It takes about four rounds of doing his weekly washing before John even notices.
But by the fifth, it is pretty apparent that his pants are slowly disappearing.
The grey boxers with wolves on. The green with orange jack-o’lanterns. The black boxer briefs he likes to wear on days he thinks he might go exercise (he never does). The camouflage briefs his last girlfriend bought him before his deployment, to “cover his arse.”
It sort of worked, he muses. He did get shot in the shoulder, after all.
He likes his unusual pants. It’s not exactly a thing – not a fetish thing, anyway. A mate give him a pair of boxers with smiley faces on as a joke for his birthday almost 20 years ago, and one successful pull after he wore them— the woman in question cracked up as soon as she got his jeans down then gave him spectacular head—made him a convert. So now, whenever he sees any that are a bit on the unusual or unique side, he snaps them up. Which means when some go missing, it’s fairly noticeable, fairly quickly.
At first he wonders if he’s just dropped them on the stairs on the way into the flat from the launderette around the corner. But Mrs. Hudson would have returned them, probably with an admonishment to keep his delicates to himself, not your housekeeper, dear. But four pair, that’s too many to just vanish of their own accord, and John finally has enough and turns his room upside down trying to find them. He piles clothes from his bureau in big drifts across his bed and throws the armoire open wide with no success.
That week he finally takes to covert surveillance, including counting his pants to be certain he’s not losing his mind: nine pair go into the wash, nine pair out and into the dryer, nine pair come out of the dryer and it’s the red briefs with white trim, this time, that disappear between the dryer and the time he gets around to putting them away the next day. It’s puzzling and annoying, and considering the usual source of anything puzzling and annoying that plagues John’s life, he’s starting to suspect his disappearing pants have had a little help along the way.
“All right, where are they?” John asks the next day. He’s trying not to be peevish, but really, Sherlock’s boundaries are way out of line when they start inching into John’s underwear drawer. “What did you do with them?”
Sherlock sits, a picture of poised control, at the lab table in the kitchen, transferring a culture from one plate to another with perfectly steady hands. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Go away, you can see I’m busy.” He rolls his eyes and sets the plate down, clearly dismissive.
John bristles, steps closer until his stomach brushes Sherlock’s arm and tries his best to loom. “Oh, no you don’t. My pants, Sherlock. What did you do? Use them in an experiment? Clean up an acid spill?”
Sherlock pauses, takes a deep, indignant breath, and finally looks John straight in the eyes. “I can assure you I’ve done none of those things,” he says, “And stop trying to intimidate me; you know it never works.” Sherlock narrows his eyes and lifts that haughty chin in the air just a touch, a move that John never can defend against and leaves him exasperated and turned on all at once.
“Works sometimes,” John growls, but backs down before his interest becomes inescapably clear. “Fine, but if I find you shredded them for rags or something I will retaliate.” He turns away and shivers once as he climbs the stairs to his room. Damn the man and his eyes, those little flashes of smug superiority that John wants to kiss into submission. He regards his half-hard cock and sighs. Well, if he’s going to wank he’d better strip and not make a mess. Pants are getting a bit hard to come by these days.
Weeks pass with no further disappearances and John’s pretty much given up ever figuring out for certain what happened to his missing underwear. One of those vagaries of living in Sherlock’s life, he supposes, and as there’s no evidence of a break-in, a stalker, or alternate pants-losing dimension, John shrugs it off and goes about his business.
And if he catches Sherlock giving him furtive glances out of the corner of his eye, he doesn’t act on it. If Sherlock wants to confess John’s all ready to hear it, but he’s not going to relieve Sherlock’s guilty conscience for him. Sherlock even takes to leaving John random cups of tea of an evening, a new packet of biscuits here and there, silly little peace offerings that John accepts but never mentions. Once Sherlock opens his mouth to say something and when John looks at him expectantly, patiently, Sherlock closes his mouth with a snap and stalks off to his bedroom.
There’s a box of fresh croissants on the table the next day.
John blithely ignores it all. No matter how attracted to him John actually is, how much he wants to press his lips to the nape of that beautiful long neck, Sherlock can be a right prat sometimes and it’s rare that John has the upper hand. He plans to keep it for a while.
Or, at least as long as it takes to guilt Sherlock into cleaning up his messes, John decides, scowling at something horrid and brown and slimy that has over-grown its beaker and is dripping onto the floor in an ever-widening puddle. John curses, decides quickly that good God is it ever Sherlock’s problem, then realizes Sherlock is still asleep in his room and the puddle is between John and the hallway.
“Sherlock,” John yells, and there must be a note of panic in his voice because within five seconds the door flies open and Sherlock comes tearing out in just his blue robe, sleep-rumpled and hair wild. Long legs eat up the distance in four strides and before John can shout a warning Sherlock’s heel hits the edge of the puddle and he goes down in a heap of flying silk and hair and a flash of red.
Sherlock scrambles to his feet and wraps the dressing gown more securely around himself. “Simply a fermentation reaction,” he says quickly, and grabs some paper toweling and begins to mop up the mess, eyes on the floor and the tips of his ears glowing pink.
John doesn’t even move, doesn’t say a word. Because he’s pretty certain that the hint of red he saw when Sherlock went arse over teakettle was his missing red underwear. And if it is, John thinks, his mind finally taking up the hint at last, that means Sherlock is wearing John’s pants.
John sucks in a quick breath and feels his entire world narrow to the long, sinuous, blue-silked spine curved in a delicate arch as Sherlock wipes at the floor on his hands and knees. John’s never been so hard in his life.
“Sherlock,” he says quietly.
“Really nothing to be worried about, perfectly safe, just a bit messy, and well, slimy, but cleans up—“
“Sherlock,” John says again, louder this time. “Look at me.”
Sherlock stops cleaning, takes a deep breath and blows it out before he sits up on his knees and rests his bum on his heels. He looks up at John from under his eyelashes, his expression warm and a little sly, but John can see the way his hand clenches the fabric of his robe. “Yes?” he finally says.
John isn’t quite sure how to play this. Sherlock’s giving nothing about his intentions away, and John doesn’t know if the pants-stealing is a kink or a joke or a simple, innocent, private declaration. He’s obviously guilty, at least a little, based on the peace offerings he’s been leaving, and John feels a little guilty himself that he’s been ignoring the tiny signals Sherlock’s been trying to send.
Because he’s dreamt about kissing Sherlock, taking him in hand or mouth and indulging in all the acts he could think of to bring them both pleasure. But he’s got to be sure before he trips over his own tongue.
“I told you there’d be retaliation if I found out you had something to do with my missing pants,” John says carefully.
Sherlock shudders out a relieved breath and quirks a smile. “You said if I’d shredded them. Which I haven’t.”
“Semantics,” John replies.
“Details are important.”
“They can be,” John says, and reaches a hand out to gently caress the top of Sherlock’s head. Sherlock leans into it like a cat, arching his neck and asking for more. John threads his fingers through Sherlock hair, sliding the silky strands between them until he cups the back of Sherlock’s skull and leans down, waiting for that last affirmation that yes, this is what they’re doing. There’s a pause, a quiet exchange of breath, and Sherlock finally flickers that intense, bright gaze up to meet John’s eyes. That’s all he needs to close that last minuscule distance between them in one swift shift of his body.
Their kiss isn’t tentative; it isn’t soft. It’s sudden and hard and demanding, and John pulls back after a breathless moment, hauls Sherlock up by the armpits and uses his solid weight to insist Sherlock walk backward toward the bedroom, all the while kissing the corner of Sherlock’s mouth, his chin, his cheeks.
“Bed,” John says, and makes quick, efficient work of stripping his clothes. Sherlock drops on the bed and slides backwards, a smug and enticing little smirk on his face. He sits with his feet tucked up and knees spread, a tempting view of scarlet that has John running his hands up Sherlock’s shins and over his thighs in a heartbeat.
“Oh, you’ve been a naughty thief, haven’t you?” John says, and slowly unties the belt that’s barely holding the robe together. He pulls the sides apart and Sherlock shrugs his shoulders until the fabric slides down his arms and puddles on the bed behind him. The red pants glow against Sherlock’s pale skin, a striking contrast that is almost unbearably erotic. That they’re his own pants sends a shiver down John’s spine and he leans forward between Sherlock’s spread legs, presses kisses to his sternum, flicks his tongue over a pale pink nipple.
“Fuck,” Sherlock says, voice gritty and raw and deep, and wraps his hands around John’s neck. “You’re…ah, God, John…very good at retaliation.”
John pulls away, slides down Sherlock’s body until he can hook his arms under Sherlock’s knees and tip him up until he can get his shoulders under Sherlock’s legs. The view he’s getting of Sherlock’s naked, passionate expression, the muscles of his stomach and chest clenched in stark outline under his skin, is so distracting John only realizes at the last second that Sherlock is moving, sliding his legs down John’s arms until they’re pinned at his sides. John shifts slightly but Sherlock’s legs are strong and hold him tight, his cock nestled in the crease of Sherlock’s arse, the sensitive skin teased by the cotton still covering Sherlock’s body.
“Kiss me again,” he says, pulling at John with his legs and John happily goes along, falling forward until he covers Sherlock’s body with his own, kissing him deeply, moaning when Sherlock’s tongue reaches out to caress his.
John’s so hard that he’s off balance with it, so turned on he’s starting to lose the thread of what he wants next. He ruts gently, rubbing up against Sherlock’s balls, then slides his hands up the back of Sherlock’s long, long legs until he can get his fingertips inside the openings of his pants. God, his skin is so soft, the hair on his legs sparse. He can feel the heat from the core of Sherlock’s body, the blood pulsing through his cock, his balls, his perineum. John strokes a finger up behind Sherlock’s balls and down until he brushes across his hole.
Sherlock wraps his arms around the back of John’s neck. “I’m starting to wonder whose punishment this is.” Sherlock rocks his hips into John’s touch and moans. “Because fucking me isn’t exactly punitive. I’m more than happy to accept it.” His voice is a seductive murmur that starts John’s heart hammering double-time.
“Hm. I could,” John whispers, his fingers gripping Sherlock’s rear and kneading the smooth muscle. He wants, oh how he wants. But there are more immediate needs to tend to. “But let’s save that for later.” John lifts away from his body, drops his legs from his shoulders and climbs off the bed, leaving Sherlock staring at him open-mouthed.
“What do you think—“ Sherlock starts, but stops whatever is coming next when he finally understands why John is digging around his bedside drawer. John smirks, amused by his impatience, and finally finds a bottle of lotion. Not the best, but it should work. He puts a little on his hand and climbs back onto the bed and between Sherlock’s legs once again.
“Don’t want to wait to get you ready,” he says, and bends low to nuzzle his face into Sherlock’s groin. “I want your cock in my mouth, want to suck you until that giant brain shuts off and you forget your own name. I plan to finger you until you’re slick and begging to come, and if any of that doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, you better say so right now.”
Sherlock’s eyes are wide, his mouth open in shock. John has a fleeting moment of panic, wondering if he’s just gone too far when Sherlock surges forward, kisses John hard, and drops back on the pillows.
“Do your worst,” he says, and grins at John with a twinkle in his eye and spreads his legs extravagantly wide.
John feels himself flush over his entire body. Jesus, Sherlock’s a menace, a gorgeous, twisty, thieving oddball who steals his pants for a reason John isn’t even sure he cares about any more because he’s pulling those same pants down and off of his body and revealing his gorgeous cock. John’s mouth waters as he leans forward and presses a slow, warm kiss to the tip, the heavy, smooth weight of it pressing against his lips.
“Never the worst,” he murmurs, and opens his mouth to drag his tongue slowly up the sides. “God, you taste amazing.”
Sherlock whimpers and hooks an ankle over John’s leg, his fingers grasping and twisting in the sheets. His skin is warm and soft, and John revels in the sweet musk of his sex, the warm, intimate touch of Sherlock’s cock against his tongue and pressing the back of his throat as he sucks, licks, swallows him down. Sherlock moans and sighs, tells John that yes, there, that’s perfect and more, please, and there’s little hesitation when John finally presses his fingertip against Sherlock’s anus. Sherlock gasps and flexes, and John feels him relax enough that he can push inside, teasing the muscle and working his mouth in rhythm with his hand. It only takes minutes before Sherlock’s cries sharpen and his body tenses, and he comes in shuddering pulses against John’s tongue.
John swallows quickly before pulling off to catch his breath, cheek against Sherlock’s stomach. He kisses Sherlock’s belly button quickly before scooting up enough to press a kiss to Sherlock’s sated, satisfied smile.
“Hope that taught you,” John says, and thrusts gently against Sherlock’s groin.
“Mm,” is all Sherlock says, and shifts under John’s weight. John shivers when his cock gets caught in the crease of Sherlock’s thigh, and moans when Sherlock wraps his hands around John’s arse and encourages John’s cock between his thighs. John tucks his head against Sherlock’s shoulder and rocks harder, feels Sherlock slide his hand between their bodies and catch John’s cock on the upstroke, slicking it with lotion. The sudden, shocking glide of his cock against Sherlock’s skin, nudging against his balls and across his perineum, cranks up John’s arousal to the point that he can’t hold back for long. He loses himself in the feel of Sherlock’s sweat-slick body against his, his breath tickling John’s scalp, the slide and drag of his cock, and his mind goes hazy until his orgasm blooms bright and he shakes against Sherlock’s chest.
John slides off Sherlock’s body and rolls onto his back to stare at the ceiling and gather his thoughts, Sherlock oddly quiet beside him. He glances over and finds Sherlock watching him with a quiet intensity that leaves no doubt the gears are already whirring away in that head of his.
“You had best still have the camouflage pair,” John says, and stretches lazily. “I expect it’ll take a few more rounds for the lesson to set in.”
Sherlock breaks into a smile and reaches for a pillow. John sees what he’s up to but dodges too late and gets a wallop on the side of the head. He dives for Sherlock and they wrestle, laughing and kissing and groping, John already plotting how to get him into the purple pants with pink stripes.
Title from: Ida Mare, I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked