No, he hasn’t forgotten his training completely, so it seems. A civilian would have been reduced to a gibbering panic a long time ago . . . how long has it been? Hours. It must be hours.
If you’d remember your training, you’d know that what you think must be hours almost certainly isn’t, said a voice in his head. It isn’t his voice. He knows exactly whose voice it is. It’s a voice that’s in this room somewhere, but it is keeping quiet.
He is blindfolded, and he has plugs in his ears and his nostrils, the latter cottony-soft and porous so he can breathe but not smell. He is naked, and lightly bound spread-eagle to a padded table in - the clinic where he works? Yes, it must be, that is where he was captured, and he wasn’t taken anywhere.
So sight, sound, and scent won’t help him much. That must be why his skin feels so sensitive, to compensate for the other senses; every brush of artificial breeze from the climate control rustles his fine body hairs and goosebumps his skin.
His captors are good at this, so very good - of course they are. Even with the nose plugs designed to let some air through, he suspects that they’ve both bathed and refrained from using any of their usual scented vanities. They do not speak. His only hope of guessing who’s touching him is by the size of a hand; his only chance to know who’s coming close is the way their weight presses the old wooden floor. (And the woman six months gravid now has a weight on par with the other man, though he would never dare to say so in a vulnerable position.)
He has never been so vulnerable at any time that he can remember.
When he feels the tickling stroke of a thick badger-hair brush on the right side of his jaw, he jerks as if he has been electrocuted. The soft caress does not retreat, but it slows to give him time to adjust and settle.
He thinks that one earplug might be a little loose, that he can hear water running. He wonders if it’s only the sound of the blood vessels in his own brain; those can be similar. He jumps and goes rigid when he feels something cool and wet touched to his jawline on the other side. It lingers long enough to let him feel that it’s most likely a moistened towel. The touch of it fades away and returns, more firm, rubbing his face with the roughness of terrycloth in long, even strokes like the licks of a cat’s tongue.
As the strokes slide down the left side of his throat, he leans into it, involuntarily - even in his situation, the touch feels tender and unthreatening. He is so desperate to release his fear, he settles and sighs happily - only to jolt sharply again as another wet fabric touches an unexpected place on the outside of his right thigh. Not the same person. This cloth is hot and reddens his skin with its more aggressive rubbing, and his leg is pulled apart further from its twin as the massaging continues.
It’s the thigh with the psychosomatic injury.
Either one of his captors would know that. Either one would not hesitate to use it. It bothers him that he cannot tell who is where.
He cannot tell who has removed the towel from his jawline now that he’s all scrubbed. He cannot tell who is slathering him with a cooling substance. Shaving foam, he’s fairly sure. He’s sure the bristles in the brush are the highest quality - not that he has enough discernment to tell, but he knows neither of his captors would short-change him.
He cannot tell who is giving a similar treatment to both his thighs now, and working upwards, pressing tender skin apart. There is water and wetness, first hot and then cold. There are touches, and he thinks he can almost gauge the size of the hand, and that would tell him everything - but it has moved away too quickly.
Fingertips brush his belly and press there for a moment, softly, lightly. Tapping out a code.
It’s a question.
Yes, he is okay. His instinct is to nod.
But the sensation at his throat tells him no, do not nod.
It probably feels colder than it really is. His nerve endings tell him it is straight, and steady, and really really sharp. Razor sharp. He wants to giggle. Nervously, with arousal and fear. He is not allowed. He taps out his ‘yes, it’s all right’ in empty air with twitches of his bound left hand instead.
There is a different blade at the base of his belly, beginning to scrape so very slowly and carefully. He has never been so aware of the need to stay still - and only rarely found it so difficult to do so. Sensation both within and without - well he knows the heating sensation of blood pulsing and veins swelling as his cock begins to rouse and stir and react to his utter helplessness.
His breath begins to come hard and fast - at the worst possible time, for now there is undeniably a sharp, straight blade making clean, firm, sharp passes between his nose and his lip. Tender skin, blood vessels excited, one slip and there would be blood and pain. The steady hand never flinches, and so he does not dare flinch either, even when another blade continues its work along his flanks. The strokes are smooth. The hands are skillful. They must be - one pair belongs to a musician and the other to a sniper.
He knows the two people working on him must be communicating with each other somehow. He imagines them looking at each other from time to time, two pairs of hooded, hungry eyes lifting from their precision work to devour each other. He imagines they must be looking at him so carefully, so thoroughly, so impassively. Potters shaping clay, painters working color on canvas - butchers slicing meat. Studying each millimetre of skin and pore and follicle, shearing him of the hairs that men’s bodies naturally sprout, until he is smooth as a river stone at chin and pubis.
Now he almost regrets his quickness to Morse code out his assent, because he thinks for a moment he might be sinking a little bit short of ‘fine.’
The blade. Blades, plural. They leave his body warm, and return cold and moistened. For a moment, he almost imagines he can hear stropping as the blade at the juncture of his thighs pauses while the one under his chin continues its slow precision slide.
The badger brush returns, stroking his throat. He shivers as stray short hairs that once were his mustache drift away. He is glad for the swimmer’s nose plugs - one might get up there and make him sneeze. It’s happened in the barber’s chair before.
He gives a little moan as his head settles back on the pillowed table. He hadn’t realized how desperate he was for the touch of a hand, not metal. Now he feels it, as fingers press him, guide his face to the side, exposing the nape of his neck, where his hairline has gone a little shaggy. The blade is back there, cool. If he could smell anything, it would be steel.
He feels a warm breeze right there, right over the blade. The person shaving him has breathed. Through the nose. Air moves back, cool, and comes back warmer. The person shaving him is breathing harder. That person is aroused.
He knows he is no Sherlock; the amount of information conveyed to his overstrained brain is much less than Sherlock would get. Perhaps the person being turned on by shaving his neck is Sherlock, though, but he can’t be sure. Sherlock could just as easily be the person down below removing his pubic hair with gentle, efficient strokes of a microscopically keen blade. Wherever Sherlock is - at his throat or his loins, it must be one or the other - the amount of information about John’s body that he is taking in must be obscene.
And wherever Sherlock isn’t, that’s where Mary must be. Healer and killer both, like himself, so well-versed in anatomy: skillful nurse hands, steady sniper hands.
His cock is swelling again, with such sudden emphatic jerks that the razor at his crotch pauses to take it into account, and he knows the person wielding it is studying his response minutely, reactive and responsive to every tiny change in his body.
This makes him feel safe, paradoxically. It is also humiliating, how objectified he feels. He imagines them making eyes at each other over his body as they keep control of him. He cannot hear or see them, but oh, oh, how they must be signalling to each other over every twitch and gasp.
For a moment his muscles tense and he feels both blades withdraw and hesitate, waiting. Oh. That is how they are. They both love him, he does not doubt that. And they both look down on him, he does not doubt that either.
He really ought to start to doubt that, shouldn’t he?
Yes, he should doubt that.
There is a key in his right hand he could drop to the floor if he felt a sudden need to stop and talk.
His hand curls around it tightly. Keeps it. Makes sure it won’t fall.
His cock fills again, harder than before, when he decides he is committed.
His muscles relax. His thighs slacken and fall apart naturally as far as they can go, allowing the wielder of the blade room to do the fine detail work around his scrotum. He shivers and lets his breath shudder as the most vulnerable and sensitive, paper-wispy skin of his body is lightly menaced with a loving blade, and skillfully cleansed of all its hiding fine downy hairs.
The blade at his neck stills a moment, and when the flat of the blade lays for a moment against his cheek, it feels warm.
The backs of two gloved fingers brush down his cheek, and nothing snags them, he is clean and perfectly smooth.
The two fingers slowly, carefully remove his nose plugs, and go still as John breathes freely through his nose.
Sweat hair shaving lotion breath vinyl shaving cream Mary shampoo blood cotton musk air conditioning disinfectant hair blood sex Sherlock skin metal wool water leather steel soap Sherlock linoleum bandages lubricant Mary oil badger-hair tobacco Sherlock fear hair stubble Mary neck thighs pheromones sweat blood Mary Sherlock…
He gasps. Tries to breathe through his mouth alone because the scents are overwhelming, filling him all at once. Soft brief touches to his cheeks and forehead calm him. A damp towel wipes his jaw. Another damp towel strokes his inner thighs, a brush whispers over shockingly bare skin of scrotum, penis, perineum.
And there are other scents now, a rush of them: lotion water warmth candle wax wax wax.
He squirms with a surge of fear now, wonders if he ought to drop the key - for their play will have consequences now, lasting ones; for weeks at least. Oh, the itching he was ready to accept but…
He clutches the key tighter as his neck is gently stroked clean. He can already feel the difference of his fresh, closely-shaved skin, sensitized by foam and brush and lotion. He tingles and shivers in his stillness, and feels the warmth of another body close to his.
He almost imagines he can follow its lines with his own skin, just a few inches apart. He thinks the warm frame leaning in near his seems long and lean. He thinks that Sherlock gives off less heat than Mary, particularly when Mary is pregnant, and this person seems to be coming in closer than someone with enlarged breasts and a baby bump might dare, so most likely... Thinking like him, aren’t you?
He stops thinking. There is a sliding kiss of metal in his armpit.
There is a caressing brush of towel against his shins and his calves, against the grain of the hairs, raising them.
He goes still - training-camp still.
The blade in his other armpit flickers.
He’s never had much hair there. Just a tuft. He can feel it sliding away down his side, tickling him and making him shiver.
He is sensitive and ticklish - they know this - the soft warm cloth that strokes him clean is gentling and soothing. He squirms in gratitude, in pleasure, cock at half-mast as now it feels like every inch of skin he possesses is craving to be touched.
He cries out as wax covers first one lower leg, and then the other. It is not as hot as it feels at first - it isn’t burning, just so very very present on a part of him long untouched. When the pain of pulling free starts, he lets loose a low cry, torn from his throat as strips of hair are ripped from his skin. After the first wave of it, he slumps back, panting, mouth slack.
When the second wave comes, he wails more quietly, and is suddenly brought up short by a hand.
A hand. Around his cock. Its slick grip firm and tightening as he plumps and fills it. It knows how to rouse him, tease him, make him grow - even in the presence of the seething searing of his shins. It’s a small hand. It’s Mary. There is a direct line of agitated nerves running from the soles of his feet to the root of his cock, and he can no longer tell where pain ends and pleasure begins, there is no clear distinction, only sensation that makes him desperate to squirm and jerk and struggle - and he can’t, he can’t, he can only absorb sensation: a light stinging itch, a needled heat, a deep, growing inner throb - and it is nearly too much. He closes his eyes harder against the blindfold and begins to see white light.
There is a mouth on his - warm, soft, but not hesitant. Firm and confident in its request; the warm tongue seeking entry with a promising, teasing slide. It’s a large mouth and he knows the taste, even though he can tell an attempt at masking it with a mint; that’s Sherlock.
Touch and taste anchors him. Mary’s hand goes gentle. Sherlock’s kiss turns fierce.
It’s enough now, it’s just what he needed; the hands that had both pampered and tormented him belong to people now - his lovers, his beloveds. Now he gives himself to pleasure as they both work on him in a different way - warmer and sloppier. He can’t be sure but he thinks one of Sherlock’s hands has covered Mary’s and they are both stroking him - the teeth plucking and lips pulling on his nipple must be Mary’s because Sherlock’s mouth is still wetly entangling his his own.
Deftly, fingers lift out his earplugs, and now John is allowed to hear panting and moaning and soft throaty praises, and his own ragged cries sound different when he is no longer so alone in his head.
He is desperate to have the soft restraints removed so he can touch back as he is touched. He is desperate to have the blindfold removed so he can watch his partners playing with him - and each other, oh yes please - and look down at his own slightly altered body.
He could drop the key.
He does not.
He feels warm hands slide up his sensitive inner arms, stroke the stinging hollows of his bare armpits, pinch his pointing nipples; hands surround his hips - he thinks that’s a bare foot exploring the burning smoothness of his new-bared legs.
The only release he’s going to get for the moment is in his cock, and it is shockingly hard, pulsing, slick, ready to go.
Lubricated fingers slide under and curl around his freshly-bared bollocks, and that’s it, he bucks hard against the restraints as wet heat bursts out of him from within. He writhes and jerks with each wave of it, and hears approving groans and coos of pleasure and approval from Sherlock and Mary.
He’d been so close before they even touched him.
The air-conditioning is deafening for a moment - as is his own breathing, as is the soft panting in front of them. There are soft wet sounds that it takes him a moment to process. That’s the sound of a long passionate kiss, one that he is not engaged in and cannot see.
It’s all fine. He wishes he could watch, though.
For the first time in what feels like hours -- it’s not been hours, you know it can’t have been - he hears a human voice.
“You look fantastic, love,” Mary says. Her fingernail down his left flank is appraising.
“I think the advantage is more tactile than visual,” Sherlock says. His fingers trace the muscle of John’s right arm into his newly-smooth armpit. It’s only a short skip there across John’s pectoral, nail skittering briefly over his hard nipple where a few downy hairs still loiter, escaped the reaping.
John bites his lip. Other sensations are returning - he is tired, he is thirsty, his muscles are beginning to ache.
Small graceful hands are running over his bare, silky legs from his kneecaps to the top of his feet, and loosen his restraints. He draws in breath again as Mary’s soft mouth licks and gently bites the tendons of his ankles.
Large skillful hands are loosening the restraints at his wrists, lowering him and massaging him gently. He feels Sherlock’s hair stroking the smooth skin and open pores of his clean cheeks, and he sighs in delight.
“Shall we?” Sherlock asks, his voice teasing, as his index finger hooks around the heavy black sleep mask over John’s eyes. His knuckle is gentle at John’s temple; his scent is strong; his breath is loud. He isn’t speaking to John.
“Mmm, if you think we’re decent,” says Mary, her voice sultry and smiling.
“We are,” Sherlock says. “More’s the pity.”
John is rising out of his fog now, waking to the world around him, and for the first time in quite a while, realizes that he can speak. He’s been able to speak all along. There’s never been anything stopping him. Still, at first his voice is cracked as if from long lack of use. “Neither of you even got off yet . . . did you?”
“I think Sherlock was closer,” Mary said.
“It’s true, I nearly did climax just watching you,” Sherlock said. “But Mary is underplaying her own arousal a good deal, and even now is thinking about the feasibility of achieving a clitoral orgasm by riding your newly-depilated thigh . . .”
“Do you have to give away all my secrets, Sherlock?” Mary sighs, exasperated. “We’ll have more fun later, at home in bed. I think it’s time to let him see.”
“Mmm,” Sherlock hums agreement.
John could speak. He just can’t think of anything to say.
“Water first, don’t you think?” says Mary.
“Yes, of course,” says Sherlock.
John hears footsteps fading, the distant water cooler burble-and-stream, and footsteps returning. Gratefully he leans in as a paper cup is held to his lips and slowly turned up as he swallows. The hydration feels so good that he sighs.
“The lights are as dim as they’ll go,” Mary says softly. “But open your eyes slowly, love, it might still be a shock.”
“Keep them closed at first, John,” Sherlock whispers. John shivers in anticipation as the sleep mask is lifted away from his face and over his head, elastic ruffling his hair.
He opens his eyes gradually and takes in the glorious sight of Mary, stripped down to thin vest and shorts, skin flushed pink; Sherlock is shirtless and has loosened the fly of his trousers to relieve the pressure of the half-erection that seems to be only now accepting its need to be patient.
“Look, Mary,” Sherlock says. “He thinks we’re the spectacular sight.”
John’s eyes flicker around the room, sees the mess of supplies half-cleaned and some left out. Good thing tomorrow’s a Sunday and they can come tidy up later, wouldn’t do to have the morning shift find the wreckage. He is about to look down at his own body, but that might take a moment to gain his courage.
“Oh John, you have to see this,” Mary says, and a little awkwardly she brings around the slim full-length mirror.
“Allow me,” Sherlock says - and Mary looks mutinous, but then she relents and allows Sherlock to help her move it, deferring to her condition (he is the one who caused it this time, after all).
And John contemplates himself, as his wife and his husband regard him with lusty adoration from either side of the mirror. At first, he doesn’t look so different in the dim light. It’s an excellent shave on his face, he feels fresh and clean and believes he looks at least five years younger - he smiles.
The look of his lower legs is subtly strange, and all wrong - and yet weirdly erotic. Taboo for a man, isn’t it? One who’s not a pro cyclist or swimmer anyway. It has its own sensual dimensions. He rubs his legs together like a cricket and feels the shocking, slightly arousing smoothness. His cock has already noted his response. Pleasure and fascination are defeating his embarrassment about the part of his body he always looked at last.
He goggles. He stares.
He will not, cannot, simply refuses to lock eyes with either Sherlock or Mary, for their mirth is just on the other side of a concrete dam of hilarity - their serious stone faces about to crack at any second..
His pubis is impeccably clean - but for a healthy, shiny, lush, beautifully groomed moustache with perfectly matched waxed upward curls at the ends. It’s flawlessly balanced just over his cock, which now looks like an upside-down nose.
Sherlock takes pity on him - for a certain value of pity - and says, with heroic effort to keep his shoulders from hitching, “We are gardeners, John. Stylists.”
“Damn right,” says Mary. “You thought we were just going to pave over a pretty lawn and put in a car park?”
John is stammering and twitching, his face gone red at first with humiliation and anger - and then, gradually, with something else. Something kinder, but no less potent. The sinking, inexorable realization that . . . he rather likes it.
The tension in his muscles breaks and he goes limp upon the table, unashamed now of his high-pitched giggle pealing off the walls; there’s no one to hear the echo but those who love him.
“Well, then I suppose it’s six months more of bristly kisses for the both of you!”
“It’s not bristly, John,” Sherlock says indignantly. “We use conditioner.”
Sherlock is laughing, but he’s leaning in towards John’s groin with a look that could accurately be described as ravenous and predatory. Mary is creeping towards him too, and she shoots the occasional glance at Sherlock that suggests she wants to race him to the prize, for she is starving for the same thing.
“It feels good,” John says at last. “Really. But I’m so tired. Help me up. Take me home.”
“Oh gladly,” says Mary, eyes still fixed on John’s loins - and John hopes she doesn’t think he misses her calculated grab at Sherlock’s groin, to distract him. No one does, least of all Sherlock, who makes a noise like a suddenly deflating python. “You might be done, but we’re not.”
No one misses the stealth attack of Sherlock’s hand on the back of Mary’s left thigh, either.
“Who said I was done?” John said, springing from the table like a teenager and waggling his hips so that the Victorian gentleman at the base of his belly sternly disagrees. He only wobbles and stumbles a little. “Take me home,” he repeats. “Who wants the first moustache ride?”
“I married him first,” Mary says.
“I wouldn’t fret too much,” Sherlock says. “Once he’s come down from the juvenile giddiness produced by his endorphin rush, I’m confident we’ll both get a chance.”
“Fine,” Mary says. “But I want his cock in my mouth before it goes in your arse, deal?”
“Deal,” Sherlock agrees.
“I’m right here,” John says. “You can talk dirty to my face now.”
“To . . . your…” Mary says, giggling as she handed him soft cotton scrubs, to be loose and gentle on his sensitive skin - those miles of very smooth skin soon to be mapped in every inch by wandering hands and mouths.
“My face is up here.”
“Your moustache isn’t.”