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Sherlock lost his virginity at fifteen, with the daughter of a friend of his mother's: Anne. (Anne could beat Mycroft at chess and preferred maths and horses to people; she was knock-kneed, small-breasted, and forthright.) Their mothers often visited each other for a week or two, and expected the children to entertain themselves. Sherlock and his mother arrived one August afternoon, just at tea-time; afterwards, their mothers turned them both out-of-doors. As soon as the door clicked shut behind them, Anne looked him full in the face and asked, "Have you had sex yet, Sherlock?"

"No," he replied. Mummy had given him books, of course, and there was wanking; he was efficient at that. (Sex hormones clouded the mind, and a good wank quieted them down to manageable levels.) And there was no one at school interesting enough to get off with, in any case.

"I'd rather like to try it," Anne said. "I've been reading up. There's all different sorts; I should like to know what I like." She made a face. "Some people end up marrying completely unsuitable partners simply because the sex is good, my mother says, and she ought to know." Sherlock, who thought Anne's father absolutely dull and Anne's mother irritatingly brilliant, silently agreed. "If I knew what I liked, then I could teach a partner to my satisfaction." She put her hands on her hips and raised her eyebrows at him.

"You'd like to have sex with me, then," he said, because there could be no other reason for Anne to bring it up to him this way.

"Of course," she said. "I expect you're the type to be thorough."

Sherlock felt something twist in his vitals. "We'll need condoms."

"I pinched some from my brother." She flashed him a grin. "And I've put some old blankets in the stable."

They spent the two weeks of the visit fucking in every fashion either of them had encountered in their reading, and a few of their own invention. Anne was sometimes almost clinical, directing him to shift a bit, to bite a shade harder, to move more rapidly; he realized almost immediately that orgasm for him could be quick and efficient and was nearly guaranteed, but for her, experimentation was required. He set his mind to reading the cues of her body, deducing from this gasp and that shudder how to get her off, and then applied what he had learned: Anne came so strongly that he had to shove his hand in her mouth to prevent their being overheard. Her teeth left a perfect row of marks on his palm, and bloody scrapes along the back. When Mummy asked what on earth had happened, Anne replied "I bit him for being a complete tosser" without missing a beat.

All in all, it was an entirely satisfactory and interesting two weeks, and when it was over, he and Anne shook hands like good friends. She rang him up a month later, from school, to assure him she was not pregnant. (When he questioned her timing, she said "It's a uterus, not a fucking metronome" and hung up on him.) The following summer he was in France with Mycroft, and didn't see her. The summer after that, she had acquired a boyfriend ("Not as good at orgasms as you are, but then he's not barking mad," she'd said, and he'd answered "Nonsense. I rarely bark," and they'd both laughed) and, at any rate, by then the sex hormones were not quite so annoying and inconvenient. On the rare occasions that he couldn't settle his body with a wank or nicotine, he acquired cocaine or a bed partner; either was acceptable and often both were available at the same location.

For a month at university, he had a girlfriend; she was bright and good in bed but rather too obsessed with people on TV. For one week, he had a boyfriend, who had fantastic weed and gave fantastic blowjobs but was terrible at receiving them. The third time he yanked Sherlock's hair, Sherlock stood up, wiped his mouth, and walked out.

After that, he avoided romantic entanglements. The occasional people he took to bed became fewer and fewer until they stopped altogether; the cocaine he also needed less, these days. The work was all; the work was enough and more than enough. The work aroused him as no person ever had.

And then he met John Watson, which was both marvelous (John was far more satisfactory a companion than the skull, and John owned a gun; Sherlock had coveted a gun for years) and less than ideal (because he hadn't wanted to fuck anyone quite so badly since he was fifteen and in the stable with Anne, both of them fumbling open their clothing, and his usual quick morning wank was not taking care of the suddenly re-emergent sex hormones). He liked John, too, and liked him in a way that was unfamiliar: sometimes if he thought John might be in danger, he was both terrified and furious.

He'd never been one for vivid fantasy, preferring to stroke himself efficiently and without thought beyond applying the correct amount of pressure. Yet now, he found himself visualizing: what John would look like fucking, and being fucked; John's mouth sliding over his stomach, kissing down his thigh, tonguing the length of his prick. John's naked body, his precise neat bearing remaining, even as he hooked his legs over Sherlock's shoulders.

This was getting out of hand. (Perhaps literally.) Clearly there was nothing for it but to find out if John was amenable; Sherlock had deduced that John was bisexual but uninterested in listening to Harry's gloating, and so dated women almost exclusively. (Siblings could be so tedious.) It was the almost that interested Sherlock; he'd smelled another man on John only once: someone's tobacco-y, spicy cologne and the faintest touch of semen. He'd looked at John's mouth, and known: the other man had given oral sex, and then John had kissed him and brought him off with his hand. The other man had bitten John's lip when he came (not hard; just hard enough to leave a faint redness, and that redness made Sherlock wish to kiss John himself, blot out the mark with a more vicious one, one that said "John is mine". Sherlock did not much enjoy feeling this way, but neither his prick nor his hormones would listen to reason).

He didn't see why John wouldn't be interested, but John was peculiarly picky about some things (such as firing guns in the flat and going on dates with people who were not Sherlock), and he did not have enough data to know for certain whether John was, perhaps, only interested in burly men, or blond men, or non-sociopathic men. (On the other hand, John found shooting people pleasant and steadying, so he didn't have any room at all to object.)

He considered simply propositioning John, but discarded the idea; it would be far more entertaining to find out through observation and experimentation. He nicked John's gun and let it dangle carelessly from his fingers as he lounged on the sofa; John came home from work, grabbed it from him (the touch of his hand against Sherlock's like a spark), and said "If Lestrade ever finds this during one of his fake drugs busts, we're in for it. Leave it be." He carried the gun away, no doubt back to its clever hiding place; it had taken Sherlock two days to find it, so he doubted Lestrade would ever uncover it. (John's hand had not caressed Sherlock's, accidentally or otherwise, when he grabbed the gun. Merely touched, impersonally. Inconclusive.)

He took to speaking in low tones, over John's shoulder, close enough to bite John's ear. John never flinched, or breathed faster, though he sometimes batted Sherlock away in annoyance. He cancelled several of John's dates, by text; when John found out, Sherlock thought for a moment that John might actually punch him. (The thought was surprisingly appealing; Sherlock was fond of boxing but had never before considered it as potential foreplay.) Next, he tried standing next to John, so closely that their shoulders brushed, and the backs of their hands. When he did that in front of Molly, John waited until she left the room and said "Look, I don't mind if you want to pretend to be gay with me to deflect attention, but I think Molly could take it if you just told her you weren't interested." (Inconclusive. Unsatisfactory.)

He texted Harry the next morning. John's bisexual. Think I have a chance?

Who the fuck are you? she texted back.

Flatmate, he replied.

Don't think he's really bi. Might pull you off if he's had a few.

He kisses men, Sherlock thought, but did not text back. He might not suck them or fuck them, but he does kiss them. (Conclusion: he's genuinely sexually interested, but he's paranoid about safe sex. Or paranoid about Sherlock finding out.) Still. There was the germ of an idea in Harry's text; in Sherlock's experience, alcohol dulled sexual desire, but marijuana enhanced it (the intense, skin-hungry feeling of being fucked the first time by a man, so high he couldn't've resisted if he'd wanted to, but he hadn't wanted to: desire like an unscratchable itch along his spine). John had probably smoked up before; he'd spoken occasionally of its medical potential in an approving tone. And it was easy enough to acquire.

An hour before John usually came home from his clinic shift, Sherlock rolled a joint, lit it, and inhaled.

He was most of the way through the joint by the time he realized that weed had gotten more powerful in the years since university. That...could be a problem. (Miscalculation. Sloppy work, sloppy thinking. He ran his hand over the fine cotton of his shirt, smooth enough that the calluses on his fingers never snagged, and shivered.)

He heard footsteps on the stairs (John's. Slightly uneven; the limp had not been entirely psychosomatic), and the scrape of the door opening, and he raised his head to see John, head slightly cocked, staring at him with an expression best described as resigned.

"Huh," John said, closing the door behind him. "Didn't have you pegged as into pot. Figured you were the coke type."

"I am," drawled Sherlock, pleased with John's deductions. Perhaps this would go well. "Usually. Have some."

"I'd rather not," John replied, shrugging out of his jacket. "It always makes me queasy." He walked over to the sofa and looked down at Sherlock, a faint line of concern between his eyes.

"Queasy? Hah." Sherlock curled up his legs and John sat down next to him (shoulders straight, hands folded neatly: it wouldn't do at all). "It makes me want sex," he said, pushing John's hands out of the way and twisting himself into John's lap. He pressed against him from hip to chest and whispered into his ear: "Have sex with me." (He could feel his erection, hot against John's belly, and jerked his hips forward.)

John grabbed his wrists and held Sherlock's hands away from him. "How high are you?" he asked.

"I know what I'm doing, John," Sherlock said, digging his knees into the sides of John's thighs (which were tense; too tense. John should relax). "I'm rather enjoying what I'm doing, in fact."

"You're impossible," John said, and unceremoniously dumped Sherlock onto the floor, then crouched over him. "Let's see if you remember this in the morning, shall we? I don't have sex with people who are high. Ask me again sometime, if you have the courage to do it without chemical assistance." (John was, Sherlock realized, very very angry. It was hilarious.) "Go have a wank, or whatever it is you normally do, and leave me out of it."

And then John was gone, his footsteps trailing away upstairs, and there: thud! his bedroom door firmly shut behind him. Sherlock stretched out on the floor and wondered if there were any crisps in the kitchen.

He woke to John hauling him to his feet. The lights were absurdly bright. "Yeah, sorry," John said. "Did he pay?" Then John's hand was in his pocket, fumbling about.

"Harry said you only did hand jobs," he said. "When you're drunk."

"I don't even want to know why you've been talking to my sister about sex," John said, and yanked Sherlock's wallet out with considerable force. "Or alcohol, for that matter." There was rustling, and muttering, and then a door squeaking open (characteristic squeak: the chip shop down the block. How strong had the fucking weed been? Surely he would remember going to the chip shop.)

"Where did you get that stuff?" John asked, half-dragging him along the sidewalk. "I think it was dusted. You're a fucking wreck, mate."

"I'm going to be sick," Sherlock offered, and John bent him over, towards the gutter. When his stomach was empty, he leaned his forehead on John's arm. "Miscalculation," he said. "Didn't think you'd mind."

"Oh, yes," said John, "because I'm just the sort of fella who loves taking care of friends on a bender, that's me all over."

"It wasn't meant to be a bender! Besides, you said it was medically useful."

"Do you have cancer? No." John smacked him on the side of the head. "The nicotine patches are bad enough, you prat. Now walk. My shoulder won't tolerate much more lugging you about."

"You were supposed to have sex with me," Sherlock said, straightening his coat. "That was the point."

John stared at him. "You got high to get me to--and you're supposed to be a fucking genius, are you? I really hate you sometimes," he said. "Come on, I'm not leaving you out here to proposition a stray dog or something else utterly repulsive."

"Anderson," Sherlock said.

"Worse than a stray dog, I agree. Now walk." (John let Sherlock lean on his bad shoulder all the way home. He smelled of iodine and dandruff shampoo, and tucked Sherlock up almost as well as Nanny used to.)

He woke the next morning with a raging hard-on, took care of it with the usual efficiency (and without picturing John at all, so perhaps the whole horrid affair had killed his infatuation; not quite the resolution he'd been looking for but an entirely acceptable one).

He wandered into the kitchen; John had made coffee. John was already dressed for work, and he was looking at Sherlock as if Sherlock were a particularly untrustworthy individual, but he held out a full, steaming mug as Sherlock came closer.

"Bless you, John," Sherlock said, and John snorted.

"You need a nursemaid."

Sherlock sighed. "Do me a favor and don't tell my brother that; I'll never hear the end of it."

"Right, well, I expect you're the reason Harry's left me three messages about whether or not I'm gay, so carrying tales to Mycroft is only fair, at this point."

Sherlock sipped his coffee. John was still angry; rather angrier than he ought to be, in fact. That had to mean something, but he'd already misjudged John (or the weed, or both) badly once, and didn't care to make another mistake. Even if he had broken himself of his ridiculous sexual obsession, he didn't have so many friends that he cared to lose this one.

"You're not gay," he offered. "Or, at least, I'm more gay than you are, since I've actually fucked men."

John made an unimpressed face. "And how out of your head were you at the time, may I ask?"

"Not at all!" He thought of his university boyfriend's fantastic weed, and revised slightly. "Well, only the first time." John raised his eyebrows, and Sherlock thought of the cocaine. "And a few of the times since, but I certainly don't need 'chemical assistance', as you put it."

"Right." John slammed his nearly-empty mug down, and the dregs splashed all over. "I'm going to work," he said, and left. (Sherlock heard him grab his jacket, shake the pocket for the keys, open the door, close the door, footsteps away down the stairs.)

Sherlock finished his coffee slowly, turning John's anger over in his mind. There were only a few reasons for John to be angry: he really hated drugs (unlikely), he really hated the way people acted while on drugs (possible, but the anger was disproportionate), he really hated Sherlock on drugs (likely), or (and as he thought it, Sherlock realized he'd probably hit on the reason) he was maddeningly in love with Sherlock and therefore upset by the thought that Sherlock had needed to be high to make a pass. In which case, it was a shame Sherlock had gotten over it. (If he had. He thought about the red bitemark on John's lip, and John's firm warm hands holding him, and sighed; apparently he still wanted actual sex with John, this morning's wank notwithstanding.) He picked up his phone and texted:

I'm fine with hand jobs, really

Five minutes later, the reply came: I'm turning my phone off.

Sherlock smirked and finished his coffee. Humming to himself, he went to shower and clean his teeth.

By the time John arrived home that evening, Sherlock had tidied up some of his old experiments, by way of apology, and disposed of the remaining weed. "John," he said, as John laid out a piece of newspaper on the floor, "you have every right to be angry about yesterday, but I think you ought to know --"

"Shut it," John said, wearily. "It's been a long day and I've got sick on my shoes. Again." He toed his shoes off onto the paper and padded out of the room in his socks. Sherlock looked at the scrapes on the shoe leather: some recent, and then spattered again, and then scraped again. Him last night, probably, and some patient today who'd eaten dodgy takeaway.

The pipes banged, then settled; John was running a bath. Sherlock leaned against the wall and listened (John undressed and folded his clothes and set them neatly on the toilet lid; he braced himself with his arms as he eased down into the still-running water, and his bad shoulder twinged, making him hiss between his teeth). Sherlock waited until he heard John sigh and turn the water off, then opened the door without knocking. "Headache," he said, opening the medicine cabinet and rummaging for the paracetamol. He could feel John's eyes on his back. "I meant it," he said, shaking a pill into his palm. "About the hand jobs." He put the pill in his mouth and swallowed; it tasted of nothing.

The water sloshed as John shifted. "Sherlock," he said, and Sherlock turned to see John sitting up, the heels of his hands pressed to his eyes. "I don't think this is the time."

"I think it's exactly the time," Sherlock said, and knelt by the tub. He reached into the water, between John's legs.

"God!" John dropped his hands from his eyes and grabbed the side of the tub, his knuckles white. His cock came erect in Sherlock's hand, and Sherlock smiled and stroked his thumb over the head. "You're mad," John said, his breath stuttering (but he didn't say to stop, or push Sherlock away).

"Barking," Sherlock answered. John shuddered and thrust into his hand, bracing his feet on the tub, and Sherlock laughed and twisted his wrist. "Tell me how you like it." He watched the flush rise in John's face; watched his Adam's apple move as he swallowed.

"Harder," John said. "A bit -- a bit rough." Sherlock leaned closer to get better leverage and tightened his fingers (John's thighs were shifting under the surface of the water; John made helpless ecstatic noises when Sherlock ran his fingernails up the length of the shaft).

Sherlock let his mouth brush John's ear and whispered "Come for me, John," and John did, with a low moan, curled in on himself, shaking as if he'd fly apart in a moment. Sherlock ran his hand up John's quivering belly, up to his neck, then stood and opened his trousers. He took himself in hand, looking down at John, who looked back up but made no move to touch. He bit his lip (wishing it was John's lip) and brought himself off quickly, come spurting through his fingers and spattering John's face. He wiped his hand on his shirt and strode out of the room; stripped out of the shirt and left it on the hall floor.

He was lying on his bed with his arm across his eyes when he heard John open the door. "Tell me," John said, "that you weren't high just then."

"Sober as a judge," Sherlock said, without moving (he could hear John's breathing, steady and calm, but John was the second-coldest killer he knew; steady breathing meant nothing).

"So, you actually do fancy me, then."

Sherlock sighed. "More than I care to think about, John. It has reached the point of being a major distraction from my work."

"I see." John's footsteps came nearer; the bed sank under his weight. "You fucking idiot," John said, "all you ever had to do was ask."

Sherlock dropped his arm and smiled. "But John," he said, "what fun would that be?"

John bent down and kissed him (toothpaste, a bit of blood from flossing, teeth sharp against Sherlock's lip). Sherlock laughed, and pulled him down into the bed. "You tosser," John said. "You utter wanker."

"That's your job, now," Sherlock answered, and bit John's ear.

"Prat," John answered, and then they were both laughing, breathless, like after a satisfying escapade (one where Sherlock got to punch someone, and break into houses, and run; and John got to hold someone at gunpoint, or possibly actually shoot them). "We're both barking mad, you know," John said, resting his forehead on Sherlock's shoulder (his hair was freshly washed; he'd used Sherlock's shampoo).

"I know," Sherlock answered.