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Stretching his currently uncooperative hand against the edge of his desk, John wondered if anyone would notice if he slipped out early.


John was at the tail end of his evening shift as a video sign interpreter for the deaf, and had so far listened to what he could confidently say were some of the most uninteresting conversations he’d ever had the misfortune to interpret. He was bored out of his skull, the headset over his ears was starting to chafe, and his hand tremor had acted up no fewer than six times. He always apologised when his hand went rogue, but at this rate he was bound to get a client complaint, and he couldn’t afford to lose this job.


The video relay service hadn’t even wanted him; even with his certification, his tremor had posed a concern right from the start. In the end it was his sister who had gotten him the job, to John’s immense annoyance.


After finishing his last call—an elderly woman having a chat with her even more elderly mother, who was of course also hard of hearing—John had hoped he might be on break long enough to get tea.


The sound of being connected to his next video call dashed that hope to pieces.


John sighed, before clicking accept on his computer screen.


‘Hello,’ John signed, without thought.


His newest client was a dark-haired, long-faced, and somehow posh-looking man, who appeared to be about John’s own age. The man also happened to be rather fit.


It would have been hard for John not to notice, seeing as the man didn’t appear to be wearing any clothes besides a white bedsheet.


Hello indeed, John thought to himself.


He wasn’t entirely sure what to make of that. John was aware that the service sometimes got weirdo callers. He also knew it was well within his rights to request that the client put on some clothes before going any further, and that other interpreters would have likely passed the call off right away.


Instead, John found himself thinking, finally something interesting, and finished his standard opener.


‘Welcome to Video Relay. I’m John, and I’ll be interpreting your call today. What is the name and phone number of the person you would like to reach?’


‘Is that your real name, ‘John’?’ the man signed, with a marked absence of any kind of formal greeting. ‘No, never mind, I can see that it is.’


The man’s hands were large, his fingers long and slim, which added an extra sense of flurry to the already fast motions. Even with all his recent practice, John had trouble keeping up.


John also had no idea how to respond, as the man had answered his own question. Luckily, the man continued on his own with short, disjointed gestures.


‘Number is in chat window. Call it.’


‘OK,’ John replied, but had to first ask, ‘How did you know John was my real name?’ Once John had processed the comment, his interest was piqued.


‘Obvious. The way you signed each individual letter, overly practiced,’ the man replied, as if it truly should have been obvious to John.


What an odd, yet fascinating thing to say. Though, John questioned it.


‘But if I had been working here for a long time, wouldn’t I be practiced at signing my fake name?’


The man smiled as if he thought John was being a bit clever, but not very.


‘True, but you’ve only been working for two weeks, haven’t you? And you’re out of practice. You didn’t formally learn how to sign, not initially—you weren’t trained specifically to be an interpreter. Most likely learned to speak with a family member, probably the person who got you this job. Parent or sibling?’


John missed quite a lot of what the man had just signed in a whirlwind of gestures, but had gotten the gist.


‘Sibling. How... could you know all that?’


‘Easy. I observed. The same way I know you’re a doctor-soldier recently invalidated from overseas.’




‘Call the number, John.’ The man spelt out John’s name, each letter formed with crisp, slow hand movements, as if John wouldn’t recognize it otherwise.  


‘All right, give me a minute.’


It was clear he wouldn’t get anything other than scorn if he tried to ask again, so John simply acquiesced. Admittedly, he was a bit excited, or at least more excited than he’d ever been to third wheel someone else’s phone conversation. He imagined this man couldn’t possibly be boring, even over the phone.


John signalled that the phone was ringing. The man rolled his eyes at the gesture.


While they waited, the man rested one finger against his upper lip with the other lower fingers dangling against his chin, twitching with impatience. For a nude man lounging about in what appeared to be his living room, he didn’t seem to be particularly relaxed.


John wondered how important the call would be, if it caused that kind of agitation.


The line in his headset clicked; he was about to find out.


John forced a smile. “Hi, who I am speaking with?”


“This is Man Line, what’s your preference?”


“Sorry, what?” John asked, not sure he’d heard that quite right.


“Man Line, which one of our blokes do you want tonight?”


John blinked once, and tried very hard not to laugh. “Hold on, just let me—” John said, and then hung up.


‘Well?’ the man from his video call asked.


‘Wrong number,’ John hastily signed back. And what a wrong number it was.


The man lifted one eyebrow, no hand gesture needed.


‘It’s adult,’ John tried again. ‘For. Adults.’


Any eloquence John had ever possessed at signing had apparently left him. In his defence, he’d never had to describe gay phone sex hotline with his hands before.


‘I’m an adult,’ the man replied. His hand escalated at the end with a flourish, while mouthing the word ‘adult’ to make it seem particularly unsavoury.


John paused, hands mid-way through attempting to tell him ‘No’.


The wanker. Literally. The man had called a video interpreter service while naked, and now John understood why—he expected John to interpret a phone sex hotline for him.


John’s hands quickly resumed signing ‘no, no, no, no’, with much more sternness than he had before. ‘I am not doing that.’


‘Why not?’ And the man was bloody pouting at him.


John forced himself to inhale and exhale, calming himself to explain exactly why he was not bloody doing that.


‘I am not. Interpreting a sex hotline. While you…’ John didn’t know any sign for ‘get off’ that wasn’t a bit lewd.


‘While I…?’ the man parroted back at him. His one daintily arched eyebrow nearly shouted that he was enjoying John’s discomfort, and was also likely taking the piss.


‘No,’ John insisted, again.


The man, a real piece of work, John was learning, had the gall to give him puppy dog eyes. John could see why that move might actually work for him, most of the time.


‘How else am I supposed to?’ he asked. His bottom lip continued to jut out, likely in an attempt to gain John’s sympathy. It mostly just reminded John of a spoiled child.


‘Not with me,’ John replied, passing the call off to the next interpreter down the line.


The man (and his cutting cheekbones) promptly disappeared from John’s screen. Which was a relief, really. John had taken this job so that he didn’t have to resort to sex work, thanks very much.


He leaned back in his chair, realising it had gotten late. Everyone from the afternoon shift had long since gone. The only other person currently working was—Molly. Shit.


Molly’s head was blocked from John’s view by her monitor, but he could still see her hands moving and hear the soft sounds of words being mouthed. John felt a bit bad for dumping that on her, but maybe the man would be better behaved with a woman. He wouldn’t actually try to get her to call the line again, would he?


John’s question didn’t remain unanswered for long, as Molly scooted out from behind her monitor a moment later.


“John, hi,” Molly said, sounding apologetic, which only made John feel worse. “I know you just passed this one off to me, but….”


“Yeah, sorry Molly, I shouldn’t have—”


“It’s fine,” Molly interrupted. “It’s only—he says I won’t do.”


John rubbed at his forehead as he mulled that one over. “You ‘won’t do?’"


“Yeah, he says it has to be you. He’s quite insistent. He keeps signing your name.”


If Molly hadn’t been looking right at him, John might have given into the urge to smack his head against the side of his desk. Why did it have to be him?


And, worse, why did he feel at all flattered that tall-dark-and-cheekbones thought he was fit enough to sign sex for him?


Attempting to be reasonable, John supposed that to a man interested in a gay sex hotline, a woman interpreter probably did ruin the effect.


“I wouldn’t mind taking the call, if he weren’t so insistent,” Molly said, catching onto his reluctance. “I mean—he is quite dishy, isn’t he?” she whispered with a shy smile.


“He’s gay,” John said, perhaps harshly, and without thinking. “Or at least, he might be. I don't know. It doesn't matter.”


“Oh,” Molly squeaked, effectively cut off at the knees.


“If he’s asking for me, Molly, you can send him back over,” John said gently. He was already kicking himself for what he had a feeling he was about to go through with.


“I’m reconnecting you now!” Molly said with false cheeriness, before sliding back behind her monitor.


True to her word, the dark-haired man reappeared on John’s screen.


‘John,’ the man signed immediately. ‘Good. Call the number. Again.’


John smiled tightly, and without humour. ‘You know that porn exists right? That you can watch. With your eyes.’


John noticed now that the man seemed to read his lips almost exclusively, barely even glancing at John’s hands when he signed. Even that pissed John off. What was the point of John searching his memory for the right gesture, when the man could apparently lip read perfectly?


‘I like the personal touch,’ the man replied, gaze drawing away from John’s mouth to meet his eyes with a sardonic expression. The man’s gesture for touch was a bit more sensual than strictly necessary.


By now, John could admit that he found the man attractive. Quite a bit, in fact.


He wasn’t even traditionally good-looking, but there was something about the man—his attitude, appearance, and evident cleverness, John’s mind helpfully provided—that made him incredibly appealing, and hard to say no to.


Which was likely why John called the number, for the second time, and got a similar greeting.


“Man Line, who do you fancy this evening?”


“Hi, I’m calling from a video relay service. I’m a sign interpreter for someone else on the call,” John said, managing to spout off his usual script.


The man on the video call rolled his eyes at him, and the sex line operator likely did as well.


“Oh, right just calling for a friend, like I’ve never heard that before. Listen mate, it doesn’t matter to me. Just let me know who you’d like.”


“Well. What have you got?” John asked. Presumably hearing some options before picking was the done thing. His nude friend on the video call, currently watching John like a hawk, certainly wasn’t offering any suggestions.


“We got loads, whatever you want. Listing ‘em will take ages, and besides, you sound like you’d like a twink and a blow, wouldn’t you mate?”


Christ. He was already on the phone with two twinks, as far as he could tell. Surely that was more than enough.


“As I’ve already explained,” John started, feeling the beginning of a headache coming on, “I’m a sign interpreter for the deaf. So it’s not for me.”


“Still a bit shy, I understand. Don’t worry, I know just the one for you. If you have any particular requests, now’s your chance.”


“Particular requests...?” John looked back to the man on his screen, who had returned to tapping his fingers against the side of his face in agitation.


The man raised his eyebrows as if it say ‘well?’, but didn’t provide any further input.


“You know, particulars. Blow job, rim job, facials, deepthroat, double penetration, triple penetration, Greek -”


“Uh, no!” John interrupted, “no requests, thanks.” Triple? Jesus.


John’s attention was drawn back to his computer screen where his delightful client was now snapping his fingers at him.


‘What were the options?’ the man signed, apparently now interested in being an active participant in the proceedings.


John, thinking about that list, made an executive decision. ‘Twinks,’ he mouthed, definitely not knowing how to sign it.


‘And...’ John sighed and, lifting his fist to his mouth, did a half-hearted jerking motion while poking his tongue against the side of his cheek.


The man’s eyebrows shot all the way up to his hairline at that, and then quickly lowered into a look of intense suspicion.


‘That was it?’ he asked.


‘That’s it.’


‘What about…?’ and the man began to sign what John was well aware meant cock.


Except—hmm—a very well endowed one.


Now it was John’s turn to raise his brows, a small smirk growing across his face before he could stop himself. If the man had intended for that comment to annoy John, he was way off the mark, and had shown his hand a bit in the process.


Big dicks, was it? That was rather… Well. John could work with that.


‘Nope, that was it,’ John mouthed regardless, with a single shake of his head.


The man didn’t need to sign anything else to communicate that he doubted John’s list very much, but simply shrugged his sheet-clad shoulders.


‘Fine. Get on with it. And I hope you’ll put more effort into your interpreting when we’re actually at it.’


John glowered. “Prick,” he said aloud, before he could stop himself. A bit unprofessional that, but it was worth it to see the man’s lips purse in surprise. His professionalism was about to go out the window anyway, might as well go the full nine yards.


“Look do you want to get passed along or what?” the hotline operator cut in. John had almost forgotten he was on the line with someone else.


“Yeah, yes,” John replied. “Put us through.”


John only had to wait a few seconds before he was connected with the actual hotline worker, who left no doubt in John’s mind as to whether he was a twink.  


“Hi, this is John calling from—” John barely had the time to say, before a syrupy, breathless voice was asking if he liked being called ‘daddy’.


“Uh—no, listen. Backing up, I am a sign interpreter. I have a caller on the line who uses sign language, and I’ll be interpreting the call for both of you tonight. So if you can keep it fairly straightforward, it’d be appreciated.”


“As in, he can’t hear me?”


“Yes,” John confirmed. “I can hear you, but he can’t.”


“O-oh, all right. And what does he look like then, your deaf man?” the voice cooed at him.


With this kind of subtle performance, it was no wonder John had never tried this for himself. The bloke was probably at home eating beans out of the can while faking orgasms for a few pounds a minute.


John eyed the man on his screen, thinking of how to best describe him to a professional dirty talker. “Well, he’s got brown, almost black, curly hair. Sort of blue eyes. A bit posh. Looks tall.”


Thank God John had noticed the man could read lips, otherwise he might have really embarrassed himself. The man was smirking at him regardless, and John leveled a glare back. The man knew he was being described by John, and obviously enjoyed it.


He probably liked being the center of attention. Maybe even got a bit turned on by it. John thought about giving the ‘Man Line’ worker that hot tip, but kept it to himself.


“Mmm, go on. What’s his mouth like? Is it filthy? Does he want me to suck him off, or is he more the type that likes to choke on a cock down his throat?”


“It’s a—full mouth, I’d say,” John answered, overlooking the crass question, and examining the man’s lips. God, they looked like they were made for sex. The pouty bottom lip, and the curved top lip that was just begging to be—


And the man was definitely grinning from ear to ear at him now, like the cat that got the cream. John averted his eyes, annoyed.


‘Want to… do it, or have it done to you?’ John asked, as politely as possible.


‘Surprise me,’ the man replied easily as he leaned back in his chair, tilting the screen up as he went back.


Right. That was no help.


Those lips were certainly perfect for... giving, but the hotline worker couldn’t see that for himself anyway. “Receive I think,” John said, and shortly after regretted it.


“Mmm, well for starters I’d get down on my knees in front of you, you’d like to see that hmm? And then I’m gonna suck you down big boy, get you nice and wet, all the way, till I’m gagging on it—”


“Yeah, all right, give me a minute,” John said, as the hotline worker was still rattling off lewd acts. “Not much for foreplay are you?” John added, a bit annoyed. He got paid for that rubbish?


“You didn’t say nothing about foreplay. Want me to start again?”


“No, no, just—let me catch him up.”


John raised his hands, about to narrate the marathon of filth that he’d just been plagued with, but paused.


John liked the main act just as much as any red-blooded man, but you didn’t just go straight for the cock without any lead in. There hadn’t even been any kissing. As an excellent kisser, if he did say so himself, John had never been one to skip that step, even if it was just a quickie in the gents.


He wondered if tall-dark-and-cheekbones would mind some kissing, or if this was just how gay men who called sex hotlines preferred it.


The owner of the cheekbones in question was currently flapping his hands. When John focussed on him again, he began to signal, ‘Well, get on with it!’


John took a fortifying breath, before deciding if he was going to be doing this, he’d be doing it right.


‘You met at a pub,’ John began, feeling the need to at least set the stage, for God’s sake. ‘And you asked him back to your place.’


‘Did I?’ the man cut in. John ignored him.


The man was sitting with his laptop placed on a desk, in what appeared to be his living room. John worked with the visual.


‘He’s sitting on your desk in front of you, and leans in for a kiss,’ John ad-libbed. With the view he had in front him, it wasn’t much of a stretch for John’s imagination to put himself in that exact position. At John’s height, if he was leaning against the edge of the desk, that mouth would be in easy reach.


The man’s pale eyes narrowed in on his mouth, where he was still forming the word and sign for 'kiss'.  


‘Oddly romantic,’ the man signed, ‘but do continue.’


John ignored him, again.  


‘First, your lips,’ John said, left hand motioning around his own mouth. ‘Just light presses at first, to give you a taste. And then when you want more, deeper kisses, with just a hint of tongue.’


‘After, he’d draw back, and place more along the edge of your jaw.’


John’s fingers trailed along his own jawline, tilting his head to the side to illustrate.


The man mimicked the motion, angling his head to be a mirror image of John’s. John suspected it was done unconsciously.


He almost crowed in success; he had him.


‘Another one, by your ear, and then a quick nip at your earlobe. Then, down your neck, to your collarbone,’ John signed, gesturing more than he spoke as he showed all the areas he’d have loved to press his mouth against.


The man’s eyes grew heavy-lidded, fingers following John’s along his own neck.


John paused, licking the corner of his lip.  


The man’s hands now stilled, one pressed against his neck where John had shown he would kiss, and the other clasping the edge of his sheet, holding it up against his shoulder. In the poor quality of the video call window, John could just make out his eyes darkening, pupils expanding.


No sarcastic remarks were forthcoming. And John planned to keep it that way.


“Uh, mate, you still there?” the bloke from the hotline asked. John had completely forgotten about him. “Also, I didn’t say any of that.”


John hadn’t realised he’d been speaking anything out loud, which prompted him to twist in his chair to look around the office. Luckily, it was just him. Even Molly had taken off.


“Keep going then,” John said into his headset, choosing his words. He didn’t particularly want the man he was dirty hand signing at to realise how much artistic license he was taking.


“Um, actually, shit—you mind if I put you on hold for a minute? My mum’s yelling for me.”


Jesus, John thought. The kid still lived with his mum—thank God he didn’t have to hear anything else sexual from him.


“Yeah, go ahead,” John said. It was vague enough to encourage the hotline worker to leave, while still pretending they were continuing their roleplay to the man on the video call.  


“Thanks, keep him talking yeah? You’re a natural, and it’s easy enough. I’ll just be a minute.”


John waited for the kid to leave, and then, as discreetly as possible, hung up on the sex hotline that he had not at any point interpreted.


After that stirring pep talk, John didn’t waste any time getting back into the swing of things.


‘Where was I? Right, I think I was kissing the hollow of your throat, and breathing you in, gorgeous.’


The man tipped his head further back, as if allowing John better access, and sighed. While still holding the sheet in one of his hands, the other slipped down below John’s line of sight.


John had switched pronouns, now suggesting it was himself performing the acts, but the man on the video call didn’t seem to notice or care. Going by that soft sigh, he loved the attention, and more specifically the praise.


The man hadn’t made any sounds before, not even hums or scoffs. John found himself eager to hear what else could be drawn out of him.


And the man’s hand disappearing below belt-level made that seem like a very real possibility. ‘Are you touching yourself?’ John mouthed.


The man’s eyes went wide, round like saucers. Despite acting like he’d been caught in the act, the man shook his head just slightly.


The snarky, demanding arse from earlier was entirely gone, and John was growing very fond of who was left in his absence.


‘What’s the point?’ John mouthed again, ‘if you’re not touching yourself?’


The man’s quick inhale sounded more like a gasp than a breath.


John expected the man’s hand below his waist to finally begin to move. But, the man surprised him again.


Instead of reaching for his lap, the hand visible to John drifted beneath the white sheet covering his torso, and touched his own chest. It was a light touch, the fingers of his hand just skimming across the top of his pectoral muscle. The movement pulled his sheet down, revealing more skin to John’s now very attentive gaze.


Well….John had suggested he touch himself.


‘Yeah, all right. Just like that,’ John said, going along. He was admittedly intrigued by the sight of the man’s hand disappearing beneath the cloth. ‘After kissing down your throat, I’d move on to your chest.’


While the man’s hand continued its path beneath the sheet, his eyes watched John in open curiosity, silently asking for new direction.


‘And then,’ John said, and paused, swallowing. His throat was dry, even though he was barely speaking above a whisper. ‘I’d touch your…’


John couldn’t quite bring himself to even mouth the word, and settled for motioning to his own nipple with one finger.


Which may have been a mistake.


The man’s earlier bluster returned at the first sign of hesitation, like a shark smelling blood in the water. His lips twitched upwards, before beginning to slowly move his hand in a circular motion beneath his sheet.


‘Like that?’ he mouthed back.


It was annoyingly glib, and entirely over-confident. John was hooked.


‘Show me,’ John said. He was over the tantalising cover that the sheet provided.


The man’s left hand reappeared to draw the sheet down past his right shoulder. His other hand continued to touch his nipple, now pebbled from the attention.


‘Good,’ John signed, licking the corner of his lip. ‘Now, get it nice and wet for me.’


The man lifted his hand, and with his eyes never straying from John’s, pushed one long finger into his gorgeous mouth.


The air in John’s lungs left in one fast exhale. That certainly wasn’t a visual he would be forgetting any time soon.


“You’re a very bad man,” John murmured, intending it to be under his breath. The man still saw his lips move, judging by the smirk around his finger, currently being sucked.


John cleared his throat.


‘Back to your chest. Rub your finger against it. Imagine that’s my tongue, flicking—lightly!—’ John corrected, when the man rubbed a little too hard right off the bat, but quickly eased off.


‘Better, yeah. Now my fingers again. Pinching at it, till it’s nice and pink.’


The man followed the directions perfectly, the image of obedience now that he was getting exactly what he wanted. John could hear his panting breaths as the man rolled and rubbed his own nipple, his lower lip held between his teeth. He was watching John with hooded eyes, still cracked open, as if reluctant to lose sight of John’s signs and moving lips.


‘The other one now as well,’ John suggested.


When the man moved to follow the instruction, his sheet slid off the other shoulder. The left nipple was now receiving the same attention, in synch with the other, the man’s mouth falling open.


‘Good, that’s right. That’s a pretty picture.’ John’s mouth was apparently operating without his brain. In his defence, he doubted anyone could have kept their head under the current circumstances.   


‘Maybe I’ll leave you like this,’ John continued, embracing his new lobotomized existence. ‘Just playing with them. See how long it takes you to beg.’


After watching John mouth those words, the man’s lips parted even further. An unbelievably low moan filled the silence, originating from somewhere deep in the man’s chest. His blue eyes looked pitch black on John’s computer screen.


Almost immediately, the man flushed. His hands dropped away from his chest as if burned.


‘I don’t beg,’ he was quick to sign, his gestures less steady than they had been earlier.


‘Oh?’ John replied, thinking of that moan he’d just heard. With the swift return of the man’s pride, it seemed John would have to be very good if he wanted to hear it again.


“No begging, apparently,” John said into his headset, maintaining the farce.


‘Wasn’t my only option a blowjob from a twink?’ the man asked. ‘Not sure how begging factors in.’


John wasn’t sure how someone with wet, pink nipples on display and a bed sheet pooled around his waist could come across as haughty, but this man accomplished it with ease.


‘You never mentioned any requests,’ John reminded him.


‘If I had, do you think begging for something I’m already paying for would be one of them?’


John’s gut told him yes.


‘I think…that being made to wait for something might do you good,’ John hedged. ‘Might even make you less of a brat.’


The man’s face scrunched up in what John assumed was distaste, predictably affronted. The action reminded John of a bird ruffling its feathers.


‘A brat,’ the man repeated. ‘And what would the man on the phone do with a brat, I wonder?’


There was no man on the phone aside from John, but John had appearances to keep up.


“Sorry to interrupt the good work you’ve been doing, but my client wanted to know what you might do with a demanding, bratty man who didn’t have any manners?” John asked, the tongue in cheek question quite possibly giving him away. John listened to the silence intently.


John took a stab at what the man really wanted to be told. He knew the type.


‘He says,’ John finally signed, ‘that he’d give you a nice spanking.’


The man’s expression of exaggerated distaste remained unchanged.


‘How original. And how unfortunate that spanking wasn’t one of the listed options.’


‘He says it’s a damn shame,’ John replied, motioning to his headset. ‘He’s sure it’s a lovely arse, perfect for a good, hard spanking.’


‘Lovely?’ the man repeated, of course focussing on the compliment.


“Yes, yes,” John grumbled. “I’m sure it’s an excellent arse.” His ego was inflated about everything, apparently.


The man’s mouth did something odd in response.


‘Want to find out?’ he signed.


John found he was more shocked by the man genuinely smiling at him for perhaps the first time in their conversation than he was by the question itself, which was absolutely the wrong way around.


They reviewed these calls for quality, a small voice reminded him. He could lose his job for this. Interpreting sex talk for a caller and someone else was fine, but egging the client on till they showed you their arse would be considered crossing a line. Definitely grounds for firing a shoddy sign interpreter. Everything about this was, in a way, bad.


So John answered, without hesitation, ‘It’s the least you could do, considering.’


The man stood before John had even finished signing. While holding the sheet around his waist, he turned around and kneeled on the chair’s seat with one knee, while the other leg remained outstretched, firmly planted on the ground.


Once positioned, he made sure to look back over his shoulder at John. Only when he’d confirmed that he had John’s undivided attention did he lift the edge of the sheet up his leg.


The white sheet continued its journey up the man’s calf, and then the back of his thigh.


The man held the end of the sheet there, just under the curve of his arse. For a moment, it seemed he might not actually go further, ending the entire production as just a tease.


The man’s eyes dropped from John’s as his chin tucked in towards the side of his neck. With the demure look firmly in place, the man flashed the sheet upwards impossibly quick. John only caught sight of one pale cheek—briefly—before the sheet dropped back down.


The man twisted around to face him again. ‘You can close your mouth now, John.’


John’s jaw had become a bit unhinged, and returned to its normal position with a click.


Dirty talk, John remembered. This was meant to be him interpreting dirty talk.


‘Suddenly shy, are we?’ John asked, just as the man was pulling the sheet back down his legs, and higher over his abdomen.


‘You can stay covered up if you prefer, but the man on the phone says he wants to...’ John trailed off, swallowing. He took a moment, and then using both hands, mimed a spreading motion.


The top of the sheet dropped from the man’s hands. They fluttered uselessly in front him, signing nothing that John could make out. And then, to John’s delight, his cheeks burned red.


‘Not that I wouldn’t first give you a spank,’ John clarified, getting a certain amount of satisfaction from his hand gesture for it. ‘I’d give your bum a little smack, to get you warmed up. But after, I’d spread you wide open, and get a nice long look. You’d like that wouldn’t you? Being looked at, being the centre of my attention?’


The man appeared to be frozen, unsure of which way to go. He was fully facing John, but still with one knee on the chair. The position naturally drew John’s eye to the unmistakable bulge that was currently pushing the sheet out around his groin. John would have bet good money there was a bit of wet spot there, which would only grow if the man left the sheet on.


‘Tilt your laptop screen down, and then straddle the chair, facing the other way.’


‘Why?’ the man volleyed back, petulant.


‘Because I’m going to make you feel very, very good, aren’t I?’


The laptop was tilted as directed with violence, and the man turned back around, easing himself onto the chair seat, legs splayed on either side of it.


His neck twisted, and John waited for the man’s eyes to settle on his lips.


‘Reach back, and spread them, like I said I would.’  


With shaking hands, the instruction was followed, pulling on skin beneath the sheet. Pulling, and releasing, and flexing.


‘That’s right. Again, and again. Till you’re desperate for it. Desperate for my big fat cock.’


The man groaned, loud and long, and slid further along the chair. With his arse not in view of the camera, John could only see his back muscles moving as his glutes started to flex.


There was a back rest, a pillow John realised, that was now level with the man’s groin. John watched on, knowing now that the man must have been rutting against it, in little short bursts. His head twisted back again to look at John, mouth hanging open as he took in gasping breaths of air.


‘Don’t look away from me,’ John signed once the man could see him, and the man obeyed, continuing to crane his neck backwards in a position that couldn’t possibly be comfortable.


John felt ownership of it all now. It was his dirty talk that had gotten them this far, and when the man came, it would be because John had told him to—it would be because of him.


John was rock hard in his trousers, and he didn’t even know for how long. It was making its presence known now however, pressing uncomfortably against his zip.


The man’s hips were still rocking, panting breaths loud through John’s speakers.


The man still had the wherewithal to mouth, ‘Touch yourself,’ glibly repeating John’s earlier suggestion.


‘I’m at work,’ John replied, watching the man’s thrusts, and wishing more than anything in the world that he wasn’t.


‘And hard at it, aren’t you?’


John almost laughed, but it died on his lips when all the blood in his body rushed south. With a particularly vigorous thrust, the man’s sheet had fallen off his body.


John could see the dimples in his lower back, just above his now presumably nude arse.


With nothing covering his prick any longer, John could see the man grabbing hold of the small pillow, holding it closer to his front as he resumed his humping. Three short gasps, followed by one mewl, and then another, told John all he needed to know about how long that would last.


Oh, God.


John’s hands rushed to sign, ‘Come now, yeah, come for me—’


With three final circular movements of his hips, the man’s whole body stilled, and then shook. In a hoarse, deep voice that sounded punched from his lungs, the man shouted, “John!”


It had been slurred, and took John a moment to process, but the man had without a doubt just yelled his name. It was the first word John had heard him speak, and it had clearly not been intentional, seemingly forced out by the strength of his orgasm.


John felt ragged and breathless, as if he’d been the one shouting. His erection was nearly painful, but it would still have to be ignored—for now.


With his heaving back still turned to John, the man reached down to the floor, and the sheet was tugged back on. Inch by inch, all that lovely skin was covered, till the man saw fit to turn around and sit properly in the chair.


He was facing John again, cheeks flushed from exertion, but otherwise his controlled expression was quickly returning. John thought about the come drying on the man’s stomach, and how soon it would start sticking to the sheet.


John hadn’t even wanted to do this, at the outset, he reminded himself.


It might have been wishful thinking, but as the man raised his hands to speak, John thought he seemed reluctant to end the call as well.


‘Give my thanks to the hotline worker,’ the man signed. His eyes were on John, but still unfocused.


‘Right, yeah.’ 


“Ta, bye for now,” John said out loud into his headset, and pretended to hang up on the call.


The man was leaning back in his chair, watching John with a mischievous look.


‘He did a very good job,’ he signed, lazily, fingers slow.


‘He did, didn’t he?’ John returned. He felt his lips tilting up at the corners.


Their eyes met, and John burst into laughter. The man began laughing with him almost immediately, both unable to control themselves once they had seen that the other knew. The man had probably known the dirty talk was John’s original material the entire time, the perceptive prick.


‘You knew?’ John confirmed.


‘Oh yes,’ the man replied, still giggling.


The sound of the man’s laughter was lovely, even though it was barely audible, mostly seen rather than heard through the shaking of his shoulders. His chin dipped down from the force of it, forming creases along his neck.


It only occurred to John once his giggling had died down that he should probably be mortified. He’d said all those things, and worse, had meant them. John hadn’t been the one with his arse on display, but he still felt exposed, opened up under that piercing stare. Stranger still, he found he didn’t mind.  


John’s fingers twitched, just as the man lifted his wrists. They both stopped, and then urged the other to continue. John laughed once, quick, when they couldn’t decide who should start. The man smiled in return.


Eventually, John went first. ‘I suppose that’s it. Unless... is there anything else I can do for you today?’ In his awkwardness, John fell back on his video relay script.


‘Oh, I don’t think I could go again for at least another few hours,’ the man replied with a wink, shocking another laugh out of John.


The man nearly preened, grinning back at him.


John wet his lips, not knowing what else to say, but reluctant to end the call. The thought of never seeing each other again at once felt wrong.


John wondered if the man was thinking the same just as his eyes darted to the side, and then down. The man’s lower lip drew into his mouth for a moment as if in indecision, before he signed, ‘The name is Sherlock Holmes.’


‘Sherlock,’ John signed back, slowly, making sure he’d got that right. The man beamed, and nodded.


‘And the address is 221B Baker Street,’ Sherlock—apparently—concluded. On that note, Sherlock’s hand reached out towards his laptop, and by extension John, as he abruptly ended the call.


John sat for a moment longer after it ended, stunned.


The man had just given John his name, and his home address. After having phone sex with him.


What an absolute nutter.


John was going to have to pay him a visit to let him know—just as soon as he was done having a quick wank in the gents, and writing his letter of resignation to the video relay service.


 One month later….



“Thank God for you, John Watson,” Detective Inspector Lestrade proclaimed for the entire Yard to hear, or at least those currently present at the crime scene.   


“And what have I done now?” John asked. While he had estimated the time of death for a body not two feet from them, Lestrade did have people hired to perform that assessment.


“For everything,” Lestrade responded, “but mostly for keeping him under wraps.”


Lestrade was referring to the dark, curly-haired head currently bobbing around the corpse.


“Also the interpreting. God knows he used to solve a case and I’d get one text with a name and nothing else. It’s good to get an explanation every now and then.”


As it had turned out, John’s interpreter skills were rather useful for a deaf man who worked as a ‘consulting detective’, an occupation Sherlock had made up. Sherlock had even created an unique sign for it as John had learned when he first visited him at Baker Street, which involved an excessive amount of wrist twirls.


“You’re welcome of course,” John replied to Lestrade, smiling politely. “Though I don’t really do much actual signing, seeing as he never has any interest in what anyone else says.”


Lestrade’s laugh in response was resigned. “Don’t I know it.”


“But I’d be happy to try to do more,” John offered, an idea occurring to him.  


Sherlock chose this moment to stand from his crouched position, twirling to face the two men.


A smile alighted his face, directed entirely at John. John found his boyish energy was infectious. Sherlock was always particularly endearing after he solved a case.


‘Tell Lestrade, if the ladder is green, it’s the brother.’ His hands moved faster than the eye could readily follow, but John had grown used to his speed, and the signs Sherlock elected to leave out.  


John nodded, and conveyed the message to Lestrade.


“Let him know we appreciate it,” Lestrade replied. “I know he can read lips, but I can never tell what he gets. Especially when he walks away before I’m done talking.”


“I’ll tell him now,” John replied, a wicked smiled forming.


Sherlock eyed him quizzically, but still looked expectant for the forthcoming praise, which he had already gathered from reading Lestrade’s lips.


Little did he know, John wasn’t about to interpret any of that.  


‘You’re brilliant, which you already know. Something you don’t know however, is that when I get you home-’ John paused, waiting for Sherlock’s eyes to widen, and for Lestrade to be looking away from his hands. ‘I’m going to lick you wide open in our living room, and leave you on the edge for ages.’


Sherlock’s eyelids blinked opened and closed, his cheeks flushed pink. His hands fluttered briefly in front of him, before dropping to his sides.


“He looks a bit peaky, doesn’t he?” Lestrade noted, surprise evident. “I didn’t know he cared.”


“Oh,” John said, “he’s very touched.”


John was particularly grateful at that moment that Lestrade didn’t know a bit of sign language.


Especially when, after finally collecting himself, Sherlock simply replied: ‘I’m certainly about to be.’