he would not take advantage of a man who was impaired by a drug like cocaine.

Blue eyes with the tiniest pupils possible looked down at him steadily. “Does it matter?”

“I – yes of course it matters, how could you –“ he spluttered, appalled that anyone would ask such a question.

But Sherlock interrupted his horrified stutters smoothly, speaking with the even calm he had maintained since John first spotted him on that street corner a lifetime ago. “You paid me. I accepted the money. I am an adult, I am willing, and I’m under no duress that forced me into this situation. I am fully capable of making decisions for myself, and I have decided to take your money and have sex with you for it.” He moved towards John slowly, closing the distance that had opened between them like a predator moving in on his prey.

“You want proof that my mind is clear enough to have sex with you?” The caustic smirk returned and he stepped closer once more, looming into John’s space as eyes suddenly bright and alive flicked up and down his body in with rapid movements. When he spoke, his voice was low and dangerous, words spoken with absolute conviction and a force that made John want to pull away and throw himself at this incredible man all at once. “You are an army doctor, recently returned from service, likely in the deserts of either Afghanistan or Iraq. You are slowly going insane from the boredom of being invalided by an injury that is in your mind, and you hate yourself for it. You crave danger and excitement again, which is why you have come to me, of all people, of all prostitutes, to feel that rush of danger again. You want to dominate me, to control me, to own me. Am I right?”

John could not breathe. He could barely think, his brain spinning, stuttering, stuck on one thing and one thing only. “Yes. God, yes. But how –“

“I see what others do not, and I observe what others miss. My job is to please people, and I’m good at it. Now come here and fuck me the way I know you want to.”

There was no further invitation needed. John lunged forward, grabbing Sherlock by the shoulders and spinning him around to push him hard against the wall. He moved in quickly, allowing no time for second thoughts or resistance, and within moments he was kissing Sherlock again with all the intensity that had been building inside him and threatening to explode for months. He kissed Sherlock hungrily, angrily, forcefully, and with no remorse at all for the bites he inflicted on those gorgeous lips or the ruthlessness of his searching tongue. Sherlock allowed it all, permitting that tongue to taste every inch of his mouth and only humming appreciatively in return , letting John’s hands roam freely over his body to touch and feel every piece of skin that he could find. It was desperate, it was frantic, it was everything that John had been craving with no idea that he needed it. In this moment when the world had been reduced to two bodies together and the fierce press of lips and tongues, John was alive, truly alive in a way he had thought he would never feel again. Blood sang in his ears, roaring and rushing and drowning out everything that was not feeling Sherlock’s skin or reveling in the curling tension that was already building inside of him. But this, even this was not enough. He needed so much more.

He pulled away to look at those lips, those perfectly reddened and parted lips, and knew even with lust-clouded brain exactly what he needed. “Get on your knees.”

Sherlock sank down instantly as though he had been waiting for exactly those words, undoing John’s belt buckle with practiced ease and nimble fingers that seemed to dance faster than John could watch them. In moments the buckle was thrown open, his trousers were being unzipped, and breath hot and heavy and searing in its intensity was ghosting over the bulge in John’s pants that was already straining against the fabric. The feeling made him shiver, a shudder running through his entire body as a tongue sinful in its dexterity flicked out of that gorgeous mouth to run with teasing quickness along his length. “Oh, God” he groaned, unable to contain his moan or stop himself from burying his hand in Sherlock’s hair and thrusting forward to find that tongue once more. But Sherlock did not indulge him, refusing the insistent tugs in his hair in order to free the cock that was already painfully hard. He paused briefly, hesitating for a moment to look and measure and evaluate, but after a mere breath of stillness he was moving quickly once more.

With a quick motion Sherlock darted his fingers into John’s pocket to fish out the condoms he somehow had known were there, and in seconds John was watching in breathless fascination as a condom was ripped efficiently from its package and caught delicately in between lips parted into a sinful O that made John nearly buckle in anticipation. Sherlock raised those searching eyes to lock with John’s own that were certainly wide beyond imagining and hazy with lust, and in that moment – down on his knees with his hair held firmly in John’s grasp, marble skin glowing so pale in the dim light that his reddened lips stood out in stark contrast – he was the most gorgeous thing that John could possibly imagine. Filthy, yes, absolutely dirty and wicked and everything that John had never known that he longed for until now, and yet still so gorgeous that he made his heart nearly stop with his beauty. Finally, just when John felt like he would explode with the agony of waiting, Sherlock moved forward and in one smooth motion rolled the condom on while swallowing his cock down to its base.

“Oh, fuck!” John nearly shouted, tightening his grip in Sherlock’s hair and bucking forward in an involuntary thrust. The heat of his mouth, the pressure of his tongue, the feeling of having his entire length swallowed so deftly and so quickly nearly ended him then and there. Only pulling Sherlock’s hair so hard it must have been an agony and gritting his teeth around hisses of erratic breath kept him focused enough to concentrate on holding himself together through the onslaught of sensations. “Fuck, yes” he growled aggressively when he could find words one more, holding Sherlock in place and letting that mouth do its work. For his part Sherlock bore it admirably well, not once pulling away or gagging or pausing in the work of his tongue or his throat that was driving John insane.

John had no idea how long they stayed like that, with Sherlock kneeling before him and sucking his cock with fierce determination. The silence of the room was broken only by occasional grunts and moans from John as he lost himself in pleasure, interjected with the occasional rumbled out command to not fucking stop. Time seemed to freeze, the room vanished from around them, and the world narrowed down to nothing more than Sherlock’s lips and tongue wrapped around his cock steadily driving him towards an oblivion that was drawing rapidly ever nearer. As marvelous as this was, as much as he never wanted this to end, John knew that if Sherlock continued to suck him much longer he did not have a chance of lasting. It felt too good, and even a quick look down to see sinful scarlet lips stretched around his cock was nearly enough to finish him. He would be damned if he was going to miss his opportunity to fuck this gorgeous man, no matter how incredible this blowjob was.

With a forceful tug John pulled Sherlock away, groaning as his cock slid wetly out of his mouth. Sherlock gasped for breath and looked up at John once more, eyes questioning. “Take of your clothes and lie down on the bed” he ordered roughly, already stripping off the clothes that were stifling him. Sherlock rose and complied silently, squirming his way out of his jeans and pants in a practiced motion before going over and calmly laying down on his back on the tiny bed. John froze midway through removing his shirt, horrified at what he saw. While he was straining, eager, so hard that it was very nearly painful, Sherlock’s cock was lying limp and uninterested and as though nothing at all had occurred between them. John had known in the abstract that Sherlock would probably not be as interested in their encounter as he was, but to see the evidence before his eyes like this and to know that everything that had happened, everything that had John on the edge of exploding with pleasure and thrumming happiness meant absolutely nothing to the man who made it happen made John’s heart sink like a stone. The thought of having sex with a man who was not even a little bit interested in him made his stomach turn, and yet he wanted Sherlock with a burning intensity that nearly frightened him. He needed Sherlock, and soon.

Sherlock was watching him expectantly, obviously waiting for him to begin whatever he had planned and already resigned for whatever it would be. His quiet acceptance only fanned the spark that had lit within John, and the vague idea that had formed in his brain roared into life fully formed and desperate for completion. Quickly shedding the last of his clothing, John walked over to his nightstand and retrieved the bottle of lubricant that he had bought in preparation for tonight. With a quick toss he threw it over at a startled Sherlock who caught it deftly and immediately flipped the top open to pour a generous amount on his palm.

“Wait, stop” John ordered, coming over to stand in front of where Sherlock was spread before him. Just looking at this man laid out underneath him was enough to drive John to nearly pounce, but he held his resolve firm despite the painful leaking of his cock and the throbbing need to touch and be touched. “You’re going to get yourself ready for me. You’re going to open yourself for me with your fingers, you’re going to stroke yourself, and when you’re hard and leaking and ready for me, and only then, will I fuck you.”

Sherlock’s eyebrows shot upwards in momentary surprise. Of all the expectations he’d had for the evening, of all the things he had thought that John would order him to do, this had clearly not been one of them. John’s stomach turned briefly once more as the implications of what that surprise meant flashed through his mind, but he was soon distracted in the most enticing way possible as Sherlock coated his fingers generously in lubricant and reached down to play gently with his hole. John’s breath caught, eyes wide as long, elegant fingers teased and danced around his entrance with feather-light touch and incredible quickness. Around and across they fluttered, slick and teasing in their movements, finally slipping inside for a wonderful, fleeting, gorgeous moment. Not once did Sherlock take his eyes off of John, and the sight of those eyes widening briefly as his own fingers entered him and the sound of the tiny gasp that echoed hugely in the silent room were almost enough to undo him. Around and around the entrance once more, then back inside again, further now and remaining for longer.  With the tiniest of thrusts, the most delicate of movements, Sherlock was slowly fucking himself on his own finger, and it was the most beautiful thing that John had ever seen.

When he was able to briefly tear his eyes away from the sight of Sherlock gently opening himself, John saw with a flush of gratification that Sherlock’s previously limp penis was beginning to swell, finally showing some measure of the arousal that had threatened to make him explode since he first met this man. Seeing his hardening cock drove John into action, and he loomed over the man spread out in beautiful debauchery before him. He met Sherlock’s eyes, holding his gaze and waiting patiently for the gasp that told him that the first finger had finally made it all the way inside. “Two fingers now, if you please” he whispered hoarsely. Sherlock swallowed heavily before nodding ever so slightly. The tiny, breathy groan that escaped his lips told John all he needed to know about how willing Sherlock was to obey him.

“Good. Very good. God, you’re so fucking gorgeous like this I can’t even imagine what you’re going to look like when I’m fucking you until you come for me.” Sherlock moaned again, the sound nearly imperceptible but loud as a shout in John’s ears. “Oh, you like that? That’s good, because you will come for me. I won’t stop until you do, you know.” He paused to lean over, stretching himself out over Sherlock and yet carefully not touching a single inch of him to whisper gruffly into his ear “Tell me how you like to be fucked. How you actually want it, how you fantasize about being fucked, how I can make you moan and buck and come for me. Tell me.”

A gasp answered him, telling John that both fingers had found their way inside of Sherlock. “I – I –“ he stuttered, brain stuck spinning in place and clearly desperate for more sensation. But John would not relent, would not give him what he wanted until he got the answer that he had asked for. “Slow at first, and deep. Then faster, and harder” Sherlock breathed out, voice almost disbelieving as he said it.

“That’s good. Three fingers now, Sherlock. I need you all the way open before I can fuck you properly.” It would not be long now, not with the way Sherlock was vigorously grinding down on three fingers at once or how his cock was finally standing out hard and full and ready. Sherlock’s eyes fluttered close momentarily, breath hitching and hips bucking upward in an attempt to find the relief that John would not give him. Three fingers disappeared in and out of his hole, slipping in with ease and pulling out just as freely. Finally, when a drop of precome rolled slowly down his straining cock and he groaned without even trying to contain the sound, John knew that he was ready.

“Stop.” Sherlock obeyed the command instantly, stilling himself entirely and looking up at John in breathless anticipation. His eyes were bright, more alert and alive than John had seen them all evening, and the flush that had spread over his face and chest added so much life and vigor to his pallid form that he very nearly looked healthy. Not just healthy, happy. John’s determination to please Sherlock grew, and he leaned down to press a kiss to lips that were open and waiting for him. This kiss was far more delicate than the ones that had come before, lips lingering sweetly and tongues brushing against each other in gentle hesitation as they savored each other in calm togetherness. As they kissed John shifted himself forward and pressed the tip of cock against the entrance that was now ready and waiting for him, and with a groan that both men shared he pressed himself inside of Sherlock.

It took all of John’s strength not to slam into Sherlock and fuck him roughly until he finally came like he wanted. As that impossible man had somehow known, he wanted to possess Sherlock, to own him entirely and fuck him so hard that he screamed – but he would not. He would restrain himself, check the fury that was raging inside of him in order to fulfill the promise that he had made. Sherlock liked to be fucked slowly at first, and deeply, and so John moved with tantalizing slowness that made him want to scream. But perhaps that was better, no matter how maddening it was, because if the way he felt when he finally bottomed out inside of Sherlock was anything to go by he would not last more than a few rapid thrusts. Even through the condom, the feeling of an arse that was somehow still impossibly tight around his cock was driving him mad. Muscles contracted, bodies shifted, and John withdrew ever so slowly to thrust inwards once more. Sherlock moaned with pornographic obscenity, bucking upwards to receive John and shuddering as he was filled entirely. His eyes slipped closed again, breaking eye contact for the first time and throwing his head back to stretch out his long neck

Beads of precome were rolling down his cock now, and it was obvious to John how badly he wanted to be touched. “You want me to stroke you, don’t you?” A whine was his only answer, but it was all that John needed. “Too bad. You have to touch yourself, so I can watch you wank yourself off and come all over yourself. Stroke yourself for me Sherlock, and look at me as you do it.”

Sherlock snapped his head back to stare at John with pupils so wide that his eyes were nearly black. Slowly, as though he were afraid that he were doing something wrong, he moved his hand over to his cock and with heartbreaking hesitancy closed his hand over himself. The moment that he began to stroke, moving slowly up and down his cock with a sigh of relief, John started to speed up his thrusts, matching his rhythm to Sherlock’s own. “Oh, God” Sherlock sighed, speaking voluntarily for the first time since they had begun. He struggled to keep his eyes open and fixed on John, clearly wanting to toss his head back once more, but he managed with great difficulty to hold his gaze fixed on the eyes that were watching him with searing intensity. The pace of his stroking increased and John moved to match him, thrusts coming faster and deeper with every push and joining of slick and overheated flesh.

John knew he would not last much longer. It was a miracle that he had lasted this long, but seeing Sherlock fisting his own cock as he rocked back and forth under John’s thrusts was sending him rapidly spiraling towards an edge he could not escape from. Weeks, months of pent up energy were racing against their bonds, ready to explode out of him at any moment. But he needed Sherlock to come first, needed him to explode just as he would and feel the same pleasure that he could feel coming for him. He bent over and bit down on the collarbone that was standing out in a too-thin chest, startling a moan out of Sherlock and an answering growl of his own. “Now, Sherlock. I need you to come for me now.”

He got no answer, but the increased pace of Sherlock’s stroking was enough to tell him that the man underneath him was more than ready to comply. Sherlock arched and writhed under him, struggling against the onslaught of sensation and the relentless pounding of John’s thrusts and the orgasm that was rising inside of him. “John, I –“ he gasped, deep voice reduced to a needy whine.

“Yes, that’s it. Come for me Sherlock.”

And with that whispered command, every muscle in Sherlock’s body tensed and contracted as his orgasm ripped through him. His eyelids fluttered closed as he struggled to keep his eyes open like John had ordered, mouth falling open and a drawn-out groan that cut into John’s very core dragged its way from his lips. The moment seemed to last for an eternity, his cock pulsing and twitching with every drop of come that flew out of it to coat his chest. Just watching him like that, frozen in ecstasy and lost in the moment send John hurtling towards the edge he had been fighting so desperately, and with one final thrust he tumbled into oblivion.

When the last of his convulsions finally left him empty and wrung out and so blissfully blank that he felt as though he could happily melt away into nothingness, John gingerly pulled himself out of Sherlock with a hiss. With movements that barely registered in his happy haze he pulled the condom off and tossed it aside with absolutely no care taken for where it landed, then fished around on the floor for a tshirt to toss at Sherlock so he could clean himself up. His limbs were fast turning to jelly and his mind was barely functioning, and he was happier than he could remember being in longer than he cared to think about.

With an exhausted and exhilarated fwump, John collapsed backward onto the bed in a daze of happiness that lifted him to float on a cloud far above the ground. “That was incredible. Absolutely incredible” he breathed out with a truly embarrassing grin, staring up at the ceiling in a stupor that he never wanted to wake from.

“Really?” Incredibly, Sherlock seemed surprised at John’s words despite the happy conviction with which they had been spoken. He was very carefully looking anywhere but at John, but it was obvious from the carefully controlled movements of his hands as he sat up and reached for his shirt what the answer meant to him.

John sat up in surprise, looking over at Sherlock curiously. “Yes, of course really. Why are you so surprised?”

“That’s not what people normally say after they’ve finished.”

“What do they normally say?” John asked slowly, hoping that the tiny inkling in the back of his brain would not be right.

With a caustic snort, Sherlock proved his expectation absolutely correct by drawling sardonically, “Get the fuck out before my wife gets home.”

“Oh,” John answered quietly, unable to think of anything else he could possibly say.

It shouldn’t shock him to hear those words, and it certainly shouldn’t make his heart twist slightly to see the sarcastic and cruel twist of Sherlock’s mouth as he said it. This man was a stranger, someone he would probably never see again – in fact he was someone that John should never see again, if he wanted to resume his normal life and become a healthy and sane person once more. But something about the coldness of Sherlock’s voice, the deadness of his eyes, the smile that contained nothing of warmth or humor or life, it struck John right to his very core. Sherlock was a broken man, and the jagged edges of his soul called out to the echoing pain in John that had lain buried and ignored for so long. He wanted to do something for this man he had just met, something other than simply giving him money and not kicking him out of his flat the moment they were through. After what Sherlock had just done for John, he certainly owed him more than that.

“Listen,” he started uncertainly, “you don’t have to go yet, if you don’t want. I mean, you can stay here for a little bit, maybe sleep? I don’t know, only if you want to of course…” His words trailed off awkwardly into the silence of the room that suddenly seemed ready to swallow him whole.

Sherlock did not react, staring out into the darkened room with a stiff back and shoulders that could mean so many things John could not even begin to fathom them all. Was he offended by John’s offer? Was he suddenly afraid that John would become one of those customers who thought that one night of sex meant they were hopelessly in love? Could he possibly be considering it? But before John could embarrass himself further or make another offer that he would very likely regret, Sherlock turned to look at him with a blankly neutral expression tinged with only the slightest hint of mild curiosity.

“Tell me, Dr. Watson, what sort of war injury allows a man to leave his cane at home when he feels like it?”

The lightness and nonchalance of his question caught John completely off his guard, and without thinking he answered “Cane – what cane?” in a voice that sounded nothing like his own.  Feeling as though his brain was struggling to catch up with events progressing far too quickly for him to ever keep up, he followed Sherlock’s pointed gaze across the room to where his cane, solid and steady and reproachful in its silent waiting, leaned forgotten and alone against his desk. His cane, the stick he needed to walk thanks to the stabbing pains in his uninjured leg and hated for the weakness and despair it represented, had been utterly forgotten in the excitement and anticipation of the evening. He had not thought of it once the whole night: not when he was hurrying out to catch a cab with a wallet full of cash and a chest full of nerves, not when his heart had stopped upon catching a glimpse of the ethereal creature lurking in the smoke, not when he had felt as though he would die from the pleasure exploding inside him. In the rush and danger and thrill of the night he had forgotten, entirely and completely, that he was injured. And the pain had vanished.

That ethereal creature who had been so wonderfully proven tangible watched him now as he gaped and floundered, the same small smirk that twisted his mouth into a quirk of biting humor and sardonic amusement gracing his lips once more. “Interesting” he murmured to himself.

The quiet hum of Sherlock’s voice roused John from his fascinated, puzzled stupor. “Interesting? What’s interesting?” he asked in a daze, still unable to keep up with everything that was happening to him.

Sherlock locked eyes with him, sending a shiver down John’s spine that repeated itself when he said with terrifying seriousness, “You are.”

After staring at him a moment longer, with a flurry of sudden motion and pent-up energy Sherlock stood and strode quickly across the room to grab his coat from where it hung on the back of the desk chair. Now that they were through, now that he had upended John’s life and left him gasping for air, he seemed intent on leaving as soon as he possibly could. John’s heart skipped a beat as the elegant, ragged coat was slipped on and shuffled into place with hasty efficiency, and he started forward slightly as he realized that Sherlock meant to leave this very instant. He couldn’t lose this man into the dark anonymity of the London night, not now, not after everything that had happened to him in the last few hours.

“Wait, are you leaving already?” he asked desperately, not caring one bit how pathetic he sounded for asking such a question.

Thankfully Sherlock did not seem to hear the anxiety in his question, or at least had chosen to ignore it. Fingers flew over buttons, folds of well-worn fabric were settled into place, and the dramatic collar was flipped up into place to frame a face serious and drawn once more. “The night is still young John. If I make it back out on the street soon enough I can find at least two more customers, three if I’m lucky. There’s no time in this business for sentimental nonsense.”

“Oh, right. That makes…sense I suppose. Well, thank you. For everything. I had a great time.” He very nearly visibly cringed at the trailing awkwardness of his words, bitter self-loathing warring with sinking despair inside of him.

But before John could run and hide in shame like he so wanted to, Sherlock was bending over the desk and scribbling something hastily on a scrap of paper.  As John watched frozen in miserable confusion he tore the corner of paper off and walked over to hold it out at arm’s length. “My mobile number.” When he received no answer from John but a blank stare, he sighed impatiently and gestured with the paper again. “I should think that’s an easier way of finding me rather than searching street corners when you want to purchase my services next time.”

Next time? Elation bloomed in him, hot and painful and wonderful beyond measure. It made no sense to John that Sherlock would have any interest in seeing him again – wasn’t he just another customer? Did not hurting him or immediately kicking him out after they finished really merit repeat business? Apparently it did according to the paper he now held in disbelieving fingers, and John was sure that the phone number and initials “SH” that were a nearly-illegible scrawl on a tattered scrap of newspaper were the most wonderful thing he had ever seen. But even as he sat looking at the unexpected gift Sherlock was moving quickly again, striding over towards the door with purpose in his step and determination in his shoulders. A jolt of shock and panic ran through John to see him leaving, and he called after the rapidly vanishing form “Wait, but you didn’t even seem like you enjoyed yourself. Why are you giving me this?”

Sherlock paused halfway out the door and turned back to look at where John was sitting lost and confused and delighted on his bed. “Because you’re interesting. And because tonight was the first night in longer than I care to remember that I wasn’t bored.” A smile and a wink so fleeting they might have been figments of John’s rapidly whirling brain flitted over Sherlock’s face. “Evening.”

And with that, he vanished into the night to prowl the streets once more and leave a very confused army doctor to wonder what on earth had just happened to him.