It hadn't started all that long ago. John had traveled far outside his comfort zone that Tuesday, taking a day trip out to the country after months of monotony in London. In all likelihood he would have passed right by the small shop off the side of the road had it not been for the small sign outside of it that had broken off on the corner, leaving a chunk of wood lying in the gravel. He had swerved to miss it, pulling over to the side of the road so he could get out and pick the dangerous thing out of the way for anyone else. It was then that he had seen it, the section of a muted yellow 'S' that was painted on the wood. He looked around, searching for where it belonged, and saw the rest of the sign, having to tilt his head a bit to read it, half falling off its post as it was. 'Sherlock Holmes's Honey'. It left no question as to the nature of the shop it was in front of, if it could even be called that. John hadn't been entirely certain that the place was still open when he stepped inside, but a small bell had rung when he opened the door. "Hello?" A man had come out from a back room, dark hair frazzled, with large white bee-keeping trousers hanging off his thin frame.
"Did you want to buy something?" He asked. John had nearly been taken aback by the man's voice, Sherlock Holmes presumably, if the dilapidated sign was to be believed.
John held up the portion of the 'S', "Your sign is broken." He said, gesturing back through the door, "I nearly ran over it." Sherlock glanced at the section of sign for only a moment before seeming to dismiss it, looking back at John.
"It would seem it is. Did you want some honey?" It was only then that John really looked around him, finally noticing the shelves of honey in glass jars, arranged around the room from lightest to darkest all along the walls. The shelves on the main floor contained honey of various colours: pinks, reds, even a few jars of deep purple honey that seemed to be fairly popular, as there were far fewer of that sort than any other. Sherlock looked at him expectantly.
"Erm," John set the wood on the top of a shelf and spun in a quick circle, hands in the pockets of his jacket. "What do you recommend?" he asked once he was back facing the shopkeeper. Sherlock seemed to light up a bit at that. He came around from behind the counter, looking John up and down. John shuffled a little, going so far as to take a small step back under the weight of the man's gaze.
Sherlock cocked his head a little at him and it was as if he'd solved the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, leaping into action to fit it in. He went round to the shelves of honey along the wall, running a finger over the cans until he came to a jar that was about three quarters of the way along. It wasn't the darkest jar, but it was certainly close to it. "For you, this one." He decided, looking more at the honey than at John. He held it out to him and John took it while Sherlock went back round to the counter.
John ran his fingers over the mason jar, able to see a few tiny crystals of evaporated honey clinging to the rim. He looked up at Sherlock, "How much?" He hadn't brought very much with him, not expecting to do a whole lot of shopping on his drive, but he thought he would likely have enough for a jar of honey. Sherlock didn't answer for a moment, giving John a second once-over.
"Nothing. The first jar is free." He said, voice flat. John could sense a bit of suggestion there. The first jar. Sherlock expected him to come back.
"Bit steep." He smiled at the taller man, "Is it worth it?" He held the jar up a bit. Sherlock raised an eyebrow.
"I'm sure you'll let me know." John swore he could see the corner of his mouth turn up, the closest thing to a smile he'd gotten out of him yet. Sherlock nodded at him, as if giving a dismissal, and retreated into the back room he'd come from. John just stood there for a moment, staring at the door he'd left through. After a few seconds, he returned to himself and left the shop, looking back at it over his shoulder more times than necessary as he made his way back to his car.
His day trip was cut short, choosing instead to go back home to his tiny London flat. While his encounter with the honey salesman hadn't been the most exciting thing he could have encountered, he felt oddly drained. It was better to just go home and rest. Goodness knew he would need it come work the next morning. If he had to suffer another day wiping noses and prescribing over-the-counter cold medication, he was sure he would have a meltdown and quit. Well, he wished he could. In all reality, he knew he wouldn’t risk his job like that, barely getting by as he was with it and an army pension.
Before bed, he was putting away the last of his dishes from dinner when he noticed the jar of honey still sitting on the counter where he'd left in when he got in that afternoon. He figured he may as well see if it was worth the drive and opened it up, dipping a finger into the confection. It was warm on his finger, shining a dark gold in the light. He popped the finger in his mouth and his eyebrows went up in surprise at the taste. Rich and savory, he swore there was a tiny hint of sweetness in there, even while the thick liquid seemed to melt over his tongue and down his throat. The aftertaste had a slight bitterness to it that John found he didn't really mind as much as he thought he might have. It seemed almost fiting that the smoothness of it should have a little bite at the end. He set the jar back on the counter, where he would remember it for his tea the next morning. Perhaps on his toast as well.
It seemed that John liked the honey far more than he expected he would, as a week later, he found that he was scrapping the bottom of the small jar in an effort to get the spoonful he'd taken to stirring into each cup of tea, and he had a ridiculous amount of tea. He panicked for only a moment before remembering that it wasn't the last jar of honey in the world. He knew just where to get some more.
When he pulled back into the drive of 'Sherlock Holmes's Honey,' he noticed the sign had been put back together, nailed crudely but effectively to the singling of the wall next to the door. He grinned at it, part of him wishing he'd thought to offer his help with it when he'd been there last, but it was too late then. Going inside, he spotted the owner of the shop immediately, lanky body stretched as far as it would go in an effort to place a jar on one of the top shelves. John stood in the doorway for a moment, staring at the small bit of skin that had appeared when Sherlock's shirt was pulled up in his stretch. A bell jangled overhead and Sherlock turned his head towards him, a small smile appearing on his lips. He finished arranging the jars and returned to a normal standing posture. "Back again so soon? You were the Goldenrod Honey from last week."
"Was that what it was called? There was no label." John came further inside the shop, looking around at the various shades of gold until he spotted the one he'd grown so fond of next to where Sherlock was still standing. He went over, reaching around him to take jar of it. "I brought money this time. Your honey is delicious. Couldn't keep my hands off of it." He grinned at the dark haired man staring down at him.
"Wouldn't you like to try something else?" Sherlock's hand came up to fold around the jar John was gripping tight, their fingers touching. "You wouldn't want to settle, would you? Bit of excitement in the unknown. A routine would be unfortunate."
John's eyebrows came together, a bit confused as to how this man could know about his feelings towards...no, he was just making random statements, meant for anyone. John assured himself that the man in front of him, however brilliant he looked, couldn't possibly see that much of him. "And you think a change in honey would shake up my routine that much?" His voice took on a teasing lilt, surprising John as much as anyone.
Sherlock smiled, "Perhaps not, but it could very easily help the situation, don't you agree?" John regarded him carefully for a moment, then straightened a little, shoulders set back.
"Alright then. Do your worst. What have you got for me?" He grinned at the slight look of surprise in the other man, already catching the small changes in expression that were his only clue into what he might be thinking. Though John had a feeling that even what little slipped through was carefully schooled into submission as well. Sherlock's posture mimicked his as he glanced around the room, never spending more than a second focused on anything but John.
"I have a few new batches that you might find interesting." He finally offered, inclining his head slightly towards the back room. "I have some Acacia, a few jars worth of Basswood as well, if you'd like to give it a shot." Despite a small flip in his stomach, John nodded.
"Sounds like a right treat." He let Sherlock lead the way, for a moment wondering what would happen if another customer came in and stole Sherlock's attention from him for a while, but that was ridiculous. There was no reason for him to feel any sort of resentment at that, especially seeing as no such customer had presented themselves. The back room wasn't the dimly lit, wood planked affair that John had been anticipating. It was starkly clean, several vats of honey and a bottling set up on one side and what appeared to be a still on the other.
"Experiments." Sherlock said, noticing were John's gaze fell. John's attention snapped back to him. "Though I suppose a bit of mead wouldn't be all that far of a stretch."
John laughed at that, trying to imagine Sherlock anywhere close to drunk. Even tipsy pushed the limits of his imagination. "I look forward to trying it then if you ever get it worked out. I promise I won't report you to the proper authorities." He watched Sherlock roll his eyes while he pulled a few jars from their various resting places, a bit proud that he was able to elicit any response at all. Sherlock screwed the top off a jar of some of the palest honey John had ever seen.
"The Acacia." Sherlock said, motioning John forward. John obeyed the silent request, walking over to stand next to the beekeeper. Sherlock opened the second jar, a smoother looking honey that was much darker than the other, though still much lighter than the one John had taken home the last week. "And the Basswood. It has a bit more bite to it than its colour betrays." He cast John a lingering look, "Would you like to try one?"
John found himself caught between looking at Sherlock and the honey, at a loss as to which one he wanted. "The, erm, the Basswood, I think." He managed to get out, eyes firmly fixed on the jar. Sherlock smirked a little and dipped a long finger into the selected batch, holding it out to John. A bead of it pooled at the tip of his finger and dropped to the floor while John stared at the proffered digit.
"You wouldn't want it to all fall off, would you?" Sherlock barely managed to keep the amusement from his voice, a humorous lilt evident. John took a breath and stepped forward slightly, sucking the finger into his mouth and swirling his tongue over it to taste the honey gathered there. Sherlock's entire body stilled as John's eyes closed while he sucked the liquid from Sherlock's fingers. It had a bite, just as Sherlock had warned him, but there was a woodiness to it as well and an underlying sweetness that he hadn’t expected. Part of him imagined it was Sherlock he tasted as well, the feeling of his skin between his lips a piece of strong evidence to the theory.
He let the finger slide from his lips and dropped slowly to his knees, looking up at Sherlock to make sure it was alright. Sherlock's eyes were blown wide, even while he betrayed no other emotion. He nodded almost imperceptibly and John moved closer to his legs, eyes level with the top of his stomach. He sat back on his knees so he was more level with where he knew Sherlock's cock was behind his trousers and pants. He could see the outline of it, straining to get out. John's hands came up to run over Sherlock's hips, slipping under his shirt for a moment to feel that pale, smooth skin before venturing down to cup Sherlock through the layers of fabric. He heard a breath being sucked in above him and smiled a little, leaning forward to kiss the dark fabric.
"John." Sherlock's voice was dark and instant, and John wasted no time with him, undoing Sherlock's fly quickly and pulling Sherlock's cock through the space in his pants, hard and waiting for him. Without a word, a jar of honey appeared in Sherlock's hand, next to John's face. John looked over at it and smiled, dipping his fingers in and smearing a line of it down the shaft of Sherlock's cock. He wrapped his entire hand around it, giving him a few strokes to spread the liquid over his entire length. John's thumb dipped into his slit, mixing precome with the honey. When he was deemed fully coated, John pressed his lips to the tip of him, lips barely parted. A thunk on the table next to him, and both of Sherlock's hands came down to rest in John's hair. John took him in slowly, tasting honey and Sherlock all the way down, and Sherlock let him, hands just resting in John's hair, letting him give what he wanted to give. John drew him in until he felt Sherlock touch the back of his throat, then slid back until he had only the tip of him left in his mouth. A small noise from above was all it took to spur John into bringing his hands around to cup Sherlock's arse, encouraging him to move forward.
Sherlock groaned low in his throat and took the hint, rolling his hips into John's mouth, cock sliding past his lips, over his tongue, scraping across his palate, and nudging the back of his throat. He rolled back carefully, fingers tightening in John's hair to hold him still. John tilted his head slightly when Sherlock's cock slid back between his lips, meeting eyes with the man. Sherlock's thrusts became marginally faster and harder as time went, occasionally pausing entirely to hold himself entirely in John, John's nose pressed against the thatch of hair above Sherlock's thighs. Drool and honey dripped from the corners of John's lips, and as Sherlock became rougher, he felt the edges of his eyes grow damp, but he kept his grip on Sherlock firm, taking every bit of himself that Sherlock offered.
John was snapped out of his mind's wanderings by the clearing of Sherlock's throat. He took a small step back, letting Sherlock's fingers slide from between his lips. He didn't apologize though. He didn't see any reason to. "I think I like that one. For this week at least." He said after a few moments.
Sherlock licked his lips, picking up the jar and replacing the lid. "It should do until next time." He handed the jar to John.
"Next time?" John couldn't keep the hopeful tone out of his question, only able to pray that Sherlock hadn't caught on. That was a futile effort. Sherlock smiled, the broadest John had seen on him yet.
"Next week. I'm assuming you'll want a new batch?" He cocked his head slightly with the question and John could only nod. Sherlock glanced to the door leading back to the main shop and John took his lead, but going out to his car, there was no doubt in his mind. It wasn't likely he would be putting anything other than honey in his tea for the foreseeable future, and that tasted just fine.