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The Pleasure-Dome Hotel

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Sherlock pressed his finger on the keypad and ran a critical eye over the hotel room after the door unlocked and opened. It was as ridiculously expensively furnished as he'd expected, with plush rugs and granite counters. But for all that the room showed a tasteful elegance, a hidden symmetry drawing it together into a cohesive whole. He could see why Mycroft glowed about the place. Of course, that was likely as due to the hotel's other diversions as much as the decor, but Mycroft was a man to appreciate the entire package. And Sherlock had to admit, the extras were tempting.


It was also useful to have a room at the scene of the crime. Mycroft hadn't possessed many details to pass on to his younger brother, but he knew the exchange of key documents had taken place at this hotel and suspected the manager to be involved. He hadn't been able to learn anything else from the comfort of his office, and so had maneuvered Sherlock into a position to learn more.


Intially, Sherlock had suspected Mycroft had engineered the entire affair to maneuver him into finally visiting the hotel he'd crowed so much about, but upon his arrival Sherlock discovered the main suspect outlined in Mycroft's files had recently been murdered. That was, thankfully, still beyond his brother's thin veil of morality.


Within minutes of arrival, Sherlock had put together the major events. Mycroft's precious documents had changed hands during the small hours of Tueday night. The CCTV for the entire building had cut out from 12:50 am until the glitch was noticed at 6 am by the day shift hotel security. Sherlock knew that the exchange had happened in room 204. The room was supposedly unoccupied, but the maid had been ordered to clean it the next morning – an unnecessary waste of resources. At approximately 11 am Wednesday morning, the maid set to work. She'd already stripped the bed and trodded and wiped over untold amounts of evidence before discovering the body of the hotel manager wrapped in a sheet in the bathtub. There were no signs of the missing documents.


Had the manager already passed them off to their ultimate buyer? Or had he stashed them someplace? And who had killed him? And why?


Frustratingly, all the evidence the police had gathered pointed uselessly back to the hotel manager. Obviously, he'd been the one to tamper with the CCTV system and dismiss the night security. He had also opened the vacant room with his master key and, not anticipating being murdered, had order the morning room cleaning in advance. He'd even gone so far as to load the bullets into the illegal pistol that killed him. The outer part of the gun had been meticulously wiped of fingerprints, as had all the door handles. As for the rest of the room, it seemed that the entire hotel staff and several weeks worth of guests had pressed their fingers against every available surface. Bother.


It hadn't been difficult information to collect and Sherlock would have enjoyed questioning the hotel staff and examining the room if it hadn't all been at Mycroft's direction. Sherlock hated doing the legwork for his brother. Unfortunately in this instance he hadn't been left the choice. He was being evicted – again – and Mycroft's phone call was the only thing keeping his chemistry set from being tossed to the curb.


Maybe mother was right about his needing someone to look after him – at least a flatmate would ensure the rent was paid on time, and another pair of hands may have been able to keep the fumes from reaching the smoke detector before Sherlock could shut down his experiment. So far his distain for sharing space with others had kept him flatmate free, but this was the third eviction in a year. It may be time to rework his strategy.


The capitulation would sting, but putting up with Mycroft's not so subtle manipulations felt worse. He glanced around the hotel room again. Luxurious and decadent, and intimately sexual without being obvious about it. Typical.


His brother felt he needed to get laid. Sherlock thumbed the pocket where his cellphone rested and debated texting Mycroft his theories and leaving, just to spite him.


But now that he was here and the legwork was done he had to admit his gaze strayed towards the computer console built into the expensive desk in the corner. It was flat and glossy black, reflecting his eyes when he found himself strolling over to it. The face that stared back at him was sharply defined and contained a hint of the exotic, features he blamed on his father and mother respectively.


It was also hungry.


Sherlock was adept at dealing with this hunger. He treated his body as a tool, good for carrying his brain about and dealing with particularly invigorating criminals. He became annoyed when it demanded things for itself – things like food, sleep, and sex.


The food he took in irregularly, the sleep when it rose up and claimed him. The sex he was best at ignoring for as long as possible.


Sherlock consistently found sex irritating – something that he craved, but never connected with. He had attended the same seminars his school mates had, had even self identified at a younger age than was usual for those in his prep school. But he found the process itself either tedious and boring, or dirty and unnecessary.


He had successfully gone years without a single sexual encounter, and barely bothered even with masturbation. He had long ago found the particular pull and thrust designed to bring him most efficiently to a quick end, and used such skills when he found the need required he do so.


On the rare occasions when masturbation failed to ease the itch, sexual partners had never been difficult to acquire. He blamed his mother's looks for that nuisance, as the attention he gathered proved more irritating than useful. He rarely found his subs interesting long enough to complete a single sexual encounter. And he never saw the same person twice. Whatever stimulation he managed to gain from the exchange was good for one time and one time only.


Which usually worked out for his subs as well. He had been told he had a rather bracing personality. Few of his partners could stomach him for longer than what was absolutely necessary to get off.


At least there was some satisfaction in that Mycroft suffered from much the same difficulty.


Which did make this sort of hotel a useful place for both of them, Sherlock had to admit. When sex came with the room, it was easy to focus on the deed itself and pay less attention to the partner in the dance. Not that either of the Holmes brother's could ever not pay attention, but the sentiment was there. Sherlock could activate the computer, select a companion for the evening, and have to devote absolutely no other energy to the encounter at all. It would be boring and predictable, but at least it would satisfy his body's demands. If the experience was at least half-ways enjoyable he could likely forgo sex for another six to eight months at least.


Sherlock told himself that if he used the interface it would only be in the name of the investigation. Research into how the hotel worked, if the system was related to the exchange of information, et cetera. He tried to ignore the twitching in his groin, the slow throb that informed him he needed this, that it had been too long, even for him.


Although ... Mycroft was paying for the whole thing, Sherlock's brain informed him. If he left without making full use of the hotel's services, it would be saving Mycroft half the bill. That would never do. He looked over at the console again and wavered for another moment, knowing the sexual relief would be temporary, that it would be at heart unfulfilling.


His groin twitched again. Sherlock looked down at his long body and gave it a disgusted glance. Better than nothing is still something. Making up his mind, he reached forward and thumbed on the computer console. The glossy black surface silently dissolved into an options screen.


"Greetings valued guest." It read, "Please choose from the following options:


Select your sexual preference: Dom or Sub"


Sherlock wondered if switch rights groups would complain of the dual-option screen or admit that one should be picked for the duration. He reached forward and pressed the 'Dom' button. The flat screen shifted into another question.


"Select one: Male or Female"


Sherlock thought for a moment. His hesitancy overcome, the possibilities flowed through his mind. He turned to evaluate the room, scanned the high four-poster bed, the plush three-person couch, and the rich thick carpet. He quickly evaluated different positions for different partners and found his mind dwelling on the image of a man's tanned naked ass laid over the low back of the couch, waiting for his riding crop. The image stirred him, a sign of how right Mycroft had been and that he really did need this. He turned back to the computer and pressed the "Male" option.


The screen dissolved again.


"Please select the age range you desire. Please note that all employees of this establishment are over eighteen years of age, as specified by law. However costumes are available on request."


Sherlock ignored the legal speak and thought again of his mental image, then selected the "30-40" range. The screen changed to an open text box and read:


"Please enter any additional identifying characteristics that us will narrow your search parameters."


He typed "tanned".


The screen went white, then read "We currently have twenty-seven matches availble. Evaluate the selections, or further your search by pressing 'additional options'.


Sherlock, vaguely irritated at the prospect of penning through twenty-seven men of similar age, pressed for more options. A screen appeared which invited him to specify the type of sexual encounter he envisioned.


Glancing once more around the room, Sherlock pressed the "ropes", "riding crop", "complete penetration", and then as an afterthought added "gags". It was often easier when he didn't need to listen to his partner speak.


The screen dissolved again, then read "We currently have six matches available. Please evaluate the selections, or further your search by pressing 'additional options."


Sherlock pressed "Evaluate your selections", pleased to have narrowed the field to only six candidates. He was sure they would be equally uninteresting, but it was less tiresome than thumbing through twenty-seven. He wondered if it was the riding crop or the gags option that most found unappealing.


Statistically it was the riding crop.


No matter, six was more than enough.


The computer faded to white again, then returned with six medium sized pictures of attractive men. Sherlock selected the first on the list and enlarged the picture to full screen.


Pretty but with an awful charming smile. Sherlock hated charming smiles. They often meant people wanted to talk to him.


The next man was blonde, which Sherlock hadn't specifically asked to avoid, but which was not his usual preference. He continued onto the third man, who was richly muscled in a manner Sherlock found intellectually interesting, but not sexually desirable.


The fourth and fifth men were bland but presentable. Sherlock made a mental note of each before thumbing to the sixth.


He took the man in at a glance – brown nondescript hair, a plain face, lips that neither smiled nor frowned but simply sat before the camera. "Roger," he was listed as. Almost certainly a suggestive pseudonym meant to titillate a guest. It didn't suit him. Sherlock was about to thumb back to number four when the eyes caught his attention.


They were older eyes, with lines around them that spoke of something quiet and determined and possibly broken. Sherlock found himself arrested by their gaze. Without quite realizing it, he pressed on the picture for further information.


The computer screen obligingly enlarged the image and displayed an "Order" and "Cancel" button. There was no helpful paragraph to scan, however. All he got was the picture.


Sherlock looked once more at the man, then pressed "Order". It didn't really matter what his story was, anyway. He was simply here for one purpose.


The computer faded again, then asked him to specify when he wanted the man to arrive. Sherlock's internal clock told him it was still early and he was neither hungry nor tired. He pressed "In 30 minutes" instead of specifying a particular hour. That would give him more than enough time to shower and get things ready.


The computer faded to black again and Sherlock went to his overnight bag. He still had his supply bag stashed in the inner pocket from the last time he traveled and it was only the work of a moment to retrieve his riding crop and personal rope. He was sure the hotel provided top dollar toys but Sherlock preferred materials he knew and maintained himself. The only thing he hadn't packed for himself was lubricant, but a quick perusal of the night table revealed a plethora of choices. Sherlock looked for the bottle that was both scent and taste free, and tested it before adding it to his selection.


He placed these objects on the coffee table within easy reach of the sofa and headed for the bathroom. There he efficiently stripped and turned on the shower, waiting until it was the right temperature before stepping inside.


Sherlock went about his shower routine with his usual speed, but found himself keeping an ear out for the subtle knock at his hotel room door. He noticed himself becoming excited even without direct encouragement, and realized how far gone he had let himself go. It would likely be easier to manage this distracting condition if he indulged himself more often, but Sherlock would never have the resources to stay in this level of establishment on his own purse. He could frequent mix bars more often, of course, or even spend an evening or two walking the city with the aim of purchasing sex. But all of that required effort spent on something other than work, and Sherlock hated to waste the time when he was busy and couldn't be bothered when he was not.


The best thing to do would be to enjoy this encounter as much as he could, and then avoid the sensations again for as many months as he could stand. He would be forced to endure Mycroft's smirking looks regardless. And perhaps, when he was done and clearheaded again, he might question the sub for clues regarding whom the manager was passing documents between, and who killed him. Unlikely given the large stable of stable of sex employees, but one had to start the annoying interview stage somewhere. Thinking about the case calmed his rampant libido somewhat, which he considered a good thing.


Stepping out of the shower Sherlock dried himself off with the plush towel provided and selected a new suit from his overnight bag. He went with the casual two button black jacket and plain white shirt, neglecting a tie as always. He put on clean black socks to keep his feet warm, but didn't bother with shoes.


He had time to run one last eye around the room before the discrete knock came at the door. Sherlock turned, placing his hands in his pockets, and called "Enter."


The door opened to reveal the rather plain-faced man with the interesting eyes he had selected from a photograph. He was dressed in a causal pair of tan slacks and a navy blue shirt, because Sherlock hadn't selected anything more formal. Not that it mattered to him, it would all be coming off regardless.


The man himself had hair trimmed slightly more than he had when his photo was taken, and his shoulder's were held stiff and back. The posture was two parts unwelcoming and one part military heritage, Sherlock decided. His gaze was even more arresting than it had been in his picture. In person, it was more prideful and more broken then he had realized.


Sherlock watched the man step into the room, saw how his eyes darted immediately to the doors and windows before coming back to rest upon his person. He saw the hands clench once before forcibly relaxing, and noticed that as nervous as the man appeared, his hands did not shake. The man gave him a clear once over, taking in Sherlock's height but lack of obvious muscle. Sherlock read the thought behind the subtle nod as clearly as if the man had said 'May be a scrappy fellow in a fight, but I could take him' He found himself almost chuckling at the erroneous conclusion, and felt a sharp and predatory urge to make this man understand his flawed reasoning in the most visceral way possible.


Well, he did specify a riding crop, after all.


Seeing his smile, the man caught his eye and walked forward, his face breaking into a light smile as well. He stopped a three feet away and inclined his head. "Good evening."


Sherlock felt himself smirking slightly. "It will be."


The man's eyebrows rose and a faint blush crept beneath his tanned skin. Sherlock almost laughed again, surprising himself already with how much he was enjoying this, but asked instead.


"Afghanistan or Iraq?"


He saw the man start in surprise, then frown. "Excuse me?"


Sherlock removed his hands from his pockets and clasped them easily behind his back. He stepped around the man, circling him.


"It is an easy question. Have you recently returned from Afghanistan or Iraq?"


This time the man did colour, but it was in anger not embarrassment. "I'm sorry. I was under the impression that private details were kept off the main server in this hotel." He turned back towards the door, "Please excuse me, I feel I need to have a word with the management."


Sherlock stepped directly in front of him and caught his angry glare. "The manager is dead, a fact I am sure of which you are aware." There was no change in expression on the man's face, which Sherlock found intellectually interesting. "But there is no need to complain. There were no personal details included. It was an obvious question."


The man stopped and crossed his arms, his expression steady. "Really?" His tone was ironic.


Sherlock returned his neutral look. "You are tanned but naturally so, without the harsh lines of an artificial tanning bed. The lines around your eyes speak to frequent squinting, but you satisfied your curiosity about the room without the need for contacts or glasses. Wind and sun, then, instead of myopia or astigmatism. Your bearing and hair cut says military, and you have rifle callus on your palms." Sherlock shrugged. "The only question then is Afghanistan or Iraq."


The man stared at him, clearly disbelieving. "Incredible." He sounded honestly impressed. "You can tell all of that just by looking at me?"


Sherlock smirked, pleased with the man's reaction, and continued his slow circling.


"Oh I can tell much more than that. The muscles of your hands are finely developed with a small healed network of old scars, there is a lighter band below both ears too low to be sunglasses, and that plus your subtle twitch when I said 'artificial tanning bed' suggests physician. A military trained physician. That would agree with your professional glance around the room for entry and exit points, and your appraisal of me as young, overall healthy and someone you could take in a fight. Untrue, by the way, but you had no way of knowing that.


"You have been back in London less than a month and out of a military hospital for less than two weeks. This is evident by the state of your tan and the careful way in which you hold your left shoulder. You are new here at this establishment and so far your jobs have been less than enjoyable. However you did work in this industry earlier in your life, likely prior to medical school. If you hadn't you likely wouldn't have thought to return to this line of work. This is less about indulging your sub fantasy's and more about meeting the bills, and I'm sure your world-ranging experience has left you capable of dealing with some of the undesirables who frequent this sort of establishment.


"In addition, since you have been discharged despite the fact that you are clearly career military and are not currently practicing medicine as a physician in London, you've recently suffered through a painful and possibly psychologically scarring event. That is supported by the faint hint of a psychosomatic limp as you walked into the room.


"However," here Sherlock shrugged again, "the purpose of this meeting is for sex, not suitability calculating, and so it doesn't really matter to me where you were injured or what the circumstances were of your discharge. Only that I'll have to remember to be careful with your left shoulder when I tie you to the bedpost."


The man's eyes had widened and then gone sharp during the course of Sherlock's discourse, but they glazed over somewhat now in a haze of sudden want. Sherlock watched the man's reactions with a predatory smile, waiting for him to accept Sherlock's deductions and hoping he'd agree to stay for the duration. Some men would have left by now, storming away in a hissy fit of wounded dignity. This sub didn't even seem to be angry. Sherlock found him more and more intriguing.


The man blinked away his lustful expression, but could not quite clear the roughness from his voice. "That's amazing."


Sherlock lifted an eyebrow, pleased. "Really?"


The man was nodding, eyes focused on Sherlock. "Yes. Absolutely amazing."


Interesting. He sounded completely sincere.


Sherlock stepped up close to him, unclasping his hands and raising one finger to trace from the man's left temple and down to his chin. The skin was smooth, not unlined, and slightly flushed. Sherlock surprised himself by wondering what it tasted like. "That's not what people usually say."


The man's eyes closed halfway as Sherlock stroked him, and fluttered as he brought his thumb across the man's smooth shaved chin. "Wha – what do they usually say?"


Sherlock smiled and squeezed the man's chin sharply, drawing him in and up for a quick harsh kiss. Sherlock crushed their mouths together, feeling the delicious slide of chapped lips before forcing his way inside the man's mouth and licking cat-like at his tongue. He ended the kiss as quickly as it had began, and drew back to give the shocked man a hard smile.


"Piss off."


The man laughed weakly and pushed forward, eyes closing again and lips widening invitingly. Sherlock decided he had been interesting enough to deserve a second kiss. He kept it as punishing as the first.


The man groaned as Sherlock took his mouth again, and without reallying meaning to Sherlock found his arms coming around to take the man's elbows and pull them closer together.


"Your going to pay for that," Sherlock told the inside of the man's mouth. "I'm the only one who writes the rules tonight."


The man shivered.


Sherlock pushed him back by his elbows, creating space between them again. He was pleased to see the flush that had completely taken over the man's cheeks, his blown pupils and bruised lips. Sherlock could feel his own pulse beating wildly in his throat. This was unexpected.


"What's your name? Your real name?" he asked suddenly, possessed of the desire – the need – to know. "Tell me your name."


The man shuddered, then raised his eyes to Sherlock's penetrating glare and summoned a quiet smirk. "Will it be worth my while to tell you?"


Sherlock gripped the man tighter and growled. "It would hardly be worth your while to not."


The man gasped and smiled, obviously relishing the rough treatment. "Maybe I really shouldn't then."


Sherlock abruptly let go of the man's elbows but didn't step back, moving instead closer to clasp his arms once again behind his back but lean his head down and forward, bringing his lips brushing against the underside of the man's jaw.


"I sincerely request you reconsider," he breathed, scrapping his teeth gently along the man's jugular.


The man shivered again, and choked as Sherlock gently took a fold of skin in his teeth.


"John," he gasped, and Sherlock rewarded him by biting down hard on his skin, just enough to break it slightly. The man – John – reeled and clutched at Sherlock's elbows to steady himself. "My name is John."


"Very well, John" Sherlock licked at the patch of skin he had just bruised. "I want you to walk to the couch and remove all your clothes. I want you to fold everything and lay it on the coffee table next to my riding crop."


He watched the pulse jump in John's throat as he breathed sharply in, but agreed. Sherlock watched hungrily as John began the ritual of undressing.


It was obvious at some point he'd been taught, because he went through the same stock moves it seemed every sub did. The slow dance of fingers over each button smacked of elementary seduction tapes. The demure, unsmiling gaze was straight out of the Sub's Guide to Pleasing a New Dom. Dull, disappointingly dull.


The clothes themselves, however were an interesting choice, Sherlock had to admit. Tan and navy. Understated, not overly sexual, going apparently for the shy office worker chic. Many hotel subs, given leeway, tended to tart it up with revealing rags or smartly cut leather that showed off whatever assets they thought most appealing. John's clothes hid nearly everything from neck to wrist. The mystery was far more intriguing than any eroticised costume would have been.


The shirt came off. Folded and placed per instructions next to the crop. Beneath John was tan, as Sherlock had specified. Sherlock fully expected that he would be sun darkened all over, but the tan was oddly uneven. There was evidence of both t-shirt lines and an interesting mish-mash of paler strips left by various equipment he'd carried. He'd worn a pack so consistently that his skin was winter pale from shoulder blade to the small of his back. His neck had sported a collar at one point but it had been swiftly abandoned and only the faintest evidence of it remained. Perhaps most fascinatingly the pale diagonal shadow of a rifle strap. Most subs were psychologically adverse to committing violence. John had been expected to kill. Fascinating.


Obviously, John had been used sexually as an afterthought at best. His other skills were valued higher. And here he was professionally subbing. Interesting carrier choice indeed. Desperation? Or was he truly that damaged that he found no satisfaction in any other career?


But, ah-hah! Clearly he wasn't so broken that he'd lost all of his rebelliousness. Sherlock's lips tweaked up as he noticed the subtle, testing shift in attitude.

John toed off his shoes in a near lackadaisical manner. His expression hadn't changed, but his eyes were drifting around the room. They focused on the open file folder Sherlock had left on the desk. From the way his pupils twitched, Sherlock could tell he was reading the report upside down and at a considerable distance. He knew the first page was Mycroft's report on the manager of the hotel and his (still theoretical) crimes.


Sherlock moved swiftly, grabbing the crop and bringing it up in one swift movement. A loud crack broke the silence of the room. John froze, his eyes back on Sherlock. A line of pink now marred one cheek.


"Know your place," Sherlock warned.


John stiffened, then began disrobing more smartly than before. Zip, belt, and pants off in clean forceful yanks. Seductive Stripping for Beginners had been abandoned in favor of passionate efficiency. Better. Yes. Much better. Much more real. The trousers and shorts were folded and placed with the rest of the clothes and John stood, naked, at attention, waiting for further instruction.


Sherlock waited, stretching the moment. He let his eyes roam carefully over every millimeter of John's skin. He was scarred. Bullet to the shoulder. A spider web of superficial cuts across his forearms, knees, elbows. Nothing to suggest the deliberacy of punishment from a strong and commanding dom. Simple, impartial wear and tear, then. Neglect.


Not bothering to put down the crop, Sherlock gestured. "See the sofa, soldier? You are to stand behind it and face me. I want you to look at this chair," he gave the room's matching chair a smart whap with the crop across the seat cushion. "Do not look anywhere else in the room, or you will be punished severely. Is that understood."


"Yessir," said John, falling back on his military training. Sherlock's lips twitched. He watched as the man took up the position he'd been told. He then deliberately turned away and watched John in the reflection of lamp.


As expected, the moment John thought Sherlock was no longer looking at him, his eyes began to drift again. Back to the folder Mycroft had given him. Sherlock spun and stared and John snapped back in position.

"I warned you." Sherlock crossed the room in swift strides, circling until he was behind John. "Ordinarily, this is where I'd tie you up. I'd bind your ankles to the chair legs, your arms in front of you, so that you could drape them over the back of the chair. But I'm not going to do that. Do you know why?"


"No, sir," John frowned.


"Because, it would be too easy for you. That would be taking your submission. I have no interest in a reluctant sub. I expect you to give yourself to me. Freely. Or I will send you back. Understood?"




"Just because your fellow soldiers didn't deign to see you as a proper sub doesn't mean that I don't."


John stiffened but didn't move his eyes from their designated spot. "How did you know?"


"Pathetically obvious. It's literally written all over your skin. Now bend over and touch the seat with both hands."


John did so without question. He kept his eyes on the chair opposite. It was a terribly awkward position. The seatback pressed deeply into John's middle, his arms and legs were at full extension. In order to touch the seat, he'd had to rise up onto the balls of his feet. Sherlock saw a tremble begin in his muscles.


"Don't move."


The first smack of the crop was square across John's buttocks. Immediately there was a dance of musculature rippling out, both up and down as the man fought to hold his position against the sudden pain. The skin where his crop had hit whitened momentarily, then flushed to a pink stripe. Sherlock paused to run his thumb over it, in part to test the speed at which the welt rose, in part to simply feel the texture of his skin. His skin there was softer than expected – perhaps it had never felt a crop or belt, though that seemed absurd. Perhaps it was simply more resilient.


He stood back and let a second blow fall, not holding back this time, but giving it every bit of strength he could muster. The stretch felt good to his arm, even better was the surge of pleasure having this power gave him. Sherlock's skin felt tight with adrenaline and excitement. His groin felt heavier and hotter.


John's reaction was a to jerk and let out a slow hiss of pain. The stripe across his buttocks was much darker. The very end had broken the skin and a tiny patch of blood appeared. A drop had clung to the edge of the riding crop and was flung across the room and to the bed when Sherlock brought his arm back. He looked momentarily at the tiny red drop on the clean white sheet, then turned back to stare again at John. The sub was tense now, all over. His hands had tightened into fists against the seat cushion.


This was where many subs politely stood up and called it a day. Any sub worth his salt could tell the difference between a beating that would fade by the end of the night and one that might actually leave scars. Sherlock knew he was overstepping his bounds and taking the hotel service too far.


Sherlock paused waiting for rejection.


John waited patiently for him to continue.


Ah, so. Sherlock let out a sigh that was half relief, half excitement. He hit John again, but not quite with all his strength. No more cuts. This time John gave out something that might have been a grunt, or perhaps an aborted groan. He regained control of himself quickly, stilled, and waited for more abuse.


Sherlock took that as permission to be freer, laying on in a matter of seconds twelve more blows. A surge of pleasure ran through his body with each stroke. His groin filled and hardened, pressing insistently against his tailored trousers. The room filled with sharp snap of the crop and the tang of sweat and pain. When the ecstasy left him, his arm ached and John sported a series of pink stripes of ranging from the small of the back down to the tops of the thighs. The pattern was chaotic. He leaned forward and ran his hands over the area. The skin felt pleasantly feverish to his touch, the welts under his fingers interesting. There were no more cuts, but bruising was inevitable. This sub – John – would not be sitting comfortably for several days. He found himself quite satisfied with both his work and the canvas it had been drawn on.


"Stand," he ordered.


John struggled to pull himself upright. He was breathing hard, trying to hide a little hiss as changing positions put stress on his welts. Sherlock noted with satisfaction that he hadn't cried and seemed to be taking the entire thing quite stoically.


"Excellent," Sherlock murmured, setting the riding crop down. He trailed his fingers along the edge of it, regretfully. John looked like a mess, no longer the carefully trained obident sub but a wild mass of raised red skin and wild hair. His eyes were wide and his breathing ragged, but he was trying to get himself under control.


Control. Yes, this was a sub who was used to having things his way. He was a sub who was trained to kill.


"How often did you miss, John?" Sherlock asked coming around the chair, fingers still trailing along John's back.


John's pupils were dilated. "What? When?"


Sherlock pressed his thumbnail into one of the many red bruising marks he had left on John's skin. The pressure and heat felt delicious, and Sherlock had to take a deep breath himself to calm the rising heat in his groin.


"When you shot people, John. How often did you miss?"


John's eyes widened slightly, but he answered immediately. "Almost never."


"Twenty-twenty vision and steady hands are useful things," he murmured. "And yet you also read upside down from ten steps away and don't always do as your told, do you?" He continued to circle back around John, hand traveling from his chest to his wounded shoulder, and then continuing to his neck. Stepping in shockingly quick Sherlock wrapped his hand around John's throat and pulled him sharply up against Sherlock's chest. John's quick indrawn breath was cut off from the power of Sherlock's fingers, and the skin underneath the detective's grip went white.


"Not a very good quality in a soldier. Too much curiosity for your own good."


John couldn't reply with Sherlock choking off his air supply, but his pupil's dilated even further, black swallowing the hazel iris until only a thin stripe remained. His shoulder's tensed, then abruptly relaxed. Sherlock felt John sag against him, giving him some of the willing submission he craved from this man.


He paused, warring with himself. The crop welts weren't enough. Not even the one that went too far. He wanted to mark this man, cut him harsh and deep and make him bleed, add his own lasting scar to the healing network on John's back. But he couldn't do that, couldn't push that this far. This was just a hotel diversion. John wasn't actually his to do with as he pleased, and Sherlock had to remember that.


Sherlock raised his left hand and trailed it lightly down John's spine as he slowly, very slowly, released the pressure on John's throat.


"Are you feeling that curiosity now, John? Do you want to know why I'm here, what I do?"


John took a slow breath in, trying to keep control against the urge to suck hair into his chest. "You're a detective."


Sherlock smiled and brushed his lips against the underside of John's right ear. John quivered. "Good. How do you know?"


"The paper is level five security, something about the investigation of this hotel. But you aren't a government agent, no tattoo. So someone gave you the information. Probably because your looking into the case."


Sherlock shrugged one shoulder. "There are twelve other clues you missed, but that is the salient point. Of course you are attempting to distract me. You read more than that, you know I was investigating the manager of this hotel. The man who is now suspiciously dead."


John's voice was unmoved, careful and veiled, but the subtle quiver in his skin had stilled. Sherlock smiled as John spoke, "He was not a man to be missed."


"Really?" Sherlock inquired, politely. He stroked a hand along John's throat. "Did he mistreat you, John?"


He had meant the question to be mocking, but John's unnatural stillness increased, and Sherlock felt an unexpected surge of anger. He pulled harder at John's throat. "Did he?" he demanded.


John pushed himself into Sherlock's hands, increasing the pressure on his trachea. "No more than he did everyone else."


Sherlock's fingers tightened, and his left hand rose of its own violation to grip John's hip and grind it backwards against his groin. John groaned out loud at the pressure he felt there, and Sherlock reveled in the heat of John's body, hampered as it was by several layers of clothing.


"It doesn't matter. He's dead John, very dead. And you are mine tonight."


John groaned again, and Sherlock stepped back, feeling John's relaxed shoulder's tense a little at the loss of contact. He was such a deliciously responsive sub.


"So you took offense at his mistreatment, did you John?" Sherlock commented, as if offhandedly. "And yet you obviously have many other skills. Why are you here then, doing a task that is far beneath you? Why are you here, John?"


"I politely ask to be excused from this topic," said John immediately. The careful neutrality and buried want in his expression was gone. In it's place was disappointment.


Sherlock's eyes widened. That he hadn't expected. Especially not from a man who had both let himself be beaten and admitted to taking offense at another dom's hand. Motive for taking a job was too sensitive? The mystery of it made John all the more enticing. It made Sherlock's fingers positively itch.


"If you were mine, I could say 'no.'"


"But I'm not yours," said John, firmer. His shoulders sagged, this time with resignation rather than submission. "You'll have to figure it out on your own. Or let it be. Sir."


So, Sherlock had more than one mystery to deduce this night. He felt his mind thrill with excitement. That bit of insubordination would have gotten him thrown out of most dom's room's with a black mark, but to Sherlock it was as potent as an aphrodisiac.

Sherlock laid the crop down next to the chair and found himself a seat, spreading his legs a bit to relieve the pressure on his full and heavy crotch. Damn, but how he wanted this man. Wanted his mind and his body. Wanted it all. His eyes burned and he felt the blood in his body race with excitement. John still stood at loose attention and Sherlock stared at him. If John thought he would be dismissed this easily, he was so very wrong.


"So, you can argue with your dom," Sherlock said again, this time with a small smile. "But can you do other things with your mouth?"


"Yessir," said John with no hesitation whatsoever. He probably thought Sherlock had let the matter go and was obviously relieved.


"Then kneel."


Sherlock watched him settle onto his knees then waited until John looked up and met his eyes. Sherlock raised an eyebrow, and watched with satisfaction as John got the hint and crawled across the floor to position himself between Sherlock's knees. He then lifted a hand towards Sherlock's zip, but stopped when Sherlock barked a harsh, "No."


John rocked back on his heels, obvious confused. Sherlock stared at him. "Not hands. Who said anything about your hands – I saw quite enough of them while you stripped. I said mouth."


Sherlock watched understanding bloom on John's face. The pressure in his groin increased and he held back a groan of his own. John leaned forwards, concentrating on Sherlock's pants. He placed his hands behind him, as though they were bound (Sherlock hadn't asked that, but it was a nice touch.) Bending forwards, he caught the zip delicately with his teeth and pulled it gently down, not once letting it slip. Control. Motivation to please. The pressure released on Sherlock's cock was heady. He sighed and stretched his legs further apart.


The button was beyond the power of John's teeth to release, so he didn't even try. (Assessment of possibilities, weighing failure vs. success, choosing the correct path). Instead he nuzzled into the folds of the fabric and with his chin and tongue, teased Sherlock's flesh into the opening. A thin layer of cotton was the only barrier between Sherlock's erection and the sultry oasis of John's mouth.


"Yes," Sherlock found the words heavy in his mouth. "Lick me through the fabric, John. Lick. Harder."


John set to it. Running his tongue in broad strokes over the tented cotton, lingering on the head, where it curved just slightly down under the unyielding pressure of his shorts. He stopped only to remoisten himself with his saliva. Sherlock loved the way John's open mouth lengthened his face, seeming to ease the fine wrinkles from his forehead. John's eyes were open, torn between looking at his crotch and looking up into Sherlock's face.


"The shaft," Sherlock ordered. "Mouth it."


John nudged his head under Sherlock's cock and struggled to get purchase with his lips on Sherlock's shaft. He pinched the tented fabric between his lips and managed with effort to capture a bit of the flesh beneath. The sensation was maddeningly light – a tease. The damp fabric cooled the head of his cock in a way that was more irritating than pleasurable.


"Pull my cock out," said Sherlock. "Free it."


John focused on the work and Sherlock focused on John, watching the way his pink tongue curled out like a fat tendril, hunting, then finding the opening in his shorts. With his chin and nose he worked his way farther in, until his face was hidden in the folds. In seconds, the quarry had been found and was pushed, by soft lips and the warm wet caress of tongue, out into the open. Sherlock let out a breath he'd been holding. John's face reemerged, to Sherlock's relief (mental note: do not let him hide his face again). A moment later, his cock stood out, ridged, thick veined, unbelievably ready.


Sherlock hadn't been this eager for a fuck in a long, long time. Perhaps not ever.


"Do what I want," he hissed as John licked the thick ridge benieth his cock.


A questioning look peaked John's eyebrows.


"Figure it out," Sherlock clarified.


John's brows came down and a warm look of excitement widened his eyes. The gauntlet had been thrown down. This was a challenge not just of his physical prowess, but of his mental acuity. Could he figure out what Sherlock wanted – a complete stranger to him.


John's lifted his mouth away and caressed Sherlock's cock with only the very tip of his tongue. The sensation eased from decadence to tease. Like this, John tested. Sherlock found he could bear it for only a second before bucking his hips forward to deepen the content. Again, that small, almost smile on John's lips. He changed strategy and took the head into his mouth for the first time and sucked it hard. The sudden shift was heady to Sherlock's libido. It was difficult not to push forward and slide more of his length into John's hot mouth, but that would invalidate the test. Nonetheless, John seemed to understand. His sucking became deeper. He changed the angle of his head to let Sherlock's cock slide deeper in without hitting the gag reflex. John moved his head faster.


Sherlock felt his balls tighten and the pressure at the base of his cock suddenly built, warning of impending release. He fought his own instinct and pulled back, knowing that he was on the verge of losing control. John immediately released his cock. Then blew gently over the tip to further cool him off.


"Enough," said Sherlock, his voice just a bit shaky to his own ear. "You've passed."


John smiled full on now.


"This test," Sherlock clarified. "The next will be more difficult."


John raised an eyebrow again. For a sub this was pure cheek, but Sherlock found himself liking it. "On the bed," he ordered, standing up. "Face up, if you please."


John stood a little awkwardly. Sherlock saw that his leg was bothering him, despite the fact that there was no visible outward injury, and wondered if perhaps John nursed it out of habit rather than actual pain. Sherlock watched as he walked over to the bed and lay down on his back. He let his hands lie against his chest and looked up at the mirrored ceiling tiles. His cock was only at half mast, which was a bit disappointing, though considering the pain his backside was causing him, not completely unexpected. He was probably expecting to be fucked at this point, though the option of being called on to top wasn't out of the question. Some doms loved to be fucked and enjoyed ordering their subs to take care of them that way.


He wasn't expecting what Sherlock had planned. "I've tested your bravery. I've tested your skills. I've tested your obedience. You won't need any of those for this next bit. In some ways this will be much easier that what I've already asked of you. But in other ways it will be far more difficult."


John nodded. His cock twitched a little, lengthening as it rose up from it's bed of pubes.


Sherlock brought out the ropes and with practiced ease, he bound John's wrists to each of the tall bed posts. His ankles came next. John tested his bonds when he thought Sherlock wasn't paying attention.


"Go ahead, try to escape," Sherlock said easily. "You won't be able to. This isn't the typical bondage you are used to – all show -- easily slipped. I've never had anyone escape from my knots and some have been ..." he paused, " ... extremely motivated."


"Are you attempting to scare me?" John asked.


"Wasn't considering it," Sherlock replied. "After you let me beat you, I figured that we'd established that there was little I could do to your body that you would object to." He leveled a warm smile. "No, I'm saying this because you might later lose control. It is possible for you to injure your wrists and ankles if you tug too hard. It's not my intention for that to happen. Knowing that it's fruitless may help you reign yourself in. I need you to understand you won't be freed under any circumstances until the test is over. So go ahead now, and satisfy yourself."


John twisted his wrists in a precise way that would have allowed him to wriggle out of a typical loop with just a bit of loss of skin. Sherlock watched as he tugged, and saw when John realized that with the pull on one rope another would tighten, holding him firmer in place.


Sherlock nodded. He went back to his bag and brought out a ball gag. He liked the way John's face looked when his mouth was full.


"Since this test won't end until I'm satisfied, there is no need for you to give your input. I will be studying your body and your voice will be a distraction." He wrapped the gag around John's head. A look of trepidation crossed his features, but his cock had hardened. "This isn't about cooperation. This is about endurance."


John's flesh actually rippled. Goosebumps appeared on his arms and legs and his nipples grew darker and stood out.


"This won't be painful," Sherlock assured him. "Though that might not be a consolation."


Now that John was completely helpless, Sherlock turned his attention back to himself. He undressed with efficiency, removing his tailored shirt, folding it precisely and leaving it on the vanity. His shoes came off next, then socks. Finally he undid his belt and freed that problematic button. His trousers and shorts came down.


John watched from the bed with unbridled fascination. His cock had completely hardened and now sported a small clear drop at the end. It was quite a serviceable cock, Sherlock noticed appreciably. On the high end of the normal range, well veined, surrounded by a short, trimmed nest of pubes. The foreskin had pulled back to reveal the rounded dome of the glans.


Sherlock approached the bed slowly, stalking his prey, considering the angle of attack. He sat down at John's hip, swiveling, and made his first move. Two fingers, slightly spread, traced a track down the side of John's chest, following the curvature of his pects, then over the swelling muscles of his abdomen. The skin felt warm and smooth. It shuddered under the touch. John sucked in a breath and arched.


"So sensitive to touch," murmured Sherlock, pleased. "You aren't used to being touched gently are you." He ran the palms of his hands over John's belly, exploring the way the muscles moved.


John was hungry and not just for the firm hand of a proper dom. He'd lost weight in Afghanistan. He'd lost more in the months of his recovery from the gunshot wound. This hotel, and the manager, most likely, had not helped. Sherlock was certain more than ever that the manager had been abusive. He was glad the man was dead. It removed the temptation he would have felt to kill him himself.


"You should eat more," Sherlock pronounced, running a hand down John's left side. "You are a stone below optimal. Were you mine, I would make sure you were properly fed, even if I had to place the food in your mouth myself."


John grunted against the gag. Probably a protest of but I'm not yours.


Sherlock stroked his hand upwards, curving his fingers around the muscle of John's shoulder. It was hard. Tight. He had not learned to relax. I could make him relax, Sherlock thought. I could ply him with touches, heat, stretches -- force him to unbind. The thought of it pleased him. As much of a joy as it was to bring a man's spirit to heel, it was also a joy to make his body perform. He explored John's arm, the way the hair on the forearm had risen, the texture of the skin on the inside of his elbow. Further explorations of his legs, cataloguing the size and shape of the muscles under his sensitive fingers.


Sherlock leaned over and caressed the man's face, analyzing thousands of small clues, little factors. John's smell, the tackiness of his sweat, the elasticity of his skin. The way the flesh blanched under a hard nail, then pinked when the pressure was released. The way John flinched when Sherlock's fingers explored his eyelids. The flaring of his nostrils when he pulled the lids open with two fingers and ever so gently touched the white of his eye with the other hand. Sherlock sat up with satisfaction. He'd mapped the front of John's body in a way that no one ever had before. Even he himself didn't understand his body in the deep way that Sherlock now did.


John wasn't hard anymore. He'd blushed as if this prolonged exploration of his skin were bringing him some embarrassment. Sherlock realized that he hadn't spoken for the better part of twenty minutes and the sub probably had no idea what he was doing or why.


Now it was time to put Sherlock's discovery to work.


He began the second phase of attack. This time his touches were less exploratory, and more provocative. He'd found the place on John's neck that rose goose bumps over his body. The spot on his thigh that made his cock go from soft to full mast in a matter of a second. Sherlock began working these areas, keeping strategically away from the most erogenous zones, until John sweated and quivered with need.


There was a humming sound coming from deep in John's throat. John's eyes were screwed shut and he could see that the man was biting into the rubber gag, his lips pulled back. The look on his face could have been agony, but it wasn't. It was need.


Sherlock smiled and began playing with that need, provoking it. His fingers now strayed to more sensitive spots, palming John's balls, giving the cock a light quick stroke. The reward was a constant stream of precum the slid down the side of his quivering cock to glisten on his pubes. Sherlock moved on to the nipples, abandoning the use of his fingers to run his tongue over them. They hardened into little knots and John shook.


He stood away from the bed long enough to fetch a bottle of lubricant from the stand. John watched in fascination as he slathered his hand. Then, positioning himself between John's spread thighs, he hunted and found the sensitive orifice hidden there. Sherlock began with slow circles around the outside, then slowly pressed into the center. The strong muscle parted more reluctantly than it should have, but part it did. It accepted first one finger, then another. Sherlock smiled and then crooked them upwards to rub against John's prostate.


"I once finger fucked a man for two hours," Sherlock remarked. "I was slow and careful not to rub him raw. His cock was drenched with the precum I'd milked out of him. You should have heard how he begged me to stop, or to fuck him, or to wank him off. I think he finally came out of pure self-preservation. He cried like a baby."


John's cock was drooling, but it was clear from his squirms that he hoped Sherlock didn't have similar plans.


"It was just an experiment," Sherlock said. "Not a very satisfactory one, though." Sherlock hadn't come that time, despite the promising beginning, because the moment he'd freed the sub from bondage he'd fled the room. Minutes later he'd been tossed out of the hotel entirely, having been accused of being psychopath with consent issues. He likely would have earned an ASBO if Mycroft hadn't interceded.


"Not one that needs repeating. I have a different idea for you." With that Sherlock leaned forward and brought his mouth down on John's cock. He had to be very careful. John was at a very precarious point. Still Sherlock couldn't deny himself the chance to taste this powerfully seductive sub. John tasted wonderful. The musk of sex clung to his skin like a heady perfume. The cock was finely textured and utterly responsive to his tongue. Sherlock gave himself no more than thirty seconds of indulgence, before willing himself to stop.


He pulled away and surveyed John with satisfaction. From the tightness of John's balls and the pulse in his cock, Sherlock deduced that John was very near the precipice. He waited a few long minutes watching John buck and wriggle, until he figured that the crisis had passed and it was safe to touch him again.


"This will be the hard part, John," said Sherlock. "I want to bring you back up to the brink – as close as I can – but I don't want you going over. Do you understand? You must at all costs not orgasm. I'm going to do this with my hand so that I have more precise control. When you reach the point where you feel your orgasm is imminent, I want you to grunt twice."


John nodded.


"Do it now."


John grunted twice. There was desperation on his face.


"If I feel you have stopped me too early, I will let you cool down a few minutes and begin again. Do you understand? You must be on the brink."


John reluctantly nodded again.


Sherlock lubed his hands again and went to work, more efficiently this time. One hand worked John's cock, the other plunged knuckle deep into his arse and rubbed his prostate. In seconds John was grunting. Sherlock removed his hand from John's cock and waited while John whined and fought his bonds.


"Once more," said Sherlock after waiting for John to still. "Not too early this time. Attempt to divert yourself with thoughts. Stay up there as long as you can."


He resumed the assault. This time John seemed to have trouble settling down. Sherlock paused each time and waited. Then once John was still, he began again. John finally grunted twice again. Sherlock squeezed his fingers tight in a circle around the base of his cock preventing orgasm. The organ throbbed. The expression John made was unbelievably exciting.


"Excellent," said Sherlock, "I think you are ready."


Sherlock untied John and examined the man's wrists. The flesh was pink and dented, but the soft rope hadn't burned him or left a mark that wouldn't fade in an hour or two. Nonetheless John rubbed his wrists as soon as Sherlock let them go. One hand reached briefly up to touch the strap of his gag, then he seemed to recognize what he was doing and drew it back down again. He then waited for orders, eyes on Sherlock.


The sub's need was almost palpable. Sherlock could smell it – almost taste it in the air. It would be cruel to prolong things much further. But the bed itself wasn't conducive to what Sherlock had in mind. Though there were mirrors on the ceiling and the vanity, both were too far away for his tastes and not at a useful angle. He walked over to the closet, and stared at himself in the mirror on the door. It was clean, wide, not warped and low enough to the ground. Almost perfect. If only there were a second mirror – there on that wall, he'd be able to view every inch of John at once while he took him.


"Over here," Sherlock said and pointed the the thick carpet in front of the mirror. "Hands and knees, face the mirror."


John climbed off the bed, only a little clumsily despite both the earlier abuse and this current state. His erection swung and bobbed obscenely – he was far too needy to lose it at this point. Walking gingerly over to the closet, he sank to his knees and leaned forward, holding himself up with his arms.


Despite his excruciating need, Sherlock noticed him glancing at the desk as he walked– just a quick flicker of a look, quickly brought back in line.


"That's quite enough, John." Sherlock admonished, reaching up to close the enticing folder. "I think you know enough of the details already."


John shot him a look over his shoulder, but Sherlock casually backslapped him across the ear. The blow was moderated, but John clearly hadn't been expecting it, and it made him stagger forwards. Sherlock caressed the red stinging flesh at the edge of ear for a moment before pulling John roughing back to where he wanted him.


"Look at the mirror," Sherlock instructed. "Watch me. Don't you dare take your eyes off me. Do you understand?"


John nodded; his full erection now sported another drop of pre-come at the tip. Sherlock ran his hand fondly over the edge of the gag, where it bit into John's cheek. He then stood back and reluctantly paid attention to his own body. The hotel kindly provided a large number of condoms in a container left prominently next to the bed. Sherlock grabbed one and tore the foil open. He rolled the sheath on while John, faithful to his instructions, watched. Sherlock noticed an eager little shudder go through the sub's body.


Pouring a generous amount of lube into his hand, Sherlock stroked himself. He was already very hard, so he was careful not to apply more pressure than a gentle tease. When that didn't fully help, he reached down with one hand, palmed his testicles, and gently tugged his scrotum until it hung loosely again. He didn't want this feast to end too soon. It would be a shame to lose control just at the best part.


John let out a snuffling sigh through his nose when Sherlock settled behind him. He obviously expected Sherlock to start right in, but Sherlock had other ideas. The first was to simply drink in their positions. His cock looked magnificent lying across the hot, taut welts on John's buttocks. He knew John could feel the size of it, feel it's hardness, measure how deeply he'd soon be impaled. Sherlock rocked his cock gently against the sore flesh and savored the wince on John's face.


John's whimper was a plea for more.


With one hand, Sherlock pressed his cock down, following the valley of John's buttocks until he reached the wrinkled rosette of his arse. The muscle was already loosened by his earlier stretching, and now it opened further, allowing the very tip of Sherlock's cock to slip in before giving any resistance. Sherlock paused again, with his glans no more than a quarter inch inside. He considered their relative sizes and imagined how stretched that ring would look in a moment.


John, impatient, whined again and began to press back, trying to impale himself. Sherlock drew his hips back in a flash, and then brought his hand down on the welts in a loud slap. John grunted with pain and the muscles under his flesh twitched and shook.


"Don't do that again," Sherlock warned. "I'm in control here. We do this my way, at my pace. Understand?"


John nodded and hung his head as if exhausted. Sherlock responded with a second, harder slap that made John seize up to hold himself still.


"Wake up. What did I tell you? Have you forgotten already? Eyes on me at all times."


John's head came up and his eyes met Sherlock's.


"I'm not some toy you've pulled out from under your bed, here to service your needs, John," Sherlock said. "You are here to service mine. My pleasure should be your pleasure. So watch me, watch my face, my body, and see just how much pleasure your body gives me. Let that be your satisfaction." He watched John's eyes brighten hungrily, knowing that John understood this in a way most of his subs never could. "Even if I don't let you come, and at this point I'm not convinced I should, it should be enough to you to know that you brought me to the pinnacle of pleasure."


John nodded, his pupils dilated. His face flushed with excitement.


"If I choose to let you come, and I do so only as a reward, not because I think you are owed it. Now are you ready?"


John nodded again, more sharply this time. Need was spelled out clearly over his features. The threat of being left unsatisfied only made it keener.


Sherlock positioned himself forward again and nudged his rigid member up against John's hole. It had tightened up a bit, now even the first quarter inch met resistance. Nonetheless, Sherlock pushed, assessing the way the pink muscle stretched, it's wrinkles fanning out. With a torturously slow nudge, he slid in until he was nearly at the widest point of his cock and there he stopped. Part of him yearned to thrust in completely, but he willed himself to be disciplined. He ran a hand over John's buttock found a welt and pinched. Without willing it, John clamped down momentarily on the head of Sherlock's cock, sending a thrill of pleasure down the shaft to a spot deep in the base groin.


He thrust forward, the head popping in and the shaft swiftly submerging. He bottomed out and then held, savoring the feverish heat of John's body, and the way its passage gripped his entire length in a pleasantly firm hug. He eased half way out and looked down, measuring with his eyes the dilation of John's anus around his veiny shaft. Then sank back in, slowly, inch by inch, watching his cock disappear.


"Fuck," Sherlock breathed, the swear unusual from him, but the sentiment heartfelt. John was so good, so tight. He couldn't remember a time when sex had been this exciting, when the need, the desire was so heady. John's breathing was quick. Sherlock knew he felt it too. He'd pulled his lips back and Sherlock could see that he was biting into the rubber ball of the gag. His nostrils flared. His eyes however were locked onto Sherlock, as he was ordered, though Sherlock could clearly tell it took some determination on John's part to do so. He could feel the tension in John's body as he fought not to remain still, despite the intense need to fuck himself on Sherlock's cock.


"You are so very good, John." Sherlock told him, raising a hand to stroke him lightly on the back. He felt John tremble against him. "And because you are so good I'm not going to do you a disservice and go easy on you. I'm going to make this last, make you suffer, and you are going to beg me for more."


John groaned around the gag. His expression was desperate.


Sherlock smiled and began a slow pace, thrusting in until his pubes tickled the welts on John's backside, then withdrawing until the head began to emerge. Back and forth, back and forth. It took finesse – a too vigorous backstroke would pop him out completely, too vigorous forward stroke would leave John without that maddening tickle. John literally trembled trying to hold his position and neither scratch himself nor increase the speed of Sherlock's strokes.


"So good," Sherlock muttered. John groaned again.


In a way it was a cruel game to them both. It tested Sherlock's discipline at least as much as John's. Sherlock felt as if a spring inside of him were being wound tighter by the moment. He held himself on the edge as long as he could, neither moving towards orgasm nor allowing himself to slide away from it. It was more vanity than anything else that lead him to want to extend this session out as long as possible.


I want to impress him, Sherlock realized and then let out a full throated laugh. It had been so long since he'd cared a fig about impressing anyone. But John was so intriguing, so full of expectations and contradictions. Sherlock found himself wondering what sort of contract John had signed with the Hotel and how easy would it be to buy him out of it. I want him to want me, to remember me, with the same fervor I'll remember him. I want him to know that he'll never find a better dom, no matter how many clients he services.


"Would you come back with me, John?" Sherlock couldn't help but asking. "I have money, contacts. Would you leave this place and come back with me?" He slid in and out again, maddeningly slow.


John groaned around the gag, and his willpower broke for a moment. He thrust backwards onto Sherlock's cock, burying him to the hilt. He kept his eyes locked onto Sherlock's, and the power of need in them was answer enough.


Sherlock leaned forward, leaving himself buried as far as he could inside John's warm heat. He reached around and gripped John by the throat, pulling him hard against him so he could whisper in his ear. He was feverishly hot, reckless in his abandon.


"But you wouldn't kill me John, would you? You wouldn't kill me like you did the manager of this hotel."


Sherlock watched with vicious satisfaction as John's eyes widen with the question of how Sherlock could possibly have known. His expression was equal parts terror and admiration. His need, far from dissipating, had grown even stronger, as though danger itself was a turn on. So perfect. Sherlock's willpower finally broke.


He thrust in, harder now, making a delicious slapping sound as his thighs and belly collided with John's ass. Sherlock split his attention between watching the expression on John's face and watching his own cock piston in and out of John's hole. John's nostrils flared and his face reflected an amazing mixture of relief from finally getting his sensual needs met, agony that he hadn't come already, and fear with the knowledge that Sherlock knew.


Sherlock made sure the angle would be most stimulating to John's prostate, and then he reached around with his still somewhat slippery hand and found John's erection. Tracing the bulging veins of his sub's cock with his fingertips Sherlock went into a series of more forceful, almost painful thrusts that provoked a muffled yell of pleasure from John's blocked mouth.


John's control crumbled. He couldn't stop himself anymore, he wantonly thrust back to meet Sherlock, then rocked forward to increase the delicate friction his dom's hand was providing to his neglected cock. He was nearly over the edge and Sherlock doubted that even a hard slap would stop him at this point.


Just as abruptly it was too much for Sherlock as well. The heat, the sound, the smell (oh the smell -- sweat and sex and pheromones), and the look. Most of all the look. John's sweat dampened hair, the way his face contorted hopelessly with a need that only Sherlock could satisfy. The angry stripes across his backside that spoke so perfectly of Sherlock's power. In the mirror Sherlock could see a silvery thread of precum connecting the tip of John's cock to the rug.


The weight and heat of John's erection in his hand was as erotic as the delicious sensation of friction on his own cock. He closed his fist around the member and began pumping, sliding up to the end, then back to the base, timing it to his own thrusts so that it all became one fluid movement.


John cried out again and bit deeply on the ball, unable to keep his eyes open. Fluid spurted out over Sherlock's palm and onto John's arm and the floor. The sudden sharp scent of semen threw Sherlock over. His cock spasmed and, still thrusting as hard as he could, he rode the painful-sweet crests of an overdue orgasm. His eyes never left John's face until he'd fucked the very last drop of come out of himself.


When he had finished he continued to hold John against him for a sweaty, heady moment, then released him. John slumped to the carpet, his strained and beaten muscles simply unable to hold him upright any longer.


Sherlock felt nearly as drained. He slumped forward, holding himself off John's back from sheer force of will. It took them both a ragged minute to catch their breaths, and Sherlock found the desperate in and out of John's breathing more intriguing and precious than any sub he'd ever had before.


Another fascinating development. Usually after his climax Sherlock lost all interest in his sub's, but John was still precious to him, still something to be protected. It was an unexpected, but not unwelcome sensation.


Finally John gained enough control of himself to get his elbow's underneath him, and then flipped himself groaning onto his back. His chest was sweat soaked and delicious looking, and Sherlock found himself planning what he would do with that magnificent piece of John when they had recovered.


Only they wouldn't. Not tonight. They were neither of them as young as they used to be, and Sherlock knew it would be hours before he would be ready to get it up again. His contract with the hotel was for one night only, and that was because Mycroft was paying for it. He could hardly afford another night on his own purse. The realization was painful, and interesting again because it was so.


Sherlock blinked and brought himself back into the room. John was sitting propped up on his elbows, watching him. His face was regained a little of its old control, though Sherlock could see the fault lines in it.


"How did you know?" he asked. He meant about John's part in the murder.


Sherlock shrugged. "Every lie has its tells. Yours are less obvious to others, perhaps, but not to me."


John seemed to accept this. His shoulders slouched. Now that he was no longer horny, reality was looking rather bleak for him. "What are you going to do about it?"


Sherlock met John's weary stare with his own unblinking gaze. "Did he deserve it?"


John frowned. The expression renewed the wrinkles on his tanned face, making him less aesthetically perfect, and more completely real. Sherlock stared unabashed, memorizing every detail.


"I thought he did," John said, but there was doubt in his voice.


"What happened?"


John said nothing.


Sherlock kept his gaze. He sat up, resting his back against the couch and tucking his legs beneath him. "I will readily admit that my own moral code is rather poorly developed, and that I investigate crime for the thrill of the case more so than for the delivery of justice. But you are a soldier of conscience, and a doctor to boot. You do not kill lightly, despite that fact that when you make the decision to pull the trigger, you almost never miss. So if you tell me that this man deserved to die, which, by the information my brother has already collected on him, seems likely, then I will believe you."


John blinked. "And then what?"


Sherlock tilted his head at him. "And then what, what? The case is closed, at least from my end. Mycroft will want further details about what happened to his precious documents, and what information was passed precisely to whom, but that is hardly my concern."


John stared at him for another moment, then unexpectedly laughed. The expression transformed his face again, and Sherlock watched it hungrily.


"You really mean it, don't you? You'll take my word on this, and you honestly don't care beyond that." John looked wonderingly at Sherlock, a smile still lingering on his face. "You are ... beautifully immoral.


Then suddenly he looked rueful. "But how do you know I wasn't in on this whole thing, that I wasn't the contact? I could be a spy, taking those documents to the enemy."


Sherlock knew this was an obvious chance to display his deductions and demonstrate his genius, but he wasn't playing this time. He allowed his gaze to turn predatory again, roaming over John's deliciously naked, sweaty body from the tips of his toes to the top of his plastered hair.


"I know every millimeter of you now, John. You are a man who works for himself, for his personal beliefs and code and no one else. That's what made you a bad soldier, and its what makes you a poor doctor."


John's gaze hardened and he pulled himself into a stiff sitting position. "I'm a damned good doctor," he argued, heat in his voice.


Sherlock shrugged, leaning further against the couch. "I'm sure you are, but that's not enough for you. You're moral code demands that some people die, for the greater good. It conflicts with your medical oath." His gaze turned curious.


"Is that why you decided to work here? Because you knew you couldn't go back to private practice? Is that why you let me beat you? Penance for being who you are, rather than who everyone else seems to think you should be? Oh, John. You've no need to be punished for that."


John looked away and blushed. "It wasn't punishment. I ..." he let out a harsh laugh. "I liked it when you beat me. Fuck, but I really did. More than ..." he trailed off, then turned to face Sherlock again. "I came to work here because you were right, they kicked me out of the army. No one wants a broken solder, especially not one who's a sub, and a 'half-assed one' at that," Sherlock could practically heard the quotations in John's voice, and felt his hands clench into fists on John's behalf.


John noticed, and shot Sherlock a tired smile. "It's okay, but that's what they thought." He leaned back onto his hands again. "And despite what you think of my personal moral code, I could probably slug it through private practice if I had to, but -- I'm not ready. I'm just not ready to be responsible again. And yet – this happened."


"Tell me about 'this'."


John sat up and laid his hands on his naked lap. He stared at them a moment, then looked up at Sherlock.


"My client for the night had finished and dismissed me by eleven o'clock. I went downstairs to clean up and start on my other duties. As I got out of the shower, my boss was there. He asked if I had been military, and I said yes. I don't know why he asked, it was on my resume. He told me to meet him at 3 am in room 204, and to be ready for my punishment. I was annoyed because I thought I might actually get home early that night, but I didn't think anything more of it. He's the boss.


"When I got there I could see there'd already been a tussle. A chair was knocked down. I didn't ask because the boss wasn't the kind of guy you questioned. He reminded me of an old sergent in that way. Things proceeded as usual. He tied me up and started to fuck me. But then, right in the middle of things, he started talking."


"Verbal abuse. And what he said put you over the line," guessed Sherlock. John had a flair for story telling. It seemed predictable where this was going.


But to his surprise John shook his head.


"I killed a man yesterday. And I could say it's because one of the girl's told me he beat her so hard she had to take a week off and then docked her pay for lost work. Or because he verbally abused everyone in this awful hotel, yes, myself included." John sighed. "And you know, maybe that should have been enough."


Sherlock shook his head. "Nonsense. You would have quit over the abuse before you resorted to murder. What did he say while he was fucking you that upset you so."


"Everything you did and more. I was a lousy sub. A lousy doctor. He asked how many people I killed in the line of duty, then called me a murderer. He said I worked for a corrupt government. That I was part of the evil in the world. I deserved to die. He told me had already killed one soldier to get what he wanted, and what was one more."


Sherlock nodded at the last line. "He was planning on killing you after he finished." Inspiration hit. "But, if it had been just your own life, you would have fought him to submission and escaped, called the police. You didn't."



"Then why? Why kill him?"


"He showed the documents that he planned on selling. Do you know what was in them?"


Sherlock had never asked. He shook his head. "It hardly matters –"


"Of course it matters!" said John. "They show troop locations and movements and missions all over Afghanistan." John's hands clenched into fists. "That information in the hands of the Taliban would have meant hundreds of deaths. They may not have appreciated me as a sub, it's true, but they are still my brothers, and I will die for them. I will kill for them."


Sherlock nodded.


"So when he turned his back, I slipped the sloppy bonds he had tied me up in and picked up the pistol he carried in a concealed holster under his jacket. Then I shot him in the chest."


John met Sherlock's eyes. "I don't feel bad about that. I don't regret it. I judged it necessary and I killed him. And that – " his expression broke, "I mean, what kind of doctor can do that?"


Sherlock reached forward and pulled hard at John's chin, forcing the man to look up. "One trained by Her Majesty's Army, obviously."


John let out a huffing laugh, and Sherlock kept his hand on John's skin for as long as he could. Eventually, though, John's chuckles subsided, and Sherlock was forced to let his hand drop. He licked his lips.


"You want to know what happened to the documents, I bet," John said.


"You destroyed them," said Sherlock with certainty. John couldn't have returned them without admitting murder and wouldn't have dared let them be found by anyone else.


John nodded. "You'll find them in the bag under the shredder in the mail room. Though you might not recognize them. I shoved them through twice. They look like confetti."


"John -"


He started, looking up again and meeting Sherlock's eyes. John's eyes were the same he had seen in the computer hours again. Too old and deep for his face, with too much weight behind them.


"Go ahead and tell your boss. I'm ready to go to jail."


"You won't be going to jail," Sherlock promised. "Like you deduced earlier – I have connections. I was paid to investigate and recover the documents, and I will. But I don't have to cooperate with the police, and I won't."


John took a deep breath in. He sat back on the floor and looking both relieved and disappointed.


Fuck but Sherlock wanted to take this man home. John was broken, and Sherlock wanted to be the one to put him back together. He wanted to burn those ridiculously pedestrian clothes and buy him custom made silks and jackets. He wanted to feed John until he recovered his full weight and strength. He wanted to tie him to his bedpost and never let him up, not even to relieve himself, forcing him to depend on Sherlock for every necessity of life.


But that wouldn't be fair to John. Nor realistic. Sherlock had his own issues in life, apart from John's. He was narcisstic and married to his work. He would be obsessed with John for now, for weeks perhaps, but after? Sherlock knew himself well enough to know that he would just as likely drop John when a new case arrived.


He didn't even have a flat to take the man to, being between homes as he was. He had nothing to offer John now, nothing to hold him with.


John seemed to understand some of the weight of Sherlock's gaze. He held it for a moment, then smiled and looked away. With a sigh John began looking around the room for his discarded clothing. It was time for him to go.


Sherlock leaned over and placed a restraining hand on John's shoulder to prevent him from rising. With a look he told John to stay still, and John blinked but obeyed. Then taking a deep breath in, Sherlock gracefully rose to his feet. He swayed for a moment as he stood, and blinked back the darkness that threatened to close in. Briefly he wondered when the last time he had eaten, but quickly dismissed the fact as unimportant. He caught the look of concern on John's face as he moved around the room, collecting John's shorts, shirt and pants, and found it lightened a place in his chest he hadn't realized was heavy before.


Assembling John's clothing together, Sherlock tapped gently on John's arm, indicating that he should stand. Then slowly, carefully, savoring every moment, Sherlock re-dressed him. First he helped John into his shorts, tapping on John's legs to indicate he should lift one and then the other.


He had John sit on the couch. Kneeling before him, Sherlock lifted each of John's feet in turn and caressing them briefly before helping John with his socks. He moved to the pants next, and remained crouched between John's knees as he knocked John's fingers away and did up the buttons himself. It was a reversal of their earlier position, and Sherlock smiled when he caught the spasm of want that crossed over John's face.


Sex was out of the question, they were both exhausted, but it was obvious John wished he could stay nearly as much as Sherlock. But Hotel policy was clear. John had other duties.


Next he helped John with his shirt, carefully easing his still healing shoulder into the cloth before following up with the unmarred arm. Sherlock did each button up slowly, relishing the touch of John's skin, and perversely pleased as he covered every section of it up.


He was the only one who had ever known John so intimately, the only one to canvas every part of him. Now he would cover him back up and hide him away from the world.


For a little while. Until the next dom came around to order him on a computer screen and tell him to strip, never understanding his true worth.


The thought made Sherlock's hands clench in sudden anger, and he looked down to see John frown curiously at the way Sherlock's shoulder's had tensed.


"You'll never have anyone so good, you know that." Sherlock said. He meant it to sound like fact, but his voice came out rougher and with more of an edge than he had planned.


John chuckled, "You really are full of yourself you know."


Sherlock locked a hand behind his head and pulled him in for another punishing kiss. John's lips were bruised from their earlier activity, but they still felt hot and pliant against his mouth.


"I'm right though," he murmured into John's mouth. "I always am."


John gave him a rueful smile when he pulled back. "You are."


It was right there again. On the tip of his tongue. Come with me, he wanted to say. He almost did.


His mobile trilled. Sherlock debated ignoring it, but John pulled away from him, moving to collect his shoes from the entrance way. Sherlock went to the desk and opened his phone, reading the text message there.


Having fun yet? Found the murderer? - MH


Sherlock didn't bother to glance at John, though he could feel the weight of the other man's gaze on him.


Self defense, not murder. Person unimportant. 
Documents found and destroyed. 
Check for recent murder of off-duty army soldier in vicinity, and leaks in military division of government - SH


Sherlock hit the send button and put his phone back in his pocket. When he looked over at the door John had his shoes on and his hand on the knob. John was staring at him, his face held tight behind a neutral mask. Sherlock felt the corner's of his mouth twitch, and John relaxed into a true smile. His shoulder's lost some of their tension.


"Well then," John said. His eyes were smiling too. "It's been ... fun."


Sherlock raised an eyebrow at the understatement, and John blushed again.


"I mean, you know what I mean." John fidgeted for a moment, and then he blurted out. "Take care of yourself, okay? I'm not the only one who's too skinny. You obviously need to eat more. And I'm not sure when the last time you slept was. So just – take care of yourself, okay?"


Sherlock felt a sharp pang of something he couldn't name. "Are you offering to look after me for yourself?"


John blushed. "No, I mean – no of course not. It's just that - " he crunched up his eyes for a second before looking down.


Sherlock took pity on him. "Look after yourself as well. And the next time you shoot someone, try not to be so obvious about it."


John gave a sheepish laugh, then turned back to the door. "I guess I'll see you around."


Sherlock tried to think of some witty retort to that, but all his mouth wanted to say was 'stay', so he said nothing.


John met his gaze for another moment, gave him another half-smile, and then left.


When he was gone the room seemed to grow five sizes across. The space was suddenly large and unwieldy, and Sherlock had no desire to stay in it for another moment. But there were a few things to be done.


He gathered his things together quickly, throwing on his clothes and shoving his ropes into his traveling bag without bothering to coil them first. His riding crop he picked up slowly, savoring the touch of it again in his hands, remembering the way John had arched when it struck his back. He lingered likewise over the ball gag, allowing the sense memories to fill him as he carefully cleaned each item and stowed it again in his bag.


When everyone was ready and together, Sherlock crossed back to the bed. It was the work of a moment to find the small drop of blood Sherlock had ripped from John's back with his riding crop where it had fallen onto the white silk sheets. Carefully and systematically Sherlock removed a pair of scissors from his bag and cut a square around the white sheet stained with one droplet of blood. He placed the square carefully inside of a Ziploc bag, then stared at the single drop of blood for a moment.


His tools he had to keep clean, the room was not his own to remember in. But this, this was something he could keep, something that was wholly John's and done by his hand. It would be a potent reminder.


Standing, Sherlock tucked the scissors back into his pack but placed the Ziploc bag in his suit jacket pocket. Then the crossed to the door, picking up his overnight bag as he went. Stopping in the door way he looked back to run his gaze once more over the room, remembering every position he had forced John into, lingering over the chairs and the mirrors and the desk at the far wall.


Then taking a breath, Sherlock turned and exited the hotel room, taking the stairs to the lobby to formally check out.







Four months later Sherlock had been evicted from another flat and was holding off going to Mycroft for assistance when he ran into Mrs. Hudson while canvassing a laundromat on Baker Street for a case he was working. He left a half hour later with a two person flat that was his tomorrow if he could find a flatmate to cover half the rent. He put the word out to Stamford, having grimly recounted his finances and being absolutely certain he could not afford the rent on his own.


It had been a trying four months. Sherlock hadn't been sleeping well. His dreams, when he did settle, were full of images of John's mouth and cock, the press of his shoulder and the curve of his ass. Sherlock had managed to keep his libido buckled firmly down during the day, but it came out at night. It was as if after being denied for so many years, his body had overdosed on sex in one afternoon and now craved it constantly.


Sherlock had tried to keep himself satisfied with cases and drugs. When that failed to work he had given in and called the Hotel where John had worked. He had been informed that John had left the position the day after he had met Sherlock. Two days after he had killed a man. Sherlock had broken into Lestrade's office computer but John hadn't been arrested for the murder. That was a secret safe with Sherlock.


Well Sherlock and Mycroft, most likely. But his brother hadn't commented again on the case, only to smirk that he thought Sherlock looked much better after his stay at Mycroft's favorite hotel. Sherlock had managed to avoid him ever since.


Overall Sherlock felt off kilter, and it was making him more irritable than usual. And yesterday he had let his temper get the best of him, pissed off his remarkably irritating landlord, and had been forced into the acquisition of a flatmate. True Mrs. Hudson's flat at Baker Street would be an excellent location located as it was nearly in the heart of London, but the requirement of another human being to help pay the rent was almost too much to bear.


The only person he wanted was John. And until the man put his name on a check or his resume in at a walk in clinic or a hospital Sherlock was powerless to find him.


He never should have let the man go, obviously. Sherlock mused the problem over again in his lab later that afternoon, while Molly twittered nervously about fetching him supplies. He hadn't been thinking clearly, not after the rather spectacular sex. He should have demanded that John leave his position and follow him and bought him a collar the next day.


It had been four months. He could not fathom the number of sexual encounters John may have had in that long a time. Though it was irrational, Sherlock burned with jealousy. No one could ever know John as thoroughly as he did, but he felt in his gut that no one should get to know him at all. Ever.


He was thinking this again as Stamford walked in, obviously with a potential flatmate trailing behind him. Sherlock paused as a whiff of a familiar aroma entered the lab, and looked up to see John walk in to his lab of his own volition.


Sherlock stared at him. John glanced around the lab before his gaze traveled to Sherlock, and he rocked back when their eyes met, rolling onto his heels.


Sherlock took in everything in a moment's glance. The way his clothes hung loosely, the cane John used to limp in on, the erectness of his stance once he was still. He traced the shape of John's cheekbones with his eyes, the curve of his lips, and knew the shape of John's body under the slightly baggy clothes.


John took in his proprietary stare with a wide hungry look of his own. Then Sherlock was crossing the room swiftly, more quickly than John had obviously anticipated. John raised a hand to – do what? Shake his hand? - but Sherlock reached out and pulled John's arms together, twisting and pivoting, so John was suddenly being pulled back against Sherlock's chest, his arms locked together behind his back.


"I," Sherlock declared in a low, dangerous voice, mouth close to John's ear, "Am never letting you out of my sight again."


John's eyes fluttered half closed and Sherlock saw the bottomless well of heat and desire in their hazel depths. "Never," he breathed.


Stamford edged himself out of the lab in Sherlock's side vision. Neither man turned to watch him leave.


Sherlock held John for a moment, breathing in the scent of him, feeling the weight of him (too light, still far too light) against his chest.


"So I understand your looking for a flatmate," Sherlock said, speaking into John's hair in a more normal tone of voice.


John laughed, a helpless needy sound. "Yes, oh God yes."


"Good," Sherlock said, then untwisted John's arms to whirl him around again, keeping pressure on John's wrists as he pulled John back into his space, chest to chest this time, and kissed him bruisingly, brutally.


"I have a flat in mind," Sherlock spoke into John's mouth, touching their tongues together.


"Perfect," John agreed, returning the kiss with equal heat and want. "Let's go there," he panted. "Right now."


Sherlock smiled. He brushed a hand along John's radial pulse again, then unwound his arms and took his hands back slowly, regretfully, but careful of John's shoulder the entire time. He took a deep breath in. "A brilliant suggestion, doctor." He indicated the lab door. "After you."


They left together.