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“Incoming call from Sherlock Holmes.”

“On screen,” John said aloud to the empty hotel room as he closed the door behind him. A screen on the opposite wall flashed into life, and John smiled at the smirking face it displayed. The link between them, created by Drifting together, was uncomfortably strained by the physical distance between them, present only as an odd sort of itch inside John's skull that had made the last three days vaguely distressing. Seeing Sherlock didn't have any effect on the stress of their absent connection, but John felt the tension in his shoulders ease regardless.

“Perfect timing, Sherlock,” he said, unbuttoning his dress uniform jacket and slipping it off his shoulders. “What did you do? Hack into hotel security to see when my key card accessed my door?”

“Don't be absurd, John,” Sherlock replied with a mock offended look, then he grinned. “I simply persuaded a friend with impressive computer skills to do the hacking for me, and to set up a system to notify me when you were available.”

“Of course you did,” John chuckled, draping the jacket over the back of a chair and pulling off his tie. "I just hope Colleen won't get into trouble for this."

"Who said it was her? No, I used an outsider. Best not risk the job of our best LOCCENT operator."

“How expensive was the persuasion, then?”

“More than it would have been at the last hotel Mycroft tried to put us up in. This one actually has security. Looks like he learned that lesson,” Sherlock replied smugly.

“Oh, yes. My room actually has four walls and running water – from the taps, mind you, not from a leaking pipe in the ceiling. A huge step up,” John said, opening the minifridge under the desk and grabbing a bottle of water before sprawling in an armchair. He scrutinised what he could see of Sherlock's room. "Yours looks posh enough."

"Not Mycroft's doing. The magazine arranged it; some château or other. Electrical wiring might be a bit dodgy, though; the lights keep flickering."

"If it's a proper château maybe you've got a ghost."

"Don't be absurd."

“So? How was the magazine shoot? As boring as you expected?”

“Not exactly,” Sherlock replied, a self-satisfied look on his face.

“What did you do?” John asked, laughing.

“They sent some idiot by the name of Kitty Riley to do the interview, and a––" he makes air quotes. "fashion photographer named Anderson with a vision for spring paisley. I didn't bother saying hello, just called the V-plus office and asked to speak with Elizabeth Smallwood.”

“And who's she when she's at home, then?”

“Executive director of their department on politics and global issues,” Sherlock replied.

“It was supposed to be a fashion shoot, Sherlock.”

“Paisley, John. Pastel paisley,” Sherlock said flatly.

“All right, you've got a point,” John agreed. "Doesn't exactly scream Jaeger Corps, much less Sherlock Holmes. So? Why did you call her? And not their fashion director? How did you even know who to ask for?”

“You will recall that the late delivery from your recent mystery purchase delayed your arrival at the air field, and meant I spent an hour trapped on a tin can with only Mycroft for company?”

“Yeah,” John said with a grimace. “Sorry about that.”

They had been flown from Terceira to Le Bourget airfield in a private jet as a necessary indulgence. Mycroft had believed that John's presence would be beneficial to his goals at the Paris International Arms Fair, and that Sherlock could be made to be useful to recruiting efforts for the PPDC through a magazine fashion shoot, and had made the arrangements. The plane was chartered to fly them to France, and to remain on standby for the duration of their trip to insure that Sherlock and John could be swiftly returned to base in the event of a Kaiju attack. Sherlock had snarked to John that the plane was really for Mycroft's benefit, as he was clearly too posh to travel aboard commercial airlines. John hardly saw reason to complain about the arrangements; despite the somewhat dodgy service on MJN air, the lack of other people on the flight and the plentiful space would allow even Sherlock to arrive at Le Bourget airfield refreshed and rested instead of cranky and claustrophobic.

From there they had parted ways; a car had been waiting to take Sherlock to Epernay for the shoot and another to take John and Mycroft to the Paris International Arms Fair.

That had been three days ago. They hadn't been apart for this long since they were first linked.

“You have assured me that the delay you caused was in pursuit of a worthwhile cause – one whose successful execution I look forward to hearing about,” Sherlock prompted.

“It went well,” John replied with a grin. “Perfectly, in fact.”

“I did rather hope you'd go deeper than that, John.”

“Later. Right now, you're telling me about the not-boring photo shoot. How does having been stuck on the plane with Mycroft lead to you calling V-plus and asking for the head of their politics and global issues department by name? And why her?”

“While we were waiting for you, I managed to get Mycroft to tell me which magazine he'd whored me out to this time, then I asked how his diet was going and sympathized with the measurable loss of his hairline. He replied by calling me a child and telling me to get my boots off the seat opposite before spending the rest of the time ignoring me. Which was, of course, exactly the response I was looking for,” Sherlock said with a smirk. “I spent the rest of the time researching the magazine to see just what he thought he was getting me into. They were originally an offshoot of the main brand, apparently intended for teens. They covered a much broader and more relevant range of topics than the parent fashion magazine, and eventually subsumed the original brand.”

“Fascinating,” John said dryly.

“I looked up the reporter they were sending and read a dozen of her articles. Puerile rubbish, every one of them. Mycroft doubtless knew her work and knew what he was signing me up for. I decided not to cooperate. The paisley horror only served to steel my resolve.”

“So, you called Ms Smallwood and said what?”

“I said that, regardless of what Mycroft had arranged, if she wanted any article whatsoever she would send another reporter, and a photographer with actual fashion sense. And that if she wanted something more than a bunch of pictures of pretty clothes and answers to a series of inane questions, they should send someone used to covering the PPDC and service issues. Particularly, someone willing to discuss certain challenges of service in the PPDC.”

John had no difficulty deciphering Sherlock's meaning, or reading the satisfaction barely concealed behind a diplomatic expression. He was clearly not going to stop his campaign to update an oversight in the PPDC charter: to obtain for non-straight personnel the same rights and benefits that their straight peers enjoy.

They had submitted the paperwork requesting double accommodations about a month after the press conference where they'd been officially announced as the Ravager pilot team. Since they had not tried to conceal at Chard's Rift the fact that they were a couple, that news had soon leaked out into the world.

When the request that seemed to be automatically granted for straight couples had been denied, Sherlock had gone ballistic, refusing to let the matter drop—

refusing to let John fall back into thinking that their relationship was in any way shameful or wrong.

It all boils down to the wording of the PPDC charter: only married couples are allowed double accommodations.

It had taken only one serious conversation to determine that the relationship they had was one they each were committed to keeping for a lifetime. If getting a bit of paperwork filed to make their commitment official was necessary to having their request for larger quarters, and a larger bed, approved, then yes, they decided. They would get married.

So, they announced their engagement, only to learn that the charter-approved marriage license used gendered language, and thus could not be used to confirm their union. It appeared to have been an oversight rather than a regulation put in place to codify homophobia, but until it was amended, they would not be able to get married on base since PPDC personnel could not officiate the proceedings. Sherlock had identified a loophole wherein a marriage registration performed by their country of origin would be recognized as valid by the PPDC, but British marriage law required residency prior to giving notice of intent, which had to be done in person, and then a mandatory minimum 28 day waiting period. With the Ravager rota still lacking pilots, and the Kaiju active again, there was no way in hell that they would be granted enough time off for two trips to England.

Since they couldn't use the existing forms, and couldn't get to England, they submitted a mountain of paperwork to start the process of amending the charter and the language in the license. There was no real opposition to the changes, but like all things bureaucratic, they would require time to navigate the various political steps, and with the War Clock ticking away, marriage equality was not high on the PPDC high brass priority list.

John was resigned to waiting, while Sherlock continued to put in a request for double accommodations every month.

“Oh, God,” John groaned, wishing the water bottle in his hand contained something stronger. “This article was meant to boost recruitment, not tank it.”

“This article was meant to show me that I am still under Mycroft's thumb. He failed with the Horse&Hound one, so he cooked up something even worse.”

John sighed. Sherlock was right, but with the return of the kaiju—three further incursions in the twenty-two months since their reappearance—the need for new recruits was real. And Sherlock knew that. They'd been exceptionally lucky to find a second team for the Ravager, but even with Greg and Molly taking half the patrols, the burden was punishingly heavy since the Ravager rota still lacked pilots. This trip away from base was the first break they'd had in seven months, and they weren't even able to spend it together.

“All right, then. You had a plan.”.

“Of course I did,” Sherlock agreed.

“Ms Smallwood didn't send another fashion reporter, did she?”



“Irene Adler,” Sherlock declares triumphantly.

“The woman who exposed the Danish ambassador to France as having tried to blackmail the Northern Pacific Marshal for schematics for Jaeger tech? The woman who exposed the money laundering scheme running through the New BBC? The woman who uncovered that philanthropist doctor's penchant for murdering patients? The woman who––”

The Woman, yes,” Sherlock replied. “She brought along a competent wardrobe manager with actual taste, and a photographer whose work apparently regularly graces their covers—Henry Knight.”

John whistled. He had never followed fashion much, but the guy is a socialite superstar.

“They threw a lot of talent at you, then. And in exchange, you gave them what?”

“A photoshoot at a bakery.”

“A bakery? Using the props to needle your brother? Bit obvious, Sherlock.”

“It would have been needling him if I'd been eating the cake. The point of it was, however, the exact opposite.”

John turned away to toss the empty water bottle in the room's recycling unit, then looked back to Sherlock. It was clear that he was supremely satisfied with himself. John smiled.

“Go on, then. Tell me. You picked the location for a reason. If you weren't eating the cake, what was it for?”

“It was a useful tool to illustrate a particular inequality in the PPDC,” Sherlock replied, pretending disinterest. “One that has been brought to the attention of the administration, but has stalled in committee.”



“You posed with wedding cakes?” John asked, stunned. “That's brilliant.”

“I thought so,” Sherlock replied. “Given the subject of the interview, Irene agreed. Her wardrobe manager, Janine, was a wonder. By the time Irene had secured a location, she had sourced a tuxedo, a morning suit, and a handful of other suitable clothing options. Took my measurements, had things altered on the fly. She's got a good eye for colour; I persuaded her to let me acquire a couple pieces, including a dark purple silk shirt. You'll love it.”

“You do look gorgeous in dark jewel tones,” John agreed.

Sherlock smiled at the compliment, his cheeks pinking just a bit. John grinned at him.

“Henry promised me a preview of some of his shots. He's got real talent.”

“I'm sure you looked stunning. Given what Janine and Henry were working with, that can't help but be the case. I may have to contact him to buy prints, though, as I'm sure Mycroft will never let the interview and photos go to press.”

“That's assuming he will find out any of the details beforehand. Who is going to tell him that he's getting anything other than what he signed up for?” Sherlock asked.

“The original reporter or photographer?” John replied.

“After I spoke with Ms Smallwood, she asked to speak with Ms Riley. I, of course, don't know what was said, but I don't believe that she will be blabbing anything to anyone about the change in plan. She was positively quivering in her cheap ballet flats.”

“And the photographer? With his visions of spring paisley in ruins? Will he say something?”

“He will not.”

“You're sure?”


“Do I want to know why?”

“Unlikely,” Sherlock replied.

John just shook his head, unable to stop the slow smile growing on his face.

“I cannot believe you managed to turn Mycroft's fluff piece with a nod toward recruitment into a political statement.”

“If my brother wants to treat me as a commodity he can trot out when it suits him, he'll find that I will seize every opportunity presented to state my views on the issues rather than mindlessly support his positions,” Sherlock said with a haughty sniff.

There was a cracking sound at the other end of the video connection, and the lights in Sherlock's room flickered. "Thunderstorm," he said. "The photographer was cursing the dark clouds all afternoon.” He sighed and continued, “I don't mind being the poster boy of the Corps, per se, especially if it gets me a holiday. I just wish you'd been there, and that I would have some say in the contents of these things in general. I doubt I'll ever be able to dictate the terms of such engagements again."

“I suspect, after this little adventure, he's unlikely to try to shanghai you into further PR endeavours. Nor me, either.”

“John. What did you do?” Sherlock demanded, delighted.

“You haven't deduced it?”

“I know you've inconvenienced Mycroft in some way, and fully approve. It's to do with that delayed delivery, somehow.”

“It is,” John confirmed, standing and crossing the room to reach into the inside pocket of his dress jacket. “I reached out to an acquaintance from medical school—Mike Stamford. He was a genial bloke, with a collection of old medical ephemera.”

“Ephemera?” Sherlock asked.

“He had about a hundred different antique medicine bottles, many still with bits of medicine in them,” John said. “And an old first aid kit from World War I, almost entirely intact. I went with him once to verify the authenticity of an old trepanning drill.”

“You haven't been in touch with anyone outside the PPDC since you finished school. Why now? Why him?”

“Well. He's a collector. He knows collectors,” John explained. “I hoped he might know someone interested in a different sort of collectible. And he came through, in spades.”

John paused, folding back the flap of the envelope he held in his hand and gingerly shaking out the contents.

“Trading cards?”

John watched as Sherlock's expression lit up.

“Please,” Sherlock said, “please tell me you're as devious as I hope you are.”

“That is not a thing you should need to have confirmed at this point, Sherlock,” John laughed.

“Tell me!” Sherlock commanded.

“I was looking for someone who might have a lead on a specific card from the PPDC Administration release, featuring one Mycroft Holmes, Grand Poobah of the Atlantic Subsection, whose favourite cake is classified, and whose most notable accomplishments are some bit of legislation no one remembers, and his connection to one Sherlock Holmes, pilot of the Reichenbach Ravager.”

“You found one?” Sherlock asked. “I thought he'd managed to burn them all.”

“Not quite all,” John said, flipping one of the cards in his hands up to show Sherlock. “Mike knew a guy. Who knew a guy. Who knew a guy. You know how it goes.”

“And that guy had a card?”

She did, yeah,” John replied. “In theory, anyway. She had a bit of insider information about the cards disappearing from the market and the associated increase in price and grabbed an opportunity to buy several unopened boxes of Admin expansion cards as a small investment. With the judicious application of a bit of cash and a few promises, I managed to buy about half of what she had.”

“Which was how many?” Sherlock demanded.

“She had eighteen boxes, and a few unopened packs. I bought nine boxes. She threw in a single pack, gratis.”

“Statistically,” Sherlock began, his brow crinkling as he calculated, “as an uncommon card in a set of forty-five individual prints in a run of one million cards … there should have been six Mycroft cards to a box, plus or minus one to account for random packaging. Fifty-six cards, then?” Sherlock concluded, grinning.


“Yes, yes. Basic math. Never mind that, John, am I right?” Sherlock asked. “You have fifty-six Mycroft cards?”

“Fifty-seven, actually.”

“I can finally replace the centre of the Ranger office dartboard!” Sherlock crowed.

“Good plan,” John replied, “but no. I promise, though,” he continued as Sherlock started to protest, “that you'll like my plan more.”

“Will I, now?”

“I think you will,” John said with a grin. He slid the top card from the stack in his hand and held it up for Sherlock to see.

“He signed it?” Sherlock asked, surprised, frowning when the lights in his room dimmed briefly with a flash of lightning, following right after by the cracking sound of thunder that could be heard even at John's end of the connection.

“He signed them all. And did it with a smile,” John replied.

“How on Earth did you manage that?”

“I asked him when the cameras were watching. Tacked it on to the speech he had prepared for me. Blah blah blah, raising money to fund further research into the Rift and into Jaeger development for defence against the Kaiju and such. All good things to do, of course, and I added a bit of unscripted encouragement for the dinner guests to give generously. And then ...”

“And then?”

“And then I mentioned that there were other causes that needed a bit of support. Said that we couldn't let our determination to survive allow the Kaiju to rob us of what makes us human. Our creativity. Our expressiveness. Our desire to help those in pain, and in need,” John said. “I said that I wanted to see generous donations go toward programs supporting the arts – music, and poetry, and the like, and to programs supporting education in the fields of general medicine.”

“I imagine Mycroft was apoplectic.”

“His smile was a bit brittle, yeah,” John replied. “Then it got better.”

“I'm not sure that's actually possible.”

“Wait until I've finished, then you tell me,” John said with a chuckle. “So, I'd derailed Mycroft's fundraiser to talk about other issues, and then I said that since I was trying to encourage people to be human, and to enjoy their lives, I wanted to do something to make raising money for these efforts fun. And I pulled this stack of cards and a pen out of my pocket ...”

“You did this on camera, you said?” Sherlock demanded. “There's footage?”

“There is. But you know you'll see it when we're close enough that I can project images and memories. Or, at the latest, the next time they sync us.”

“Oh, yes, and I plan to enjoy every second of the silent gloating you were surely doing while putting on a genial face for the cameras,” Sherlock agreed. “But I want footage of this, to play on our monitors if my pompous ass of a brother ever dares drop by for a 'friendly visit' again.”

“I'm sure we can get a copy.”

“From every camera,” Sherlock said. “I'm sure they had several there. I want to see this from every possible angle.”

“There were at least three,” John agreed. “But I'm still not to the best part.”

“Do tell.”

“I handed Mycroft the cards and the pen, and he stood there with them, stiff as a board. He was clearly angling to find a way to put off signing them, on a temporary basis that would become permanent. So I turned back to the audience and said that I had plans for the cards they were watching Mycroft sign. I told them that there were fifty-seven cards total, of which five were spoken for. That left fifty-two copies for the bit of fundraising fun I had in mind. With the cameras watching, and the audience hanging on my words about the plans for the signed cards, Mycroft had no choice but to sit and sign every single one.”

“And just what dastardly plan did you outline to your captive audience while Mycroft scribbled illegibly?”

“We're going to spend the next year running auctions of signed card sets. I've structured it so that if bidding on Mycroft's card starts at £750––”

“Oh, John. You'll never get that much. It's not worth the paper it's printed on.”

“Actually—though I don't disagree with you about its value—I'm quite confident of getting that much, and more, for it. Because, if bidding reaches £2250, we're going to add in a signed Sherlock Holmes card so that the buyer will have a complete set of Holmes brothers.”

“Ugh. Really, John? I'd rather be paired with a Kaiju.”

John laughed at the perfect timing of the loud clap of thunder that punctuated Sherlock's statement.

“Suck it up, Buttercup,” he replied. “We're raising money for the arts, and for medicine, and for remembering how to be human in this godforsaken war over the planet. But don't worry, if bidding for the pair of you reaches £3750, we'll add in one of my new cards, signed, and I'm sure folks will think of it more as a complete set of Reichenbach Ravager pilots and an afterthought Marshall of the Atlantic Subdivision card.”

“Much better,” Sherlock agreed, placated.

“I have a few other reward levels worked out and told the audience at the dinner that there would be an official announcement with all the details outlined in black and white by the end of the month.”

“Fifty-two sets of cards,” Sherlock mused. “One auction a week, then? Starting when?”

“We're nearly to the new year. Seemed like a reasonable time to get things rolling. A year of auctions for the arts. Actually, that's not a bad title for the announcement post. 'Auctions for the Arts.' What do you think?”

“You should be a writer,” Sherlock replied, grinning. “Could maybe put in a good word for you with V+, if you like.”

“Oi, fuck off,” John laughed in response.

“Good plan,” Sherlock said, leaning back to allow the camera a longer angle as he reached up to unbutton his shirt. He began slowly, bending back his head to reveal his neck.

"You're a bloody tease," John berated with a chuckle.

"Yes, and?" Sherlock asked, eyes fluttering closed as his button operation advanced to mid-chest and he could run his fingertips across a nipple.

“Oh, god yes,” John breathed, his own hand moving to palm himself through his pants; he had already unbuttoned his uniform trousers.

"We're going to have to coordinate," Sherlock commanded. "Take turns, I mean. Otherwise I'll miss half of the fun."

John unbuttoned his shirt and wrestled it off, dropping it, his vest, and his wrist console on the floor. He toed his shoes off and stood to slide his trousers down before sprawling back into the armchair.

"I want to watch you first," Sherlock said, his shirt fluttering open. He had discarded his trousers and was only wearing a pair of pants John has never seen before. They were red, and clearly straining to contain Sherlock's arousal.

"One of the pieces I acquired from the photoshoot,” Sherlock explained, noting John's attention. “Givenchy, if you are on any level interested, which I assume you're not, since I keep having to drag you out of that ghastly discount store in Ponta Delgada."

"They sell a perfectly good 3-pack of boxer briefs," John protested, lifting his hips to shove his pants down around his thighs. “You, too, Sherlock. Delightful as those pants are, I want to see you.”

“After you,” Sherlock replied, shifting himself in the pants so that the flushed head of his cock peeked out above the waistband.

"I just thought we'd, you know, try to get there together. That's how most couples do it, I think, when they're having streaming sex."

"We're not most couples, John, which is my point exactly. Unlike the rest of our idiot species, we know what it's like to get to experience what the other person's going through on top of what we're feeling, so not even getting to enjoy the full visuals is...pathetic."

John knew what he meant. He was feeling, as painfully and acutely as Sherlock must have been, the lack of their connection. It felt like missing a limb, being bereft of the reassuring sense of Ghost drifting.

“Right, okay. I don't mind if you come, though, watching me. I like the thought."

"The thought, precisely. Just a thought, instead of feeling it." Sherlock turned to look out the window in his hotel room, at the rain sheeting down the glass.

"Hey," John called out to him. He didn't need Ghost drifting to pick up on the forlorn undertone in his partner's voice.

A flicker of lightning illuminated Sherlock's features, and John could see his downcast expression.

"There'll be plenty of that once we get back to Terceira," John reminded him. "Just think of this as expanding our repertoire, yeah?" he tried to encourage, and was happy to see Sherlock' gaze lock back onto him just as he caressed a hand up his shaft, foreskin sliding up to cover the tip.

Sherlock's expression cleared, and John enjoyed the hint of hunger in his gaze. He watched as Sherlock shrugged off his shirt, shoved three pillows behind his back, and turned to recline regally against this makeshift chaise lounge, his long legs folded to the side. He looked like a model. Which, John realized with a grin, he now was.

“Talk to me,” John prompted as he picked up his pace, reaching down with his left hand to cup his balls, to tuck them up against the base of his cock so that every downstroke gave them a gentle nudge. "We don't usually say a lot during sex because we don't have to, but you should know your voice does stuff to me."

“Does it, indeed?” Sherlock drawled, a wicked gleam in his eye. “I wish that was my hand on you, John. Or my mouth. Wish that I was kneeling at your feet, your hands in my hair, your cock in my mouth. Or, better, I wish I could spread you out over the bed and finger you while I sucked you.”

John moaned, his hand moving faster. Sherlock groaned with him, the sound frustrated.

"It's ridiculous that we have not one but two double beds right now," Sherlock muttered as he clenched the bedspread with one hand, the other moving across his chest, teasing his nipples. "But we can't really use them."

At home, they were forced to make do with John's single bed and a pile of mattresses placed next to it. A few times one of them had slid between those two, bum first onto the cold floor since nothing was keeping the two halves of their makeshift king-size together.

"Don't worry about that now," John told him, voice strained. He was breathing hard; the mere sight of Sherlock had been enough to get him going after being apart for three days. He clenched his buttocks, trying to tighten all the pelvic muscles to heighten the sensation, and let go of his balls, focusing all his efforts on his cock. He pinched his eyes closed, his hazy brain trying to find even the tiniest spark of Sherlock's presence, but of course it wasn't there. Too many kilometres of France separated them.

But, it was as though Sherlock—brilliant, lovely, genius, important, loved Sherlock—still somehow sensed his need to connect, and delivered a remedy in the form of speaking John's name out loud in that voice of his which felt like John's ear was being dipped in caramel and licked clean.

Before long and with a strangled shout John pulsed, contracted, released, came—then let his hand drop to the side, fingers shaking. It took a moment before the world realigned and he could open his eyes.

Sherlock's smile was slightly smug, as though it had been his hand guiding John through to his orgasm. "Good?"

"Good," John confirmed, "Considering," he added. Now, taking turns didn't feel too crappy an idea, after all; he was no longer frustratingly aroused, so could really focus on enjoying the Sherlock show.

Sherlock lifted his hips so that he could slide his pants down with his thumbs, then kick off the pants. John couldn't see where they landed but, judging by the dimming of the light left to the bed, it may well have been on the lamp on the bedside cabinet.

There was another flicker on screen as a very loud crack of thunder sounded at the other end, and Sherlock was temporarily plunged into darkness on the screen by a short power-outage. Then, even the darkness suddenly disappeared as the connection went out, and instead of the sight of his naked co-pilot John was now treated with nothing but an error message.

"For fuck's sake––" he called out to the system to re-establish connection, but four attempts resulted in nothing but another error message spoken in French.

John's wrist console pinged and he leaned over the arm of the chair to grab it from the pile of clothing on the floor. Their messaging system worked through a satellite connection so was not dependent on the electrical grid.

Message from SH: Power's out in all of the village. Called reception, they say the entertainment system is not hooked up to their spare generator. Sorry.

Message from JW: It's alright. Just two more days.

Message from SH: It's not "just" two days. I miss you.

Message from JW: In two days, I'll show you just how much I miss you back.


John switched the console to his right hand and reached down again and to grab his vest to wipe the ejaculate off his belly and chest, then stood and crossed to the bedroom to slide naked between the sheets. He set the console on the side table, turned the lights off, and sighed.

Sherlock was right, it was not fair to have all this space to himself in the bed; if the universe was fairer, he would now have his arms full of thoroughly sexed Sherlock, curls mussed up by his head shifting against a pillow, a rosy flush still adorning his skin from arousal. Warm and alive. His.

After a moment of lying quietly in the dark in the too-big, too-empty bed something familiar shifted at the edges of his consciousness. If he'd been closer to sleep he'd have thought it a dream. Wide awake, it felt a bit like deja vu. He felt warm, and content. Whole. There were no words coming through, no clear images, but there was a sense of rightness that felt a bit like coming home. It lingered for a moment, then waned like a morning fog.

John groped for the console in the dark, squinting when the screen brightened in response to his touch, and typed in a message.

Message from JW: Was that you?

Message from SH: Yes. Don't ask me to do it again, already gave me a terrible headache.

Message from JW: I'm amazed you could reach me this far.

Message from SH: Well, we've not had much opportunity to see how far I could project. Not very useful if it's a nudge, at best.

Message from JW: It's still pretty damned lovely.

Message from SH: Agreed.

Message from JW: Did you finish?

Message from SH: After yelling at reception, yes. What you just felt was my climax.

Message from JW: Oh, my god.

Message from SH: Not quite.

Message from JW: I love you. I can't wait to see you.

Message from SH: I can't wait to FEEL you. Want you to touch me, inside and out.

Message from JW: I want that, too. So much.

Message from SH: We wouldn't have this problem if my stupid idiot brother didn't see fit to separate us just for his own amusement.

Message from JW: I promise to heckle him extra tomorrow.

Message from SH: You'd better. Make sure to at least steal his dessert.