The street's a liar
I'm gonna lure you into the dark
My cold desire
To hear the boom, boom, boom of your heart
The danger is I'm dangerous
And I might just tear you apart
It was the worst kind of weather for this. Or the best, depending on how you looked at it. It was raining, to start with, not much, just a drizzle, but that just made it harder to see through the heavy, oppressive fog that had settled over the city. It slithered through the streets, covered all the alleys, and made it hard for him to breathe as he ran.
He stopped abruptly at a crossroads made of alleyways, one branching off in each of four directions and each only visible for a few feet in this fog. Shit. Hadn’t he been here ten minutes ago? Or had that been a different cross section? Jesus Christ his heart was pounding out of his chest, each breath burning as he gasped, leaning against the corner of two alleys. He didn’t have time to stand here and debate, Sherlock could be here at any moment and he had to leave, now. Getting caught wasn’t an option.
He selected randomly and ran, taking off like a shot down yet another cramped space where he could only see a few feet in front of his face. He had to get back out, get back to somewhere crowded, populated, but he didn’t feel like he’d be safe, even there. Not from Sherlock. Sherlock was far, far too clever for that, and his intimate knowledge of London’s streets was only making this more difficult. John wasn’t safe in the back alleys, but he wasn’t safe in the open either, was he? God, there was no way he could win this game. Maybe he should just give up, give in…
He took an abrupt turn to the right and pressed himself flat against the wall, sure someone was about to run past him. Sure that Sherlock had caught up and his only chance would be to get the detective to run past him and then double back. But no one came. The fog stayed where it was, heavy, undisturbed, and his brow furrowed deeply. He was sure he’d heard the sound of footsteps behind him, thumping heavily on the pavement. Or maybe that was just his heart. Hurt, his legs hurt and his lungs burned and he could barely breathe and he was so tired and god he knew how this was going to end. There was no way he was going to be able to outrun Sherlock, so why was he even trying? Because. Because he knew what Sherlock was.
“Don’t be so alarmed, John. It’s simple, really.”
He flinched, sure the voice was more than just the work of his imagination, and looked around wildly before taking off again. A street, there—! He spilled out into the street, casting quick glances around. Deserted, the entire damn thing was deserted, and still covered in that oppressive fog that the streetlamps barely managed to penetrate. Oh god. There was nowhere for him to go that was safe. Baker Street certainly wasn’t. Mycroft? No, first off he didn’t know where he was, and secondly there was the awful, distinct possibility that Mycroft already knew. What was he saying, of course Mycroft knew. And if given a choice between his brother and John, Mycroft would quite happily call Sherlock to let him know where he could pick John up. Lestrade? No, there was no guarantee that Greg would believe him, and might actually call Sherlock just because he thought John was having an episode. Of course, he could believe him, but again, if Mycroft was involved, that case would go exactly nowhere and both of them would have to face the consequences of their actions. Or Greg could already be involved as well. Jesus, now he was going into conspiracies and oh, he was going mad, wasn’t he? This was what insanity felt like.
He cast a glance over his shoulder, getting the distinct feeling once again that he was being watched, that Sherlock was just behind that building there, or in that doorway, or—or—
“I’m sorry you had to find out about it this way. I wanted to tell you myself…at the right time.”
Run. And he was down another street, jogging now that he was somewhere that by all rights should have been considered public. Still no one. Not a single goddamn person, and his speed slowly picked up with each silent house he passed, until he was running again. A sound to his right—he jerked away, instantly taking off down an alley to his left. He ran again and again and again until he felt dizzy and had to stop, putting a hand to the wall to steady himself as he bent over and just tried to breathe. He was in shape, yes, he’d had to chase after Sherlock or a suspect enough times on a case, but he’d been running for what felt like hours at full tilt and there was only so much his body could do before it just gave up. He could only keep this up for so long; another reason Sherlock was going to win. Stamina.
Thump. He straightened up, instantly quieting his breathing as he listened carefully. There, footsteps, coming towards him—as silently as he could, he moved back, sliding against the wall until he reached two trashcans, hiding between them and pulling a piece of cardboard to hide himself mostly from sight. Thank god he was so small. He looked towards the source of the noise, leaning his head back against the wall and watching the tiny sliver of space between the trashcan and the wall. There was another thump as a dark figure jumped down from the roof to the pavement, landing in a crouch and instantly straightening up, most of their profile except the head and feet in John’s view. From where he was he could see a dark coat and a hand in a black leather glove. Oh god.
He stayed absolutely silent as the figure turned slightly in each direction, no doubt looking for the object of its search—it was him it was him it was him—before it swept down one of the alleys, away from John.
He stayed still, frozen where he was as his heart tried to remember how to beat properly. So that was how Sherlock was managing to track him so well. He’d been traveling along the rooftops. John noted absently that his body was perfectly still, calm under the danger it faced even though his mind was panicking because that had been so close. Sherlock would have just had to come down this way a little bit and no doubt he would have easily deduced where John was hiding and then it would have all been over. Maybe he should just stay here. Keep hiding. Sherlock wouldn’t find him here, would he?
Only yes, yes he would. Sherlock would probably realize he had taken the wrong path and return to the others, and again, his hiding spot wasn’t exactly brilliant. Besides, better to be caught on the run than found cowering near the rubbish. It took him a few minutes to get moving again, and even then it was slowly, his legs burning in protest as he stood from the crouched position he’d been in. He hobbled to end of the alley, casting a quick, nervous glance down the path Sherlock had taken before heading in the opposite direction, walking as quickly as he could. This way only led to more alleys and corners and dead ends, but there was no way he was turning back, not when Sherlock had been so close before. Now that he knew Sherlock was using roofs to help him out, he stuck to the sides of buildings, crouched low in the hopes the fog would cover him from that pale, piercing gaze.
Every step away from where he’d seen Sherlock only served to make his heart heavier, though. Maybe it was the fog, weighing heavily on him in body and in mind, but he didn’t feel any safer even when he knew he was heading in the opposite direction of his pursuer. Instead, he found himself glancing over his shoulder more frequently, sure that at any second he was going to feel a heavy, gloved hand on it and have to face Sherlock. Face what he’d found out.
“This doesn’t change anything, John. It doesn’t affect you at all, as long as you let me continue in peace. We wouldn’t want to have a fight about this, now would we?”
He broke out onto another street, this one with, thank god, a few people on it, though they were all hurrying home, no doubt trying to get out of this nasty weather. Maybe he should duck into a shop and take shelter there. Then do what? Sit and sip tea and wait to be caught? No, that would be equivalent to surrender, because even though Sherlock—theoretically, mind you—wouldn’t be able to do anything in an enclosed space near witnesses, he would still know exactly where John was, could wait until the shop closed and they both had to leave. And god knew he wouldn’t manage to run from Sherlock again. Besides, stopping and waiting like that would make it seem like he was all too eager to get caught, like he was just waiting for Sherlock to find him. Well, he was just waiting for Sherlock to find him, but that was more because he knew it was an inevitability than because he wanted him to. Though the more tired he got, the more appealing the idea became. Give in. Give up. Face his fate, whatever that was going to be.
But he couldn’t. The soldier in him wouldn’t let him, and besides, if he was going to have any chance of stopping Sherlock he very well couldn’t do it from within his grasp. There would be nothing, at all, that he could do from within Sherlock’s grasp. No, better that he continued down this street, hands in his pockets and collar up against the cold, hurrying along like he was just another person on their way home. Not letting on that he had a sociopathic killer on his tail. When did his life get like this? Why did it have to change? A few hours ago he’d been happy, trusting his flatmate who was now stalking him through the streets, being best friends with the man who could now very well kill him. His life had never exactly been normal, but this really took the cake.
The people on the street were starting to thin out. No. No, please, stay outside, stay within sight, stay with me—his heart sank as he realized that once again he was completely, utterly alone. He glanced nervously over his shoulder again as he headed down the darkened street, hoping that this would end up connecting him to a main road, somewhere with actual people. London was never completely quiet, he just had to find the places that weren’t until he figured out a plan. He glanced over his shoulder again and froze. There was a dark shape. A very tall dark shape. A dark shape that was heading quickly in his direction.
He took off like a shot, sprinting down the street and looking frantically for somewhere, anywhere that he could hide. He managed to turn a corner and found an alleyway to duck into, pressing himself against the wall as if he could disappear and holding his breath. A few minutes later, the person he’d seen earlier went by, and they were…jogging. Jesus Christ, he’d been scared out of his mind by a jogger. He bent forward, resting his hands on his knees as he took a few deep breaths to ease the pressure in his chest. He was going to kill himself like this. Jumping at every shadow and constantly feeling that prickling sensation at the back of his neck like he was being watched. Sure, it was terrifying that he had no idea where Sherlock was, but at the same time, it was more likely than not that he was nowhere near John, considering the size of London and the opposing directions they’d both taken after briefly crossing paths. Somehow, that thought did nothing to comfort him.
He straightened up again, casting quick glances around to see if he could see anyone. No, the fog was still everywhere, blocking his view for the most part, but there was no one in the part he could see. Good. Good then. So the question now was whether to continue on the path he’d been taking on the street, or try the alleys again. Considering his heart attack with the jogger, maybe alleys were better. He could always duck back out to the street if the need arose.
One more breath.
He pushed off the wall, starting down an alley that ran parallel to the street. He wasn’t running, now, but certainly moving quickly, and definitely keeping a sharp eye out for Sherlock. He couldn’t afford to be caught unawares. But it seemed that he was alone with the heart pounding in his ears, still hopped up on adrenaline and reluctant to shut off again. It was worse, like that; the city seemed almost silent, and all he could hear was his own carefully regulated, military breathing and his rabbit heartbeat, a symphony of his terror when combined with his steps on the pavement. He tried to keep noise at a minimum, knowing anything, anything at all could help Sherlock find him, and certainly the genius didn’t need any help with that. They both already knew how this would end, so why was he running? He could just give up, surrender to Sherlock. Would the detective really hurt him? He’d seemed so opposed to the idea.
“Don’t. I already know what you’re thinking, and it won’t get you anywhere. No matter what you do, no matter how fast you run, no matter where you hide, I will find you. And I will bring you back here. Why even bother trying in the first place?”
Because he was a soldier and Sherlock a monster and he had to. That was it. There was no option but to actually fight. He didn’t give in and roll over to bare his throat like a good little dog. He was not Sherlock’s pet, and he wouldn’t follow orders like one, especially not in this case.
He exhaled deeply, taking a right turn and—there. There, that was a street. An actual street, with people walking around, a busy street, someplace crowded he could hide for the time being, yes, this was it, okay, this might turn out okay after all. He quickly started towards it, forgetting caution for the moment because it was only a few feet and he was going to be safe there—and just as he reached the end, Sherlock stepped out in front of him and enfolded him in his arms.
One hand went to cover his mouth, the other one holding John flush against him as John started to struggle, trying to yell at the same time. Sherlock slid in close, his baritone barely more than a rumble in John’s ear as he said, “Scream or fight against me and I’ll find someone else to chase, John.”
John instantly stopped in his movements, knowing exactly how big of a threat that was, and also knowing this was sheer manipulation on Sherlock’s part.
“Good boy,” Sherlock nearly purred in his ear, and turned him around in his arms. “Now, let’s go somewhere a little more private to talk, shall we?” He pushed John forward, back into the alley, with a hand on the small of his back, John obeying the push because god, did he have any other choice? He’d known this was going to happen, of course it was, but that didn’t mean he was prepared for it. His heart had definitely decided that it wasn’t, judging by how much it had picked up in speed.
“Calm down,” Sherlock’s voice murmured in his ear, and was that—yes, his hand was rubbing soothing circles on John’s lower back like that would fix things. God. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Thanks, that’s very comforting,” John said, his voice still managing to snap slightly at Sherlock. “Coming from the man who was dissecting one of his kills in the kitchen just a few hours ago.”
Sherlock growled, and suddenly John found himself spun around, his back against the brick wall behind him and Sherlock’s body pressed up against his, Sherlock’s hands pinning his wrists to the wall. “As I already explained earlier, this has nothing to do with you,” he said, his voice lower than usual in a way that sent a shiver down John’s spine. “You could have just listened to me, I don’t want to hurt you and I don’t intend to kill you. What I do in my spare time is entirely unrelated to you.”
“You kill people, Sherlock.” His voice was surprisingly strong and clear. And steady, of all things. “I fail to see how that’s unrelated to me, your best friend. You’re a bloody serial killer, for god’s sake,” he said, panic working its way into his last few words. He wanted to struggle against Sherlock but remembered the earlier warning and stayed still, as hard as that was. Sherlock’s silvery eyes seemed to catch this, a gleam coming into them that he didn’t like in the slightest. As if the other man realized exactly how much power he had and was already planning how to use it.
“And you’re not a victim,” Sherlock said, and was he trying to make his voice…soothing? “I would never do anything to hurt you, John. You mean too much to me.”
Mean too much to….? His blood turned to ice as he thought about the implications of those words. Once upon a time he would have been happy to hear them. Now he was trapped and afraid and just realizing there was a hardness against his thigh. “Sherlock…” he said, too stunned to manage anything else, and Sherlock pressed closer to him in response, pressing his advantage.
“I know you’ve wanted me for a while, John. A long while, as far as I can tell, and I’ve wanted you as well. Just forget about this whole unpleasant business, it doesn’t matter.”
“Doesn’t matter?” John asked somewhat dazedly, and suddenly started struggling in Sherlock’s hold, shaking his head. “No, no, let me go, this is insane. You’re insane.”
“Oh, John.” His voice was as soft as velvet, and just as smothering. “You know I can’t do that. And besides…” He transferred his grip of John’s wrists to one hand, the other trailing down to the zip of John’s jeans. “I know you want this too.” He spread his hand out, cupping John in it, and squeezed gently, ignoring John’s attempts to move away. “You enjoy this. The danger. The chase. The thought of belonging to a dangerous man. You get off on this, I know you do.” He slid in closer, his breath hot against the shell of John’s ear as he breathed, “It’s why you let yourself be caught.”
“Oh, not consciously,” Sherlock said, beginning to gently knead his—god he hated himself for this—half-hard arousal through his jeans, and John tried not to gasp. “On a conscious level you were putting up a fight, resisting. But subconsciously—” his hand undid the button of John’s jeans, slowly pulling down the zip “—you were taking paths that would be easy for me to trace. Skirting the edges of familiar neighborhoods but never venturing into them. Going onto well lit, easily visible streets where the fog wasn’t quite so heavy and there were plenty of rooftops for me to see you from. Even,” he breathed as he slipped his hand down the front of John’s jeans, leather glove between the jeans and John’s pants, “running in circles, on occasion. You wanted me to catch you, John. But you liked the chase. You wanted to play cat and mouse across London, but still get caught by the cat.” He paused, palming John through his pants, and John was ashamed to say that he was getting harder by the minute. Something about the fact that Sherlock still had his gloves on was making everything worse. He could have killed people in those gloves, for all he knew. And here he was, leaning into the palm of one with his hips. He realized a second too late what he was doing and felt Sherlock’s smile against the skin of his neck before Sherlock bit down. He yelped and Sherlock’s voice returned to his ear, saying, “Remember, John, you have the power to save someone right now. I’d behave myself if I were you.”
John bit down on his lip, trying to contain the noises fighting to make their way out as Sherlock sucked harshly on the bite-mark, his hand slowly outlining John’s arousal through his pants. It was a minute before the detective spoke again and when he did his voice was ragged, prompting the awful realization in John that he was getting off on this. That Sherlock wanted him like this, trapped up against a wall and completely at his mercy. Under threat. Unwilling, despite what his body was saying. Jesus Christ, there was every possibility that Sherlock was just going to straight up rape him in this alley, witnesses just a few meters away but unable to hear him because he’d stifle every scream, every moan just to save someone’s life. He had to forcefully pull himself back into the moment, ice freezing up his veins, in danger of stopping his heart.
“You can’t lie to me,” Sherlock was saying, and god, John could hear the want in his voice. “You never could, John, but especially not in this. You can’t honestly tell me no when your body is screaming yes, and I already knew this would happen. I knew since the second you ran from the flat that everything was going to end up. Like. This.”
His hips were rocking against John’s thigh now, and John closed his eyes, turning his head to the side because he wanted to pretend he wasn’t a part of this anymore. Sherlock took it as an invitation, and John felt lips against the sensitive skin of his throat, receiving no warning before there was a sudden flash of teeth again. He managed to stop himself this time, only letting something out that was closer to a grunt than anything else, and he felt Sherlock smile against his skin before biting down harder. The worst part was that at this point, sensations were blurring, John caught somewhere between the immense pain of the bite and the pleasure caused by Sherlock’s hand, which was properly stroking him now through just a thin layer of fabric. A thin layer of damp fabric, if he was being honest.
Then Sherlock was licking over the mark he’d created, more like a wolf than a man at the moment, and John realized with a start that he was licking off blood. When did he start bleeding? And when did he start gasping like this at the movements of Sherlock’s hand?
“You taste so good,” Sherlock exhaled, burying his nose against the crook of John’s neck. “Oh, I knew you would. It’s so much better like this, isn’t it? When you know the real me, and still you didn’t run, not really. You came back to me, John, you want this too.”
“No, I don’t,” John managed to gasp out, knowing exactly how convincing that had sounded. “I didn’t come back, Sherlock.”
“Oh, but you did.” His lips had traveled back up to John’s ear, his hot breath causing John to shiver. “If I told you I wouldn’t stop you if you ran right now, wouldn’t hurt anyone just because you did it, would you? Or would you keep thrusting those pretty hips into my hand and panting so sweetly for me?”
The sad part was, at the moment, John couldn’t give an actual answer. He knew what he was supposed to say—no, no, of course no, I’d run as far away as I possibly could and never come back—but the words seemed stuck in his throat behind a moan that he couldn’t quite hold back. Oh, Sherlock was grinning now, and there was a sharp nip to his ear before the detective was moving his head again, seeking out John’s lips, and John opened his eyes, struggling to evade him. He only stilled when Sherlock pulled back slightly, though by no means did that mean that either his hand or his hips stopped moving, one still slowly, tortuously stroking John and the other grinding against his thigh with more fervor now.
John made eye contact with him for the first time since he’d backed him up against the wall, and the sight of Sherlock’s eyes, nearly black with how wide his pupils were blown, sent something hot unfurling down his spine to pool in his lower abdomen. God, there was no denying it at this point. He was unbearably, unbelievably aroused, despite what he’d found out today, despite the fact that the man whose hand was currently down his trousers was a killer and was keeping him here under a threat at this very moment. Sherlock’s eyes were moving rapidly between both of his, narrowed slightly in a deductive stare, and John could hear his own heartbeat pounding in his ears.
“Sherlock,” he breathed, and that seemed to be the sign that Sherlock was looking for. He suddenly found himself being spun around and slammed back against the wall, Sherlock completely pressed up against him again just a second later and his hips moving. He could feel Sherlock’s hand sliding along his hip, pulling him back from the wall just enough for it to slip down his jeans and settle into its previous position, John groaning slightly at the much needed contact.
“Sh—Sherlock,” he tried again, forcefully pulling himself out of the pleasant haze his brain was slipping into in an effort to say the words that just hadn’t managed to make their way out earlier. “Stop.”
“You don’t want me to,” Sherlock said, his authoritative baritone right up in John’s ear again in that way that made it hard for John to stay standing. “And I’m not going to. You want this as much as I do.” His free arm was wound around John’s waist, holding him in place as the movements of his hips picked up speed, grinding against John and making his heavy arousal very, very obvious. “I want to be inside you, John. I want to take you right here and now, and why shouldn’t I?”
“There are—” a gasp interrupted his words “—witnesses.”
“Those people? They didn’t even notice me kidnap you, what makes you think they’d notice it if I just slipped these pants off you right now?”
“N-no, Sherlock,” he managed to get out, and then suddenly Sherlock’s hand was picking up speed and he couldn’t breathe. His hips were thrusting eagerly into Sherlock’s hand now, the motion making him rock back against Sherlock as well considering how close the other man was holding him.
“No, not here,” Sherlock seemed to agree, though judging by the motion of his hips, he was absolutely serious about his desire to do it. Just strip John down as much as necessary and take him in this back alley. “Back at Baker Street, perhaps. Because you will be going back with me.” His voiced was layered in deep authority, commanding in a way that John didn’t think he could fight against. “We’re both going to go back home, and things are going to change between us, they have to. But you’re not going to report me or try running again, are you?” John shook his head, barely managing the motion and acting on instinct. Anything, he’d do anything to make that hand keep going on him. He felt another hot breath against his ear and then the command, “Come for me, John.”
And he came with a gasp, fingers curling against the brick wall as he closed his eyes, lost in sensation for a minute. He was pulled roughly back out of it as Sherlock removed his hand, slamming him against the wall again as he placed both hands on his hips, roughly thrusting forward against him in a way that spoke volumes about the amount of self-control he must have had to stop himself from just tearing John’s clothes off. It was a minute before he came as well, dropping his forehead against John’s shoulder and breathing raggedly as he slowly came back to his senses. John didn’t dare move in the interim, didn’t even dare to breathe as he waited for what came next. Whatever that was going to be.
Finally, Sherlock pulled back just slightly, keeping his hands on John’s hips as he seemed to take a deep breath to re-center himself. Those hands tightened the second John tensed as if he was going to run away, and this time John was turned slowly around to face Sherlock again. “I thought we agreed,” Sherlock said, still somewhat breathless. “You’re not going to run away so I don’t have to hurt anyone. Isn’t that right, John?”
John slowly nodded, knowing that that was really the only answer he could give, and Sherlock smiled. God, wasn’t that a chilling sight. He carefully regulated his own breathing pattern to give no reaction as Sherlock reached up, placing one gloved hand on his cheek, pale eyes intently fixed on him. They stayed like that for a breathless moment, neither of them moving, until John broke the silence.
“Please, Sherlock…” The sentence didn’t have any end, because he wasn’t sure how he was trying to end it. Please let me go? Please don’t kill anyone else? Please put your hand down the front of my trousers again because that felt wonderful? There was nothing he could say, because he knew none of it was going to make a difference. Sherlock had him exactly where he wanted him. And they both knew it.
A smile slowly spread over Sherlock’s face, and he leaned in to kiss John for the first time, lips far too gentle and the kiss far too tender. When he pulled back he leaned his forehead against John’s, sharing his air with him. “Back to Baker Street?” he asked, and all John managed in response was a tiny, miniscule dip of his head to indicate yes. Yes, because god help him, he had no choice but to return home with his serial killer flatmate and let him take him in his bed and try to forget that this had ever happened. That he had ever even had a chance, no matter how small, to be free. Sherlock reached down between them with his free hand to zip up John’s jeans, both of them now stuck with messes in their trousers that would only serve to remind John of what exactly had just happened. There was no way he was going to be able to forget, was there? All of this was seared into his memory, and would remain so.
Sherlock finally straightened up, his hand slipping from John’s face to his hand, linking fingers with him in a gesture that once upon a time, John would have been ecstatic to receive. Now he just felt hollow, resigned to his fate and completely empty as he followed Sherlock out of the alleyway, the detective hailing a cab as soon as they were on the street. As they settled into the back, Sherlock keeping hold of his hand across the seat—more to remind him not to run than anything, it seemed—the only thought going through John’s mind was that he could have been free.
He should have kept running.