The gun skittered across the stone floor to land at their feet.
“I’ve already shot him once,” Mary hissed at the blank wall from which it had emerged. “I’m not doing it again.”
“That wasn’t what I had in mind,” said a voice that came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
“Cell” was probably a complimentary term for the place. When the roaring dimmed in his head, he was first aware of hard damp stone under his undeniably bare limbs. When he slitted his eyes open, he saw rough stone walls, equally damp, in the harsh light of a halogen lamp. “Dungeon” might have been a better word.
By dint of painfully turning—though not lifting—his head, he saw Mary. She was as naked as he was, but as alert as he was not, sitting with her knees drawn up, eyes fixed on a spot six feet off the floor to her left.
She must’ve sensed his return to awareness, though, because she rose and came to him. “Time you woke up,” she said. Her face was a blank, fierce mask; only the recent stretch marks on her breasts and belly identified her as the kind, humorous woman he had known as John’s wife and Johanna’s mother. Otherwise, she might have been stripped of those years along with her clothes.
She checked him out with a nurse’s cold precision—pulse, pupils, reflexes.
“Your enemies, or mine?” Sherlock managed, though his tongue seemed swollen in his mouth, and his words were slurred.
“Mine, I’m afraid. You don’t remember? They gave you something to knock you out when you got too mouthy with them. Can you stand up? It might jog your memory to get the blood moving.”
He tried to help, but it was mostly Mary’s strength that hauled him to his feet. His skin felt waxy and cold, but hers was warm, and he let her support him in their shamble around the cramped space.
Mary didn’t say anything more, and although a thousand questions hammered at him, Sherlock followed her lead. He couldn’t help voicing the one foremost in his mind, though. “John? And Hanna?”
Her face opened for a moment, but before Sherlock’s drug-addled mind could read her expression, it shut tight again. “They’re safe,” she said. “Don’t worry about them.”
That’s when the gun appeared.
They stared at it for a moment, Mary with her arm still around Sherlock’s shoulders, almost holding him up.
It was a Berretta 92F, a darker shape on the dark stone of the floor.
“Yes,” said the voice. “You’re beginning to get the idea.” It was mechanically altered, shrill, robotic and unrecognizable, but Sherlock thought he could hear the amusement in it just the same.
“No,” Sherlock mumbled, then louder, “I won’t do that to her.”
“Still a bit dozy, Mr. Holmes? It’s not what you’ll do to her, but what she’ll do to you. Isn’t that right, Mrs. Watson?” The electronic masking couldn’t hide the sneer in the last words. “I believe you know the consequences of failing to obey?”
“Bastard,” said Mary. Then she pushed Sherlock forward with such force he barely got his hands out to break his fall. “Stay down,” she said, pressing her heel into his sacrum for emphasis. From the corner of his eye, Sherlock saw her pick up the gun.
Knees and forearms to the floor, Sherlock’s mind raced. What consequences? What negotiations had taken place while he was out? What was Mary hiding from him? He scrabbled for answers. There had to be at least five other ways out of this situation, if he could only think of them. Nothing came.
Something clicked, then clicked again: Mary taking out the clip and sliding it back in. “Unloaded,” she said.
Then she was over him, fingers digging into his hip, breasts pressed against his back, voice in his ear. She smelled unwashed and damp, but without a trace of fear.
“You’re not going to like this,” she said. He didn’t like it already. He thought he’d rather she shot him again. “But we’re going to do it.” Her hand closed around the nape of his neck, pushing him closer to the floor. Involuntarily, he tensed and twisted, trying to shake her off. But in his weakened state, she held him easily.
A wet sound, a muted pop, and Mary’s spit-wet fingers pushed between his cheeks. It hurt, the sensation getting past even his drug-dulled synapses. A sound escaped him that he didn’t recognize. Mary’s hand on his neck tightened.
The fingers disappeared, and Sherlock breathed a shaky sigh of relief. But then something else took their place: something cold and slick that could only have been the barrel of the gun.
She was so calm, so efficient in her violence, that a horrible thought occurred to Sherlock. Was she in on it? He had only her word on it that her enemies were staging this, not his. Had she been suborned to carry out someone else’s revenge on him? Bought off? Or worse, was this an elaborate vengeance fo her own? Did she wish him ill on his own account?
Sherlock clenched every muscle in his body; and though Mary tried to force entry, it wouldn’t work.
“Good lord,” said the voice. “Not like that. He’s got to enjoy it, or there’s no deal.”
Mary made a furious noise between her teeth and withdrew. Without her scent, the smell of his unwashed, terrified body clamored for attention. Without her weight across his back, he felt unreasonably exposed, as if she’d been protecting him from the voice’s eyes, rather than doing its bidding. He pushed up onto his knees and turned so he could see her.
“Sherlock,” she said, and although her face was still a pale mask, her voice more closely resembled the warm, ironic tones of the woman he knew—had thought he knew. “Come here.”
He shook his head.
“We need to do this. I can’t explain, but you need to believe me. Come here; I’ll help you through.”
He didn’t move.
“Think of John,” she said.
If Sherlock had been cold before, he was frozen now, so chilled he was shaking. “Why? Is he—? Is that the threat?”
He’d drawn closer to her without realizing it. Close enough that she could put her hand on his face, smooth her fingers across his trembling lips. She leaned into him, nudging him so that his back was on the hard stone and she was between his legs.
“No,” she said, her face so near to his that she was almost whispering. “He’s safe, I told you. But think of him. Imagine my voice is his voice.” Her mouth was by his ear now, her nipples grazing his chest, her breath warm on his skin. “He wants to kiss you. I know you’d let him. Imagine my lips are his lips.” Her mouth brushed against his, and, feeling like a cornered fox with nowhere else to turn, Sherlock dove into the fantasy. It was, after all, one he’d had before. He closed his eyes and saw John’s face above him, felt John’s smaller mouth, his drier lips, press into his own.
“Imagine my hands are his hands,” said Mary, moving them down his torso to tangle in the hair above his cock. She stroked him, circling the head with her thumb, and, against all reason, Sherlock felt himself hardening. He tried to cleave to the idea of the hands touching him being John’s hands, but he found himself wondering whether this was how John felt, when Mary touched him. How John responded when Mary's clever fingers stirred him to arousal. Was Sherlock finally learning some secret of their marriage about which he’d hardly dared be curious? The idea was shamefully exciting.
And so he was close, ridiculously close, caught in some mad headspace of drugs and fear and desire, a dream in which he was somehow both himself and John, where Mary was both John and herself, when she said, “Imagine this gun is his gun,” and penetrated him.
He cried out, because it hurt, but she soothed him, her lips caressing his face, his neck, and her hand moving impossibly fast on his cock, the friction irresistible. The gun moved in and out of him, deeper every time, until it bumped his prostate and he arched his back in pleasure.
“Trust him,” Mary said, her own voice breathy now and hoarse. “Trust me.”
Sherlock climaxed, with a horrid mingling of shame, relief and pleasure. For a moment, the waves of sensation drowned his awareness of the dungeon.
Then the sharp crack of a gunshot brought him back to himself.
Mary was standing now, gun in her hand. There was a neat hole in one of the walls, about six feet off the ground; the stone was blank around it, nothing to explain why Mary had aimed at that particular spot. But whatever she had found, she had hit with a sniper’s precision. As they watched, a door slid silently open on the opposite wall. A guard ran through it, shouting in a language Sherlock couldn’t place, but Mary hurled the gun at him. The barrel hit him expertly between the eyes, and the man went down like a tree.
“Come on,” she said, dragging him up by the elbow. “We have approximately seven and a half minutes before they can get reinforcements down here.”
Sherlock felt wrung out, sticky, and uncharacteristically bemused. But it was possible the orgasm had flushed some of the drugs from his system. “I thought you said it wasn’t loaded,” he said.
“I lied,” said Mary, and led the way through the open door.