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Sociopathy and Other Fibs

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1.

“I’m a high functioning sociopath,” Sherlock was in the midst of declaring, leaning forward with a manic smile growing across his face.

Or at least, he had been, before he was rather rudely interrupted by a snort to the right of him (and a full head lower, he might have added).

“As I was saying,” Sherlock persevered, “not a psychopath, but the other thing where you also lack empathy. So, moving right along - "

Or he would have, if not for another snort. Sherlock paused, again.

What?” Sherlock eventually snapped, resolutely not looking down and to the right.

“Are you ever going to cut it with that bollocks?” John wondered aloud with a certain amount of wistfulness.

“Do you mind?” Sherlock asked, turning sharply towards him, despite his intention to not be distracted. “Maybe you hadn’t noticed John, but I’m actually sort of busy at the moment.”

Sherlock was in fact hanging a man out over the railing of a fire escape (in an effort to gather information, of course). And now, rather than being intimidated by the threat of a 6-storey plunge, the man was looking between them in bemused confusion. Sherlock felt this was perhaps not good for their image.

“I’m just thinking, would a sociopath be doing this sort of thing in the first place? High functioning or otherwise?” John said, motioning to the partially dangling street criminal.

Sherlock’s eyes rolled upward, feigning consideration. “Hmm – yes, actually. Wouldn’t you say?” Sherlock asked, returning his attention to the man whose lapels he was currently gripping.

The man nodded with enthusiasm. Good, Sherlock thought, getting right back into the swing of things then -

“The act maybe, yeah, but not so much the motive,” John continued.

Sherlock sighed, aggrieved. “Get to the point, John!”

“You giving him a good shakedown is actually rather … sentimental of you,” John said, in a mockery of deep thought. “Empathetic, even.”

Sherlock’s arms and patience were beginning to feel strained. “I’m threatening this man’s life, John,” he pointed out, somewhat breathless from the effort of doing just that, embarrassingly enough. “Where exactly is the empathy?”

“So,” John began, pointing again at the man precariously held over the railing. “You’re saying him beating up Wiggins last night for a fiver has no bearing on you now giving him a bit of a scare?”

Sherlock spluttered. “As if - as if I care about what happens to Billy!”

“Hmm, but you do though,” John said, not budging an inch.

“Look, gents,” cried the man currently clinging to Sherlock’s arms for dear life. “I swear I’ll give the Wiggy back his money, I swear it!”

“Oh, for God’s sake,” Sherlock groaned, dragging the tormented man back onto the fire escape. “Do not humour him with that nickname. But do give him at least a tenner.”

With the grate firmly beneath his feet again, the man promptly made a dash for it. John watched him escape, thankfully without comment – though this was to be short-lived.

“You know I sprained Wiggins’ arm once,” John remarked, “should I look forward to being hung out over a railing sometime soon?”

Sherlock’s only response was a withering look and a quick exit, not unlike the escape they had just witnessed. John caught up with him by the time he hailed a cab all the same, and Sherlock, out of habit, held the door open for him.

John was smug the entire ride home.

 

2.

“Who was that text from?” John asked from behind a newspaper. (Though Sherlock would have pointed out that calling it a newspaper was generous, considering nothing of any factual significance had ever been reported in any of its editions. John only read it for the crosswords.)

“Janine,” Sherlock answered, tapping out a quick reply and leaving the ‘not that it’s any of your business’ implied.

“Oh, right,” John said. Thirty seconds passed before the newspaper was folded in half, revealing his face. “You and Janine are still – talking.”

“Apparently,” Sherlock replied, not looking up from his mobile screen.

John hummed, looking back down at the paper. “Even after all those things she told the tabloids?”

“You mean all those things she said about me being amazing in bed? Hmm, yes, how dare she.”

“Right, yeah,” John said.

Ten seconds passed before the paper was abandoned entirely, dropped unceremoniously onto the sidetable next to his armchair. “No, actually,” John said, his voice raised, “How could she possibly forgive you for that? Even if she did get a good shag out of it, apparently. You faked an entire relationship!”

Sherlock, sitting in his leather armchair across, did look up at that. “Well, she got her revenge, didn’t she?” A moment later, under his breath and horribly mumbled, Sherlock added, “But not that other thing though.”

“Sorry, what was that?” John asked, leaning forward in his seat.

“Nothing,” Sherlock said, crisp and clear, placing his hands on the chair arms as if to vault himself from the conversation. “Are we out of... biscuits? Maybe I should get some.”

“We’re not out of biscuits, Mrs Hudson just brought some up, and what did you just say Sherlock?”

Sherlock, speaking remarkably fast but still intelligible, choked out, “There was no good shag.”

Every line in John’s face conveyed confusion. “You mean…. it was a bad shag?”

“No, no,” Sherlock said, flapping his hand. “There was no – anything.”

“But...” John paused, lips pursed and face scrunched, before asserting, “I heard you two together. She went in while you were having a bath!”

Sherlock shushed him, looking around as if they might be overheard, and then tucked his chin against his neck to peer back down at his mobile. John continued to stare at him. And stare.

Sherlock squirmed in his chair.

“Look,” Sherlock began, breaking, “nothing happened in there, and - I mean - in retrospect, I realize that Janine might have known it wasn’t actually real, and been playing along a bit - ”

John laughed once in disbelief. “You’re saying that it was fake, for what, both of you? That she was already planning on using you cause she knew you were using her, somehow?”

Sherlock nodded. “That’s - yes. So you see, it turned out to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

“Wait. No. If Janine knew the two of you weren’t - ,” John broke off, pressing his index finger along the line of his upper lip. “If Janine was playing along, then whose benefit was that display for when I came over?”

Sherlock jumped up, nearly dropping his mobile to the floor in his haste. “Milk!” he cried. “We’re out of that, probably - aren’t you always saying I should get that? - even though you never get it either - ”

“You don’t even like milk!” John called after him, but Sherlock was already across the room, coat in hand.

John gave up easily, reaching for his paper as soon as Sherlock looped his scarf around his neck. Sherlock bounded down the stairs shortly after, glad for his quick exit — he’d rather not be around for when John flipped to the crossword, only to find that all the answers had already been penciled in.

 

3.

“It is so lovely to finally meet you Dr Watson,” the elderly woman John was currently escorting to the sofa informed him.

“You’ve already met John, Mrs Davis,” Sherlock said from his chair, hands steepled together beneath his chin. “Perhaps consider getting your early symptoms of Alzheimer’s looked into.”

Sherlock,” John admonished.

“What?” Sherlock asked, opening his eyes. “Not good? You’re a doctor John, you know it’s better to get these things sorted out as soon as possible.” Sherlock had even thought he’d said it rather gently.

“Not that - though yes, also that – but Sherlock she hasn’t met me before,” John insisted, before turning to the lady in question. “You’re quite right Mrs Davis, don’t let him alarm you.”

“That’s fine dear,” she replied, smiling blandly.

“She’s deaf in her left ear, John,” Sherlock said. “In any event there was no need to bring her all the way upstairs, her case has already been wrapped up. Don’t you remember? I sent her the details in the mail. Old ladies like that kind of thing, don’t know why.”

Sherlock rose from his chair and climbed over their coffee table, John stepping aside just in time to avoid a collision.

“Mrs Davis,” Sherlock said loudly, aiming for her right ear. “It was your neighbour’s dog. Your daughter can explain in more detail later.” Sherlock then lifted her from her seat and began ushering her out again.

“What a nice young man,” Mrs Davis commented off-handedly, clutching her purse.

“Sherlock,” John persisted, while moving out of their way. “I don’t remember because I wasn’t here, and I have never met this woman before in my life. I was visiting Harry for a few days last week, remember?”

“Not really,” Sherlock replied, delayed in the doorway by Mrs Davis offering him sweets from her bag, which he accepted with reluctance (even though he would most certainly eat them later).

“John, do I need to also be worried about your memory? She came in, sat in our client chair, and you were on the sofa right behind her…” Sherlock trailed off, before realization took hold. “Oh! Of course, that wasn’t you.”

“It wasn’t me,” John repeated. “Do you know other people who look like me and sit in on cases?”

“Don’t be silly, no one quite looks like you,” Sherlock said, holding Mrs Davis’ purse open for her while she dug through a pile of used tissues for her sunglasses. “It was you, but in my mind.”

John blinked. “No, sorry, I still don’t understand.”

Sherlock sighed. “Mrs Hudson keeps taking the skull away.”

“Are you saying you imagine me being present, even when I’m not here?” John asked slowly. “Is that …. is that why you’re always still talking to me as if I never left?”

It had only just occurred to Sherlock that this was a bit embarrassing, and maybe rather telling. He flushed (though only slightly, he would have argued). Sherlock opened his mouth to answer, but then closed it again with a click.

“I’d always thought you just didn’t notice when I left,” John said, voice low and amazed.

Sherlock was having trouble meeting John’s gaze. It was very direct, and blue, and as of recent times, saw far too much.

“Thank you for all your help,” Mrs Davis said, finally taking her purse back from Sherlock. “My husband and I used to run a business together too, it’s so good to see you two working it out.” She patted Sherlock’s cheek, before descending the stairs with an oddly spry step.

“What did she just say?” John asked.

“Who knows, the old woman’s completely barmy – Indian? I’ll order,” Sherlock said, heading for the kitchen.

Sherlock dug the take-away menus out from beneath a container of frogmouth owl feathers and a pair of cow’s eyeballs, with the heavy weight of John’s eyes still on his back.

 

4.

“Sherlock,” John said, as if he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be saying it.

Sherlock didn’t look up from his bunsen burner. “That wasn’t me, that was Mrs Hudson.”

“What was – Actually, never mind. Honestly I don’t want to know.”

“Oh, good,” Sherlock said, continuing to gradually heat three degu legs on a skewer.

John rapped his knuckles against the living room desk. Sherlock could hear it from the kitchen.

“Why is ‘Major James Sholto’ in your search history?” John asked, apparently now opting for the direct approach.

Sherlock froze, causing the legs to begin to burn on one side. John turned in his chair to observe Sherlock’s profile, and waited.

“Now who’s using whose laptop John?” Sherlock eventually responded, chin tilting down towards his neck.

“Mine was in the bedroom,” John replied glibly. “Seriously. Why are you looking up my old commanding officer?”

Sherlock’s silence stretched out even longer than the pause following the first question.

“Well,” Sherlock hesitated, “I wanted to see if he had …. recovered well.”

“Recovered well? You mean after getting stabbed at my – ” John abruptly stopped before saying that word. They never talked about that, perhaps for good reason. “Sherlock, that was a very long time ago. I assume you’ve cleared your searches more recently than that.”

Sherlock only hummed in response, scraping at the burnt part of the rodent leg with a butter knife.

“And since when do you check in on people?” John asked, incredulous. “I assume you didn’t find anything, seeing as there hasn’t been any news on him recently. I think I’d remember if there had been.”

“Yes. You used to keep track of him, didn’t you? After the press turned on him?” Sherlock countered, rotating in his chair at the kitchen table to face the living room. The best defence was a good offence, after all.

“I wonder why you felt that so keenly John, if the two of you were barely in contact with one another at the time,” Sherlock continued, speaking quickly and with one brow raised. “And yet, you knew for certain that he would come to your wedding, suggesting you were close, but then never spoke of him to me, your supposed best friend, or so you told me.”

What Sherlock was actually driving at was the true nature of John's relationship with Sholto, a subject John had conspicuously always avoided discussing with him, choosing instead to skirt around the elephant in the room.

It was also the first time in a long while either of them had mentioned John ever having been married.

“Uh,” John replied eloquently, working his jaw, visibly taken aback.

“You are my best friend,” John began, “it’s not ‘supposed’, and – Wait. No, no no,” John cut himself off, wagging his finger in Sherlock’s general direction. “I was asking you why you were looking him up. You can’t distract me, Sherlock.”
Sherlock groaned, swiveling in his chair till his back was to John. He swept his dressing gown back into place and re-tied it, as if feeling the need to cover up. Over his shoulder, he said, “I was curious. Can we drop it now?”

“Okay. No, actually – Curious about what?” John pressed. “You know, you were oddly interested in him before, too, I remember that - after you left me alone on that a bench -”

Reminded of how excellent an idea that was, Sherlock proceeded to leave John alone in the conversation by scurrying off to his bedroom.

Sherlock heard John rush to the kitchen soon after, hastily turning the gas off to the burner, and (rather inconsiderately, Sherlock thought) binned the degu legs.

 

5.

John was coughing before he had even reached the last stair up to their flat. Sherlock could hear it echoing down the hall, along with John’s feeble attempt moments later to air out the room, heavy footfalls crossing the living room to open the windows.

“Sherlock!” John called out.

Sherlock sunk lower in the bathtub, inadvertently giving away his location with the noise of sloshing water. It sounded guilty even to him.

“Sherlock!” John called again, now walking past the kitchen.

“I’m in here!” Sherlock finally responded from within the loo. “And it’s not what you think.”

“I think it’s exactly what I think,” John insisted, the door between them luckily bearing the brunt of his disapproval. “Why else would our living room smell like an ashtray?”

“A potential client came in and wanted to smoke, what was I supposed to do?” Sherlock asked. “Aren’t you always saying that I should be more hospitable?

“I’m not having this conversation through a door,” John said, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Sherlock sighed. Regardless of what anyone may have said on the subject, John could often tell from Sherlock’s face if he was fibbing.

“Then come in!” Sherlock called back in exasperation, as if John was being purposefully obtuse for not having already done so.

John opened the door, and then immediately made as if to close it again at the sight of Sherlock, before seeming to remember that Sherlock had specifically invited him in. Sherlock was both intrigued by the reaction, and made suddenly and painfully aware of his current nudity.

John kept his hand on the door knob and his eyes on the tiled wall behind Sherlock’s torso. If John had allowed himself to look, he might have noticed the flush spreading up Sherlock’s chest to his face, and Sherlock hunching his shoulders while nervously fiddling with a bar of soap.

John cleared his throat.

Sherlock watched out of the corner of his eye as John’s gaze drifted to his neck, where a single droplet of water was currently making a trail down to the hollow of his throat, before it snapped back to the tile again.

“Right,” John started. “Right, look, it’s you who wanted to quit for good. I’m just saying that is not the smell of one cigarette.”

“The client was a chain smoker, amongst other things,” Sherlock said, with a nonchalance not reflected in his body language. He finally turned to face John, who reluctantly met his gaze rather than focusing on the backsplash.

“So, you’re saying you didn’t bum a cigarette off him?” John asked, doubt evident. “When you’ve been crawling out of your skin with cravings lately?”

Sherlock blew air out through his nose in a loud huff and leaned back in the tub, arms resting along the sides. “Well, what does one matter?” he cried out. “I couldn’t help it. The smell of it, John!”

“You could have asked the client not to smoke, if you’d wanted,” John pointed out, just as his eyes slipped from Sherlock’s face to his chest, before forcefully turning his face towards the door.

“Why expose yourself to the temptation?” John finished lamely, staring at the wood.

“Why indeed?” Sherlock asked, eyes narrowing.

“Well, it’s your life. So, fine, do whatever -” John stumbled, retreating into the hallway, and closing the door behind him so hard it rattled the frame.

Sherlock waited till he heard John’s tread on the stairs up to his bedroom before he lifted a loose tile in the wall, revealing his cigarette from earlier. Relighting it with a match, he laid back and looked at the empty space where John had been but a moment before in consideration.

 

+ 1

John was startled awake by a knock on his bedroom door that didn’t stop at one.

On reflex John jerked open his bedside table drawer, rattling the gun inside. The knocking paused, before restarting again shortly after.

John, leaving the gun behind, swung his legs over the side of the bed and shuffled across the floor to open the door. On the other side he found a visibly distressed Sherlock pacing in the minimal space afforded by the upstairs corridor. John looked on as Sherlock’s hands moved from his hair to his sides, repeatedly and rapidly.

‘Byronic’, John?” Sherlock eventually exclaimed. “‘Byronic curls’? And, and, ‘Cupid’s bow lips’? This is, well, worse than the poems to your girlfriends at any rate.” His hands dropped from above his head with dramatic flair, and John was on the receiving end of an exasperated and expectant look.

John knew immediately what Sherlock was referring to, and also knew he should probably be pissed at Sherlock for finding it.

John should have been, but instead found himself thinking that back in the day it would have taken Sherlock far less time to go snooping through his private, unpublished blog posts. This was progress, if anything. And truthfully, Sherlock had a point. The writing had not been his finest hour.

In a recent attempt at documenting one of their cases, John had let what Sherlock would likely have classified as his ‘romanticism’ run away with him. Limited only by his piss-poor typing, John had gone so far as to describe Sherlock in detail at the moment of an epiphany, including all of the physical attributes that John’s imagination often fixated on. (John felt that the frankly orgasmic appearance of these epiphanies as they played out over Sherlock's face should really have taken at least some part of the blame.)

The finished product was something that came across more ‘lovesick puppy’ than any other blog post John had ever written, and that was actually saying quite a lot.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” John asked in lieu of responding, feeling the need to at least feign some displeasure at being woken up.

“ – the, the time? Oh!” Sherlock cried, and had the decency to look sheepish. “Oh. It’s. Right, it’s late, you were, oh you were sleeping –” Sherlock babbled.

John, finding this chastised response both gratifying and astonishing, held up his hands in defeat.

“I’m already up, so let’s hash it out,” he sighed, resigned. “You’ve woken me up to complain about my writing skills, is that it? My writing in my private, unpublished blog post, I might add.”

“John, private and unpublished is practically a hand written invitation to me seeing as you know that I know how to – and I waited several days before I ! – but that’s not what I -” Sherlock paused his stream of words, and swallowed once before adopting a more somber expression. Or at least, more somber than a late night conversation critiquing John’s writing warranted, John thought.

“You’ve never - done that. Before. Described me like that,” Sherlock said in a low, almost hopeful voice.

John had a feeling, which was growing stronger by the minute, that this moment was a turning point. He could either deflect whatever Sherlock was asking him, or he could lay his cards on the table, right then, when Sherlock finally wanted to talk.

The choice was a simple one. John had been forcing admissions from Sherlock for weeks now, and he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to take advantage of an initiated confrontation.

“What’s the problem?” John asked, point blank. “That I described you like the heartthrob in a cheap romance novel?”

“Yes,” Sherlock replied, brows raised in surprise at John’s frankness. “Yes! That. Were you trying to be funny?” Sherlock said the word ‘funny’ like it had personally insulted his mother.

“Funny?” John repeated in confusion. “No, Sherlock, Christ – how would that have been funny?”

“Because,” Sherlock proceeded, undeterred, “for someone who has a tendency to tell people he’s not gay when others ask about us, it’s just a little - well, it’s a bit - ”

‘Tendency’? You only heard that the one time!” John interjected.

“So you admit there were other times,” Sherlock caught him.

“Yeah, but I never intended for you to actually overhear it - ” John said, before abruptly snapping his mouth shut.

Sherlock’s eyes on him were like a physical weight, but he didn’t ask John what he had meant. Sherlock waited, watching him in silence, while John could only look back at him for a few seconds at a time.

There was a furrow starting to form between Sherlock’s brows, which John realized he’d wanted to kiss for years. He breathed in once, and took the plunge.

“I did tell you I put product in my hair,” John said, rubbing his forehead with his thumb. “Mind you, I don’t have the expensive pants, or whatever. What were the other signs?”

Sherlock’s mouth dropped open slightly. “You mean…?”

“Not exactly straight, either,” John finished, finally not looking away from that all-seeing gaze.

“You mean…?” Sherlock asked again, blank expression remaining in place.

John had been hoping for more of a reaction at this point, and without one, floundered. “I mean, I’ve never been out, but I think the label often used here is bisexuality -”

“That’s not what I was -” Sherlock started to say before breaking off, looking away, and then back again with more intensity than had ever been directed at John in recent memory.

They were standing as close to one another as two people could without touching, but which somehow left enough room for Sherlock to crane his head downward to better scan John’s face.

John would have found this disconcerting, but he was a bit distracted by the fact that Sherlock was not wearing a shirt underneath his dressing gown, and an enticing patch of skin had just become visible. John wondered briefly if that had been planned, seeing as his fondness for Sherlock’s neck had in fact been discussed in the second line of the third paragraph of his unpublished blog post.

When John’s eyes returned back upwards, Sherlock’s had finally stopped zig zagging across John’s face. Sherlock was now simply staring at him, unmoving.

“John, there’s something I’d like your... input on. No matter how long I’ve thought on it, the answer still remains somewhat unclear to me.” Sherlock spoke in a hushed tone, which was at odds with the formality of the request.

John realized that Sherlock was nervous.

“What would you like my input on, exactly?” John asked, the direction of his gaze alternating between Sherlock’s eyes and lips. Though John had gotten away with this behaviour for many years, Sherlock’s eyes widened as if he finally understood what it meant.

Sherlock’s reply to John was to tilt his head even further forward, and to press his closed mouth against John’s in a delicate approximation of a kiss, before recoiling backwards so quickly that it may have given him whiplash.

Sherlock looked at John with wide, startled eyes, which seemed to say 'I’ve made a huge mistake', and attempted to brush past John in a panicked retreat.

John managed to overcome his incredible initial shock in time to grab Sherlock by the forearm, and without a second thought, pressed Sherlock back up against the wall. John slid his hand up Sherlock’s jaw, tilted Sherlock’s chin back down, and shifted upwards on his toes in a move he’d perfected during his many experiences with taller partners. This technique allowed for his mouth to fit against Sherlock’s at the perfect angle, pushing Sherlock gently against the wall behind his back, and which caused Sherlock’s lips to fall open in a soft “Oh”.

Sherlock kissed back shyly at first, and then with a fervent and almost sloppy eagerness. What began as sweet and hesitant swiftly escalated to hard and fast as they both wrapped around each other as tightly as they could manage. Sherlock made small noises in the back of his throat every time John’s tongue touched his, and every time John gripped him harder. John had never been more delightfully surprised by any other turn of events in his entire life.

“Was that the input you were looking for?” John panted, jokingly pressing himself against Sherlock’s hip.

Yes,” Sherlock managed between kisses, too far gone for teasing, which was also a bit of surprise.

John paused long enough in his groping of Sherlock’s bum to remember that Sherlock had never slept with Janine, and that there was a very definite possibility that Sherlock had never slept with anybody. And here John was, pawing at him like an animal.

Sherlock grabbed at John’s hands in protest as he made to move them away.

“You’re – you’re stopping, why are you stopping?” Sherlock asked, a touch frantic.

“I just thought maybe we should slow down –” John attempted to explain, but at the mention of slowing down, Sherlock only gripped John tighter. Imitating John’s earlier move, Sherlock began grinding himself against John without any self consciousness, and covered John’s open mouth with kisses till John was too dizzy with receiving everything he’d ever wanted for so long, he forgot why he’d ever suggested stopping.

At some point they maneuvered themselves away from the wall and backwards into John’s room, till they hit the edge of the bed. They naturally sat down, never breaking apart from one another.

“You couldn’t have cornered me about this during the day, could you? It had to be treated like an emergency,” John murmured, pausing for a moment.

“This was an emergency, John,” Sherlock replied, leaning back in for another kiss.

“Git, and a drama queen,” John said, making the insults sound like endearments, before giving in.

“Right on both accounts,” Sherlock said a minute later. “And you would know a lot about cornering people, wouldn’t you?”

John bit his lip, looking slightly chagrined. “I’ve been confrontational lately, I’ll admit. But one of us needed to be. It got us here, didn’t it?”

“And you want to be here John?” Sherlock asked, oddly hesitant once more. “I mean - you want me?” If this was intended to be seductive, it was not how it came across.

John would have thought the most observant man in the world would have read his erection as a pretty clear green light – but then, John had been relearning his own assumptions of Sherlock quite a bit lately.

“Of course. Yeah, of course I do,” John assured him, brushing an escaped curl back from Sherlock’s forehead. “I love you. But, you already knew that.”

“You meant that as a friend before,” Sherlock protested, and then quickly, stumbling over the words, “I love you, as well. Which you already knew. Going by that logic.”

John was momentarily stunned, and had to concede the point that the first time Sherlock had said those words, John had not in his wildest dreams believed he could mean it in that way.

“Fine, allow me to make it very clear that I see you as more than a friend,” John said, with a sly smile. Despite the boldness of the statement, John’s hands were slow as they began to untie the front of Sherlock’s dressing gown, waiting and watching for any signal to stop. When John received none, he pulled the silk fabric off Sherlock’s shoulders and down his arms, with Sherlock more than happy to assist him. Once the gown was disposed of, Sherlock slid his legs up onto the bed, and leaned back against John’s pillow, lightly tugging John along with him.

John allowed himself to be pulled, slotting easily between Sherlock’s spread legs, and holding himself up on his forearms bracketing Sherlock’s head. John kissed the neck he’d watched water drip down in the bath, and sucked on the nipple he’d been desperately trying (and failing) to not think about since last he’d seen it. He didn’t stop till Sherlock was gasping, and then, trailing kisses as he went, moved lower.

Sherlock, of course, chose the moment when John’s face was inches away from his cock to blurt out, “Are you going to stop saying you’re ‘not gay’ now?”

John paused, hovering over Sherlock’s crotch. Looking up to meet Sherlock’s eyes, John slowly leaned forward, and began to mouth at the bulge currently tenting Sherlock’s threadbare pajama bottoms. Sherlock’s moans were gratifying, but John pulled back before he got carried away, leaving a damp spot behind where his mouth had been.

“Was that what you were actually trying to ask me earlier?” John asked, still propped up over Sherlock’s lap. “Because you could have just - you know - said that.”

“Are you?” Sherlock repeated, albeit breathlessly.

“When someone asks if we’re together now,” John said, one finger slipping beneath the band of Sherlock’s pyjama bottoms, “I don’t think I’ll lead with that, no.”

When Sherlock spoke again, it was in a much smaller voice. “I’ll stop calling myself a sociopath. Admittedly, it’s an outdated term and, well, arguably not true anyway. Except when needed - to create a certain effect - ”

“I follow,” John said, sparing Sherlock from explaining further, “and deal. Can I maybe suck your cock now?”

Sherlock barked out a laugh and nodded. But first, he held out his hand.

John looked at it from his currently bent over position, before he giggled, and returned the gesture. They shook on it.

It seemed they’d come to an understanding.

“Now that that’s settled,” John said, kissing one inch to the right of Sherlock’s navel, “can I please suck your cock now?”

“Oh, yes.

There wasn’t much talking after that.