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Beyond the Black Stump

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The cold, sharp taste of the whiskey on Sherlock’s lips burned. The ice had melted too much, making the flavour of the drink weak and watery. He glanced down at his watch, it was almost midnight, Mycroft’s agent should have made contact with him by now. Sherlock passed the cool edge of the empty glass over his lips, taking a deep breath. The aromatic smell of the whiskey remained behind. The rolling beats of the bass from the DJ created a pleasant vibration in his chest. It wasn’t often that he missed his old life, the life of a junky, drifting from one fix to another. All those nights spent high, surrounded by bass and bodies.

The smell of flowery perfume drifted over Sherlock’s senses, the clip-clip of a woman's heels behind him. Boring. Perhaps tonight was the night Mycroft would be wrong. He’d never been before, but Sherlock supposed, everyone was human. Humans make mistakes.

Sherlock lowered his empty glass, eyes opening and automatically slipping past the uniformed bar staff and beyond the colourful alcohol labels lining the shelves to the mirrored wall backdrop. His eyes fixed beyond the bottles to the slightly blurred reflections of the people behind him, bodies moving rhythmically. Sherlock could feel the electric energy of the club zinging down his spine.

Sherlock felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Out of the corner of his eye a quick movement, unusually abrupt for the middle of the night, caught his attention. Turning his head slightly Sherlock focused on the disturbance in the mirror. Three men, long coats, distinct outlines of pistols within the depths of their pockets, specks of blood on the leftmost man's cheek, he’d been made.

“Shit,” Sherlock hissed while turning his collar up, standing from the bar and making his way towards the back exit, his hand slipping into his Belstaff pocket. He thumbed the home button as he pushed open the fire door, and glanced down at the screen.

 

Get out. Go Dark.

Why did it have to be tonight that Mycroft was wrong? Sherlock stepped out onto the wet street, his shoes making slapping noises in the puddles between the cobblestones. Walking as fast as he felt comfortable, Sherlock put as much distance as possible between himself and the club.

Fucking Mycroft. This was the last time he’d do his brother any favours.


“You’re sending me to Australia?” The disbelief and horror were blatantly obvious in his tone.

“My dear brother, after the failure of the last week's assignment-”

“That your imbecilic agent caused,” Sherlock cut in. Mycroft just gave him that ‘shut it or I’ll tell mummy on you’ look he hated so much. No wonder his parents had had a second child, clearly, they were so aghast by the first they needed to try again.

“As you say. However, it doesn’t really matter how it happened. Now we must deal with the consequence.” Mycroft reached for the silver teapot between them, making a gesture towards Sherlock’s empty cup. He shook his head, he didn’t have time for tea. Apparently, Mycroft was sending him to the other side of the bloody world. “Our infiltration was discovered. Moriarty’s men are looking for you, we don’t know how far his network can reach. It is possible that they know the location of this safehouse. After all, it is no secret how you favour London. You need to lay low for awhile.”

Sherlock’s eyes narrowed. “Berlin.”  

“Too close.” Mycroft dropped three sugar cubes into his teacup.

“Three, my my… That does answer the question on the progress of your recent diet.”

Mycroft's eye twitched. “Queensland is particularly hot this time of year.”

“Hong Kong.” Sherlock bargained.

“It’s summer there now, opposite to us.” Mycroft took a sip from his tea, ignoring his brother's attempts at bargaining. “It’s got to do with the position of the sun, which I know you find boring.”

Sherlock picked up the sugar cube tongs, playing with them, snapping them together between his fingers. “Cairo?”

Mycroft balanced his cup on the arm of his overstuffed, overly-posh, stupidly brown leather chair. Sherlock hoped the cup would tilt and spill the sweet tea all over the dull expensive thing. What a waste of taxpayer money. His brother reached into his open bag and removed a manila folder from within. “Your identity, while down under.”

Sherlock reached for the folder with the sugar tongs, taking it from his brothers grasp like it was some infected or dirty thing he didn’t want to touch. “You’re seriously sending me to Australia? Like some convict?”

“You have made your disdain for our old colony quite plain, dear brother.”

Mycroft downed the last of his tea, placing his cup down on the table between them with a soft clink. He stood, hands automatically reaching around to fix his jacket and button it closed. It was a little tight around the middle. He’d put on two pounds since Sherlock had seen him last. “Your flight leaves in, oh…” Mycroft flicked his wrist, his watch flipping upright with the movement. He smirked, pulling his sleeve back to view the face. “Two hours.”

Sherlock’s eyes narrowed. The door on his right opened and Anthea strode in, her head perpetually bent down looking at her phone.

“Everything has been arranged, Sir,” She said, stepping to the side of the door and waiting for her master's call. If only Mycroft’s stupid agent last week had been so well trained.

“Excellent. Sherlock, you’re all packed. Tickets are inside the folder.” Mycroft nodded, bending to collect his bag and walking over to the door. “Happy travels.” Anthea wasted no time in following him out and closing the door behind them. Alone in the room, Sherlock looked down at the folder he still had clasped between the sugar tongs.

“Bollocks.”


The inane chime went off again. “Good morning everyone, this is your Captain speaking. We’re about to make our descent into Brisbane international airport. The time on the ground is 5:34 am the 10th of February, I hope you brought some sunblock it's a very warm thirty-seven degrees celsius, with a humidity of sixty-eight percent. No rain or showers are expected today, so enjoy those blue skies! Thank you for flying Qantas. We hope you enjoyed your flight, and please don’t hesitate to ask our stewards if there is anything you require.”

Sherlock snatched the blindfold from his face, the time difference between this blasted place and home was disgusting. It would take days for his internal clock to adjust. When he got back to London Sherlock was going to break into Mycroft's prissy house and spray paint every single one of his antiques hot pink. The bastard.

At least Sherlock wouldn’t feel the effects of the time difference as badly as some with his sleeping schedule being so out of ordinary, already. His transport has yet to fail him while crossing the international date line and Sherlock saw no reason why this trip would be any different.

Shoving the blanket from his legs Sherlock retrieved the folder from the pouch in the chair in front of him. He couldn’t put it off any longer, he’d need to read the stupid file and find out what he was doing here. By the time Sherlock had finished the first page he’d decided that spray painting his brother's priceless antiques would be too light of a punishment.

His false name was… was… ghastly. Mycroft had called him… Nigel Humphrey. Sherlock shuddered. He was going to take scissors to Mycroft's Van Gogh. He would drug his brother and shave him. He would… he would… Sherlock turned the page in the folder. He’d been given a case. Quickly Sherlock’s eyes took in the photographs of the crime scene; It was a bloody mess. Quite literally.

Sherlock’s head tilted to the side, how interesting. Oh, but this case, this case was at least an eight. He’d never investigated murder by crocodile before. Some spectacular criminal had fed their victim to a giant reptile. The body was mangled, almost beyond all recognition, but the evidence was sound. Someone had bound the deceased person's hands and feet together and intentionally fed them to a saltwater crocodile.

But not just any crocodile; Acco, a five-metre, one thousand kilogram crocodile and resident of the famous and very popular Australia Zoo. All security cameras inside the Zoo had mysteriously malfunctioned during the time of the murder, there were no leads, no evidence of who had bound, gagged and fed the poor man to dear old Acco. But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was who the victim was, Sebastian Moran.

Sherlock closed the manila folder and pressed himself back into the seat, his hands coming together in front of his lips. It seemed Mycroft hadn’t taken him off Moriarty’s case after all. Someone had gotten close to his most trusted adviser, too close. But who would have had the means to zip tie a dishonourably discharged, ex-special forces sniper, disable all the cameras in a public zoo and feed him to a crocodile?


It was hot. So very, very hot. Hotter than any place should have right to be. The air was heavy with humidity. Sherlock wanted to get back on the plane and fly back to beautiful, wonderful, cold, wet, grey London. Everything here was too bright, too sunny, and too hot. At this rate, he’d never be able to wear his Belstaff.

Sherlock had only spared himself a brief moment in his hotel room. Enough time to change, and adopt his new ‘identity’ as Nigel Humphrey,  member of Interpol, sent to Australia to investigate the strange death of a British citizen. ‘Nigel’ caught an Uber to Australia Zoo and made his introductions to the Zoo Administrator, who was probably the most boring man Sherlock had ever had the misfortune to meet.

Sherlock was then introduced to several other staff members who were all very tedious, and then after a very much unwanted comment concerning his nutrition from the Administrator’s wife (who was also his secretary) Sherlock found himself on a personal tour of the Zoo and all of its insipid attractions.

After being introduced to Michael the Zebra, Juma the Sumatran Tiger, Stomp the Cassowary, and Pip the Binturong Sherlock was about ready to throw himself into the crocodile enclosure. Perhaps Moran hadn’t been murdered at all, the poor man had probably spent a day at the Zoo and decided enough was enough. Sherlock honestly wouldn’t have blamed him.

As Sherlock and his unwanted tour guide were making their way past the Reptile section of the Zoo, the Administrator suddenly made a very strange shouting noise.

“Cooeeee! Oi Johno!” Sherlock’s guide called, cupping his hands around his mouth to get even more volume. Sherlock wondered if Mycroft could hear them back at the Diogenes Club. Sherlock rolled his eyes, turning back to see who the crazy Australian had called out to.

This ‘Johno’ person was a short, sun-kissed, bearded man, wearing a typical beige Australian Zoo uniform. Sherlock watched, one eyebrow raising higher and higher and higher, as the man, honest to god, swaggered towards them. His eyes darted all around the new stranger, taking in details, deducing.

Johno was carrying a black cloth bag slung casually over his shoulder. One arm was raised holding onto the lip of the bag, and appeared attractively muscled as it pulled his shirt tight over his bicep. He was blonde, fit and… Sherlock shuddered. Ex-Military.

“Azza!” Johno called happily as he approached them. The two clasped hands in greeting. “Strange to see you out of the office? Fancy some sun, mate?”

Azza, also known as the Zoo Administrator, laughed heartily. “No no! I like the aircon too much, bloody hell it’s muggy today. I’ve worked up a sweat just showing the officer around!” Azza shrugged in a self-deprecating way and motioned towards Sherlock. “This ‘ere is Nigel Humphrey. He’s been sent by Interpol. If you can believe that?”

“Oh?” Johno’s blue eyes locked with Sherlock’s, “Well, G’day Mister Humphrey! It’s nice to meet you.” Johno reached out with one tanned, calloused hand which Sherlock shook. His hand was warm, grip firm. Sherlock needed to get control of himself. He hadn’t been sent to Australia to swoon over hot army men in tight uniforms, who happened to have wonderful windswept silvery-blonde hair, a charming smile and eyes that seemed to sparkle in the bright sun.

Sherlock forcefully moved his attention from Johno’s face back to the black sack on his shoulder. “Pleasure. I’m to investigate the death of Sebastian Moran.”

“Brown Snake.” Johno abruptly stated, apparently the man had noticed Sherlock’s stare. Of course, Sherlock’s brain chose this moment to finally take notice of Johno’s voice. It was rough and heavily accented.

“Pardon?” Sherlock blinked in confusion.

“In me bag. It’s a brown snake.”

“Oh.” Sherlock said, baffled by the Zookeeper’s response.

“Right then, I’m off. Gotta put Barry in the enclosure before smoko or he’ll miss lunch. Give us a shout if ya need me Mister Humphrey!” Johno smiled, turning around and waving back over his head, making his way towards the vibrantly signed ‘REPTILE CAVE’ enclosure. Sherlock just stared after the man, who oh-so-casually would hold the world's deadliest snake in a sack over his shoulder. What an Intriguing man…

“That’s Johno.” Azza said, slapping Sherlock good-naturedly on the back, “He’s our head Zookeeper for the reptiles. You’ll need to go to him if you want access to Acco’s enclosure. Now then, that’s enough dillydallying. Time to talk shop! The media have been swarming-”

Sherlock stopped listening, his eyes still looking into the darkness of the ‘Reptile Cave’ where the mysterious Johno had disappeared. This case had just been bumped up to a 10.


After sitting through an excruciatingly dull lunch consisting of meat pies and lamingtons, with the Zoo Administrator and his wife, Sherlock was finally able to start his investigation.

“I need access to the crime scene.”

“No worries mate, I’ll get Johno on the dog and bone for ya.”

Sherlock made his way, unaccompanied this time, back to the Reptile section of the Zoo. He was to meet with Johno, who would allow him into the crocodile enclosure and keep the residents occupied so Sherlock wouldn’t become lunch himself.

The sound of whistling caught Sherlock's attention as he rounded the corner and approached the ‘Reptile Cave’ entrance. Leaning against the faux cave wall was the only interesting person in all of Australia, as far as Sherlock was concerned. Johno grinned at him. His smile was warm, reaching his eyes and giving him a wonderful glow.

“Fancy meeting you here!” Johno chuckled, “We have’ta stop meeting like this Mister Humphery, people might talk.” The blonde man leaned forward into Sherlock space and winked.

Sherlock’s heart rate jump-started, his mouth suddenly dry. “People do little else.”

Johno laughed. “Too right! Now then, Azza said you wanted to have a look around Acco’s enclosure?” The Zookeeper rubbed a hand over his neatly trimmed beard. The sound of the thick bristles rustling sent a shiver down Sherlock's spine.  

“If you would be so kind?”

“No worries! We just have to stop off at the backroom first, I’ll be needing some chickens.” Johno turned and began walking into the ‘cave’, one arm coming up to make a follow me motion towards Sherlock. “It’ll keep ‘em distracted while you poke around.”

Sherlock followed Johno as he made his way over to a hidden door marked ‘Staff Only’ and punched in the pin. Sherlock glanced down at the keypad. Even without having watched Johno punch in the code he would have known the numbers. Clearly, the Zoo hadn’t changed the code for some time. The print on the five, nine, and three keys had almost worn off.

“The coppers already did their investigation, we cleared away most of the evidence. The Zoo’s been closed for two days and I know Azza is chomping at the bit to get us open again. We’re losing money every day we’re not open.” Johno continued talking, filling the silence as they walked deeper and deeper into the Zoo’s back rooms.

Sherlock was privately fascinated, now this was a tour he would rather have enjoyed. Or perhaps it was the change of company? As they passed a whole wall filled with glass cages, every one holding a snake curled around a nest of eggs, Sherlock realised he’d stopped listening to what Johno was saying.

“...and then I open-mouth kissed a camel. They’re bloody good kissers.” Johno glanced over at Sherlock. “I bet you’d be better.”

“What?” Sherlock almost certainly did not squawk.

Johno burst into laughter. “Ah, so you were listening! I thought I was just talking to myself. You didn’t even twitch when I said I stacked it big time riding one of the Zebras.”

Sherlock’s cheeks grew hot. “Yes, well… I’ve never really been to a Zoo before.”

“You what?” Johno looked aghast.

Sherlock shrugged, “Well, I haven’t. Not really, I mean. I’m sure my parents dragged my brother and me to a Zoo at some point but I’ve probably deleted it.”

“Deleted it.”

“Yes.”

“Ohhhh-kay.” One of Johno’s eyebrows rose so high it nearly touched his hairline. “I’m going to pretend like that’s a totally normal thing for someone to say. Anyway, we’ve arrived, now if you could carry two of these buckets.” Johno stepped over to a large floor to ceiling glass refrigerator and dragged out four white plastic buckets. “Not to worry! It’s just full of chicken meat.”

Sherlock gulped, watching as Johno’s arms, shoulder, and back muscles flexed when he lifted the buckets out of the refrigerator. Blindly, Sherlock picked up two of the bucket handles and spun around, trying desperately to put some distance between them. The buckets were heavy and Sherlock could feel the contents sloshing around.

“Follow me!” Johno grinned, picking up his own two buckets and pushing the door open with his hip.


Sherlock couldn’t concentrate. Johno was just too distracting with his silvery-blonde hair, beard, deep blue eyes and flirty banter. Sherlock’s transport was reacting to every comment and movement the Zookeeper made, the heat pooling in his belly, the hot flush over his cheeks. Sherlock felt like he’d lost control. Was Johno actually flirting with him or was he just flirty by nature?

Would it be wise to pursue something with Johno? He’d never engaged in sex or a relationship during a case. Not once. But here he was, on the other side of the world, in a saltwater crocodile enclosure, chicken blood dripping from his fingers and having the time of his life with the most intriguing man he’d ever met.

“That’s it! Throw it just like that. Good on ya!” Johno gushed. “I love watching them jump! They look so slow, laying there twenty-four seven but when they catch a whiff of this chicken. Suddenly they can move lightning fast!”

Sherlock gasped, watching one of the crocodiles raise up and snatch the chicken carcass out of the air. Johno was right, it was an amazing thing to witness. But even more amazing was Johno himself, with his roughly calloused hand rested on Sherlock’s back. He’d placed it there ten minutes before when Sherlock had taken an involuntary step backwards after the first crocodile had leapt up for its dinner.

Johno’s hand was warm. Sherlock tried to force his mind to focus, he could see the blood stain from where he was standing. On the far side, just at the edge of the grass. The ground was still a muddy red colour from where Moran had been eaten alive.

“How much was recovered?” Sherlock asked Johno, trying once again to stay on topic. The case. His mind yelled, focus on the case.

“About sixty percent I’d say.” Johno shrugged, “It might sound cruel, but I’m not that bothered by the whole thing to be honest. I’ve stopped people from jumping into the enclosure plenty of times. Fucking digbats.”

The Zookeeper turned to face Sherlock, his eyes darker than before. “You’d be surprised by how stupid people can be.”

“Practically everyone is an idiot.” Sherlock blurted out. He felt too hot again. It must be the sun.

Johno moved closer, his hand drifting higher to rub circles into Sherlock’s shoulder blade. “Nigel, can I call you Nigel?”

Sherlock’s breath caught, “Sherlock.”

One of Johno’s eyebrows had lifted at Sherlock’s admission, “I’ll call you whatever you like.” he winked. “Tell me then, when do you knock off, Sherlock?”

“Sorry?” Sherlock blinked rapidly.

“Sorry, I’m asking. Well…” Johno’s hand moved again, rough callused fingers scratching the nape of his neck to play with the soft curls at the base of his skull. “Would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight? After you’ve finished your investigation, o‘course.”

“I’d love to.”

“Great!”


Sherlock’s back smashed against the cold wall, his chest heaving, arms scrambling, pulling at Johno’s uniform. Too many clothes. Johno’s kisses were mind-melting, the feeling of his beard scratching against his lips, both panting harshly into the other’s mouth. Johno’s hands slid up Sherlock’s back, his palms still wet from when they’d washed their hands moments before.

“Fucking hell!” Johno grunted, his lips sliding off Sherlock’s mouth to suck on his jaw. “You’re so sexy.” The Zookeeper’s arms wrapped around Sherlock and tried to pull them closer together, as close as they could possibly be.

“Clothes.” Sherlock demanded as his head fell back against the wall with a gasp. The tension between them had become so thick, so strained. The moment the door had closed to the medical prep room, and their hands were clean of chicken blood, they’d come together. Violently.

One of Johno's arms reached blindly to sweep all the random medical instruments off the steel table. They crashed loudly to the floor, Sherlock heard the crack and tinkling shatter sounds of glass breaking.

“Ah! Joh-” Sherlock whined, his lips captured again by Johno’s mouth. Johno’s hands were back, squeezing his arse, then gripping lower onto his thighs.

“Up.” Johno gasped, his arms pulling up, lifting Sherlock onto the table.

“Oh god!” Sherlock moaned, the strength in Johno’s arms, the flex of muscles under sun-warmed skin. It was even more erotic when Sherlock could feel it happening under his palms. Feel his strength in the way Johno’s hands gripped his thighs. “Johno!”

Johno grasped Sherlock’s button down shirt and pulled, with a sharp schrrrip sound the material ripped, buttons flying in all directions. “John, please. Say my name,” he growled into the newly exposed skin of Sherlock's throat.

“John!” Sherlock’s body was aflame, he’d never, not even when he was high felt this all-consuming burn of lust before. He just wanted to touch John, to taste him, have him inside. Now. “Fuck me, oh god. Now. Now. Now.”

John chuckled, his voice rough and breathless. “I wanted to bend you over the moment I saw you. Fuck. You’re so…” John bit down on Sherlock’s lower lip, sucking it into his mouth and pulling back, releasing it with a wet pop. Sherlock couldn’t stop the whine that escaped from his chest.

John moved away quickly pulling his uniform shirt out from where it was tucked into his trousers and violently tearing it over his head, throwing it in a random direction. Sherlock’s breath caught, his eyes darting around taking in all the new data. John had clearly spent a lot of time out in the sun without a shirt. There were no tan lines. Just golden skin, sparse blonde chest hair, and a large scar that reached down from John’s left shoulder to the centre of his chest. It looked like a massive bite mark.

“Wha-?” Sherlock frowned, his hands coming up to stroke over John’s chest, feeling the raised bumps of the scar tissue.

John smiled and leaned forward to press his forehead against Sherlock’s. “Your mate Acco has a girlfriend. Connie had a taste of me while we were transporting her here. She was sedated but I was in the wrong place, wrong time. Leaning over her to secure the rope something triggered her bite response and she clamped down on my shoulder.” John placed his hand over the top of Sherlock’s wandering fingers, bringing them up to his lips and kissing his fingertips. “Thank god she didn’t roll or she’d have torn me to bits.”

“Does it hurt?” The scar just made John even more fascinating, how many people had such a unique scar? It was just another thing about John that made him special.

“Not anymore.” John’s tongue swirled around Sherlock’s index finger. Sherlock reached out with his other arm, his hand curling around the back of John’s neck and pulled him down for another kiss. This one slower, less desperate. Their tongues twirled and stroked, Sherlock sucked on the tip of John’s tongue.

Hands started roaming again, the heat, want, and need building between them quickly. John’s hands tore at Sherlock’s belt, opening the placket of his trousers and pulling his erection free. Sherlock groaned, he hadn’t realised how constrained his cock had been between them. John’s hand was rough, the callouses rasped deliciously against the soft skin of his cock.

“Oh!” Sherlock’s hands fell away from John’s shoulders to join his in Sherlock's lap. Tugging at John’s belt. He couldn’t concentrate properly, couldn’t get his hands to follow his commands. John pulled on his cock, twisting his foreskin as he reached the head. Sherlock broke their sloppy kiss to let out a deep mewling cry.

“Fuck.” John groaned, “The noises you make. Deadset, you’ll make me cum just from listening to you.”

“Yes.” Sherlock gasped out, John’s hand still pumping his erection. “Please, oh god. I want you to cum on me. Please, John.” He begged.

“God, yes!” John’s hand released Sherlock’s cock, quickly scrambling at his pants. Ripping them open and pulling out his own cock. He groaned in relief. “Fuck.”

“Yes!” Sherlock nodded stupidly, he couldn’t even remember language, words, meaning. All he wanted was John’s hands back on his cock. John’s deep blue eyes locked with Sherlock’s own, his pupils were blown wide a dark red flush staining his cheeks. “Kiss me, touch me, cum on me. John, please. I need it.”

John’s hands reached around and pulled Sherlock closer, their cocks pressing together, Sherlock’s legs wrapped around John’s hips. The edge of the table was cutting into his arse but Sherlock didn’t care. All he could focus on was John’s rough hand, wrapping around both of their erections, stroking them together.

They didn’t have any lube, or at least they hadn’t even tried to find the medical jelly that most likely would be stored in the supply cupboard on the opposite wall. Even so, they were both wet with precum and sweat, John spat down at his fist, coating their cocks in his spit before capturing Sherlock's mouth with his own, tongues sliding. John’s mouth captured Sherlocks own again, tongues sliding, breaths meeting. It wouldn’t take long now, Sherlock was so close. His hands gripping onto John’s shoulders, nails dragging down his back into John’s flesh.

“Sherlock,” John moaned into his mouth. “I want to lick every inch of you. God your skin is like milk.”

“Yes.” Sherlock gripped John harder, licking and biting at the meat of his shoulder. He could feel the bumps of the scar under his lips, his tongue. Madly Sherlock tried to match his teeth up with those of the crocodile. He wanted to take John inside, keep a part of him forever.

John’s hand sped up, his panting and thrusting becoming erratic. “Close, fucking... Sherlock.”

“John!” Sherlock cried out, his whole body going rigid. Orgasm taking him by surprise. He’d been so engrossed in tasting and biting he’d not been paying attention to the building pressure, the white-hot pleasure growing to unbearable heights before plunging over the other side. Sherlock’s body shuddered and spasmed, riding out the aftershocks of the best orgasm of his life.

John was right behind him, he growled into Sherlock's ear giving himself one final rough pull and then Sherlock could feel the hot splatters of cum pulse over his stomach and cock. Their combined cum pooling between them and soaking their pants.

“Jesus Christ.” John panted, resting his head on Sherlock’s shoulder.

Sherlock chuckled, his head thumping back against the wall again. It was sore and a little tender, he’d obviously smacked it a bit harder than he’d meant to earlier. “Hungry?”

“Starving.”


Sherlock returned to his hotel room to change, his shirt was not repairable and his pants would require a thorough washing. John was to meet Sherlock outside the hotel before they headed out together for dinner. Sherlock grabbed a fresh towel off the bed and entered the bathroom, he ignored the flashing message on his laptop. Mycroft could wait for his stupid report. Placing the towel on the basin Sherlock looked over his body in the mirror.

His neck and collarbone were covered in love bites, his lips bruised, swollen and red. Sherlock brushed his fingertips over his abused mouth, he could still feel John against him. His rough beard, his masculine scent, the taste of him on his tongue. Sherlock’s gaze met his reflection, staring deeply into his own eyes, his pupils were visibly dilated, pulse elevated.

Sherlock shook himself and turned towards the shower, he was behaving like a randy teenager. They’d just fucked, quite vigorously only after meeting a handful of hours beforehand and now they were going out to dinner together. Sherlock turned on the hot water and waited for the stream to heat up, adjusting the temperature to suit his preference.

He’d never, ever had such a strong reaction to anyone before. Sherlock felt like he’d been hit with a bolt of pure desire. He wanted to taste John again, he wanted to touch and be touched. He wanted to chain John to his bed and worship him for weeks on end.

Heat pooled low in his gut, Sherlock’s hands which had been methodically rubbing soap into his skin slowed their progress. Becoming more sensual in their movements, rubbing over sensitive places. His cock filled and lifted between his legs, god he wanted John here. In the shower. He wanted to lick into his mouth, breath his breath, swallow his moans.

Sherlock groaned, his soapy hand wrapping around his erection and stroking firmly. God, how he wished it was John’s hand. John kneeling before him, taking his cock into his mouth. John’s beautiful deep blue eyes darkened with lust, just like they had been only an hour earlier.

It didn’t take long for Sherlock to spill into his own hand, crying out John’s name into the empty hotel bathroom.


Of all the cars Sherlock expected John to pull up in a Toyota Prius was not one of them. It was a vibrant electric blue, with black wheels and it made almost no sound as it came to a stop beside where Sherlock was standing on the curb. John leaned over from the driver's side and opened the door from the inside, giving the door a hard shove.

“Jump in!” John grinned up at him and Sherlock’s breath caught in his throat. He was so beautiful.

“You drive a Prius?” Sherlock blurted as he sat down in the seat and pulled the door closed. John laughed and waited for Sherlock to buckle his seatbelt before pulling out into traffic.

“Haha, yeah. I do actually.” John checked his rearview mirror, and over his right shoulder before changing lanes. “I’m ah…  bit of a greenie, to tell the truth.”

“Oh?”

“Used to fancy myself an eco-warrior when I was in Uni.” John let out a self-deprecating laugh. “God I was a drongo.” Sherlock frowned, and glanced over at John he wasn’t sure what a ‘drongo’ was. “Nearly got myself run over by a bulldozer,” John continued, “protesting against the deforestation down in Tassie a few years back.”

Sherlock couldn’t take his eyes off of John, watching him talk and navigate traffic was fascinating. The new information John was revealing about himself just made Sherlock want to know more. To know everything. Every dream John had ever had, every moment of his life. He needed to know it all.

“...have to come out to the house before you go back to dreary old England. I think you’d like it, or well… I hope you do. I’m also a wildlife carer, so I have a couple of Joeys at home if you’d like to see them?” John glanced over at Sherlock, eyes sparkling. “You can also meet Billy.”

Sherlock felt his heart clench. “Billy?”

John nodded, “Not a very imaginative name for a goat I know. But Billy’s a fantastic gal, keeps my grass short and she’s a great laugh. Such a funny one, old Bil.”

Sherlock blinked, “You have… A pet goat?”

“Oh yeah!” John shrugged, “I have a few pets actually. My sister calls my place the Watson Menagerie on account of how many animals I’ve collected over the years. Billy the goat, Samantha my sixteen-year-old tabby, Elvis, Prince, Elton and Bowie my rainbow lorikeets, Spot my old heifer and my two dogs Captain Barks and George.” Sherlock just stared. “Oh! And between twenty and eighty thousands bees. They don’t respond well to the sit command so it’s a bit hard to count them all!”

The feeling inside Sherlock’s chest was unlike anything he had ever experienced before. It was almost like what he remembered his first Christmas morning felt like. The excitement and happiness filling him up, the anticipation of what was to come. What treasures he would find wrapped in festive paper under the tree. John wasn’t just physically beautiful to Sherlock, he was perfect.

Perhaps Australia had been hiding something worthwhile after all.


The splash of icy water over Sherlock's face helped to calm his racing mind, he could feel the anxiety and panic building. Everything was moving too fast, John was everything he could have dreamed about in a partner but there was one problem: John belonged here, and Sherlock belonged in London.

Sherlock ducked into an open bathroom stall, he needed a few moments to himself. He needed to regain control. Closing the lid to the toilet Sherlock sat and quickly entered his mind palace. John was everywhere, his smile, his laugh, his smell… filling every nook, every room.

Sherlock gathered all the moments his mind was clinging to and tried to shove them into one room, but the door refused to close. The taste of John’s kisses or the sound he made when he’d cum all over Sherlock earlier would escape and he’d have to snatch it back and shove it inside again.

“Sherlock?” John’s voice called gently from outside the stall door. Sherlock could see his shoes under the gap in the bottom of the door. “Are you okay? You’ve been in here for almost twenty minutes.”

Sherlock shook himself, his mind palace had never been like this before. His breath was short, his chest tight. He couldn’t breathe. “John!” Sherlock gasped.

“You’re hyperventilating. Sherlock listen to me, focus on my voice. I need you to take deep breaths okay? Slow and steady.” John’s voice was firm, not a trace of panic. He knew what to do to help him. “Good. That’s it. Feel better? Keep going. Take as long as you need.”

Sherlock’s vision started to clear, he could see the graffiti on the inside of the door, smell the strong lemon scented disinfectant the restaurant used to clean the facilities. “I’m…” Sherlock swallowed. “I’m okay.”

“Do you think you can open the door, sweetheart?” John’s voice had turned gentle. He’d called Sherlock ‘sweetheart’... Sherlock reached over and turned the lock on the door. John was inside the stall in seconds, kneeling on the floor between Sherlock's legs. “Keep breathing, that’s perfect. Wonderful.”

Sherlock stared down at John. A man he’d only met that morning but who had become essential. He wanted John with him, always. Forever. He didn’t want to say goodbye and return to England without him. He didn’t want to be alone anymore.

“Sherlock, I know…” John hesitated. “I know, fuck. I only met you this morning, but I can’t…” The blonde shook his head. “I have a spare room, at home. After everything that’s just happened. I would feel better if you stayed close. I don’t want to take you back to the hotel only for you to have another panic attack alone.”

Sherlock’s hand touched John’s, squeezing. “Yes, I think-” Sherlock coughed, his throat felt tight again, his eyes prickling. He would not cry. Not in front of this wonderful, perfect man. “I think that’s a good idea. I don’t want to be alone either.”


The drive out of the city to John’s house was quiet. Sherlock felt like an idiot, who had a panic attack in a public bathroom because he didn’t want to separate from a man he’d known for less than twenty-four hours? Ridiculous.

Sherlock watched the sun disappear, the darkening sky and the soft twinkle of the stars. He let out a shuddering sigh, his shoulders finally letting go of the tension he wasn’t aware he’d been holding. John’s hand left the steering wheel and squeezed Sherlock’s hand.

“You can ask me anything,” John said, finally breaking the silence. “I think it’s safe to say you feel this same pull. It’s like…” John made a humming sound to himself. “It’s like I’ve always known you. Perhaps in a past life?” He laughed, “If you believe in such things.”

Sherlock turned his head around to look at John’s face. It was true, he did feel like he knew John. Like they’d been lifelong friends, except Sherlock had never been to Australia before and John had been born and raised here. “You fascinate me, John,” Sherlock admitted. “Like no one ever has before. I’m drawn to you, physically, obviously... But there is something else.”

John nodded, “Yeah, yeah.”

They fell into silence again, the tension between them much lighter than it had been before. Sherlock watched the world speed by the car window and thought about London. How could he bring John there? He knew, even without asking that John wouldn’t give up his animals. That much was obvious. Could Sherlock give up London then?

“I hope you like dogs.”

Sherlock did not jump. “What?”

“Dogs.” John glanced over at Sherlock before returning his gaze to the road. “Cap’ is very affectionate. Never could get him to break the jumping on people habit.”

“I actually love dogs.”

“Fantastic.”


"Urghfff!” Sherlock grunted indelicately, almost collapsing under the weight of a gigantic Great Dane that basically flung itself onto him as he walked into John’s living room.

“Cap!” John shouted. “Get down, you great big idiot.”

Sherlock’s hands immediately slipped over Cap’s warm fur, rubbing and petting the big dog. “You’re just wonderful!” Captain Barks made an excited rumbling bark, looking over at John and trying to climb further into Sherlock’s arms.

“Oh ho, you’ve done it now.” John grinned. “Cap’ll never let you go after you’ve complimented him like that.”

Sherlock shoved Cap’s head away when the dog, overcome with happiness tried to lick his face. “Enough now, Cap.” Sherlock admonished firmly. Captain Barks moved off of Sherlock and instead threw himself onto John.

“Oi!” John laughed. “Where’s George?” Captain Bark’s ears perked up at the question. “Go get George! Go on.” Cap gave a short ‘wuff’ and then bounded off to find George.

John turned to Sherlock, “Sorry about that. Cap’s a big softy. He thinks he’s a lap dog I swear.”

“He’s beautiful. How old?” Sherlock had almost hesitated to ask. Great Danes didn’t have the longest of lifespans after all.

John beckoned Sherlock to follow him deeper into the house. “He’s two.”

“Still a puppy then.” Sherlock couldn’t stop the fondness in his tone. If he had one weakness it was dogs. John’s house was neat but homely, it had been too dark to see much when they’d gotten out of the car. From the inside, Sherlock could see that the house was untraditional in its construction. Almost resembling a wood cabin, gnarly unfinished timber had been used for the majority of the building. It gave it a wonderful warm feeling. “This is a beautiful house.”

“Cheers!” John smiled looking around the open-plan space. The living room, dining area and kitchen was one room, with a hallway dissecting the middle of the kitchen area. The layout reminded Sherlock of high-density housing apartments where every inch of space was utilised efficiently. “I uh… built most of it myself.” John blushed.

“You did?”

“Yeah, I told you I was a greenie remember? It’s carbon neutral, actually. Not connected to the mains power, water or sewage.” John shrugged, “It’s a bit of a downgrade from eco-warrior, chasing down whaling ships on Sea Shepard and chaining myself to ancient trees but it feels more real.” John slapped his hand against the rough wooden panelling. “I planted as many trees around the property that were used to build it.”

Sherlock looked around the room with a new sense of appreciation. “You are, by far, the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”


Sherlock helped John around the house, feeding all his animals. George, who turned out to be a cattle dog with boundless energy following John around like a shadow was a delight. Captain Barks had settled himself back on the couch, rolled over onto his back, legs in the air. Sherlock couldn’t help but chuckle at the Great Dane everytime he spotted him out of the corner of his eye.

Samantha, John’s cat, made an appearance during feeding time with the three Joey’s John was currently fostering. They were adorable and awkward, all long limbs and curious about Sherlock’s presence. Sammy (as John called her) took one look at Sherlock and promptly curled up in his lap. Shocked at this turn of events, Sherlock had hesitated before stroking his hand over her soft fur, the purr that she let out was almost deafening.

“You’re her human now.” John said with a smile, leaning down to press a kiss to the cat’s head.

It was everything Sherlock could have ever wanted. A warm home, the sound of paws clicking around as George continued to follow his master, the wuffing of Captain Barks as he chased something in dreamland, the vibrating purr of Samantha in his lap, and the wonderful engaging conversation with John as they learnt all there was to know about the other.

“Lestrade said if I ever withheld evidence again he’d lock me in a cell overnight. I stole his badge.”

John laughed, his eyes sparkling, “So you’re here as a favour to your brother then?” John asked, “So, did you get to choose Nigel Humphery as your undercover name?”

Sherlock shook his head, “No I didn’t choose it, Mycroft thinks he’s funny.” he sighed. “But it would be best if you kept that bit of information to yourself.”

“No worries, Nigel.”

“Oh shut up.”


Sherlock did sleep in the guest room that night, but he wasn’t alone. Captain Barks climbed up onto the bed with him and Sherlock enjoyed the deepest most restful sleep he’d had in a long time. The sounds of Cap’s doggy snoring and quiet wuffing as the dog dreamed of chasing things was a perfect lullaby.

In the morning the smell of something delicious cooking roused him. Captain Barks had left a dog shaped depression in the blankets. Sherlock stepped out of the room, raising his arms over his head and bending his back to stretch his sleepy muscles. John was humming to himself in the kitchen, feeding scraps of breakfast to George and Cap. Sammy was perched on top of the fridge overseeing the morning’s activities below, her tail swishing back and forth.

“Good morning.” Sherlock’s voice was sleep rough, his greeting ending in a yawn.

“G’day gorgeous!” John’s smile was just as breathtaking as it had been yesterday. Perhaps even more so now, after all they had learned about each other last night. “I hope you like scrambled tofu! I can’t remember if I mentioned it yesterday or if you were able to deduce it-”

“You’re vegetarian. I’m aware. It was obvious from the moment I met you.” Sherlock interrupted, even if it hadn’t been obvious from their first meal together after John had ordered a vegetarian dish at dinner, seeing the inside of his refrigerator would have told him.

“Fantastic.”

Sherlock blushed, “Just a simple observation, John.”

John just stared at him for a moment. Sherlock could see his eyes growing dark with arousal. “I need to make you blush more often.” John said, causing Sherlock’s blush to darken further.


After a wonderful breakfast, Sherlock assisted again with feeding his assortment of animals. This time Sherlock got to meet John’s four rainbow lorikeets who lived in a large aviary. Bowie took a special shine to him and wouldn’t stop nibbling at his curls. John had to forcefully remove the bird from Sherlock’s shoulder so he could duck back outside and make his escape.

Spot, John’s old retired dairy cow and Billy the goat were the funniest creatures Sherlock had ever met. Billy was under the assumption that she could stand on top of anything and everything. Including Spot. Sherlock had just stood still and blinked stupidly for several moments when Spot came trotting over to John with the goat standing tall, riding the cow’s back.

John had just laughed and excitedly pulled him over to his beehives. “Sherlock, I’d like you to meet my Bee Army.”

The bees were in wonderful condition, and Sherlock was pleased to note that not only did John have a traditional honey bee hive but also an Australia Native bee colony which had recently set up home in the large gum tree that sheltered the hive boxes. Sherlock found himself swept away with John’s enthusiasm for his animals, the two talking animatedly about the honey bees and how John’s previous batch of honey had tasted.

On their walk back Sherlock paused, seeing the house from afar in the bright daylight for the first time. It was beautiful, the roof was covered in grass and plants, several rows of solar panels sat off to one side with a large water tank on the other side of the house. Everything was such a rich vibrant green it reminded Sherlock strongly of Ireland.

John had planted many native plants, flowers of all kinds and colours, shrubs and trees all around his property, and he’d also created a large fruit and vegetable garden. Sherlock could see tomatoes, spinach, rosemary, lettuce, pumpkin, sage, zucchini and more that he didn’t recognise.

Realisation hit him hard. There was no way he could ask John to give all this up. He’d built all of this with his own hands, cultivated the land, his sweat and blood had given this beautiful place life. He would never agree to follow Sherlock back to his flat on Baker Street, surrounded by concrete, cobblestones, grey skies and rainy days.

When the case was over, once Sherlock knew who had killed Sebastian Moran, he would return back to London. He would lose John. Sherlock looked over at his companion, John was talking about other native animals he’d fostered in the past; fruit bats, sugar gliders, several kookaburras and even a wedge-tailed eagle with a broken wing. He needed to make the most of the time he would have with John.

“With my job at the Zoo, it really helps with all the animals. Most of them if they can’t be rehabilitated end up living there permanently.” John continued, sliding the back door open and stepping inside. “It’s nice, they remember me you know? One of the Lions crash tackles me every time I go in there to say G’day.”

Sherlock needed to go back to the Zoo today, he needed to inspect the crime scene again. He’d barely paid any attention yesterday, the only thing he’d noted in his mind palace was the size and shape of the blood stain next to the pool. It wasn’t enough evidence to make any deductions. He’d also need to visit the local coroner's office and inspect the remains. Sherlock wondered how long it would take him to solve the case if he did. Would he find himself back on the plane to England tonight?

“Well, looks like we’ve got about half an hour before I need to leave to go back to the Zoo.” John said, looking up at the clock that was hanging on the living room wall. “Would you like a cuppa before we head off? I can drop you back at the Hotel if you like?”

Sherlock shook his head, he didn’t want tea. He stepped closer to John, crowding him against the kitchen counter. “No tea.” Sherlock breathed heavily, he wanted to taste John again. One last time. If he solved the case today he wasn’t sure if he’d get another chance.

John reacted instantly, his hands coming to rest on Sherlock's hips. His eyes darkening. “I didn’t want to push my luck, not after last night.” He leaned forward and nipped at Sherlock's lips. “But I hoped, you might like to…” John bit his lip.

Sherlock groaned. “Naked. Now.” He demanded, liquid fire rushing through his body. The desperate need to be with John, to touch every inch of his skin, to lick into his mouth and make him cum was overwhelming. He needed this, once more before he left.

Both men quickly shucked off their clothes, letting them fall to the kitchen floor around them. Hands reached out stroking and touching each other. John pinched one of Sherlock’s nipples and moaned in response to Sherlock’s full body shiver. Sherlock couldn’t hold back anymore, the way John and he were pressing their now naked bodies together. Their height difference making it a little awkward, preventing Sherlock from pressing his cock against John’s. In frustration Sherlock returned the favour from yesterday and bent, signalling to John that he wanted him to lift up onto the kitchen bench.

John groaned, taking his hands off Sherlock’s body and placing them firmly on either side of himself. With one push John lifted himself up and wiggled back slightly on the counter. Now they were perfectly lined up, Sherlock crushed their bodies together. “Oh fuck!” John cried out. “Oh fuck, Sherlock!”

Their mouths met, wet and sloppy their tongues wrapping around the other. Tracing teeth, licking and tasting. John leaned back, encircling his legs around Sherlock’s waist. “John...” Sherlock panted, “you taste…”

One of John’s hands slid up Sherlock’s back and into his hair, gripping the curls tightly and pulling. “You need to…” Sherlock nipped at John’s shoulder in retaliation. “Sherlock!”

“I need to… What?” Sherlock licked and sucked the spot he’d just bitten. John squirmed, he pulled at Sherlock again, leaning back further. It was becoming difficult to reach John’s lips. If he leaned back any further he’d be lying flat on the kitchen bench.

“Christ, Sherlock you need to fuck me,” John gasped, finally giving up on holding himself at the forty-five-degree angle he’d been leaning back at and falling with a slap against the wooden surface of the counter. “There…” John took a breath. “There is lube in the bathroom, second drawer down.”

Sherlock’s chest heaved. John wanted him too… “Are you-?”

“Yes I’m sure, now hurry the fuck up.”


Sweat dripped down from Sherlock’s nose as he worked a second finger into John’s anus. He was so hot, so tight. Sherlock was afraid he might cum just from watching John curse, moan and thrust back on his fingers. “John, you’re so beautiful.”

John smiled down at him, his eyes were that wonderful deep blue again. It was quickly becoming Sherlock’s favourite shade. The pink flush over John’s cheeks and the feeling of John’s rough beard texture against his mouth as they kissed was maddening. He never wanted to stop.

“Another, god Sherlock.” John groaned, the muscles in his stomach tensing and relaxing in a sensual wave as he rocked back on his fingers. “You feel so good inside me. I want to cum on your cock, sweetheart.”

Sherlock’s head fell forward onto John’s chest, a third finger slipping inside, John was almost ready. “Stop talking, or I’m going to cum all over your kitchen cupboard.” John laughed, his muscles spasming around Sherlock’s fingers. “And stop laughing!”

John only laughed harder, but Sherlock knew how to stop that. Peering up at John through his sweaty curls Sherlock moved his fingers in a ‘come here’ motion, pressing firmly against John’s prostate. John’s laugh abruptly cut off into a howl of pleasure.

“Bastard!” John growled, looking down at Sherlock’s smirking face. “If you don’t get up here and fuck me I’ll kick you in the balls.”

Sherlock poked his tongue out childishly, but he straightened up, pulling his fingers out of John’s body and squeezing more lubricant onto his hand. John scooted backwards as far as he was able to on the limited space of the kitchen bench and watched, panting as Sherlock wrapped his wet hand around his cock and stroked himself.

“Next time,” John huffed, “I want to suck you off.”

Sherlock's eyes fluttered, his mind shoving several different fantasies of John on his knees, mouth full of Sherlock cock before his eyes. “Next time.” Sherlock agreed, climbing up onto the bench and lifting John’s legs over his shoulders. Bracing himself with one arm Sherlock reached down and lined up his cock with John’s arsehole.

“John-”

“I will kick you.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes and pressed into John, his hole stretched beautifully, wrapping tightly around Sherlock’s cock. “Fuck.” Sherlock swore, his breath catching in his throat. John felt so good, soft, hot and tight. It was perfect.

John keened, rocking up as much as he was able trying to get more of Sherlock’s cock inside. “Fuck me, Sherlock.” He snapped. “I want it.” Sherlock bottomed out, his balls pressed firmly against John’s arse. He leaned down to press his lips to John’s, they kissed for a few moments before John turned his face away. “If you don’t move, I’ll turn us over and ride-”

Sherlock pulled back and thrust in, hard. John made a high pitched squealing noise. “Oh god, oh god, oh god.” John panted under his breath. Sherlock shifted, trying to find a comfortable position for his knees but he kept slipping on the wood. He’d obviously dribbled some lube there in his efforts to stretch John.

“Oh for fuck's sake,” John growled, curling himself into a tighter ball, lowering his legs from Sherlock’s shoulders to wrap around his waist, rolling them over. Sherlock’s stomach lurched, for a moment thinking they’d roll right off the kitchen bench and onto the floor. John controlled their movement perfectly, Sherlock found himself laying on his back right at the edge of the counter with John sitting on his cock.

John grinned down at Sherlock, “Right where I want you.” He winked and then moved. Sherlock’s eyes slammed shut, the feeling of John squeezing around his cock, lifting himself up and dropping down, was intense.

“John!” Sherlock shouted, feeling like he could cum already. Forcing his eyes open again was a mistake, the sight of John’s body flexing and moving. The pink scar tissue of the crocodile bite stretching tight over his skin, the flush over his cheeks, the sweat dripping down his chest, the smell of them together. It was too much. “I’m gonna-” Sherlock groaned.

“Oh fuck, me too.” John fell forward, his hands clapping loudly on the wooden counter on either side of Sherlock’s head. “Kiss me?”

Sherlock lifted up, pressing his open mouth against John’s, they breathed heavily into each other's mouths, John's beard scratching deliciously against Sherlock’s lips, their tongues curling and sliding against the others. Sherlock could feel the sharp white-hot spark of orgasm crash over him. The waves of pleasure causing his thrusts up into John’s body to falter. John was only seconds behind, his cock cumming untouched, splashing warmth all over Sherlock’s chest.

“Perfect.” John groaned, collapsing on top of Sherlock.


As promised John dropped Sherlock off at his hotel on his way to the Zoo. Sherlock would never admit to watching the electric blue Prius for as long as possible until it turned a corner and disappeared from sight. The loss of John’s presence weighed heavily on his mind as he showered and dressed in clean clothes.

Sherlock checked his email, there was a message from his brother. Apparently, Mycroft was on his way to Australia himself. Some new sensitive information regarding the case had come to light that he wanted to speak with Sherlock about in person. Checking the folder for the details Sherlock arranged an Uber, sending a quick message back to his brother informing him of his plans to inspect the body and for Mycroft to meet him there.

Two hours later Sherlock arrived at the coroner's office. “Ah, Agent Humphrey, we were expecting you. Right this way, I’ve moved the body to the examination room for you.” The pathologist greeted Sherlock, handing him Moran’s autopsy report.

Sherlock nodded, flicking the report open and scanning the text. Nothing unusual, no markings or tattoos on the body, no foreign DNA found. Whoever had done this was good. Sherlock slipped on a pair of blue latex gloves and removed the sheet from Moran’s remains. It was a mess.

Acco had eaten most of the upper body, strangely Moran’s head had been recovered intact. Which explained how the police had identified the body. The white plastic zip ties remained, wrapped tightly around Moran's ankles and wrists. The longer Sherlock looked at the body the more it didn’t make sense. Acco had eaten from the head down towards Moran’s legs, his shoulders, chest and most of his stomach had been eaten, and yet they’d found his head undamaged.

Sherlock lifted the head from the table and turned it left and right, looking for anything that the pathologist may have missed. Nothing jumped out at Sherlock as being out of place, except for the head. Why hadn’t Acco eaten Moran’s head? Was that normal behaviour for a crocodile?

Sherlock placed the head down but turned it so that the severed neck faced him. Leaning closer he inspected the severed flesh, the edge of the skin was rough and messy it looked like the head had been ripped off the body. Sherlock frowned, there was something…

He looked over at the instrument caddy beside the table and picked up a long pair of tweezers. Carefully Sherlock moved the flesh away from the neck vertebrae. There were cut marks, made by a blade on the bone. Moran’s head had been removed before he’d been fed to the crocodile.

Sherlock frowned, he’d absent-mindedly tilted the head during his examination. Something white was just slightly poking out of the jagged end of Moran’s oesophagus. Gripping the tweezers more firmly Sherlock pulled the white object out, it was a ball of paper.

Leaving the head on the table Sherlock turned and unfolded the paper on the table. It was still dry, with almost no blood staining the paper. It was a note… Addressed to him.

 

Hi Sexy!

So sorry to send you so far away :( you were getting oh so nosey. Can’t have that, can we? If Irene had done her job you’d still be playing my little game in London. I do love to watch you dance. Don’t worry, she’ll make a lovely pair of shoes. ;)

Good help is so hard to find these days. Even my darling Sebastian’s loyalties had begun to wander. :O So, I cut off his head. Yesterday your attention roamed away from me too. Naughty boy. >:(

Did you know that Saltwater Crocodiles drown their victims first? That’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to drown him.

XOXO
M

“John!” Sherlock gasped.


Sherlock called his brother the moment he stepped out of the Coroner’s Office. It rang and rang and rang before finally going to voicemail. Sherlock frowned, Mycroft always answered his phone. Just as Sherlock lifted the phone away from his ear, he heard it: Moriarty’s voice.

“Hello, darling! Calling in big brother for help? Too bad, so sad.” Moriarty laughed. “I’m afraid he’s not available. In fact, he’s a little tied up at the moment. What do you think Sherlock? Let me know after the beep. Will he sink or swim?”

BEEP.

“Fuck!” Sherlock yelled, barely stopping himself from throwing his phone in anger. How had Moriarty gotten so far ahead of them? Sherlock ignored the people around him giving him strange looks. He needed to get back to the Zoo as fast as possible.

The sound of a motorcycle's engine caught Sherlock’s attention, shoving his phone into his pocket he stepped out into traffic. Right in front of the rider.


The Zoo Administrator met him at the front gates, Sherlock frowned pulling off the stolen helmet and throwing it uncaringly away. “Azza, we need to hurry! Call the police, there is-” Sherlock’s words caught in his throat. The Administrator had pulled a gun from behind his back and pointed it at Sherlock’s chest.

“G’day, Mister Holmes.” The man greeted brightly. His grip on the gun was firm but unfamiliar with the weight. Sherlock could tell Azza was not accustomed to holding a handgun. How had he missed this? John was a worse distraction than he’d originally thought. “Surprised? I have to say, at first I didn’t think Jim’s plan would work. But then, you were wonderfully distracted by Johno. Can’t say I blame you really, he’s bloody feral, but a good looking one. Now then, let’s go meet them. We don’t want to miss the show.”

Sherlock scowled but walked forward and followed the Administrator’s directions to Acco’s enclosure. When they arrived Moriarty was waiting for him. Mycroft and John were kneeling beside the pool, their arms zip tied together. John’s uniform was ripped and torn, he’d obviously put up a fight. Azza directed Sherlock forward, shoving the gun into his back until he stood in front of Moriarty.

“How wonderful! You finally decided to join us.” Moriarty smiled, “Before we begin, I really need to get something off my chest. You see, I was always a fan of those James Bond movies. Ever since I was a child, I’d always wanted to do something really crazy. Like, for example. Feed my enemy’s loved ones to a shark…” Moriarty looked over towards the pool where the crocodiles lay completely still, waiting. “Unfortunately, and you might not know this, my dear, but you can’t keep a Great White alive in captivity. So I chose my next favourite…”

Sherlock glanced over at John and Mycroft. They’d both been gagged, his eyes locked with his brother’s. Mycroft shook his head ever so slightly. Sherlock’s heart sunk, this was it then, there was no getting out of this, no MI5 swat team that would descend down and save them.

“You planned this,” Sherlock said, his mind suddenly putting it all together. “You wanted us out of London.”

Moriarty clapped, “Well done.”

Sherlock caught a slight movement from John out of the corner of his eye. “Three days ago I got too close. Didn’t I?” Sherlock smirked, looking back at Jim Moriarty and taking a step closer. “Mycroft and I almost had you and you panicked. You killed Moran because you knew it would draw our attention. Perhaps even a visit in person?” Sherlock glanced behind him, Azza’s pistol was still pointed his way. “You intercepted our communication. Sent an email to Mycroft asking for his presence, my darling brother being the overprotective git that he is, immediately boarded a plane.”

Sherlock took another step closer, ensuring Moriarty was paying attention. “The letter you left,” Sherlock reached into his pocket and withdrew the note. “It was too clean and dry to have been inside Moran’s throat before he died. You had the pathologist place it there for me to find. But there is something you failed to take into account.”

“What? What did I miss?”

“To be fair, neither did I.”

“TELL ME!” Moriarty shouted.

There was a cry of pain from behind Sherlock, the Administrator’s body hit the ground with a loud thud. The click of the hammer being pulled back on the pistol was loud in the silence. John stepped up beside Sherlock, the gun now pointed at Moriarty.

“You?” Moriarty looked shocked.

“I’m ex-military, mate.” John said with a shrug, pulling the trigger and putting a bullet right between Jim Moriarty’s eyes.


“You’re really going back to London then?” John asked.

Sherlock froze his hands in the middle of folding his clothes and putting them back into his suitcase. “I belong in London.”

“Right.”

Sherlock shook himself, he couldn’t stay. John was too much of a distraction, they’d almost been killed because of Sherlock’s inability to focus on anything except getting into John’s pants as fast as possible. “John… I’m sorry.” Sherlock’s shoulders dropped. “You should know, I… I consider myself married to my work.”

John didn’t reply, but the sound of Sherlock’s hotel room door closing behind him was answer enough.


“Welcome home Sherlock, dear!” Mrs Hudson said, pulling Sherlock into a hug. “Did everything go well in Australia?”

Sherlock’s arms wrapped around his landlady and pressed his face into her neck. The familiar smell of her perfume wasn’t enough to calm his racing heart. “Mhmf Hudders.”

Mrs Hudson began stroking his hair softly, “What’s happened?” Sherlock shuddered, finally losing the battle and letting the tears fall. “Oh, Sherlock.”

“I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.” Sherlock gasped between sobs, he felt like an idiot. Coming home, to London, to his flat he should be happy. He should feel content, but the truth was he’d left his heart in Australia.

“Come now, come sit with me.” Mrs Hudson stepped back and pulled Sherlock into her flat, pushing him into a chair. “I think a good strong cuppa is in order, then I want you to tell me everything.”

With the warm teacup in his hands, Sherlock told Mrs Hudson everything. He told her about the failed infiltration mission almost three weeks ago, then being sent to Australia and… meeting John. He tells her about the colour of John’s eyes, the sound of his laugh. Sherlock describes Captain Barks, George, Sammy, Spot and Billy. The tears never stop, they come fast and hard. Sherlock struggles to speak as he tells Mrs Hudson about being intimate with John. How he felt like his chest would burst from happiness, how John was so perfect. So strong. He tells her how John saved his life.

“Sherlock, I think you love this man.”

“I-I think so too.” Sherlock pulled another tissue out of the box Mrs Hudson had placed in front of him, blowing his nose. “But I can’t give up London.”

“London survived without you for hundreds of years, Sherlock. It will carry on after you’re gone.” Mrs Hudson reached over and took hold of the hand that had been curled around the now cold teacup. “Take this advice from an old woman. You don’t get a chance like this more than once or twice in a lifetime, Sherlock. You’ve found someone who makes you truly happy.”

Sherlock stared down at his empty teacup. “My work-”

“Sherlock. You’re not listening to me.” Mrs Hudson pulled Sherlock’s hand closer, pinching the skin of his wrist to get his attention.

“Ow.”

“Oh, pish-posh you’ll be fine. That didn’t hurt.” Mrs Hudson suddenly became deadly serious. “I want you to imagine the rest of your life here, without John. You’re thirty-eight years old. How much longer do you think you’ll be able to run around after criminals? Ten years? Twenty? Then what?”

“I-” Sherlock hesitated, he’d never really thought about after. He tried to imagine twenty years from now, having to retire. Sitting alone in his flat, watching the fire die, the darkness and loneliness creeping in. How long would he last without the work before he succumbed to old habits? Then the image of John’s house flashed before his eyes. Tending to the bees, sowing seeds in the vegetable garden, driving that stupid electric blue Prius into town for romantic vegetarian meals. Waking up next to John, every morning, shoving Captain Barks off the bed when they were trying to have sex. It was everything he wanted and more.

“I need to go back to the airport.”


The sun was just peeking over the horizon, the sky beginning to turn a brilliant orange-pink as the light chased away the darkness of the night before. Sherlock glanced down at his hands, perhaps it was time he started believing in something as silly as fate. As he’d been sitting on the plane coming to land in Brisbane Airport the pilot had wished all aboard a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thankful that the international airport had a florist open at three in the morning Sherlock had purchased a bouquet of blue roses, which unfortunately were a few shades off matching John’s eyes but with so little time to prepare it was the best Sherlock could do. And now, here Sherlock stood, in front of John Watson’s front door at dawn on Valentine's day.

With a deep breath, Sherlock steeled himself and knocked.

The sound of Captain Barks’ deep howling and George’s more high pitched yaps exploded from behind the closed door. If Sherlock’s knocking hadn’t been loud enough to wake John, his wonderful dogs certainly were.

The sound of John sleepily telling his pets to shut up and settle down made Sherlock’s mouth twitch with amusement. John’s footsteps growing louder and louder as he approached the door, however, caused the feeling of anxiety and panic to burst into overdrive in his chest. He felt like he might throw up.

The door opened and John visibly did a second take at Sherlock’s presence. “Wha?” John frowned.

“John, these are for you.” Sherlock said, his voice rough and croaky. He gulped, trying to fight back tears, offering the bouquet of flowers to John. “I’m-urrggghfff!”

Captain Barks had taken that very moment to launch himself at Sherlock, knocking him over and licking his face. George pranced about excitedly barking, trying to get between Sherlock and Cap so he too could snuggle and lick him.

John burst into laughter, “Serves you right,” he said with a sniff. Sherlock managed to push the Great Dane off of him and sat up. The flowers had been crushed in the dog's excitement. “Leaving us like that.”

Sherlock picked up one the broken roses, “I’m so sorry, John! I-” Sherlock crawled over to John on his knees. The grass wet with morning dew soaked into his trousers, he could already feel the fabric beginning to stick to his back from where Cap had knocked him over.

“Be my valentine?” Sherlock asked, offering John the slightly crushed rose.

John wiped tears from his eyes, taking the flower and putting it behind his ear. “No, you're just staying with me for my dogs. I'm onto you.” John looked down at Sherlock with a watery smile.

“And the sex.” Sherlock grinned.

The End