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The Vibe

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From the previous chapter:

He heard a shuffle behind him and went to turn around, about to ask Sarah if she was ready for dinner. He stopped in his tracks when a voice an octave deeper than his date’s registered in his ears. A voice with a slight Irish lilt. The store had been closed for hours and it was obvious Sherlock was nowhere in sight. There was no way he was there for purposes less than nefarious.

Using the reflexes ingrained from his stint in the army, he brushed his fingers against the distress alarm and stood slowly from his crouch.

“Why is he so fascinated with you, Doctor Watson? Medium level intelligence, generic looks.” John raised his hands in surrender and slowly started to turn to face him, not wanting to make any sudden moves. “And you’re such a predictable little puppy, still working late into the night to please your master. Of course I was going to find you here. You make things too easy.”

When John had finally made his 180-degree turn, he found himself face to face with Jim Moriarty.

And staring right down the barrel of a gun.

NEXT CHAPTER…

Fortunately, John was no stranger to violent confrontation. Unfortunately, he was also no stranger to being shot, and his military trained mind was at war with his post-traumatic stress. He knew what he had to do; the security company should have someone on the scene within ten minutes of him activating the alarm, so he needed to delay Jim for as long as possible.

“I have no idea what Sherlock finds interesting about me,” John started, voice calm. “But he’s keeping me around for some reason. I haven’t questioned it so I cannot provide you with a response.”

“He told me two years ago that he didn’t do relationships, that he never saw the same person twice. Yet with you, he breaks all of his own rules. You are nowhere near his level of intelligence, you couldn’t challenge him. He’ll grow bored of you in no time.”

John’s jaw clenched. Moriarty was hitting a nerve, something he was no doubt aware of. It was exactly everything John had been telling himself as to why he shouldn’t even try for a relationship with Sherlock, because what did he have to offer London’s most easily bored man?

Jim’s facial expression slackened. “Oh, the puppy is aware of his short comings. Could it be there’s already trouble in paradise?”

John kept his jaw tight and his mouth shut. The man liked to hear his own voice more than Sherlock did, and the longer he kept him talking the longer John had to scheme an escape without getting shot in the process. Judging by the wild look in Jim’s eyes, any shot discharged from that firearm would be fatal. But even if it didn’t kill him, John honestly didn’t know if he had the strength to recover from a wound like that again.

“You don’t know anything about me. You don’t know anything about us.”

“On the contrary. I know you’re an invalided army doctor who served in Afghanistan. Ambushed and shot in the left shoulder and went through four months of counselling to heal your PTSD and psychosomatic limp. You haven’t been back to see the lovely Doctor Ella since you commenced working here. Is it because you found her tedious, after encountering the great minds of the Holmes brothers?”

No wonder the man was infatuated with Sherlock, their methods of deduction were eerily similar.

“How did you know all of that?”

“One has their ways.” Jim smirked. “Imagine Sherlock and I together. We’d be unstoppable.”

John wanted to wipe the smile off Jim’s smug face. The thought of he and Sherlock together – the fact that they had been, once upon a time – caused John’s fist to clench. His blood pressure was increasing.

“Sherlock’s more intelligent than you could ever be.” He was probably playing with fire, but he couldn’t help himself. He was tired of people making assumptions about Sherlock, tired of hiding his feelings for the man. And if these were to be his last moments, he was not giving Jim-bloody-Moriarty the satisfaction of not biting back. “You think he’d become bored of me? At least I don’t think I could possibly be as smart as him. He must laugh at you constantly, thinking you’d ever be up to par with him. He’d cast you aside in five minutes. In fact, isn’t that exactly what he did?”

Moriarty’s hand struck out and John braced himself for the bullet that was on its way. But Jim obviously wasn’t through playing yet, and struck him across the temple with the gun instead. The force of the blow knocked him backwards, off his feet and narrowly missing smacking his head on the counter. As his back hit the floor, John felt his brain reverberate in his skull and the sting of the cut where the gun had sliced him open.

It took a few minutes to collect his thoughts, Jim standing over him and still sprouting his monologue. John was torn, so he played at being unconscious while deciding his next move. Did he try to kick Jim’s feet out from under him? Try to take him by surprise and knock the gun out of his hand? John was fairly certain he could overpower Jim in hand-to-hand combat, but while Jim had the firearm, John was at a severe disadvantage.

Before he could make his move, John heard a whoosh of breath coming from Jim and slitted his eyes open to find he was no longer standing over him.

Jim’s laugh could only be called maniacal. “Oh look, the knight in shining armour. Just in the nick of time.”

Sherlock gave him a shove.

“What have you done to John?” Sherlock demanded, voice deep and aggressive.

“It’s so pathetic,” Jim cooed, throwing a punch with the hand not holding the gun. Sherlock was able to block it. “Look at you, resorting to violence. He’s dumbed you down, Sherlock. You should have stuck with me. We’d be unstoppable.”

“Nobody hurts John!” Sherlock dove towards Jim.

The ensuing scuffle involved punches and grunts, each man wrestling the other, trying to get the upper hand, neither of the men noticing that John was awake and ready to intervene.

Sherlock managed to knock the gun away, but his look of satisfaction disappeared when Moriarty flipped them over and grabbed around Sherlock’s neck with both hands.

“It wasn’t supposed to come to this,” Jim said sadly, legs straddling Sherlock. “You were supposed to quit this town with me. Come abroad. Take down the world, piece by piece.”

Sherlock’s gasps for breath spurred John into action. He sat up, dove for the gun, and called out “Sherlock!” in warning. Sherlock’s eyes caught John’s, relief flickering through them.

John raised the gun, levelled it at what he could see of Moriarty’s upper thigh, and fired.

Jim’s cries drowned out Sherlock’s heavy breaths as hands were no long closed in on his throat.

“You shot me!”

“No shit,” John replied. He kept the gun trained on Jim while Sherlock ran to get five different types of handcuffs and restraints from the shelves. He wasn’t taking any chances.

“Careful!” Jim exclaimed, pain breaking through, as Sherlock roughly slid him along the floor to a pillar and tied him up with ropes, stocks and handcuffs. Once he was properly secured, John handed the gun over and ran to get the medical kit. He cut through Jim’s trousers and took no care whatsoever in applying gauze to the gunshot wound and wrapping it with a bandage. “Ow, ow, ow!”

“Funnily enough, not feeling very sympathetic right now,” John said, pressing harder against the wound.

Sherlock looked across at him as he was putting the supplies away. “You’re hurt.”

With some of the adrenaline now dissipated, John could once again feel the cut at his temple and touched a fingertip to it. “It’s fine, superficial.”

Sherlock closed the distance between them and grabbed either side of John’s face, taking a closer look.

“He made you bleed.”

“He made me bleed more!” Moriarty said in between his groaning. “My leg is fucking killing me!”

They both ignored him.

“John,” Sherlock said reverently, still holding onto his face. “When I saw you laying there, I—“

“Me too,” John replied, mirroring Sherlock’s actions and running his fingertips along the finger marks on his neck. “Sherlock, I. I don’t—“

Sherlock leaned forward and crushed his lips to John’s. It was just like the kiss from earlier in the week, but more desperate, more needy, and neither of them wasted time devouring the other.

“This was not how it was supposed to go!”

Moriarty’s cries and the sound of approaching sirens went unnoticed by the two men who continued to partake in each other. John’s lips moved from Sherlock’s and down to his neck, kissing at the marks made at the hands of Jim, until Sherlock grabbed his face again to bring their mouths together.

Sherlock’s mouth was hot and John’s tongue greedy, mapping every tooth, every ridge, playing with Sherlock’s own tongue. He used a hand to tug him closer, to feel Sherlock’s body against his own. Blood was running down his face and Jim was still moaning about his leg, but all John could concentrate on was Sherlock’s warmth, their hearts beating against each other’s. Proof of life.

They only separated when the front door was barged open. A team of London’s finest surrounded them, guns drawn, and, after a well-timed insult, Sherlock let them know who the actual criminal was.

Jim’s face had gone considerably paler since John had patched him up, and he didn’t put up much of a fight with police. One of the officers moved outside to call the paramedics in.

“You should get the medics to look at the cut on your face,” Sherlock said.

John shook his head. “I’ll be okay.”

“How about Sarah?”

His eyes widened. “Oh God, Sarah!”

He rushed toward the bathrooms but found Sarah looking on from the office door. She closed the distance and embraced him.

“Are you okay?” John asked.

“I’m fine,” she said, letting go of him. “Shaken, but fine. I called the police.”

“He didn’t get to you before me? He didn’t hurt you?”

“I don’t think he knew I was here. John, I thought he was going to--”

“He didn’t. It’s okay,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair.

“Thank God Sherlock arrived when he did.”

John couldn’t agree with that statement more.

“I texted my sister. She’s going to come get me.”

“Are you sure? I could—“

Sarah held up a hand. “I think I’ve had enough excitement for one night.”

It was understandable.

“I’m so sorry you’re involved in this, but the police will want to speak with you and get a statement.”

“Of course.” She nodded, surveying the scene before them; police, paramedics, Sherlock. “He’s something else, isn’t he?”

John gave a wry smile, not needing to ask who she was referring to. “You could describe him as that.”

“He must care about you a great deal,” she said softly, and John realised what she must have seen.

“Sarah, I—“

She held a finger to his lips. “He risked his own life to save yours. Tell me he would do that for anyone else?”

John thought briefly of Mycroft and Mrs Hudson, and knew he was in illustrious company. There wouldn’t be many.

“I didn’t have to see the force with which he kissed you to know how you each feel.” John went to apologise, but again she stopped him. “We weren’t really going anywhere, it’s okay. Take me to the police and then go be with Sherlock.”

John leaned forward and kissed her cheek. “Tell me we’ll still be friends?”

“We haven’t really been anything else. But give me a few days.”

***

“Is she okay?” Sherlock’s tone was cold, lacking the emotion he had shown not even five minutes before.

“Shaken, but she’ll be fine. She’s tough. Her sister is coming to pick her up.”

Sherlock gave him a considering look. “You’re not going to escort her home?”

He shook his head, trying, and failing, to keep the emotion out of his voice. “I need to be here with you.”

Sherlock’s shoulders dropped and he curled an arm around him, dropping a kiss to his unscarred temple. John found himself hanging onto him, trying to get as close as possible.

It was after midnight by the time they’d been checked over by the paramedics, dealt with the store security and been interviewed by the police. Luckily, CCTV caught most of the incident, with Sherlock, John and Sarah able to fill in the blanks. Mycroft had shown up during the night, and after the customary brotherly tete-a-tete, informed them that he had organised for people to come in the next day to repair any damage and fix the store up for reopening.

The cab ride home was quiet. Sherlock kept his hand on John’s thigh while John stayed snuggled into his side. The adrenaline had worn off but there was a thrum beneath his skin.

John had feared for his life more that evening than he ever had in the deserts of Afghanistan. Feared for the lives of others more than he ever feared for his comrades. But they were there. They were alive. And it felt like it was time to take chances. To take what was nearly taken from him.

The second the flat door shut behind them, Sherlock shoved him against it, pressing his body against John’s and kissing him with nothing short of determination. John surrendered to it as Sherlock’s hands skimmed beneath John’s shirt, touching skin, thumbs running over his chest. John dug under Sherlock’s skin-tight t-shirt, finding warm flesh and held him closer, not wanting to let go.

He needed this. He needed to feel close to Sherlock. He needed to feel alive.

“Sherlock,” John said in a breath between kisses. “Take me to bed.”

Sherlock ripped his head back, eyes as shiny as his lips. He looked as conflicted as he did aroused.

“John—“

“I know,” John nodded. Sherlock’s position hadn’t changed. Sherlock didn’t do relationships. But John was going into this with his eyes wide open and by God did he want this. No more denial. “I need you. Do you need me?”

Sherlock answered by pressing his lips harder against John’s, tongue sweeping and caressing while his hands worked up John’s jumper, only breaking to lift it over his head.

“Do I need you?” Sherlock said as he raised his own t-shirt over his head and John pulled at the buttons of the shirt he was wearing under his jumper, revealing smooth skin. “Are you normally this stupid or did Jim destroy some brain cells?”

John trailed his hand down to Sherlock’s crotch and gave it a squeeze. “Big words from someone whose blood flow is concentrated on one area.”

They stumbled to Sherlock’s room where John proceeded to throw Sherlock on the mattress and climbed on top of him, continuing to kiss him at the pace set while he was pressed up against their front door.

Sherlock let him lead for a while, then flipped them over so it was John’s bare back against the world’s softest sheets. He hovered above him, dark curls falling against John’s forehead. Sherlock pulled at John’s lips, trying to slow the tempo, but John needed more and grabbed at his neck, trying to take over again. Sherlock pulled back.

“What’s the rush?” Sherlock said in a soft whisper against his ear.

What’s the rush? John thought. We could have died tonight!

Sherlock’s hand travelled over John’s scarred shoulder, and down to rest over his heart.

“I need to devour you,” Sherlock continued, with a calmness that belied the hardness John felt against his hip. “But I need to capture every piece that proves to me that you’re here. That you’re alive.”

With that, Sherlock’s head dropped until he’d captured John’s lips in a warm, languid kiss. John lost himself in it, trying to attune his breathing and heart rate to the pace that Sherlock was setting.

He was right, as usual. As feverish as John’s desire was, the need for them to take their time, to be as close as possible for as long as possible was what he needed most. Maybe what they both needed.

They took their time exploring; fingers, lips and tongue touching every ridge, every angle, every joint, until John thought he would be able to tell Sherlock’s body blindfolded. Until the need to be closer got too much.

“Come on,” he said, pulling Sherlock up from licking at his inner thighs. Sherlock leaned over him and kissed him on the lips, and John wrapped his legs around Sherlock’s waist and rocked. “I need you.”

Sherlock groaned in a way that John had never heard before, but wanted to hear again. He reached across into the top drawer beside his bed and took out a condom and lube.

“Can I?” Sherlock asked with something akin to reverence, and John nodded.

He closed his eyes and breathed through the breach of Sherlock’s fingers.

“You feel magnificent,” Sherlock said, touching him with expert precision, working him open in a way that felt intuitive. Like Sherlock was deducing him, but this time for reasons John could only classify as good.

If John thought Sherlock’s fingers felt amazing, that was nothing compared to his cock.

“Oh God, John,” Sherlock breathed and John’s legs locked around his waist once more. Their eyes held and John could see every hint of pleasure pass through as he slowly slid inside him.

“God, yes,” John agreed, rocking down to get more of Sherlock where he needed him most.

Eventually they got a rhythm going, John never taking his eyes off the man above him. Sherlock was equally staring like he couldn’t believe he had John in his bed. The only time their eyes strayed from the other was if a wave of pleasure was particularly intense or if Sherlock leaned down to kiss him again, and again, and again.

Sweat was forming at Sherlock’s temples, his mouth a wide O of pleasure. John didn’t think he’d seen him any more beautiful than right then, naked and primal and taking such good care of him.

“So gorgeous,” Sherlock murmured against his neck, sucking wet marks into it. “You feel so alive.”

“You feel so good, don’t stop.”

“Can’t stop, can’t ever stop,” Sherlock agreed, pumping his hips harder, hitting against his prostate. “You’re perfect, so perfect.”

John closed his eyes as the pleasure started to pool warm and low in his belly.

“Sherlock,” he said in warning.

“Look at me.”

John wound his arms around Sherlock’s neck and pulled him in for another kiss before resting their foreheads together while Sherlock’s hips rocked harder and faster into him.

Sherlock let out a shout as the first wave of his orgasm hit him. John clenched around him and rubbed his cock against the smooth plane of his stomach, seeking friction of his own.

“Come all over me,” Sherlock said while he was doing the same inside of John, his words enough to tip John over the edge.

Sherlock looked magnificent when he came. He was magnificent. And the way he looked at John as their shudders subsided, like he’d given Sherlock something private and special, something to be treasured, tingled all the way down to his toes.

A few minutes later, after a perfunctory clean-up, John was just on the edge of sleep with his flatmates arm strewn around his waist when he heard Sherlock whisper, “Why didn’t you tell me it would feel like that?”

The next morning, when he woke up alone, the other side of the bed long gone cold, he couldn’t help the stab of disappointment.

***

Before finally deciding to get up, John gave himself a good talking to. He knew what he was getting himself into the night before. He had to be at peace with having a one night stand with his best friend. It was nothing more than that, Sherlock had always made that clear, and John had to face him and the fact that no emotion other than desperation played a part in what had happened the night before.

He walked into the lounge room in his pants and threw his discarded shirt over his shoulders. He found Sherlock sitting at the kitchen table, wrapped in a dressing gown and pounding his keyboard with a vigour he usually reserved for insulting people. He didn’t look up as John walked past him, didn’t acknowledge the cup of hot tea he placed next to his laptop, and didn’t make any gestures when John announced he was going for a walk.

He was just regular, self-absorbed Sherlock. Like last night had never happened. Just as he always told John it would be. And as much as he tried to convince himself otherwise, John really wasn’t okay with it.

It was a crisp morning. John could see the condensation as he breathed in an out like his therapist taught him when he first returned from Afghanistan, trying to clear his head.

Last night was, well, it was incredible. Downright scary at first, and then absolute perfection. Which was why he never wanted to do this with Sherlock, because he knew deep down that he couldn’t check his feelings at the door. He knew that he was going to become addicted to him the same way his father was addicted to gambling and his sister addicted to alcohol. He knew it wouldn’t be good for him, he knew he was going to want another hit of that body. Again, and again, and again. And if the morning proved anything, it was that he was right all along. Sherlock got what he was after, and just like that John was out of his system.

He didn’t know how long he’d wandered for, but when he looked up he noticed that he was out the front of Sarah’s building. He hesitated a few moments before sucking in a breath and pressing the buzzer to her apartment. He rocked on his feet until she answered.

“I wasn’t sure if you’d be working today,” John said when she met him at the front door.

“I called in sick, moved my patients around. Wasn’t much in the mood today, funnily enough.”

She was wearing track pants and a baggy jumper, face devoid of makeup and hair pulled back into a loose ponytail. She ushered him into her lounge room.

“I know you said to give you a few days, but I was walking past and wanted to see how you were,” John said as he took a seat on the couch.

Sarah gave a faint smile as she took the chair opposite.

“You look like you got as much sleep as I did,” Sarah observed. John tried hard not to blush, but he knew it was a lost cause. She raised an eyebrow. “But apparently for different reasons.”

He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry about that. When I asked you out I honestly didn’t think anything like that was ever going to happen between Sherlock and me.”

“I know you didn’t. You wouldn’t. But something did.” It wasn’t a question.

“It did.”

“So why aren’t you there with him now?”

“You know Sherlock. Barely acknowledged my existence this morning, let alone what happened between us last night.”

He didn’t want pity, but she gave him a sympathetic smile anyway and something in her eyes softened. She then got up, went to her freezer and came back to the couch with a tub of ice cream and two spoons. She took a seat next to him and draped a blanket over their legs before opening the tub and handing him a spoon.

“Sure-fire cure. I’ve got Notting Hill in the DVD player, that always cheers me up.”

John gave her a grateful smile and settled in.

***

Five hours later, John’s phone beeped.

Where are you? I’ve looked all over the flat but obviously you are not here - SH

John rolled his eyes. For all that Sherlock prided himself on his skills of observation, he sure was terrible at multi-tasking when his attention was firmly elsewhere.

Mrs Hudson said you left hours ago. Where are you? – SH

I told you when I was leaving! I’m visiting a friend. I’ll be home later.

But your presence is required now – SH
Are you on your way home yet? – SH
It appears we are out of milk – SH

“You’re being summonsed?” Sarah asked.

“Who else would text me three times in a row.” John rolled his eyes. “I probably should get out of your hair anyway, let you enjoy the rest of your day off.”

“I enjoyed it.” Sarah smiled. “We should do it again sometime.”

John hoped that she wasn’t just saying that to be polite. However things ended between them, he enjoyed her company. “You mean that?”

She nodded, and the grin reached her eyes. “I honestly do. Call me next week and we’ll do lunch.”

“I’ll do that,” John said, getting up from the couch. Sarah walked him to the front door.

“John, Sherlock may be emotionally stunted and impulsive, but he isn’t a fool. And he would be foolish to let what you have slide.”

He gave her a hug.

“As much as I hope you’re correct, I won’t hold my breath.”

***

“Where have you been?” Sherlock demanded as soon as John opened the door.

He ignored the tone and walked through to the kitchen to put the groceries away. Just seeing Sherlock sitting there in his pants and dressing gown, exactly the way he’d left him that morning, was enough for the disappointment of waking up alone to come flooding back. He had to get over this.

“There was a long line at Tesco’s.”

“You were out for hours.”

“I was,” he confirmed, but knew this wasn’t going to be enough of an explanation for Sherlock. “Not that you noticed.”

“You only had your mobile and wallet with you, so you weren’t expecting to be out for too long. You said you were at a friend’s place, but which friend? Mike Stamford would be working today. Mycroft’s too busy running the country and ensuring all the work is done to let us open the store tomorrow. Plus, there is fine white hair on your trousers so someone with a cat.” He drummed his fingers against his laptop while he thought, then the edges of his mouth turned downwards. “Ah, you went to Sarah’s.”

“I did,” John said, and the look on Sherlock’s face made him want to clarify. “We had some things we needed to sort out between us, which we’ve done. We’re going to stay friends.”

“Friends?”

“You know? That phenomenon where two people like each other’s company and catch up occasionally, but not in any romantic sense?”

“I thought--,” Sherlock paused. “Never mind.”

John snorted and shook his head, annoyed and feeling rejected enough to bite. What business of Sherlock’s was it anyway?

“Not all of us can separate emotion from sex, you know. Not all of us feel the need to distance ourselves.”

The look on Sherlock’s face was slightly hurt and considering, but he remained silent. John took a deep breath.

“What did you want me back for?”

Sherlock’s facial expression didn’t change, but he gathered up a stack of print-outs from the table and handed them to him.

“Here. I need you to read this while I shower.”

He was still annoyed enough at Sherlock to want to rebel against any demand he threw at him, but the vulnerable look he was attempting to mask made John accept the papers.

It was Sherlock’s manuscript, the same stories John had read before but with a difference. A major difference. Most had been re-written.

It wasn’t long before he was as absorbed in them as he was when Sherlock had been food-poisoned. This time, though, he knew what to expect with the storylines, knew that he would be reading erotica. What he wasn’t expecting was to be drawn into the characters like he was.

John’s heart rate increased with every page he turned. It was much racier, much more erotic. It was as if he had taken every piece of advice John and his editor had suggested, and wrote with his heart. John was gripped entirely.

In fact, the only thing that broke his concentration was Sherlock walking back into the lounge room, dressing gown cinched around his waist and towel drying his hair.

“Thoughts?” he asked, the slight hitch in his voice betraying the calm he was trying to project.

John looked up from the pages, and it was like he was seeing Sherlock in a new light. He had no idea he had this in him.

“It’s brilliant. No, really. It’s amazing. It was good before, but adding in the depth to the characters and situations has made it absolutely compelling. This chapter with the infatuated drag queen is amazing. I can feel how much she cares.” He read through to the end of the page before looking up at Sherlock again. “I take it the writer’s block has disappeared?”

Sherlock’s smile almost reached his eyes. “I woke up at 5:00AM with a jolt of inspiration. I’ve been writing ever since.”

“Congratulations then, I guess.”

“You think I’m on the write track, then?”

“I think you are on the verge of a best seller.”

Sherlock looked giddy at the praise. “I’ll get back to it then.”

So once again, John found himself ignored as Sherlock lost himself in his laptop.

Once again, John tried to tell himself he was okay with that.

***

A few hours later, John switched off the tele and rose from the couch.

“Well, I guess I’ll leave you to it.”

Sherlock, for once, looked up from his computer. “Where are you going?”

“Bed. It’s been a long day.”

Sherlock turned back to his keyboard. “Give me ten minutes to finish this chapter and I’ll be there too.”

John stopped in his tracks and turned around.

“You’ll what?”

“Bed. You are sleeping in my room again tonight, are you not?”

John’s brow furrowed and he tried not to let nervous anticipation and excitement bubble up too much until he got clarification.

“Your bed? You mean, you want me to—“

Sherlock rolled his eyes. “You’ve just read half of my book, seeing how I added emotion and feeling and intensity to it all. You must know that it is all because of you. Of course I want you to sleep next to me tonight. How can I be more clear?”

John shook his head. “You could actually say it.”

“You should be able to tell from the fact that I woke up inspired after sleeping with you last night. You should be able to tell through every word I’ve written.”

John threw his hands up. “You’ve told me that emotion is irrelevant to sex. You’ve told me since the day we met that you don’t sleep with the same person more than once. How am I to know I’m the exception to the rule?”

“Because you’re the exception to all of them!”

That made John freeze. Was he really saying what he thought he was?

He watched Sherlock rise from his chair and stride toward him. He closed the distance and lowered his lips to John’s. It was gentle, languid, and if affection was what he was trying to convey to John, he was certainly successful.

“I’ve never been anyone’s boyfriend before,” Sherlock started. “I don’t know that I’ll be particularly good at it. But I’m willing to try if you are.”

John looked into his eyes and saw nothing but sincerity and maybe a hint of hope.

“I can’t be some experiment in monogamy.”

“You won’t be. You aren’t. I haven’t wanted anyone else in months. You’ve been my focus. You still are.” He kissed down John’s neck. “Truth is, I’ve never wanted to be with anyone more than once. But John, I would very much like to take you to bed again.”

John smiled, warmth rushing to his cheeks from his toes. “Then forget about the rest of your chapter. Let’s just go.”

***

For once, Sherlock was still asleep when John woke up. He wasn’t surprised that he was tired that morning. In search of more lube, John had come across Sherlock’s Irene-gifted collection of silk scarves. Jesus Christ, did they get Sherlock wound up. For hours. John felt like he owed Irene a giant present of her own.

But someone had to open the store, especially after it had been closed all day the day before, so he slipped out of Sherlock’s hold, slid his pants and Sherlock’s dressing gown on, and padded out to the kitchen to make tea.

“I see my brother has finally come to his senses.”

John started and put a hand to his chest.

“For goodness sakes, Mycroft. Ever heard of knocking?”

Mycroft raised an eyebrow. “My presence is not usually met with such scorn.”

“You’ve never ambushed me at seven in the morning.”

“That is accurate, however I thought you might like some news on Mr Moriarty. Or should I say, Mr Brook.”

John’s eyes narrowed. “Mr Brook?”

“His real name.”

His curiosity was piqued enough to forgive the almost-heart attack of Mycroft’s arrival. “Let me put some tea on and wake Sherlock. He’ll want to know this and I know how you Holmes’ hate to repeat yourselves.”

He flicked the kettle on and disappeared back into the bedroom.

“Sherlock.” He shook at his shoulder. “You need to get up.”

“No,” he grumbled, tugging on John’s arm so he fell back on top of him. “Much more fun in here.”

“Your brother’s in the lounge room.”

Sherlock opened his eyes at that and held John closer. “He can’t have you.”

“He’s not after me. He wants to tell us about Jim Moriarty.”

“Ugh.” Sherlock’s hold relaxed. “He is going to be insufferable about this.”

“What do you mean?”

“For Mycroft to be involved and calling in here before going to the office, there has to be something about Jim that I’ve missed.”

John rolled off of him so he could get up. Sherlock ripped the sheet from the bed and wrapped it around himself before marching out to see his brother.

“Have your gloat and get out of here,” Sherlock told him, slumping into the chair opposite.

Mycroft looked up and down. “Really, you didn’t have to go to so much trouble in your attire.”

“Are you here to criticise or are you here to impart information?”

“The latter, I guess.” Mycroft put down the newspaper he was reading. “But you do make the former so easy.”

John rolled his eyes and sat on the arm of Sherlock’s chair.

“You said something about him actually being a Mr Brook?”

“Yes.” Mycroft nodded. “I thought you’d want to know that the case has been taken out of the hands of the local authorities and has become a government issue.”

“So he’s not Jim Moriarty?” John clarified.

Mycroft shook his head. “We believe Jim Moriarty passed away a few years ago. Probably at the hand of Richard Brook, who is wanted in three countries in relation to murder, blackmail and espionage. He’s done a very good job of hiding in plain sight. Until he became obsessed with you, my dear brother.”

John’s hand crept up the back of Sherlock’s neck and gave it a squeeze. He enjoyed having the freedom of a reassuring touch. Something that wouldn’t have been possible a few days before.

“So you’re telling me a super villain was not only residing in our city, but under your nose, and you didn’t notice until he took a particular interest in me?” Sherlock started, his eyes boring into his brother as they did when he was deducing something. “You’ve been following him since he began stalking me, and his true identity remained unfound all because he assumed a pseudonym? You’re getting sloppy in your old age.”

“On the contrary, we’ve known of his true identity for the past six months, we were merely waiting for him to slip and be charged with something under our jurisdiction. It’s a rather delicate matter, a lot more involved than I can discuss at this time.”

John was horrified. “So you leave Sherlock in danger in the meantime?”

“With a trained armed services soldier in his midst, I hardly thought it would be considered careless. Besides, we have him in our custody now, and expect him to be extradited within the week.”

“That’s a relief,” John said. His dreams were going to be haunted by the look of those eyes, wild and terrifying, as the gun was waved in John’s face. Great, it was just what he needed, nightmares to complement his war-ravaged dreams.

Mycroft stood and grabbed his umbrella.

“Well, I best be off to work. And I believe one of you will need to open the store? Our trading figures will be down from yesterday’s forced closure. And you do know how unhappy the shareholders get when projected figures are not met.”

“You’re the only shareholder,” John said.

“Quite.”

Sherlock had a glint in his eye that could only mean trouble. He tugged at John’s arm until he fell across his lap.

“Anderson’s always wanted to run the store for a day. I think today we should let him. I’ve got a feeling we may be otherwise occupied.”

Mycroft sighed and looked to the ceiling.

“My team have only just managed to clean everything up from Brook’s overenthusiastic warning off of John the other night. One day in Anderson’s care and the store will be smouldering.”

“Go run the country, leave the small little sex shop to me.” Sherlock ran a hand through John’s hair and bent his head to kiss him. As far as Sherlock’s dismissive actions went, John was rather fond of this one.

“We’re not really leaving Anderson in charge, are we?” John said when they came up for air.

“Of course not.” Sherlock huffed. “Well, maybe for ten minutes. Fancy a shower, Dr Watson?”

John smirked. “Maybe half an hour then?”

“An hour in Anderson’s care should be fine.”

***

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!”

They both heard Anderson’s voice come from the door of the stock room, but neither were willing to break the kiss to respond to him.

“This is a place of work! Don’t you have a bedroom you can use for this?”

John was pushed up against one of the shelving units, one leg wrapped around Sherlock’s hips to bring them closer. There were definitely advantages to sleeping with your boss, and even two weeks down the track it hadn’t lost it’s novelty.

He took a hand from Sherlock’s back long enough to give Anderson the finger, then let his concentration wander back completely to the feel of his best friend, his boyfriend, all around him.

As his tongue caressed Sherlock’s and sparks ran up and down his entire body, John thought that they’d have to get Mycroft an extra large Christmas present that year. For all that Sherlock despised his brother meddling in the store, it was Mycroft’s meddling that brought them together. Although they both agreed that they would not be admitting that to Mycroft’s face. According to Sherlock, the posh git was insufferable enough as it was. The last thing they needed was something else he could hold over his brother.

Saying that, Sherlock telling Mycroft that he looked as if he was losing weight the other day probably tipped him off to the fact that he was somewhat responsible for his brother’s current state of happiness.

Either way, running into Mike Stamford, not being intimidated by the Holmes brothers, and joining The Vibe turned out to be the best life decision John had ever made.