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Planet Sherlock

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Because of the dead bodies, explosions, black eyes--and the broken jaw that one time--it took John a good six months before he realized that Sherlock was sabotaging all of John's relationships.

After Sarah was held hostage at knife point for the third time in six weeks, she ended their nascent relationship by sending him an email that said, "John, I will be friends with you--and by that I mean that if you see me in the canteen I'll share a cup of tea with you--but we are not taking this any further."

John stared at his screen for approximately three minutes before Sherlock said, "Gave you the heave ho? For the best really. The woman is a danger magnet."

At John's choked off "meep" of outrage, Sherlock didn't bother to look up from his phone but pointed out, "I've only been held hostage four times total and I've been doing this for years."

Sarah was quickly replaced by a brunette named Joanna, who worked in the pharmacy at St. Bart's. Sarah notwithstanding, John was partial to brunettes. Plus, being a wee bit thick in the middle himself, he thought it fairly natural that he preferred slender women, although at this point he was just grateful that they were breathing and willing to go out with him. However, Joanna was most definitely slender, with a horsey laugh to go with her coltish demeanor. She was probably far too young for him, but what did he care?

After a couple of weeks and five dates, he had actually got to third base (as in they had their hands down each other's pants). They had nothing in common--she didn't even know the name of the current Prime Minister--but it didn't seem to matter. She liked her curry hot, she wore shirts that displayed far too much cleavage, and she loved football. Always up for a few pints at the local pub and watching a match, she was the closest thing John had ever come to having a fuck buddy, and he rather liked her even if he didn't see it lasting much more than a few months.

John had introduced her to Sherlock last week, who gave her a glance lasting maybe half of a second before uttering, "Charmed," in a way that said he was about as not charmed as humanly possible.

As they were walking to dinner, Joanna asked, "Spot of jealousy there?"

"Sherlock?" John huffed out a laugh. "No, nothing like that. He's a detective and hasn't had a case in a bit. He's surly by nature. Don't give him a second thought." He gave her bum a wee pinch and she squealed in delight. Oh, yes, a few months of sex before the inevitable break up would set him up just right.

Although he'd never connected with the culture and country of Afghanistan, his years there had distanced him from Britain. He wasn't exactly a stranger in a strange land, but it was like he had landed on a planet where it was supposed to be exactly like the planet he left, but it wasn't really. There were subtle differences that they (whomever they were) didn't quite matter. Of course the reality was that John's basic social and emotional DNA had been permanently scrambled, and he didn't see it unscrambling at any point soon, perhaps never. But even though he often struggled with feeling like an ex-pat, one thing seemed clear. At least in this exchange, he had a firm handle on the situation. He and Joanna were going to shag at some point soon. Maybe tonight. Manchester United was playing Chelsea, and John was meeting Joanna at the pub early so they'd get seats close to the telly. He'd exude a bunch of testosterone and hopefully she would respond with a bunch of estrogen and then they'd shag like mad. With a little smile he secreted a packet of condoms in his wallet, and then, in a spirit of optimism, added two more packs just in case.

"I'm off then," said John in a cheerful voice. Not even Sherlock's absolutely foul mood could dampen his enthusiasm. Nary a robbery, never mind a murder, had occurred over the last two weeks. Sherlock had spent his days refreshing his computer and staring at his mobile, as if willing greater London to start killing and maiming each other.

"I really don't know how you can date her," Sherlock said as he punched his F5 key over and over again.

"Oh, I know she's too young for me, but it's not like we're getting married. We're just having a spot of fun."

Punch, punch, punch.

"You're not having fun quite yet."

By this point, John didn't even want to know how Sherlock knew that he'd shoved a bunch of condoms in his wallet.

"No, not quite yet, but hope springs eternal." Joanna lived in a grotty flat with a bunch of roommates who lived on take-out and packets of crisps, but John didn't care about that. They weren't coming back here. "So, don't wait up, I'll probably--"

"As long as it doesn't bother you."

Sherlock had yet to look up, swiveling his eyes back and forth between his laptop and his mobile.

John knew he shouldn't ask. Knew this was stupid, but he couldn't help it.

"What doesn't bother me?"

"The bulimia, of course." This was said with an air of finality and scorn, as if only a sodding idiot wouldn't know this fact about her. "As a doctor, I would think you'd--"


"The caps. On her teeth. And the smell of antacids."

Instead of cheering on Manchester and shagging in response to their victory, their last date was reduced to John handing her a bunch of telephone numbers for help lines and his therapist (because, of course, Sherlock was right).

Then there was Camilla. Who was a shoplifter.

Helen. Who was a hopeless alcoholic.

Jocelyn. Who had four children and lied about it.

Priscilla. Who had two husbands.

John wasn't stupid. After Camilla he had stopped bringing his dates home, but it didn't matter. Whenever there was a dearth of criminal activity, Sherlock used his phenomenal computer skills to investigate them and then told John about all of their shocking faults. He never saw them again.

As if it weren't bad enough, he was leaving work one afternoon when Mycroft's Rolls crept up to the curb. The window rolled down, Mycroft tsked at him, shook his head slowly as if John were the saddest person he'd ever met, and then said in a stern voice, "Absolutely not, John." And then handed John a mobile with Maureen's number on it. "Just say that you and your boyfriend have mended your fences and that you're no longer available."

"I don't like lying, Mycroft."

"I'm not asking you to lie. Really, John. Regardless, you must not date that woman. Take my word for it."

John told her that his mother had died and he was flying to Nairobi that night. And that he'd probably be in Kenya for some weeks tidying up her affairs. After he'd signed off, he handed Mycroft the phone, who threw it on the floor of the car and stomped on it. Then he drove off not even offering John a lift home.

Contemplating the death of his sex life, John sat on the couch, a cup of tea balanced on his thigh. It was only a matter of time before he sneezed or sighed, and the tea cup would turn over and then scald the shit out of his thighs and/or balls.

"No date tonight?" Sherlock shouted from the kitchen. One quick look told John that it was better not to know what he was doing. Because it looked like the inactivity of the last few weeks had ended. Sherlock was using an ice pick in an attempt to shatter a femur. No, he couldn't possibly... Of course he was.

"No. I'm contemplating joining an order of Carthusian monks. Might as well."

That got an amused chortle. Sherlock rarely laughed. Chortles were a sign of extreme amusement.

"Glad you're overjoyed, however, I find the prospect of celibacy quite bleak."

When that didn't get an answer other than a return to the rigorous pounding of the ice pick, John lost his temper. Which didn't happen too often, but there's only so much of Sherlock one can take. Even John, who Mycroft had called a saint on several occasions, had his limits.

"You know, most of us humans actually like sex. It is fundamental. Without it, we wouldn't survive as a species. So please. Keep your surmises--"

Sherlock stopped pounding. "Facts."

"Sorry. Keep your fucking facts to yourself."

Sherlock's eyebrows hiked up in shock. "John, do you want children? Is that what's behind this?" Sherlock said the word 'children' with the same horror as if John were contemplating siring warthogs.

"No, you bloody stupid man! I just want to fuck someone."

John couldn't stand it any longer. Clearly, it was futile to explain basic sexual desire to someone who spent his Saturday nights shattering human femurs into bits. Furious and in desperate need to lash out at someone, he went the only place that made any sense. He went to kip with Harry. Who he didn't need to be nice to. In fact, he could be downright nasty. She wouldn't expect anything less.

John had always liked Harry's girlfriends. Every single one. Harry claimed that the minute John expressed his approval, she knew the relationship was doomed, but she figured she might as well get some decent sex out of it before it fell apart.

"What did you do when I was in Afghanistan?" John asked one night right after he'd come home.

"Pass me the gin, will you? I was celibate. Thank God you came home."

John used his spare key to let himself in. Last time they had talked Harry was in between girlfriends and was contemplating taking a leave from work to spend six-months at an ashram in Bali. "What utter bollocks," John had snorted. To which Harry had replied, "Yes, it is utter bollocks, but it's my bollocks, so shut the fuck up."

He half expected to find her flat empty, but the smell of fresh cigarette smoke came wafting down the hallway.


"Here," came an answer from the direction of the kitchen. He found her sitting on the floor in a corner of the room, a carton of Chinese food propped up on her knees. She had chopsticks in one hand and a cigarette in the other. A bunch of empties were lined up next to her hip.

"There's two cold Singhas in the fridge. Grab me one; you can have the other. Here, finish this off," she plonked the carton of Chinese food on the floor and stabbed the chopsticks into the middle of the food. "I'm only eating to stave off a righteous hangover. You look like shit. You and Sherlock have a fight?"

"We never fight. Sherlock is actually incapable of fighting because he's incapable of experiencing anything resembling emotion, with the exception of crushing boredom and exultation at the solving of a crime. Sometimes..." John got the beers out of the fridge, opened them, and then handed one to Harry. "Cheers. Sometimes, he's just too much." He sat next to her and then dug into what looked like shrimp chow mein. "Ummm, this is good," he mumbled around a mouth full of noodles.

"Claudia's a chef. She knows all the decent hole-in-the-wall restaurants."

"Claudia? Your latest?"

She shrugged. "Who knows? She says I have a drinking problem. Cheers. So what did he do this time? Use your bedsheets to mummify a dead cow?"

"That was last November."

"John, I was joking."

"Oh, well, he keeps sabotaging my dates. Tells me things about them so I won't date them."

Harry started laughing. "For God's sake, John. So what if your girlfriend has piles. Why are you letting him manipulate you?"

They knew each other's flash points, which is precisely why he came here. So he could be mean and vile to someone. Because although he wished he could be awful to Sherlock, John couldn't help but feel it was like kicking a puppy. Perhaps a puppy with very sharp teeth that had just ripped open your arm, but still a puppy. With Harry he could say something really cruel.

"Why are you sabotaging your relationships by drinking yourself into liver failure?"

"Because I love drink more than anyone and that includes you. Brother, dear," she mocked and took a swig of beer. "As to letting him manipulate you. Do you really think that if you were serious about these women that Sherlock's spying would matter?"

Which was the question he'd been asking himself for the last two months.

"The woman who lied about her husbands. That would matter."

"Johnny," she whispered. It was her secret word for him. When she really needed him to listen. Just like 'Harriet' was his secret word for her. When it was down to only the two of them and the cruel reality that it might only be the two of them. Ever. "Just fuck him and stop this farce."

He banged his head against the wall and shut his eyes. "I'm straight, Harry."

A hand still cool from the beer bottle began stroking the hair away from his forehead. "I know, John. That‘s why this is so fucking pathetic."

Opening his eyes he saw a tall, slender black woman standing in the doorway. She'd been crying. As with all of Harry's girlfriends, she had soft features and an innate gentleness about her. Harry didn't do gentle, but she needed gentle.

"Oh," cried Harry. "You came back." Her hand left John's forehead and she scrambled up to embrace this woman.

They stood there rocking back and forth, hugging each other, crying on each other's shoulders.

After a bit, Harry pulled away enough so that John could see her face.

"This is Claudia. John. My brother. We're horrible to each other."

"Oh, I'm sure that's not true," protested Claudia. Even as she was speaking to John, her gaze was fixed on Harry.

"Yes, we absolutely are," John insisted and held out his hand to shake hers. "Glad to meet you. I think it's time for me to go. Harry, call me in the morning."

She didn't respond. She was wiping the tears from Claudia's face.

John really didn't have anywhere to go, so he went home. The lounge was empty. Sherlock's mobile lay on the coffee table, and the laptop on the couch. Sherlock would never leave without his mobile, maybe he was in the shower...

No, he was sitting on John's bed, hunched up in a ball, glaring at John.

"Did you go to Harry's?"

It was pointless to lie.

"Yes. She was on the floor of her kitchen, smoking like a train and drinking like a fish. She has a new girlfriend who thinks she's an alcoholic. Fancy that. They'd had a fight. I didn't want to witness their make-up sex so I came home. Although it would certainly be the closest thing to actual sex that I've experienced in, oh, months."

"That's a lie. You had a love bite--"

John threw his coat on the floor.

"Look, I'm not getting into this with you. You don't like sex. Fine. I do. In the future, do not say one fucking word about my dates. Not one word. Short of them being a murderer--"

"It's not that I don't like sex. I find it boring. In comparison."

John thought about this but he really couldn't imagine comparing sex to anything other than, well, sex.

"In comparison to what?"


He'd had some bizarre conversations with Sherlock over the last few months, but this had to rank up there. He went to turn off the light, because this might be easier in the dark. At least easier for him. Sherlock was incapable of feeling shame or embarrassment. The faint light from the lounge gave him enough light to make his way over to his bed. He sat on the bed, his back against the wall. Even with Sherlock's height, a couple of feet separated them.

"Really? Let's put my desire for sex into context. Your context. For me, a blow job is akin to a finding two forefingers chopped off at the first knuckle. The fingers, both from the right hand, are pointed at each other. The room is locked and the fingers are from two different men."

Sherlock sat up straight. "You're joking."

"No, Sherlock, I'm not. Actual penetrative, mundane sex in Sherlock-speak is probably comparable to four different forefingers cut off at the first knuckle, pointing north, south, east, and west in a locked room."

"John," Sherlock rasped and then said in a small voice. "And a thrilling sexual encounter?"

"Twelve forefingers cut off at the first knuckle, arranged as if a clock, in a locked room."

John could see the images as snapshots racing through Sherlock's mind. He'd note the shape of the cuticles, whether the nails were manicured or not, note whether the cut was clean or ragged, what he believed had been used to chop off the fingers, the rigor of the fingers, and the type of lock on the room, all of it catalogued with the speed of a computer, clickclickclick.

"That's what sex is like for me, so please leave off criticizing my girlfriends."

He didn't really expect an answer, because really, how do you have a rational conversation with anyone comparing the joy of sex to the joy of discovering a bunch of severed fingers in a locked room?

"None of the sex I've had was anything like that. It was more like someone nicking a pencil from one's desk at school."

Trust Sherlock to take John's metaphor and beat it to death.

"Well, Sherlock. What can I say? For me, it's severed fingers."

Sherlock eased himself off the bed and John thought that was the end of it when he stopped halfway across the room. "John, are you sexually adept?"

What a question! No one saw themselves as a sexual incompetent. At least no one wanted to admit that they were a lousy sex partner. If John stepped back and tried to objectively assess his own performance he came up with adequate most of the time and truly inspired maybe twenty-five percent of the time.

"I'm okay, I guess. It depends on the person. The other half. If they like it, you tend to like it, and then it snowballs. Usually it's good. Sometimes it's brilliant. Once in a while it's really embarrassing and awful."

John tried not to think of his first girlfriend because that had been a fiasco. Despite lots of pictures and reading page twenty-nine of The Godfather over and over again for pointers, the memory of them going at it was truly cringe-inducing. You'd think that the simple plumbing of thing into hole would be a no-brainer. And then there was that Scots woman in Quandahar.

"I've tried it with both women and men, and it was unspeakably boring all ten times."

How like Sherlock to have representative sampling of data.

"Sex isn't an experiment. Either it works or it doesn't."

"Everything is an experiment," Sherlock hissed.

At that John truly lost it. Because he was horny and angry and Sherlock was treating him like he was indulging in some sort of adolescent, schoolboy pining for a shag. Which he was. But that was what people did. They got sweaty and messy and put their hands all over each other and bit and licked and groaned and sobbed out their pleasure. And sometimes the sex was good and sometimes it was fantastic and John wanted that right now.

In a flash he was up off the bed and threw Sherlock against the wall using his considerable weight to pin Sherlock in place.

"Ten times, eh? Knowing you, it was five times with a woman and five times with a man. So, did he put his hand here?" John cupped Sherlock's crotch and squeezed an answering hardness. Stroking the length of him through his pants, John reached up with his mouth and said in a low voice, "Did he do this?" John sucked at the base of Sherlock's collarbone and hoped that he left a whopping great mark. Then he followed the length of that tantalizing bone with his tongue. And when he reached the end, he bit hard on the juncture where Sherlock's neck and shoulder met.

John's hands were now everywhere. Under Sherlock's shirt, fingering his too-prominent ribs and twisting his nipples, handling Sherlock with the sort of edge he'd never use on a woman. Reaching into Sherlock's pants, he touched a man's dick for the first time in his life. It was hot and long and sweaty and John came right there and then, flooding his own pants. As John jerked against him in orgasm, Sherlock came as well, filling John's hand.

Once the high from the orgasm had played itself out, John was horrified. What in the hell was the matter with him? Here he was throwing his roommate up against walls and grabbing at him like--

"Before you indulge in any ridiculous histrionics, you realize that I could have killed you with a thumb to your carotid artery at any point during this proceeding?"

Which was true. John was grateful it was dark enough that he couldn't make out Sherlock's face.

"Yes, I know, but still. It was awfully brutish of me. I apolo--"

"Three severed fingers, John."

John wasn't sure how to proceed from here. First things first, he needed a shower. He barely had soaped himself up when Sherlock barged into the bathroom, turned off the water, and shouted that John needed to get dressed because a Russian ballerina was missing her toe shoes. Which couldn't have been right but turned out to be dead on, because these toe shoes were being used to smuggle in conflict diamonds. At the end of three days, the understudy was dead, as was the wardrobe mistress.

John could only marvel at how ballet had destroyed the dancers' feet in service of their art and thanked God that Harry's abortive ballet lessons hadn't lasted more than a year. (Her teacher had said it was like trying to teach a pig to dance. John suspected that for all of Harry's bravado she was hurt, but what a blessing.) Between the lights falling on Sherlock, the stage curtains being lit on fire, and being nearly crushed by a grand piano, John really hadn't had the time or the energy to dwell on the fact that he and Sherlock had had sex.

Having not bathed since Sherlock had yanked him out of the shower, with his crotch still itching from all the soap he hadn't had time to wash out, John now stood in the shower letting the water sluice over him. He had a full day at the clinic tomorrow. A double espresso in the morning was a must. Now that all the adrenaline had coursed out of his system and neither of them were dead, he could take the time to think about what had happened. Except that this was Planet Sherlock, so perhaps the best tactic was to do and say nothing.

Soaping himself up and making a mental note to swing by the pharmacy and buy some cream for the truly itchy spots, John ran a slick hand over his own dick and couldn't help but remember how long and hot Sherlock's dick had been. Really long and hot. It didn't take more than a few strokes before he was coming, the memory of biting Sherlock's neck taking him over.

It was sort of déjà vu, with Sherlock hunched in a corner of his bed and John in the doorway, except this time John was only wearing a towel. Sherlock was dressed and had a normal expression on his face, which in no way prepared him for what Sherlock said next.

"You said that oral sex was like two severed fingers. Please."

"Are you asking me to give you a blow job?" John wanted to be sure.


He could say no and that would be the end of it, John knew, but then the thought of that long hot length in his mouth... "All right."

"Two severed fingers worth."

"I'll do my best," he said with some irony, which was no doubt lost on Sherlock, who never got irony unless he was the one dishing it out. "It's easier without your clothes." Not that John knew because he'd never given anyone a blow job before, but he wanted Sherlock to do something and damn if John was going to undress him.

Sherlock must have anticipated this because no sooner had John ditched his towel and tossed it in the direction of the bathroom, than Sherlock had flung his clothes to the floor. Now John might be a novice blow job giver, but he wasn't a novice blow job receiver. He started with Sherlock's ankles, sucking on the protruding bones of his feet, ignoring Sherlock's protests and comments about basic anatomy. He took his sweet time, licking Sherlock's knees, along the length of those long and slender calves, the inside of his thighs, swiping a wet tongue here, then there. And when Sherlock began to thrust, just like any other man, John finally began licking and sucking Sherlock's dick. It was strange and not. Oral sex is all about salt and heat, regardless of the sex, and having a dick gave him some insight into exactly how rough he could be. Although John was embracing his heretofore unrealized bi-sexuality, he wasn't ready to swallow a mouthful of semen. He pulled away in time and again his hand flooded with Sherlock's release. It was ridiculously hot. Despite his recent go at himself in the shower, he got hard.

And when Sherlock reached over and put a wet hand on him to bring him off, John didn't think twice but moved into Sherlock's hand. In anticipation of his request, Sherlock probably had spent the time John was in the shower reading up on how to give a superb hand job because Sherlock didn't disappoint. Lying there in the peculiar glow that only great sex provides, John didn't bother to hide what was a rather broad grin on his face. Which didn't abate until Sherlock said, "You lied."

John could not contain the panic, the bile in his throat.

"Five fingers."

Laughing a little hysterically, John managed to say, "Well, you know, sometimes you're inspired. That nearly getting crushed to death by a piano. Revs one up, don't you know?"

"Yes, I've thought of that. The adrenaline rush, the crash, and then the release. You?"

"Six fingers."

"Hmmm," Sherlock hummed in a self-satisfied and sleepy voice.

"Egotistical bastard." He kissed the back of Sherlock's neck and fell asleep.

John wasn't sure what in the hell was happening, but he decided to go with the flow. Like his freedom to tell Harry to go to hell and actually mean it, sex with Sherlock had none of the usual accompanying embarrassing moments. Sometimes John wished Sherlock had at least a soupcon of emotional walls. "If you don't get enough sleep, you have trouble maintaining your erection. Is this a recent phenomenon?"

Because he was now curious, Sherlock studied sex. John's first blow job from Sherlock was absolutely stroke-inducing it was so bloody fine. And no holding back: Sherlock swallowed and then grabbed a slide from the bedside table and licked it so that he could study it under a microscope. He also told John to do the same. So he could compare their semens.

John did wish that the sex was slightly less technical, but he wasn't going to say anything. For one thing, he was getting more sex than he'd ever had in his entire life, and, second, it was one of those more tears are shed by answered prayers deals.

Like the day they were having a cup of tea and Sherlock winced like he had a bad tooth.

"Maybe you should see a dentist," John said.

"Why? My teeth are perfect."


"Because you're wincing as if you're in pain."

"Oh that." Sherlock rubbed his jaw. "That's from all those blow jobs I gave today."

Fortunately John had put down his tea cup, because really they didn't have any to spare, and had he had one in his hand, he would have dropped it.

"What blow jobs?"

"All those cabbies. I think I strained my jaw."

John managed to eke out a strangled, "Cabbies?"

"Even when you're tired or distracted, it's never less than two-finger sex. I was curious. It didn't make sense. Sex with those initial ten was boring beyond belief and yet sex with you is more than satisfactory. So I spent the day riding around in cabs and giving other men blow jobs. It was so boring that mere words cannot convey how boring it was. I can only conclude that you are a factor."

John didn't know whether to sock him or hug him.

"It's different when you have..."--what did he and Sherlock feel for each other; what term would he understand?--"affection for one another. It's different. No, it's better. At least I think it's better."

For the first time in their acquaintance Sherlock looked confused.

"Do we have 'affection' for one another?"

"Yes, we do."

"Oh. Interesting."

"Two paracetamol will help with that jaw."

"One of the cabbies tried to kiss me. We don't kiss. Should we?"

"I like kissing."

"Shall we add it then?"

"That would be nice."

While riding home from a crime scene where a bank teller was using her iPhone to intercept a fraction of pence off of each monetary transaction, Sherlock said out of the blue, "Are we homosexual?"

John had been asking himself that question for the last few weeks, but he was never closer to an answer than when he'd first asked it.

"I don't know. I still find women attractive. I generally don't find any other men attractive except for you, but you send me absolutely spare. So I have no bloody idea."

"My teachers couldn't classify me. Half of them thought I was a genius, the other half thought I was Asperger's on the spectrum. And/or stupid."

John thought that Sherlock was probably Asperger's and a genius. Stupid he was not.

"No doubt because you knew the answer and couldn't be arsed to answer the question."

"Of course. Still, you know that I do not like uncertainty."

"I am John. You are Sherlock. We like to suck each other's dicks. I'm pretty certain about all three of those facts."

In a rare gesture of affection, Sherlock reached for John's hand and squeezed.

John had been expecting it at some point. Sherlock never left the flat unless John was hungry and they didn't have any food in the frig or a case was afoot, so he assumed that Mycroft had invented a case that required Sherlock spending the afternoon at the BM conferring with the Egyptian expert. At Mycroft's knock, John invited Mycroft to have tea with him. After borrowing tea and milk from Mrs. Hudson and benefitting from Mrs. Hudson's love of baking, there were actually some freshly baked biscuits to accompany.

"Um, let's sit on the couch, if you don't mind. The kitchen table, well. Out of commission."

Sherlock was conducting some experiment that didn't bear close examination. John suspected it involved ear wax, having been requested to donate to the "cause" that morning.

"Well, just the tea."

"Still slimming?"

John had adopted Sherlock's tendency to poke Mycroft about his weight, because even though he liked Mycroft, the man had that annoying Holmesian quality about him.

"Such jibes are beneath you, John. If this is the consequence of your shagging Sherlock, then I shall temper my approval."

"I didn't know you even knew words like ‘shagging,' Mycroft."

"I'm a man of many surprises." He snuck a biscuit and put it in his coat pocket. "I want to say that despite the uptick in sarcasm, I do approve. He's much happier and actually looks like he sleeps every now and then."

John didn't know what to say. It wasn't like he wanted or needed Mycroft's approval, but he supposed that Mycroft was now family. What a thought!

Mycroft did that stern look from under his eyebrows thing he did when saying something of import.

"Mummy also approves."

Sherlock's mother was one of those verboten subjects. Just like John's father.

John supposed he should say something. He replied, "Lovely." Which was ambiguous enough to be interpreted in several different ways.

Mycroft downed the rest of his tea and stole another biscuit. "Well, I must be off. Duty calls. Do tell Sherlock that his hiding place in the alcove under the stairs is completely pathetic. I expect more out of him. John," Mycroft held out his hand. John shook it, wondering what had just transpired. "Sherlock is a lucky man. Far luckier than he deserves."

With that he was gone.

Sherlock was in the door ten seconds after Mycroft's exit.


Sherlock hovered in the doorway. "What did he say?"

"Usual rubbish about how you're not eating or sleeping properly, and how it's my job to see you do both."

Sherlock accepted the lie--not that John thought he believed him--and sat down and poured himself some tea into Mycroft's cup.

"I thought we were out of tea and milk."

"Mrs. Hudson. How was the BM?"

"As if I wasted my time. Mycroft has a weakness for the classics. I knew he'd manufactured that ruse just to talk with you."

It must be exhausting, knowing all the time. John reached across the table and grabbed Sherlock's hand. Bringing it up to his mouth, he sucked on one of Sherlock's fingers. The anger dissipated, replaced by a sexual spark that to date had never failed to excite the holy hell out of John.

Not that this should have surprised him, but it did. Sherlock was hunched over his laptop for hours one afternoon, working on some sort of elaborate spreadsheet that John assumed had to do with blood splatter or carbon residue from gun shots or states of rigor or states of deterioration when a body is submerged in water for different periods of time (separate files for salt versus fresh water).

It was none of those. Bringing Sherlock a cup of tea, he saw that Sherlock was cataloguing their sex life. Encounters were first noted by date, then severed finger factor, noise factor (apparently John groaned, sighed, shouted, murmured, called Sherlock by name, and he had squeaked once (an outlier but Sherlock was nothing if not thorough). Encounters were divided into type: hand jobs, blow jobs, and frotting, with kissing and without kissing.

John's semen was typed according to what he ate that day. Apparently lots of dairy gave his semen a questionable taste. Asparagus and brocooli had a profound and nasty effect, although other greens had no effect. He did note with some satisfaction that his performance never elicited anything less than a two-finger rating, and based on the notes, that was always on the nights or days when he'd been operating on no sleep. As their encounters increased, combined with Sherlock's advancing sexual knowledge, the severed finger factor increased.

"What our average?"

"Five fingers."

"Not bad."

"Everything's an experiment, John," Sherlock reminded him, but gave John's wrist a wee swipe when he grabbed his tea out of John's hand.

"Some experiments are more fulfilling than others."

"Very true."

Given Sherlock's scorn for social niceties, John expected that all of their acquaintances would know of the change in their relationship. Except that their relationship didn't change at all. John still never got to finish a meal, still tried to mop up after Sherlock's tasteless remarks, still ran in Sherlock's wake, whether it was from building top to building top, or (less exciting) in search of a cab. He still found himself nearly killed about twice a month. Except for the one instance where Lestrade commented on Sherlock's split lip and Sherlock's response, "I like it when John bites down hard," that was that. Yes, there were knowing smirks traded back and forth between the crime scene crew, but that was it. Apparently, everyone had been assuming they'd been shagging for months and now that they were actually shagging, it was just status quo.

The actual shagging bit had been introduced in a similar fashion to the request for a blow job. They were having tea, John polishing off a plate of Mrs. Hudson's excellent biscuits while Sherlock consumed cup after cup of tea. Despite getting laid on a regular basis, Sherlock's appetite hadn't increased one jot, although his sleeping habits had improved substantially.

After John trying to tempt Sherlock yet one more time and him waving away the plate of biscuits, Sherlock demanded, "John, have you ever buggered a woman?"

The use of such slang was as much of a jolt as the question.


"Did you like it?"


"Shall we?"

"If you like."

God, it was marvelous. The heat, the pressure, the closeness. Despite his reed-thin body, Sherlock had a bit of a bum on him, and John's hands were shaking as he lubed Sherlock up. For once, Sherlock didn't start barking-out instructions (now being the acknowledged sexual expert of the two of them), and let John take his time, explore him using his mouth and his hands, everything he had at his disposal to say: yes, affection, I have so much affection for you.

When he was close, so close it was only by a Herculean effort that he didn't pound out his release, he reached around to grab Sherlock's dick so that they could come together. With the exception of Mycroft, Sherlock was always so much a "one" in mind and self; maybe John could give Sherlock a sense of two, even if for only four seconds.

"Hands," Sherlock said in a lazy, sleepy murmur.


"Hands. Twenty-four hands, all of the left, severed at the wrist, all wearing wedding rings with the inscription, 'To Simon'."

"In a locked room."


John was about to drop off when he woke up with a start. He got up on one elbow, turned on the bedside lamp, and grabbed Sherlock's chin so that they were eye to eye.

"No cabbies. You are not shagging a bunch of cabbies to see if anal sex with anonymous men is severed-hand worthy. Or anyone else for that matter. Understood?"

"Was curious about Lestrade."


"Turn out the light, John. I have come to the conclusion that affection is a necessary component for the satisfaction versus boredom factor."

"Glad to hear it."

John turned off the light. An arm reached across him and snapped it back on.

"No more girlfriends."


"Excellent. Your thoughts on bondage?"