This chapter is a re-post of ficlets I wrote in July for the DW Watson's Woes July prompts challenge. Everything going forward will be new.
“Mrs. Hudson! ’Men in Kilts’?” Sherlock crossed the threshold and waved in the direction of the white van parked outside.
Sherlock’s eyes widened in horror. The sound was coming from upstairs!
“No, no, no, no,” he chanted as he raced up the steps. “No housekeeping service—kilted, saronged, or doused nothing but all the perfumes of Arabia—in my rooms!”
“Now, Sherlock, please,” said Mrs. Hudson in a soothing tone. “John was so efficient that he had a few minutes to spare, and he agreed to do a bit up here.”
“NO!” cried Sherlock. “Not my dust! Dust is eloquent!”
The man in the kilt on the ladder turned. “Sorry, your eloquence is here.” He held up a filthy rag. “Cobwebs, too!”
“ARRGH!” Sherlock gripped his hair with two hands. “Mrs. Hudson, you—”
“Hey!” barked John. He descended the ladder, then stood before Sherlock with his arms crossed over his chest and added in a warning tone, “I’ll ask you to rethink how you address this nice lady who does you the courtesy of allowing you live under her roof.”
Sherlock studied the man and felt his annoyance turned to something else, equally warm and, yes, a bit annoying. Oh, treacherous transport!
“I don’t like other people messing with my things,” Sherlock sounded like a sulky child and for once felt a bit bad about it.
The man in the kilt threw a glance about the cluttered sitting room and kitchen. “Yeah, I can see that. I’m John, by the way.”
They shook hands, and Sherlock dwelled a moment too long on the firmness of John’s grip.
John smiled at Mrs. Hudson. “Anything else before I pack it up?”
Mrs. Hudson shot a look at the corner of the ceiling beyond John’s head and pointed, “Perhaps. That is, if Sherlock will allow?”
Would Sherlock allow this attractive man to climb a ladder and remove a thick patch of cobwebs? He inclined his head in a way that he hoped was charming and said simply,
Sherlock took his place at Mrs. Hudson’s side and realised that his landlady had streaks of genius herself. They exchanged a single glance as John, his back to them, repositioned the ladder and climbed up.
He did have nice legs, very nice legs which probably led to a very nice…
“Done!” said John triumphantly. Then he looked at his watch. “Last of it, I’m afraid. I’ve another appointment.”
“Thank you so much, John. My friend Marie spoke so highly of the service, and you did not disappoint.”
“Great. And anytime that hip's bothering you and you don’t feel up to it, just give us a ring, yeah?”
Say something, say something, something clever, memorable…
“I’m a detective,” blurted Sherlock.
John smiled a wide, warm, utterly Man-in-a-Kilt smile.
“I love detectives (and detective stories). You give us a ring, too, if you want some help with this.” John’s wave took in the whole room.
And with that, and a wink, he left, with his ladder—and Sherlock's heart.
John carefully eased the folded ladder through the doorway, his exhaustion blunting the disappointment of not catching a glimpse of the gorgeous toff upstairs this time.
Ah, there he was after all.
John couldn’t help the smile which curled his lips as he looked up. “Hullo.”
“It’s Sherlock Holmes, in case you don’t remember.”
As if John hadn’t googled the handsome bastard as soon as he’d left the last time. “Yeah, I remember. You’re difficult to forget. ‘Dust is eloquent.’”
Sherlock blushed and looked away. John caught a hint of a lisp when he spoke.
“I have a very small problem if you’ve time. If not, quite alright…”
“Certainly. But your landlady,” John nodded over his shoulder toward the door, “had a very big problem, and I’m a bit of a mess.” He wiped a hand down the front of his sleeveless vest which was plastered to his torso with sweat and decorated with smears of grease and dirt.
Sherlock’s eyes follow John’s hand until it reached the waist of the kilt.
John found the undisguised lust which darkened Sherlock’s features flattering and encouraging.
“I don’t mind at all,” said Sherlock thickly, without taking his gaze from John’s chest. “You can even…if it makes you more comfortable.”
Well, if that wasn’t an invitation!
Aware that he was taking his cues from clichés in pornographic films, John set the ladder against the wall and slowly, very slowly, peeled off his vest.
Give the lad a show if nothing else.
“Let’s have a look, Mister Holmes.”
Sherlock stared, then he snapped out of his fog. “Sherlock, please,” he urged politely before turning on his heels and leading John up the stairs.
“But I was just here last week!” exclaimed John as he extended the duster into the corner of the sitting room. He gripped the top of the ladder with one hand and leaned farther to swipe the last thick ball of cobwebs. “How on earth did you manage to collect so much of this in so little time?”
“It wasn’t easy,” admitted Sherlock. “Coaxing that many spiders up there.”
John started and twisted sharply at the waist, the better to look down at Sherlock with wide eyes.
The ladder wobbled, and Sherlock stepped forward to steady it. He looked up at John and shrugged, his face a picture of anxious but unrepentant mischievousness.
“You did this?” John pointed at the crease where wall met ceiling.
“To get me here?”
Sherlock nodded again.
John laughed as he descended two steps. “That’s a new one. Go on then.” He nodded at Sherlock’s hands, which were still holding the ladder. “See what’s under the kilt.”
Hands gripped John’s bare thighs and slid up.
John looked over his shoulder once more to see Sherlock’s teeth bared and pinching his buttock through the plaid. He felt Sherlock’s hands moving up, up, up and curling ‘round his hips. He prick began to take a very decided interest in the matter until…
“Hullooo! John! Are you still here?”
Sherlock sprang away, sending the ladder into violent wobbles as John hurried to the floor and put his filthy vest back on.
“Oh, John! Thank goodness,” said Mrs. Hudson, “You did a wonderful job, but I still can’t seem to get the thing to run!”
“No problem. I’ll come down and show you. I think I’m done here?” John glanced at Sherlock, who gave a dismissive wave of the hand as he turned away.
“If you need any help with setting all this to rights,” John continued, inwardly cringing at his weak tone as he made a gesture which encompassed the sitting room and kitchen, both as cluttered as they'd been on his first visit, “just call the agency.”
Sherlock said nothing.
John purposefully ignored the muffled crash sounding from the flat above them.
“Mrs. Hudson,” he said as gently as he could muster. “As much as my bosses appreciate your loyal patronage and I appreciate the continued income, you didn’t really need to hire a Men in Kilts domestic assistant to help you bake twelve dozen florentines for your landladies’ association bake sale.”
“Another set of hands is always useful in the kitchen, especially when baking,” she countered meekly. Then her cheeks turned pink. “I know it’s none of my business, John, but—”
There was another, louder crash. Mrs. Hudson continued unperturbed.
“—I know that Sherlock is smitten with you, I know he is, I’ve known it since you two first met, I’ve never seen him like that before—”
“You’re right, Mrs. Hudson, it really is not your business, and,” John tried not to smile, “I am quite certain that no one’s ever been ‘smitten with me’ in my life.”
“Oh, that can’t be true.”
John’s lips curled upwards, forming a smile of their own volition. He cursed his nature as he exhaled. “A week after my last visit, I texted Sherlock,” he confessed. “No reply. It’s been a week. I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed, but it is what it is.”
“Oh, but there’s a reason! And it has nothing to do with you! And he desperately needs help! Take these up to him,” she waved at a plate piled high with dainty biscuits, “and see for yourself. Florentines are his favourite, and just maybe, he will accept help from you. If he doesn’t, well, I’m afraid his brother may step in and make things worse. Much, much worse.”
“It’s his pride! He’s so stubborn! But maybe you…oh, it’s worth a try…”
John’s jaw stiffened. “Mrs. Hudson, I have enough problems in my own life without meddling in someone else’s, especially if it involves family,” he said in a far harsher tone that he’d intended.
“Of course, of course, I understand,” she said quickly and turned away, but not before shooting him a pleading look over her shoulder.
John took a deep breath, looked at the florentines, and said,
“Oh, all right, but no promises. If he’s a right bastard to me, I’m throwing them on the table and leaving.”
“Thank you, John!” she said with undisguised relief. “I think you might be able to get through to him.”
“What in the world?” said John as he looked about.
The room was a disaster, far, far beyond the simple clutter he’d noted on his last two visits.
Sherlock emerged from the bathroom.
John stepped forward and made a place for the plate on the filthy kitchen table. The kitchen was also a disaster, and the odors disconcerting.
“Didn’t you hear me? Get out!”
John stepped back into the sitting room.
Sherlock’s left leg and left arm were in casts. He hobbled slowly and clumsily down the hall.
“I don’t need any help!”
“No, of course, not,” said John dryly. “You’re doing just fine.” He moved out of Sherlock’s way, the only clear path to be seen, which led to the wheelchair.
Finally, Sherlock collapsed in the chair and heaved his heavy leg on the rest. He was thinner than John had remembered. Gaunt, even. He was panting, and a thick sheen of sweat dampened his forehead.
“I’m afraid I’m not up to finishing what I started the last time,” he said with a sneer. He raised his plastered hand and laughed mirthlessly.
John flushed. “That’s not why I’m here.” His voice trailed off as his eyes caught a smashed bit of string and polished wood.
“That was an accident. I didn’t break it on purpose,” said Sherlock quickly. His tone was softer, almost apologetic. “I slipped. It isn’t the good one, though. Mycroft still has the Strad.”
“Mycroft? That’s your brother?”
“Yes.” Sherlock’s anger flared again. “How do you know him? Has contacted you? Offered you money to spy on me?”
“I’ve never met him,” insisted John. “Mrs. Hudson just mentioned you had a brother.”
John turned toward the doorway.
“Oh, bloody hell!” exclaimed Sherlock. “Speak of the devil!”
When Mycroft threatens to intervene, Sherlock engages John as housekeeper (and nurse!).
“THIS PLACE—AND YOU—ARE DISGUSTING!”
“I KNOW! WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY I ENGAGED JOHN!”
Mycroft spun ‘round.
Two sets of eyes pinned John where he stood—which was in the doorway, mid-stride.
“Have you, Sherlock?” asked Mycroft caustically. “If so, then why does your new hire appear to be already deserting the sinking ship?”
Heat rose in John’s cheeks.
The two had been so engrossed in their fighting that John didn’t think they would notice.
He had, as Mycroft had observed, been attempting to flee the scene while the shouting match was under way. After all, this was absolutely no business of his, and the rancor in the two voices hinted at old hostilities.
“Well?” asked Mycroft. “Is Sherlock telling the truth? I shan’t be surprised if he isn’t.”
The tiny fake smile made John feel sick. He glanced at Sherlock.
The plaintive plea in Sherlock’s eyes broke John’s heart. But then it was gone, and Sherlock’s expression became an icy mask. He studied the arm of the wheelchair and gave a careless shrug that was far too practised.
John met Mycroft’s cool gaze.
“Yeah, he did. I work for the Men in Kilts housekeeping service. I was just going to the van to get a contract and negotiate terms.”
Mycroft’s eyes widened. He gave John a frank up-and-down appraisal, taking in the kilt and the tight short-sleeved vest as if for the first time. Then he turned and frowned at the sitting room and kitchen.
“Housekeeping service. How unusually foresighted, Brother Mine.”
“Well, things have gotten a bit out of hand,” remarked Sherlock evenly. When Mycroft’s back was turned, he shot John a priceless look of gratitude.
One corner of John’s mouth rose in a half-smile.
But then Mycroft was shaking his head. “No, no, it won’t work. Even if your flat is set to rights, Sherlock, you can’t remain here in your condition. The stairs alone are impossible. It’s obvious that you can’t take care of even your most basic needs.” He withdrew his mobile and began to tap the screen with his thumb. “I’ve found a nice place in the country. Until the casts come off, you will have to stay…”
“I won’t go!”
“You don’t have a choice.”
“You’ve no right!”
Mycroft dropped his hand and advanced until he positively loomed over Sherlock’s scowling, seated form.
“I’ve every right to ensure you don’t kill yourself, Brother Mine! Look at you! Better yet, take a good whiff! You are as filthy as this flat! And though he may be a wizard with a mop, I’m quite certain that scrubbing your arse isn’t included in the contract of Mister, Mister…”
Mycroft turned his head and looked at John inquiringly.
John crossed his arms over his chest and said in a hard tone, “It’s Doctor. Doctor John Watson.”
Two sets of eyes widened.
“Always something,” said Sherlock quietly.
Mycroft huffed, then he turned and asked pointedly, “Just what is a physician doing working for a housekeeping service?”
“I haven’t been struck off, if that’s what you’re asking. It’s also Captain Watson. I was injured. Army.” John touched his shoulder. “Invalided home.”
“Afghanistan!” shouted Sherlock eagerly. “I knew it!”
John gave a tight smile at Sherlock, then looked at Mycroft as he plucked at his vest. “This gig is just until I get on my feet. Quite frankly, I’m finding adjusting to civilian life a bit of a challenge.” He sniffed and looked at the floor. “But that’s my problem. If Sherlock agrees, I’ll help take care of him while I and a few colleagues clean the flat. I’m not going to lie this,” he waved at the sitting room and kitchen, “is more than a one man-in-a-kilt job.”
Mycroft gave a nod. Then he glanced at Sherlock with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes,” said Sherlock simply.
Mycroft rocked back on his heels. Finally, he put his mobile in his pocket and said,
“Three days. That’s all the time I’m willing to waste on this frivolity. Then I’ll be back, and if things are status quo or, God forbid, worse, negotiations will be at an end, Brother Mine.” Mycroft produced a gold pocket watch on a chain and made a theatrical show of checking it. “Must be off.” He nodded at John. “Good luck to you, Doctor. You’ll need it.”
John stepped in front of Mycroft before he reached the threshold. “If things go well, in three days, Sherlock gets his fancy violin back.”
Mycroft blinked. “But he can’t play it with the cast on his arm!”
John narrowed his gaze and tilted his head and flexed his biceps.
“Oh, so you’re only into sticks, not carrots, Mister Holmes?” he said nastily.
Mycroft’s mouth twisted into what John thought might have been a real smile; then he gave a soft chuckle.
“Very well, Doctor.”
Mycroft held out his hand. John shook it.
“Sherlock,” said Mycroft by way of farewell as John moved out of his way.
“Laterz,” called Sherlock.
Neither Sherlock nor John spoke until the front door closed.
John read many emotions in Sherlock’s face, but none of them were happy ones. Most were some variation on the theme of shame. He didn’t quite know what to say at first, but then he had a flash of inspiration.
The business touch might do.
“Well, let’s talk terms, Mister Holmes,” said John, matter-of-factly.
Sherlock’s face softened. “Terms?” he echoed.
“If you want the full Mary Poppins treatment, you’ll have to pay for it,” said John. He grinned and struck a rather sassy pose with his hand on his hip.
Sherlock laughed, and the tension in the room vapourised. “Absolutely,” he agreed. His eyes moved to John’s left. “Double your rate for the next three days. I can even throw in room and board, if you like. There’s a vacant bedroom upstairs.”
“Really?” John turned toward the staircase. “May I have a look?”
John took the stairs two at a time. The bedroom had happily escaped Sherlock’s clutter. It was empty save for a few spartan furnishings: bed, wardrobe, desk, and chair. It was perfect. And an answer to prayer. John could put the horrid bedsit behind him—tonight. A room in central London. Even for three days, three days of very hard work, it was a bloody miracle.
John tried to hide his excitement when he returned to the sitting room.
“Works for me,” he said. “I’ll call the agency and settle things. You said board, too. Maybe a curry while we make a plan? I’m not eating anything out of there,” he pointed to the kitchen, “until it’s been disinfected. Except, of course, the florentines. I know they’re okay because I helped Mrs. Hudson make them. What do you say?”
“I say ‘yes.’ And I must also say I’m impressed with the way you stood up to Mycroft. He’s used to pushing people around.”
“Yeah, I got that, but if you were my brother and being an equal prat, I’d probably do the same.”
Sherlock shrugged. “It’s extraordinary…” He faltered.
“When you finally stop feeling sorry for yourself? Yeah, I know. Mopping is good for that, too, by the way.” He gave a wink.
“Good to know.” Sherlock smiled and extended his right hand. “Thank you, Doctor Watson. Welcome to 221B Baker Street.”
John walked towards him.
“You’re welcome, Mister Holmes, and thank you.”
They shook hands.
Sherlock gets his hair washed. POV Sherlock.
It would be tagged 'come in pants' if Sherlock was wearing any. :)
At the first splash of water, Sherlock started violently.
“Too hot, too hot,” murmured John. “Sorry, sorry. Damn.”
The taps squeaked.
It had not been the temperature of the water. It had been John’s touch.
The bathing itself had not produced so dramatic a reaction. Sherlock and John had both been so thoroughly absorbed in the cumbersome logistics of it all, there had not be a lot of time for modesty or embarrassment. John had apologised twice for being a doctor and not a nurse, but to Sherlock’s pleasant surprise, the whole affair had been quite clinical, and he’d felt much, much better for it.
But now he was wrapped like a mummy—a shapeless cocoon made of almost every clean towel in the flat—and wedged in the chair in the tiny bathroom for John to wash his hair.
For John to wash his hair!
Sherlock’s treacherous transport was already taking far too much interest in the prospect.
John was talking about the water, which was now cooler.
Sherlock’s voice must’ve betrayed him, for John asked sharply,
“Sherlock, are you in pain?”
Not yet, Sherlock thought. It was only tiny ache at the moment.
“You’ll tell me if you’re in pain, right?” John persisted.
“John, I’m not known for keeping my displeasure to myself.”
That was good; that was Sherlock’s normal voice.
Sherlock’s first thought was ‘wet.’
John was wetting Sherlock’s hair, his short, thick fingers moving lightly all about Sherlock’s head.
Humming was good. Humming was less betraying than speech.
More humming, less talking.
The pop of the cap of the shampoo bottle and then…
Not out loud, not out loud.
Sherlock was certain he hadn’t said it out loud.
John was rubbing Sherlock’s scalp.
Rubbing, rubbing, rubbing.
Fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck!
Ears, crown, nape.
Strong, deep, relentless strokes.
Down to the skin, down through the follicle.
Nerves firing. Blood pooling.
Right to the groin.
It felt so good.
Sherlock’s whole body was alive to how good it felt.
He was being petted, scratched behind the ears, groomed. He was such a pet. John’s pet. John would take such good care of him. He’d find all of Sherlock’s spots, the places that made Sherlock…
Sherlock wanted to purr. He <I>ached</I> to purr.
No, no, no.
Think of something! Anything!
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…
It wasn’t working!
Sherlock focused on not moving any part of his body, save the one part that was moving of its accord.
John tut-tutted about something irrelevant as he made another pass with his fingertips. The water was still running, splashing in the basin.
Sherlock’s prick was hard, throbbing, begging for attention. Sherlock cursed his weakness.
Perhaps the universe would be unexpectedly kind, and John would be struck by a temporary yet all-consuming lack of awareness. After all, he was a rather unobservant fellow. It was possible. No probable, but possible.
“Feels good, yeah?”
Grunting was good, too. It could mean anything.
“All right. I’m coming to the end,” said John.
So am I, thought Sherlock, as he realised there was no ignoring his body’s demands.
He closed his eyes. The body inside the towels tensed, then jerked, but whether the tiny motions had betrayed his condition Sherlock didn’t know.
He could barely feel the cool jolt of the rinse water John was guiding ‘round his head, for the conflict waging within, the pleasure of release versus the humiliation of finding it in these circumstances. The afterglow was strong but so was Sherlock’s shame.
It was an order. Captain Watson was giving him an order. God, was he to be aroused by everything John did? How tiresome. Nevertheless,
Sherlock forced his eyes open.
John was looking down at him and smiling an amused smile that lit his eyes handsomely. His wet vest was plastered to his chest and if Sherlock hadn’t just come, he would surely have been aroused at the sight.
“You’re extraordinary,” said John.
Sherlock was drunk or at least he sounded drunk when he replied. “You haven’t even seen the extraordinary parts of me yet!” he cried. The hard defiance of the tone was quite undermined by the slurring of the syllables.
“Oh, yeah? Are those the two you broke because I think I’ve seen all your other parts.”
Sherlock chuckled. “My mind,” he said and tapped his temple with his unbandaged hand.
“There’ll be plenty of time for that. Come on, Mister Genius, let’s get you in some clothes.”
John adjusted the chair and carefully maneuvered it out of the bathroom and across the hall to the bedroom.
A strong torpor was taking hold of Sherlock, but it was not so strong as to make Sherlock forget that he had drying ejaculate on his skin.
John’s back was to Sherlock when he withdrew a pair of pyjamas from a drawer and began making some crude alterations with a pair of scissors and security pins.
Sherlock attempted to wipe himself with the towels that were about him, but John caught him when he turned back.
Sherlock didn’t know what to say, but John did.
“Sherlock, we’re going to learn a lot about each other in the next few days. Good things, bad things, all kinds of things. I think it’s amazing that you can come from having your hair washed.”
Sherlock flushed. He searched John’s face for jest but found none.
“I have nightmares,” John continued. “Bad ones. You’ll probably hear me shouting, thumping about upstairs. I may even come down and clean that bloody Chernobyl you call a kitchen to avoid seeing what I see and feeling what I feel when I close my eyes.”
“War,” said Sherlock.
“Is hell,” said John. “And then it’s over. And it’s still hell. So, what I’m saying is ‘it’s all fine.’”
“You’re extraordinary, John.”
John smiled a lop-sided smile. “Nah, I’m just a bloke in a skirt trying to make a bob or two.”
That was wrong. That was so wrong Sherlock was momentarily stunned.
“Pyjamas, then bed,” said John.
Sherlock nodded weakly. God, he was tired, but what John had said was wrong.
Into the pyjamas. Onto the bed. John fussing for a short eternity with the pillows and the bedclothes.
“You need proper pillows, Sherlock, and lots more of them. I’m going to put that on the list.”
“Kettle,” mumbled Sherlock.
“That’s Number One on the list,” agreed John. “We’ll talk about what that green slime is later, yeah? Sleep. I’m going to take the van back to the agency, get my stuff, and pick up a few things.”
“Take my card,” said Sherlock, waving toward the drawer of the bedside table and the wallet within. He was too fatigued to be surprised at his willingness to hand the whole of his kingdom, so to speak, over to a stranger.
After all, he wasn’t a stranger. Not really. He was John.
“Your phone’s within reach,” said John.
Sherlock’s eyelids were drooping. He wanted to talk to John, to tell John how wrong he was about that other thing.
What was it?
Sherlock couldn’t remember.
He was asleep.
John does some early morning cleaning while Sherlock shows off. POV Sherlock.
Sherlock woke to noises. He reached for his phone.
Half three in the morning.
As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he realised that he felt rested, better than he had since the accident.
It all came flooding back.
John was the source of the noises. And the rest.
Sherlock decided he would try the crutches.
“Did I wake you?” asked John.
“Yes, but no matter.”
“Let me get the chair.”
“I can manage with these,” said Sherlock. With John’s help, he arranged two of the kitchen chairs so that he could sit on one with casted leg propped on the other. His casted arm was on the table.
John was standing at the counter in pants and a sleeveless vest. The only light was the one above the stove and it cast a very flattering glow on his mostly nude figure.
Sherlock dismissed this thought and observed,
“You’ve been up a while.”
Every cupboard door was open, and the contents of the cupboards, minus a few items, were piled on the table.
“Yeah. Couldn’t sleep. By the way, all of that,” John indicated a heap of containers and plastic bags on the far counter, “is organs!”
“Yeah, you can bin them,” said Sherlock regretfully. “They’ve all gone off now.”
John stared, then blinked, then said, “Phew! That went much easier than I thought it would.” He marched across the kitchen and summarily dumped the whole lot in a red plastic bag labeled HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. He tied the bag carefully and sat it in the corner. Then he began to put the boxes and tins and containers on the table back into the cupboards.
Sherlock was acutely aware of his helplessness.
“If I had my hand and my violin, I could play for you.”
“If you had your hand and your violin, you wouldn’t need me.”
Sherlock wasn’t so sure of that, but he said nothing.
John continued, “Why you show me that extraordinary part of yours? The one I’ve not seen.”
“Are you asking me to show off?” inquired Sherlock, the incredulity frank in his tone.
“Yeah. If you want.” John wasn’t looking at Sherlock. He was still re-filling the cupboards.
“I’d love to. It’s just no one’s ever requested it before. I mean, not outside a case.”
“Up to you,” said John.
Make it good, make it good.
Sherlock looked about, then his eyes rested on John’s phone.
“…never see those marks on a sober man’s phone, never see a drunk’s without them.”
“Holy Mary,” breathed John when Sherlock had finished. “All right, yeah, you’re the real thing, eh? Christ, a bloody genius. That’s fantastic!”
The way John looked at him, Sherlock’s heart stopped. He was positively beaming.
“Is it? Most people say, ‘Piss off!’”
“Most people are idiots.” Laughing, John closed the distance between them and did something extraordinary: he reached out and rubbed the back of Sherlock’s head.
Sherlock had never been on the receiving end of so easy and affectionate a gesture as an adult, and his shock must’ve showed because John stopped and dropped his hand.
“Sorry. That all right? Too much?”
“No, no, it’s fine,” Sherlock reassured him. “It’s just been a while.”
A while since a handsome, kind, interesting man in his underwear decided to pet Sherlock as well as clean his kitchen at four in the morning?
“Did I get it all right?” asked Sherlock. “The deduction?”
“Oh, yeah, except for Harry being short for Harriet.”
“Sister! There’s always something!” So much for showing off!
“But tell me this,” said John, turning back to the kitchen, “how did a genius like you happen to break an arm and a leg?”
“Must’ve been a bad one!”
With everything restored, John closed the cupboard doors one by one, then, with sponges and a spray bottle of cleaner, turned his attention to the counters. “I’m no detective, but I’m guessing that you fell?”
“Yes, from a turret belonging to a castle belonging to an old schoolmate named Reggie Musgrave.”
“Oh, yeah? Let’s hear the story while I work.”
An hour and a half later the counters and stove and refrigerator were clean.
Sherlock and John were on their second cup of tea, a plate with nothing but crumbs between them.
“Christ, Sherlock! A treasure, clues in a riddle poem, family secrets. My therapist says I should write about everything that happens to me, but sod that! I’d rather write about what happens to you!”
“I fell off the turret, that’s what happened!”
“You solved the case, though.”
“True.” Sherlock fiddled with his mug. “You may, you know. Write it up for your blog.”
“Are you serious?”
“I remember. You’re always serious. Do you want me to change the names or anything?”
“No. After all, it might be good for business.”
“No such thing as bad publicity.”
John nodded. “We’ll see. Let’s get through the next three days.” He drained his mug and stifled a yawn.
Sherlock turned his head. “If it made any difference, you could kip on the…”
“Yeah, no thanks, your sofa has mange.”
“It does not,” said Sherlock a bit defensively. “That’s a bear skin rug. It’s been in storage, but not proper storage, unfortunately, for more than a year. It just needs a professional cleaning.”
John got to his feet and walked towards the sofa. “What are you doing with a bear skin rug?”
“Another case. Dartmoor.”
Sherlock tried not to image John on the bear skin rug and failed.
“Huh. No fleas, I suppose.” John picked up the heavy roll, studied it, then set it on the coffee table. Then he turned around and began brushing the seat of the sofa. “Maybe I will rest for a few minutes. Do you need something? Loo? Chair?”
“Yes and yes,” said Sherlock. “Maybe a shave later?”
“You got it. Me, too.”
Sherlock had rolled his wheelchair near the sofa and pretended to read, but his thoughts were on his sleeping companion. John did not appear to be experiencing any nightmares. As the sun rose, Sherlock set his book aside and dozed in the chair, only to be awakened by footsteps on the stairs.
“Oh!” said Mrs. Hudson as her gaze followed Sherlock’s frantic, censorious pointing. She set a hamper down on the floor and put a finger to her lips.
Sherlock checked. John hadn’t stirred.
“Mrs. Hudson, would you…?” He made another gesture, this time a kind of flailing in John’s direction.
Mrs. Hudson’s eyebrows rose, but she did not require further explanation. She went silently down the hall and returned with a blanket, which she carefully tucked around John’s form.
Sherlock nodded and mouthed, “Excellent. Thank you.”
Mrs. Hudson retrieved the hamper and took it to the kitchen.
“Oh, my!” she said in a soft gasp. “Bless him! He’s done all but the lino!” There was the sound of the fridge opening. “No more toes!” She hurried back to Sherlock.
“You will be good to him, won’t you, Sherlock?”
“Yes,” Sherlock promised.
“Shall I make some breakfast for the both of you?”
“That would be wonderful, Mrs. Hudson.” Sherlock took her hands in his and kissed them. “Thank you.”
“I’ve brought everything, plus those pyjamas he asked me to fix up for you.” She winked and went back to the kitchen.
The noise and the aromas from the kitchen soon drifted their way.
John stirred. He snuffled and hummed and grunted. Then he half-opened his eyes and looked at Sherlock, then looked down at the blanket, then looked back at Sherlock and smiled.
Sherlock smiled back.
John’s smile became a bit warm, a bit wicked. But just as he drew the blanket aside, there was a crash of a skillet hitting a hob and a cheery ‘Oopsies!’ from the kitchen.
Sherlock hadn’t missed the telltale tenting of John’s pants, but in an instant, a wide-eyed and now-wide-awake John had gotten to his feet with the blanket wrapped around his waist.
“Mrs. Hudson?” he called.
“Good morning, dear!” she called back. “You’ve done such a good job in here, I thought you deserved a nice fry-up!”
Without looking at Sherlock, John began to hurriedly hobble towards the stairs.
“Thank you so much! I’ll be ready in a few minutes!”
Sherlock felt a pang of something unpleasant until he heard a barefoot shuffle behind him—and felt the affectionate ruffle of his hair.
Lestrade stops by. Sherlock gets jealous.
Sherlock was not taking a nap.
He was pretending to take a nap while, with the assistance of two fortuitously placed mirrors, he watched John, wearing nothing but his kilt, clean the bathroom.
After breakfast, they’d both shaved, Sherlock with John’s assistance. John had expressed a desire to tackle the bathroom after he’d finished the kitchen. Sherlock had kept John company in the kitchen, regaling him with the details of another successful case, but there wasn’t really space in the bathroom for two if one of the two had a broken arm and a broken leg.
Sherlock had pled fatigue, and John had helped him to bed.
Sherlock said he had no preference about the bedroom door, and John had left it open. The bathroom door was half-open.
Scrubbing. So much scrubbing.
John had peeled his vest off and hung it on the doorknob.
His back. His arms. His chest. His neck. His legs. His bloody scar! Sweaty. Damp.
Sherlock might have gone on surreptitiously ogling if it weren’t for the arrival of an unexpected and, given the timing, most unwelcome visitor.
John put his vest on and hurried down the hall.
“Shhh! He’s taking a nap!”
“A nap? Yeah, right.”
“He is! Lower your voice, please.”
Sherlock smiled. John was a wonderful watchdog.
“Just who are you?”
“John, the housekeeper.”
“What happened to Mrs. Hudson?”
“She’s not his housekeeper! Who are you?”
“Detective Inspector Lestrade.”
John’s tone became friendly. “Oh, Sherlock was just telling me about you!”
“Yeah, well, I’m not half as bumbling as he makes out.”
“Yeah, well, we’re all bumblers compared to him.”
John really was quite amazing. And so honest!
“Right you are. Here. I brought him a few cold cases. Thought they might give keep him out of trouble. Hey, you cleaned the kitchen.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes. Of course, John cleaned the kitchen! He was the housekeeper! Brilliant observation and deduction skills, Detective Inspector!
“Yeah, that’s my work.”
“Great job! Looks better than I’ve ever seen it.”
“Thanks, and thanks for these. I bet they’re just what Sherlock needs.”
Sherlock huffed. Thank you, now exit stage left!
“You know, I could use help around my flat.”
“Let me get you a card.”
“Thanks. So the kilt’s…”
John chuckled. “Mandatory.”
“Well, that’s all right. Suits you.”
The kilt did suit John, but what was Lestrade getting at?
“So can I call and ask for you by name?”
“Sure. John Watson. I’m with Sherlock for the next three days to get this place, and him, in good shape but after that…”
Oh, no! Sherlock conjured up the image of a shirtless John scrubbing Lestrade bathroom. This had to be nipped in the bud! The chair would take too long. Sherlock went for the crutches.
“Here. Let me give you my card. I’ll put my personal number on the back, and if you have any trouble with Sherlock, just let me know. He can get a bit, you know.”
Did ‘you know’ mean ‘extraordinary’ and ‘amazing’ and ‘fantastic’?!
“Even if you just need to grab a pint and blow off steam…”
Sherlock hobbled down the hall.
“I guess he’s up!” remarked Lestrade cheerfully.
Sherlock looked past John and narrowed his gaze.
“Hello, Detective Inspector.”
“Hello, Sherlock. You seem to be doing better. Taking naps, I hear?”
“He brought you some cold cases, Sherlock,” interjected John. “Let me get the chair.”
“Thank you, John,” said Sherlock politely.
John went up the hall. Lestrade’s eyes followed him. Sherlock glared at Lestrade, who had the decency to blush and look away when he was caught out.
Ogling my housekeeper!
“Good idea for you to get some help.”
“Yes, it was.”
“Here we go!” called John.
Sherlock settled in the chair and took the files that John offered him. He leafed through the first one.
“So, what’s next?” asked Lestrade.
“You are leaving,” said Sherlock without looking up.
“I was talking to John, Sherlock.”
“I’m just finishing up the bathroom. Then the hall. Maybe a bit of Sherlock’s bedroom if there’s time.”
“Not in here?”
“Not today. Tomorrow. I’m have a few colleagues help out.”
“Yeah. I can see that. I’ll be going. Good luck, Sherlock. Nice to meet you, John.”
“You, too,” said John.
Sherlock said nothing until Lestrade’s patience ran out and he turned to go.
When Lestrade reached the threshold, Sherlock slapped the file closed.
“Oh, Detective Inspector?”
Lestrade turned back. “Hmm?”
Sherlock held out the file. “The brother is the murderer. He has a green ladder. Arrest him. You’re welcome.”
John howled and clapped his hands together. “Oh, ho, ho! Holy Mary!” He cackled and ruffled Sherlock’s hair. “Wow! Just for that, you’re getting my very special pasta carbonara tonight, m’boy!” Then he did a kind of drunken jig down the hall, whooping and laughing.
Sherlock smirked. “Showing off. It’s what I do.”
Lestrade looked constipated. “Thanks,” he grumbled as he snatched the file and left.
“You absolute bastard.”
Mycroft Holmes looked over as Lestrade slid onto the stool beside him.
“You called it, Mister Holmes. A bet’s a bet. First round’s on me.”
“You saw Sherlock?”
“Yeah. And John Watson.” Lestrade motioned to the barman. “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
“So you agree with my assessment?”
“Yup. Gone. Your brother is fuckin’ gone on that housekeeper of his. I sort of, you know, and Sherlock got all,” Lestrade waved his hands, “woo-hoo!” He shook his head slowly. “I thought you geniuses left that stuff to the rest of us poor sods.”
“Some of us do,” murmured Mycroft weakly, looking everywhere but Lestrade.
A plate of crisps and a pint appeared.
“Hullo, my baby!” cried Lestrade jubilantly. “So, what are you going to do about it?”
Mycroft exhaled. “What do you suggest?”
“Advice from me, the happy divorcée?”
“Sorry.” Lestrade drank, then he sighed. “I don’t know John very well, but I like him. He takes his job seriously. He seems genuinely concerned for Sherlock’s welfare, and,” he leaned closer to Mycroft and whispered in a gossipy tone, “your brother lets him ruffle his pretty little hair.”
Lestrade gave an imitation of John’s gesture in the air.
“No!” gasped Mycroft, in genuine, if slightly dramatic, disbelief.
“And Sherlock likes it!” Lestrade laughed, then he eyed the large screen behind the bar and raised his glass to it. “So, are you gonna stay for the game?”
Mycroft turned his head, the better to hide his blank expression, and said, “Of course. Wouldn’t miss it.”
The sitting room gets cleaned. John's stay at 221B is extended.
Warning: non-graphic mentions of masturbation.
The cold case refers to the SPOILER plot point for Stephen King's ACD pastiche "The Doctor's Case."
A flash of tartan, and then there were only three Men in Kilts standing in sitting room of 221B Baker Street.
Sherlock met John’s gaze.
John’s heart broke when he saw Sherlock’s expression harden.
“Then I’ll leave you gentlemen to your work,” he said, then executed a turn in the wheelchair and rolled down the hall to his bedroom.
Two sets of eyes turned to John, who said, “Let’s get on with it, then.”
Four hours later, John knocked softly on Sherlock’s bedroom door.
Sherlock was still in the chair, his back to John.
John gave into the first half of an urge and rested his hands upon Sherlock’s shoulders. He left them there for a moment, giving Sherlock an opportunity to shrug away or make some stinging comment. When neither resulted, John gave into the second half of the urge and slid his hands down Sherlock’s arms to his elbows and leaned in and whispered,
“Have lunch with us.”
“Not hungry,” said Sherlock, a thick book, as best as John could tell about astronomy, lay on his lap.
“Then keep us company.”
“I’m certain my company is not wanted, John.”
“You’re wrong. Cooper greatly desires your advice on an odd thing that happened to his neighbour, and Southwick is dying for you to demonstrate your guillotine. Plus, you can assess our progress.”
Sherlock turned his head. The grey of his irises was soft, like the grey of a cat’s fur.
Four more hours later, there were hearty handshakes all around.
John stood in the window, watching his colleagues load the van and take off.
“Not bad,” said Sherlock, his eyes surveying the tidy sitting room, “for a trio of blokes in skirts just trying to make a bob or two.”
John smiled. Then he sighed. “You know, I was thinking—”
“I should do so,” retorted Sherlock, but his tiny little grin took the rancor out of the barb.
“—why don’t we have a proper tea for your brother tomorrow?” continued John, unperturbed.
“Excellent idea. Mycroft’s first love is cake.”
“That right?” John pushed away from window. “I’ll change and go to shops.”
He passed by Sherlock as he headed for the stairs.
Sherlock lifted his hand to ruffle the hem of John’s kilt.
John stopped, then stepped closer, letting the hand curl ‘round the back of his thigh. He looked down at Sherlock, who said,
“No,” said Sherlock gently. “But it could be—”
“THE THINGS SAYS 2-2-1-B. OH, YEA, THE B’ S UP HERE!”
“Bloody hell,” breathed Sherlock, releasing his grip on John’s thigh and dropping his arm.
“Who’s that?” asked John, frowning.
“They’re here to collect the bearskin hearth rug. I’m having it professionally cleaned.”
“Oh? It’ll impress the clients and be a conversation piece.”
“Among other things.”
The wicked look Sherlock shot John required no interpretation and went straight to John’s groin, but in the spirit of not putting on a show in a tented kilt, John pulled away from Sherlock and bounded up the stairs before the two sets of heavy boots reached the sitting room.
Later that night, John had a nice, quiet wank to images of him and Sherlock doing all sorts of things to each other on the bearskin hearth rug.
But unfortunately for John as nightcaps went, masturbation was no more effective than, say, drink, or even counting sheep.
Very soon he was at war once more and woke soaked with sweat and unsure of where or who he was, only that danger lay all about him.
John might have stayed in that horrid limbo for much longer if it weren’t for the cry and crash from below, which jerked him out of his fog.
John flew down the stairs and down the hall and found Sherlock in a heap on the floor, nearly atop the wheelchair.
“Nightmare?” he asked as he struggled to hoist Sherlock into bed; a task made difficult by the heavy, cumbersome casts and the disarranged pyjamas.
“Not as bad as yours.”
John halted. He stared. “Did I wake you?” he then asked, feeling the heat rise in his cheeks.
“Did I wake you?”
“Yeah, but I wasn’t having much fun. Was it the pillows? I thought these new ones were working out better.”
A few minutes of fussing, and they were fine, at least to John’s estimation.
“All right. No injuries, right?” he said.
“No new ones,” said Sherlock.
“Sorry. I’m just nervous about your brother’s visit tomorrow. Don’t want you looking worse than you were.”
“Don’t worry about that. I feel like the fatted calf!”
“Not sorry about that. You’re looking much healthier. But I am sorry that I woke you.”
Sherlock scowled at his left arm. “I wish I had this hand and my violin. Then I could play for you. It might help.”
“That’s a beautiful thought,” said John. “But why do I get the feeling that you’re more like Paganini with your instrument? Sawing for the devil is much more interesting that oozing out lullabies for war-cracked ex-soldiers.”
Sherlock sat up. “Do you like Paganini?”
John smiled. “A well-played violin is a treat for the gods, but—”
“I know tons of stories about Paganini. Come.” Sherlock threw back the covers. “I can’t play for you, but I can at least distract you until dawn.”
John looked, but there was absolutely no seduction in Sherlock’s tone or his expression. In fact, John had the bubbly feeling of being invited to a sleep-over at a school chum’s house. Without hesitation, he crawled in the bed, on Sherlock’s right, and tucked himself, and one of the old pillows, against Sherlock’s side.
“Now, let’s see. The ‘selling his soul to the devil’ rumor…”
John was asleep within five minutes.
Sherlock studied his face.
The most extraordinary thing about John Watson, Sherlock decided, was how humiliation never stood a chance with him.
In the morning, Sherlock had made a gaffe with John’s colleagues, admittedly a typical gaffe that Sherlock had made hundreds of times before, and John had managed to smooth things over when Sherlock himself would’ve been content to sulk and then add it to his bitter horde of resentments of ‘idiots with their idiotic lives.’
And now, when Sherlock had paid for his foolishness in attempting to masturbate while lying on his broken side by falling out of the bed, John, the object of Sherlock’s fantasy, of course, had come to the rescue and…
And they were now having a bit of cuddle!
Sherlock sighed and looked up at the ceiling and wondered,
How can I keep him?
In the end, keeping John wasn’t Sherlock’s doing at all.
“Doctor Watson,” said Mycroft Holmes as he scraped the very last smear of icing from his plate with his fork, “I propose that you remain here as Sherlock’s paid, well paid, mind you, in-house companion for the remainder of his convalescence, which I understand is approximately five weeks. I know that maintaining this excellent state of domestic hygiene that you and your colleagues have achieved will not require as much time or effort as establishing it, so you would be free to accept jobs from your agency or even locum work in your original profession, should you wish to do so, as long as Sherlock’s needs take priority.”
John looked across the table. “Sherlock?”
Sherlock didn’t trust his voice. He nodded and made a noise that he hoped sounded something like,
“All right. It’s a deal.”
John reached out and shook Sherlock’s hand and then Mycroft’s, then he rose and said, “Well, like my gran always said, ‘Begin as you mean to go on.’”
Sherlock felt uncomfortable as John began to clear away the tea things. He felt even more uncomfortable when he saw that Mycroft was positively beaming; whether Mycroft’s state was because he was full of cake or class distinctions, Sherlock didn’t know or care.
Sherlock wanted his brother gone. Now.
The Stradivarius was resting in Sherlock’s armchair.
That was another thing, a thing that distracted Sherlock from his annoyance with Mycroft.
John needed an armchair. He could use Sherlock’s for now because Sherlock had the wheelchair and, thanks to the three Men in Kilts, plenty of space to maneuver it, but if John were to stay…
Sherlock stored the thought in his Mind Palace.
He bid Mycroft farewell, ignoring his brother’s attempts to meet his gaze.
John was at the sink doing the washing-up.
Sherlock took up one of the files that Lestrade had left and rolled back to the kitchen table, which was now clean, and spread out the photographs and diagrams and pages of notes.
Half of Sherlock’s mind was on the Hull case and half was on John. When John dried his hands for the last time, Sherlock turned his head.
There, in John’s eyes, was mirrored the joy that Sherlock felt.
If only Sherlock had legs, he would close the distance between them and…
John’s lips were on his.
It was a too-quick, chaste kiss, and Sherlock waved his right hand and said impatiently,
“This side, my good side.”
That was better. He could reach up and brush the short hairs at the nape of John’s neck.
This kiss lingered.
John perched on the arm of chair and looked photographs on the table. “Another puzzle?”
“Hmm.” Sherlock was looking at John and snaking an arm ‘round John’s waist.
“Strange that nothing in the room but the legs of that piano are casting a shadow.”
“What?” Sherlock blinked.
John pointed. “Those piano legs. Look.”
Sherlock’s arm uncoiled from John and went to the photographs, shuffling them. “John, you may have a solved it!”
“A bit, but not much.”
“Beginner’s luck, eh?”
“Something like that. Give me my phone. I need Lestrade.”
John reached into Sherlock’s dressing gown pocket and slapped the mobile on the table. “I’ve got to go, an appointment with my therapist. Gran was right, though. Begin as you mean to go on. Snogging and solving crimes? Well, that’s all right, ain’t it?”
Sherlock barely heard him; his mind was whirring as he tapped his phone.
John returns from a therapy session in a mood.
The John Watson who returned that evening wasn’t the same one that had left. This personage was distracted; oh, he was polite and civil, but that was all.
Sherlock begged off an evening meal, saying he’d rather read in bed, and John didn’t press the matter.
John helped Sherlock with washing and dressing and getting into bed without so much as a hint of the earlier affection.
Efficient, kind, and wholly clinical.
As John made to go, Sherlock inquired, using the most indirect phrasing and impersonal tone he could contrive, if John was all right.
John shrugged. “Therapy.”
Sherlock nodded as if he understood and settled down to brood on the matter.
Therapy would do that, of course. Sherlock’s own experience had taught him that lesson although in his case the therapists had left their sessions in much worse spirits than Sherlock himself.
As Sherlock considered John's mood, he was struck by an irrational malevolence toward this so-called mental health specialist who made John dredge up painful memories and wound himself all over again. Next came a stronger, vaguer, and even more irrational hate for the war that had caused the memories in the first place.
But what could be done? Nothing. Ah, well, a good night’s rest and—
Oh, who was Sherlock kidding? John wasn’t going to have a good night’s rest!
Sherlock scowled at his left arm.
If Sherlock hadn’t broken his arm, he could have played his violin for John. Something soothing. Mendelssohn. John would like Mendelssohn; of that, Sherlock was certain. And Mendelssohn would help John sleep. And Sherlock would be able to tell John just how he felt, to say all the things he couldn’t say with words.
In the morning, he would do something, say something, to John about it. He didn’t want to press a confidence, but if they were friends…
What did friends do? Something surely. But what?
Sleep encroached on this puzzle, but just before Sherlock drifted off, he had it.
Sherlock would get up and make tea for John.
Early the following morning, Sherlock had a determined look in his eye and a proud smile on his face as he wheeled himself, thank you very much, down the hall toward the kitchen.
He would make tea for John, make John happy, ask him what was wrong, listen as long as John needed, offer him a palliative handjob, etcetera, etcetera.
Sherlock scooted along quite happily until—
John was leaning against the wall between the hall and the kitchen, his back to Sherlock.
Do something, say something, you absolute machine!
Sherlock reached a hand out and brushed John’s elbow.
“AARGH—shit, shit, shit!”
Sherlock hurriedly rolled in the room and turned in time to see John rushing to the sink, leaving a trail of drops behind him on the lino. The mug crashed into the sink, and John turned on the tap and put his hand in the stream, his teeth clenched, the front of his white vest and kilt covered in teak-coloured splatter.
Sherlock cursed himself.
Well done, genius, you just startled a shell-shocked war hero. Bravo!
“I’m so sorry, John.”
“My fault entirely,” hissed John. “I can’t believe I didn’t hear you. I mean, you’re not exactly stealth incarnate, are you?” He glanced at Sherlock and his face turned pink. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—”
“And I didn’t mean to trigger your hypervigilance,” muttered Sherlock. He studied John’s face, and in an instant, something, not logic, not his brain, but something else entirely, spoke to him.
This isn’t the war. This is you.
Sherlock’s anger flashed white-hot.
If that therapist had said something about Sherlock to John—
Sherlock put the brakes on that thought and frowned.
If the therapist had said something about Sherlock, John would’ve defended Sherlock. Of that, Sherlock had not a single doubt.
Then the therapist had said something about John related to Sherlock.
When the penny dropped, it went off like a bomb.
“How do you think I feel?” asked Sherlock with a caustic, melodramatic sneer. “I’m paying you to clean! It’s like the young master exercising his droit du seigneur upon the poor tweenie!” He huffed and rolled his eyes, looked away and then looked at John, whose reserve and distress had been pushed aside to make way for utter awe.
He honestly believes I can read minds, thought Sherlock, and I shall never disabuse him of the notion, well, not as long as he keeps looking at me like that.
Then John’s grief returned.
“You’re practically a patient, Sherlock,” he wailed as he ran a hand through his hair.
Sherlock badly wanted two working legs so he could walk over, stand behind John, and kiss the nape of his neck. Instead, he countered,
“And I suppose I overlooked the part of the Men in Kilts contract that includes sexual favours.”
John nodded once. “You could have me struck off. And sacked. And arrested. It’s not much of a life, I’ll admit, but it’s better than—”
“John.” Their eyes met. “Why don’t we be unscrupulous bastards together?”
There was a moment of silence, then they both laughed like children.
Still grinning, John closed the distance between them and bent low to kiss Sherlock.
"For the first time, I’m glad I’m sitting down,” said Sherlock when they finally came up for air.
John kissed the tip of Sherlock’s nose. “I wouldn’t hurt you for the world, Sherlock.”
“And I’m not pretending to want you because you’re paying me to clean your flat.”
“I know that, too.”
“Anything you don’t know?”
Before Sherlock could answer, John kissed him again. Slow and soft and oh, so wonderful.
Sherlock pulled away. “I know how I want to celebrate.”
“How?” It was patently charming that John didn’t bother to ask what they were celebrating.
Sherlock smiled and said in a low husky purr,
“I think my hair needs a wash, don’t you?”
Sherlock & John celebrate.
Here we earn a Mature rating, and I think we'll stay at M for the rest of the fic. No plot in this chapter, just the lads having sweet sexytimes.
Chapter tags: coming untouched, kissing, handjobs, and oral sex.
“It’s like another one of your superpowers.”
John spoke softly, almost reverently, as he wiped Sherlock’s skin with a damp flannel, careful to avoid the now-flaccid cock.
The fragrance of Sherlock’s poncey shampoo still hung in the air, tickling John’s nose. He looked down and indulged in another brief study of Sherlock’s face, this time admiring his hair, the way the dark ringlets hung from the sleek cap that framed his handsome blend of angular and soft features.
Without warning, Sherlock’s expression contorted. Eyes which had been merely closed tightened into pinched creases, lips pressed together until they disappeared, and jaw muscles tensed.
Alarmed, John’s eyes darted up and down Sherlock’s body, searching for the source of discomfort.
Surely, Sherlock wasn’t embarrassed. After all, he’d asked for it, as well as given every sign of enjoying it as much as John had.
With his free arm, John was maintaining the combined ensemble of Sherlock and the wheelchair in an extraordinarily precarious position, one that had allowed Sherlock’s head to dangle over the wash basin but could not be sustained indefinitely.
John tossed the flannel in the basin, tugged at Sherlock’s pyjamas until his exposed prick was covered, then gingerly guided the chair to floor. He made no attempt to disguise his anxiety when he said,
“Talk to me, Sherlock. Are you in pain?”
Sherlock spoke slowly and precisely, like an actor rehearsing his lines, every word seeming to cost him a small fortune of emotion.
“I, who know practically everything, do not seem to understand why you, John, who admittedly know much less than practically everything,” Sherlock paused and sniffed, then bracing himself, went on, “appear to be constitutionally incapable of seeking the freakish in me.”
John chuckled with relief.
“I suppose that’s my superpower.”
Sherlock’s eyes opened.
“One of them.”
A corner of John’s mouth curled up. “Let’s go.” He gave a nod toward Sherlock’s bedroom.
“No.” Sherlock’s lips quivered. “Here. Please.”
Fingertips pulled at the hem of John’s kilt, then dipped beneath and brushed his bare thigh in a tantalising fashion.
“You might be more comfortable over there, Sherlock. We’re wedged in a space that wasn’t designed for you and me and all of this,” John gave a wave that compassed Sherlock’s casts and the lower half of his own body.
Sherlock shook his head stubbornly. “No. Here. Now. Please.”
It was the second ‘please’ that slayed John’s resolve.
“All right. Where do you keep…?”
Sherlock looked to the cabinet behind John.
Soon John was squeezing lubricant into the palm of Sherlock’s right hand and holding his breath until Sherlock’s fingers found his prick.
Hard and ready. Thank God.
John exhaled a sigh of relief and peeled off his tea-stained vest.
“You should’ve done that ages ago,” remarked Sherlock as he began to coat John’s shaft with slick in slow, easy strokes from base to head.
John had one hand gripping the edge of the wash basin and the other on wheelchair. He widened his stance and bent his knees, trying to root himself to the ground even as his hips, seemingly of their own volition, bucked gently into Sherlock’s sliding hand. As John’s eyelids drooped, he smiled a full smile and let a running commentary spill from his lips uncensored.
“Nice and easy. Not too tight, not too loose. God, that’s nice, Sherlock. No hurry. No rush. Like we could do it…”
“I wish! Unfortunately for you, I’m not the man I once was.”
“On the contrary, it’s my exquisite fortune because the man you are at this very moment reduces me to a very Victorian swoon. I shouldn’t have survived an encounter with an earlier iteration. Not without smelling salts.”
John hardly believed the flattery, but he laughed anyway.
Sherlock tightened his grip and sped up his pace, his thumb teasing John’s prickhead every time it passed over the top.
“Oh, you do know a trick or two, don’t you?” teased John.
“And I have made a mental note to learn a seasoned conjuror’s repertoire as quickly as possible.”
John wanted to laugh again but pleasure was pooling too fast in his groin. He moaned Sherlock’s name.
“Ready when you are, gorgeous.”
The last thread of John’s reserve snapped.
Sherlock pumped hard and fast until John gave a coarse grunt and spent himself all over Sherlock’s hand and the underside of the tartan.
“Good,” said Sherlock as John retrieved the wet flannel from the basin, wrung it out, and began to clean himself.
John hastened to reassure him. “It was much better than ‘good,’ Sherlock.” He took Sherlock’s hand in his and wiped it as a mother might a child’s.
Sherlock huffed. “Not that. I meant ‘good’ in the sense that now no matter how many interruptions we suffer or how many rows that erupt, no matter if I ruin this beautiful thing between us, which I almost certainly will do, by the way, no matter any of that, at least, at the very least, I can rest in the knowledge that, even in this wretched state, I brought you some pleasure, a moment’s pleasure, perhaps, but one which may lead to a moment’s undisturbed rest. And that will be enough, more than enough for me.”
John stared for a moment, then said, “You, Sherlock, are something out of a bloody novel, several bloody novels, in fact, all stitched together.” He cupped Sherlock’s jaw and raised his head. Then he bent and pressed his lips to Sherlock’s lips in a tender, chaste kiss and rested his forehead against Sherlock’s.
John closed his eyes and sighed.
“Next door, you gorgeous, melodramatic sod.”
John’s mouth was hard and demanding and open, his tongue caressing Sherlock’s lips with the wisdom of many years and three continents. The taste of Sherlock, and the freedom with which Sherlock allowed him to plunder, both delighted and electrified him.
Sherlock moved his tongue tentatively at first, then with greater and greater daring. Their tongues brushed each other, Sherlock mimicking John’s teasing touches. They might have been dancing, John leading, Sherlock following.
John carded his fingers in Sherlock’s damp hair. He held Sherlock’s head still as he inclined his head to one side and resumed the kiss.
Sherlock’s free hand was roaming about John’s chest, exploring.
Any other time the nipple play, the mapping of the scar on John’s left shoulder, and, above all, the smooth frisson brought about by Sherlock’s touch would have been front and centre in John’s mind, but in that moment, all he could think about was Sherlock bloody perfect mouth and making something debauched of it.
John softened the kiss as he inclined his head in the opposite direction.
Sherlock murmured a faint protest.
“Don’t worry,” John whispered. “I’m not done with you yet. Not by half.”
He pressed dainty little kisses to Sherlock’s cheek and the corner of Sherlock’s mouth, then he bit at Sherlock’s bottom lip, drawing it between his teeth, then pulling back to see just how swollen it was.
John looked at the wet, ravished mouth with no little pride; then he yanked Sherlock’s head back by the hair, a sudden, violent motion.
Sherlock’s eyelids fluttered open, seemingly involuntarily.
John let ever bit of pent-up desire break free and crushed his mouth to Sherlock’s with such force he could feel his teeth dig into his own lips.
Hot. Fierce. Desperate.
Every undulation, every shift of pressure, every swipe of the tongue made a declaration.
This is how much I want you.
Don’t forget this.
John dropped one hand to Sherlock’s lap.
Bloody hell. The gorgeous sod was hard again.
John broke away and looked down, taking in the damp circle in the fabric.
Hard and leaking.
“May I touch you, Sherlock?”
“You may and you must,” Sherlock wheezed. “But, really, John, need you ask? You’ve been touching me for days.”
“That was keeping you clean,” said John, his voice a harsh baritone. “This will be making you very dirty.”
“Oh, God, yes.”
Sherlock pyjama top was held together with Velcro adhesive. One hard jerk of John’s two hands and his bare chest was exposed.
“Let me get—”
“Here.” Sherlock snaked his right hand behind him and produced the bottle of lubricant. “But may I suggest we add it to the very top of the shopping list? I shouldn’t want run out.”
John smiled. “Noted.”
John curled his wet fingers ‘round Sherlock’s prick; they groaned together, open-mouthed, their breaths mingling.
It felt so good to touch Sherlock like this. His prick, soft skin encasing the stiff, throbbing, engorged tissue, felt perfect in John’s grasp. John told Sherlock this, then kissed him and kept on kissing him as he drew his hand up and down the long, lean shaft.
John did not let up either assault, of mouth or of prick, until Sherlock’s body convulsed, until he was swallowing Sherlock’s gasp and feeling the warm dribbles on his hand.
“You are magnificent,” John whispered into Sherlock’s ear. He wasn’t certain that Sherlock understood or even heard him, but finally, Sherlock replied.
“You,” he said hoarsely and simply.
But it was enough.
They remained like that for a few minutes, Sherlock regaining control of himself while John stroked his hair and rubbed his lips against Sherlock’s temple.
Then John stood, stretching his back.
“You?” It was a question now. Sherlock ruffled the hem of the kilt once more.
Inevitably, perhaps, the ghost of the old ‘Three Continents’ John Watson rose at this invitation, and John could not hide the bitterness in his voice.
“No, thank you. Please don’t think it has anything to do with you. I’m just not able to get back in the saddle as quickly as I used to.”
Sleep wasn’t the only bedtime activity the war had spoiled for John; his body’s eager and ready response to Sherlock in the bathroom had been a pleasant surprise as well as a hopeful sign.
But he didn’t really want to talk about that now.
John met Sherlock’s gaze, and Sherlock must’ve read something in John’s expression for he let the matter drop.
A wiry growl filled the air.
John smiled. It appeared someone had worked up an appetite. “Hungry?”
Sherlock’s brow crinkled, and his eyes drifted to a spot over John’s shoulder.
“Yes,” he said as if surprised by his answer. “Starving.”
Later, at the sink, John stifled a yawn.
“I’m all right. Maybe some coffee…”
“A nap might be better,” suggested Sherlock gently.
John liked the bedroom upstairs, really, he did but…
John looked up from the sudsy water and glanced at the sofa. He’d had a decent kip there once before.
“Just a few minutes, yeah?”
The only thing John knew for certain was that he felt good, better than he had in a long time. There was no pain, no discomfort, no ache at all.
Well, except in one spot.
He felt gloriously alive, as if he could feel every cell of his body from his waist to his knees celebrating how alive he was.
Morning wood. Hello, old friend. Where have you been?
John turned his head. With a thin sliver of light, he was able to make out the shape of a bottle on a table.
He congratulated himself on being a rather prescient sod for leaving the lube about so conveniently and reached for the bottle. He sloppily coated both hands. Then he bent his leg and put one bare foot on the bed.
He would welcome this prodigal condition back in true Biblical style. Killing the fatted calf in this case meant cupping his balls and teasing the strip between balls and arse as he frigged himself. He let his head loll to one side.
Only one word occurred to him, and he spoke it aloud.
The lube had been on the coffee table, not the bedside table. He was lying on the sofa, not a bed, with his kilt flipped up and both hands between his legs. He was in the sitting room, not the bedroom, and Sherlock was in the wheelchair, facing him, watching him.
Morning wood? John glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. It was half three in the afternoon!
These realisations did not dampen John's good mood.
Was all it took a good night or, in this case, a good afternoon nap?
John didn’t know, but he did know that he wasn’t quite ready to rejoin the world of the fully conscious.
And apparently, Sherlock wasn’t ready for him to join it either, for he begged,
“Please don’t stop, John.”
John looked down at himself.
Well, he thought rakishly, in for a penny…
He looked over at Sherlock and slowly licked his lips.
Sherlock’s eyes widened, and his mouth twitched.
John grinned and thought, Give ‘im his money’s worth, Watson.
He set one foot to the arm of the sofa and balanced the other on the edge of the coffee table. He closed his eyes and turned his head away from Sherlock, into the cushions.
Then he allowed himself to sink back into a kind of erotic limbo, not asleep, but not entirely awake either.
And he fucked himself, quite shamelessly, as if he had just surfaced from a debauched dream with the perfect erection and had all the time in the world to find his release.
John rubbed his prick, but he also played with his nipples and fondled his balls and ran an index finger back to the crease of his buttocks. He arched his spine, lifted his hips, and spread his knees as wide as he dared.
And he let Sherlock see it all.
For a while, the only word John allowed himself to utter was Sherlock’s name. Then he turned his head, no longer able to resist a peek at the effect his performance was having on the audience.
Sherlock was palming himself through his pyjamas, the movement his hand synchronised to that of the one around John’s prick, his grey eyes blown black, his expression wild.
John sat up. “No!” It was his battlefield voice.
Startled, Sherlock froze.
John moderated his tone. “Don’t touch yourself yet. Just watch me.”
Sherlock nodded mutely.
John leaned back and finished quickly. Then, without a care for the mess he’d made of himself, he flew to Sherlock’s side.
“Sherlock, may I suck you off? I’ve wanted to since we first met.”
Sherlock’s jaw dropped, his mouth hanging in a perfect O. He nodded again without so much as a squeak.
It didn’t take long.
John had barely settled in before Sherlock was tapping him on the head.
John gripped Sherlock’s hips, telling him in no uncertain terms to go ahead and come in his mouth.
Sherlock cried out and spent himself.
John pulled off, his lips in a tight grimace. Sherlock offered him a bundle of cloth, later John would realise it was his own tea-stained vest, and John spit into it.
“Been a while. Takes some getting used to,” he coughed as he wiped his mouth.
“John. That was…”
John hummed; the ghost of Three Continents didn’t feel quite so heavy now. He looked up and smiled.
God, the look on Sherlock’s face! Rendering a genius speechless was really quite something. John might get addicted to it if he didn’t watch himself.
After a few moments of silence, John took pity.
“Why don’t we go to bed? I’ll pet you until you nod off or get your bearings back or both.”
Sherlock swallowed and managed a soft,
John is late coming home from another job.
No smut. Declarations of love. Mentions of Mystrade.
“Oh, God, I’ve got to go. I’m late.”
Sherlock gave a rumble of protest. “He’ll wait.”
“Not very professional, Sherlock.”
“Not very professional to be upstaged at crime scenes, either, but he’s got used to it.”
“You’ll be all right by yourself?”
“For the thousandth time, yes! Go!”
John leaned down and kissed him. “I thought you wanted me to stay.” He ruffled Sherlock’s hair.
“Good evening, John.”
“I’m sorry I’m late, Sherlock. Should I have texted you? I thought about it, but I wasn’t certain if that was something you and I did.”
“I wasn’t worried. Or waiting up,” lied Sherlock.
“Yeah, well, I missed you like crazy.” John strode towards Sherlock with hands raised and cupped, then froze. “No, I’m gross. Shower, first, then snog.”
Sherlock's heart leapt. “I got Chinese,” he said as casually as he could manage and waved his right hand toward the kitchen.
“Oh, yeah?!” John hurried to the oven and peered inside. “Have you eaten already?”
“No, I wasn’t hungry until now.” Another lie. “Beer in the fridge.”
John’s expression became near ecstatic. “Really?!” He flew to the fridge and opened the door. “Oh, you, beautiful, beautiful man, fuck gross, I’m going to kiss you.” He slammed the door shut.
The kiss was long and hard, grateful and gratifying.
“I could eat a horse!” cried John. Then his voice fell. “Or shall I suck you off first?”
Sherlock’s eyes flickered up and down John, contemplating the possibilities.
“Yeah, I know,” said John, misreading Sherlock’s silence. “Shower, first. I’ll make it a quick one. Then I’ll tell you what made me so late.”
“Give me a clue.”
John snorted. “Your brother’s a prat.”
“That’s not a clue. That’s a definition.”
They sat as close as possible given the wheelchair, the table, and the feast.
When John had finally made a sizeable dent in his hunger, he said,
“Your brother picked me up in his posh car on the way home from Lestrade’s and took me to an abandoned warehouse. He tried to intimidate me, then he asked me what my intentions were towards you. At least, I think that’s what he was asking. He used an awful lot of words.”
Sherlock scowled. “If you weren’t already getting paid, he’d offer you money to spy on me!”
“Yeah, well, don’t worry. I set him straight.”
“What did you say?”
“I told him that I was mad about you. That I enjoyed spending time with you. That I liked listening to you talk about your work. That I liked how your mind worked and was amazed at all the things you could do. That I liked taking care of you. That I thought you were gorgeous and could hardly keep my hands off you. In short, that I adored you and was grateful for every moment that we were together.”
Sherlock stared, speechless, as the clock on the mantelpiece ticked. Finally, he asked,
“And what did he do?”
John crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in his chair and laughed. “He did just what you just did. Really, the likeness is uncanny.”
“Then I told him if he didn’t take me straight home that I would never tell him what Lestrade said about him earlier today.”
Sherlock’s eyes widened, and he gasped. “How did you know?”
John grinned and imitated Sherlock’s voice, “’Shot in the dark. Good one, though.’” He took a swig of beer and continued. “It was something you said to him when he was over for tea. I thought it a strange kind of needling until I talked to Lestrade. Did you know that your brother put him up to coming over the other day with the cold cases? Just to check me out and see your reaction.”
“Ugh! I hate him!”
“He loves you, Sherlock. He just has a very odd way of showing it.”
They went back to eating in companionable silence.
As John cleaned up, Sherlock asked,
“Not that I care, but what did Lestrade say?”
“He called Mycroft a long, cool drink of water.”
Sherlock frowned. “I suppose that’s better than a wide, fat square of cake.”
“Lestrade has no notion that your brother feels anything for anyone, apart from his fraternal devotion to you. I have no clue what his reaction would be if he found out the truth. I, for one, am not going to tell him.”
“Me neither. John, about the other?”
Sherlock bit his lip, then said, “I was waiting up. And a bit worried.”
John smiled. As he moved to collect the plates, he kissed the top of Sherlock’s head.
“I’ll text next time, promise.”
Sherlock looked up. “Do you want to sleep with me?”
Sherlock flushed. “I mean, share a bed. The other, too, but…”
“If you want to have sex, sure, but to sleep? No. I still have a lot of trouble sleeping.” Sherlock opened his mouth; John raised a hand. “Even if you swear it wouldn’t bother you, Sherlock, it would bother me. I’m just not ready to do that.”
“Very well. And, John, all those things you said to Mycroft, uh, me, too.”
“You like listening to me talk about my work?” teased John.
“Well, brace yourself because have I got some wild stories to tell you about Lestrade’s newly tiled-bathroom and the vicious dust bunnies under his sofa.”
John has a bad night, but Sherlock is there. Short chapter. H/C. Warning: suicidal thoughts.
For World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September).
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Three a.m. found John sitting on the floor of the upstairs bedroom, back against the door, elbows on bent knees, drooping head in his hands, skin damp with cold sweat, and mind drowning in misery.
The bedclothes were on the floor, too. And the lamp. And John’s service revolver.
What was he doing? Cleaning flats. To do what? Scrape together a bit of money. And for what? He’d been a soldier, been a doctor, and now he was what? What was the bloody point of it all? Mightn’t it be better if he just…
He was nothing. A meatsack with a mind that played tricks on him. It wouldn’t let him rest. It conjured up all kinds of things, things that weren’t there. Like, right now, he thought he could hear Sherlock calling his name, poor, beautiful, half-broken Sherlock, who was tucked snug in his bed a floor below…
It sounded so real…so near…
Knock-knock-knock! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! Knock-knock-knock!
It was near! Too near!
John got to his knees and opened the door.
“Sherlock! Bloody hell!”
“Hullo,” said Sherlock. He was on the floor, too, slumped at an awkward angle against the walls of the landing. “Fancy a cuppa?”
John stared incredulously. “Cuppa?!” Even in the darkness, he could make out Sherlock’s expression, grey eyes momentarily caught on something behind him.
“War souvenir,” said John, reading Sherlock’s thoughts.
“Right.” Sherlock turned back to John. “So, tea?” he said brightly. “I switched on the kettle.”
“Are you trying to kill yourself, Sherlock?”
John ignored the question and got to his feet. “How on earth did you get up here?”
“Yeah, well, you’re getting a bearer party of one on the way down.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.”
They drank tea in silence. Finally, John said,
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Then don't,” said Sherlock. “But if you do, I’ll understand. I understand practically everything.”
John chuckled. “Except the solar system!”
“Well,” said Sherlock softly, “I wouldn’t be a hero if I didn’t have a heroic flaw.”
John nodded and fiddled with his cup. “You think you’re a hero?”
“I suspected you’re one, too. I think, by the end of the story, it will be obvious, even to the most unobservant, that you bloody well saved my life, John Hamish Watson.”
“Thank—wait, how do you know my middle name?”
“I’m a genius.”
Sherlock continued, “And an invalid with an internet connection.”
“Thank you, Sherlock.”
“You’re welcome, John. Any time. And I do mean that. Any. Time.”
“But don’t go dragging yourself up the stairs again, please.”
“Then come down,” said Sherlock, suddenly very serious. “And let me make you tea.”
“I made the tea!” protested John.
“I switched on the kettle.”
John snorted, then sighed. “Deal.” After a moment’s silence, he asked,
“May I kip with you?”
“Finally! I thought you’d never ask!”
“I know. Doesn’t matter.”
Sherlock covered John’s hand with his and squeezed.
Yesterday (10 September) was World Suicide Prevention Day. A few months ago, my cousin committed suicide, and I've struggled, on and off, for almost 30 years with feeling I'm on the wrong side of the topsoil. My survival philosophy boils down to two words: 'not tonight.' So for any of my gentle readers who need to hear it: you are special. I know you are special because, for starters, you have superior taste in reading material :) And if you need an incentive to go on, I'm cooking up a very nice porny blowjob chapter for the weekend and you surely don't want to miss that. And if you need to borrow Sherlock to make you a cuppa, by all means, take him (mind the casts!).
You hang on. And I will, too.
Blowjobs! That is all.
For once, John woke up knowing where he was. And what he wanted to do.
He was in Sherlock’s bed. And, well, he wanted to…
John made a movement towards Sherlock’s enormous pillow-ensconced form and had to choke back a cry at the sudden jolt of pain in his neck. He must’ve slept very soundly in a very awkward position to be so cramped. As he tried to inch closer to Sherlock, he also tilted his head, attempting to find an angle at which his muscles were not so blindly, distractingly spasming.
Then there were fingers on his neck.
John stilled at once.
The fingers danced, moving like curious spindle-legged sea creatures along the ocean floor. John gasped when they found the source of the pain and went to work. The first few moments were excruciating, so much so that tears welled in John’s eyes and he nearly cried out again.
But the fingers continued to work. And the pain soon ebbed.
When John was finally able to roll his head freely, he sighed with abject relief and said,
“Thank you very much.”
The reply seemed to manifest out of the early morning darkness.
“You’re very welcome.”
Now, back to what John had wanted in the first place…
“May I return the favour?” he asked without looking up.
John hoisted himself atop the cushioned embankment and, lying perpendicular to Sherlock, began to nuzzle at the front of Sherlock’s pyjama bottoms. He pressed his lips to the growing bulge in the fabric, then rubbed his nose against it, breathing in the odor of Sherlock’s arousal.
Male sex. Hot, horny, needy sex. Oh, God, he wanted that prick, and none other, in his mouth!
John was, in truth, a bit startled about waking up with so strong a desire to fellate Sherlock, but he supposed that his libido was making up for lost time. And if such was the case, rest, genuine restorative slumber, was, indeed, quite the miracle cure.
The hand on the back on John’s head was now playfully petting him, ruffling his hair, then smoothing it.
The sound of the rending of Velcro tabs filled the silence as John pulled at the front of Sherlock’s pyjamas. He blessed his foresight in having Mrs. Hudson tailor some of Sherlock’s nightclothes to meet the needs of his bed-and-chairbound state.
Easy on also meant easy off when there was a prick to suck!
And, Christ, what a prick! Just like the man, long, lean, with a slight bend to the left when it was gloriously stiff like it was now. Bloody flagpole! And John wanted it badly he felt his head, or his heart, or the stiffening member between his own legs, might explode!
No, that wouldn’t do. Not at all.
John took a deep breath and tried to temper his eagerness.
Take your time, Watson, he silently told himself. There’s no rush. Neither of you have anywhere to go. Make it good, really good, for him. He’s so extraordinary.
Feeling somewhat more in control of himself, John started by slowly dragging his tongue through the patches of dark wiry hair around the base of Sherlock’s prick, first one side then then other. Then he stuck his tongue out as far as he was able and licked up and down the shaft. He traced the ridges and mapped the contours with the wet tip, teasing as he went, then stretched the flat of his tongue lengthwise and wriggled it.
Worship it, Watson.
Sherlock bent his unbroken leg at the knee, setting his foot flat on the bed.
John hummed. He wrapped one hand ‘round the base of Sherlock’s prick and gripped the far side of Sherlock’s waist with the other hand for support. Then he rose up and took Sherlock’s prickhead into his mouth.
Sherlock bucked hard. Very hard.
To avoid being thrown off, a panicked John was forced to dig the pads of his fingers rib-deep into Sherlock’s skin. He pulled off and cautioned,
“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” came the apology in a voice so soft and needy John hardly recognised it, “I’ll be good, I promise.”
A thumb clumsily brushed John’s cheek. John released Sherlock’s prick long enough to grab the whole hand and bring it to his lips.
“You are good, gorgeous,” he said, kissing Sherlock’s thumb and fingers and palm. “And I’m not leaving off until you tell me to stop or you’re coming in my mouth.”
“Why in God’s name would I tell you to stop? And if you want a mouth full of come, well, that’s not going to take long, is it?”
The hand caressed the whole side of John’s face, from jaw to temple, then lightly rested on the back of John’s head.
John returned his attention to Sherlock’s prick.
He curled his lips ‘round his teeth and took Sherlock in his mouth in one swift, smooth movement. Then he was bobbing up and down, secretly brushing the quivering member with his tongue, especially the underside, where, by certain squeals, he discovered Sherlock was delightfully sensitive. John tickled the slit, too, with this tongue, his hand rubbing up and down the spit-soaked stem.
And Sherlock was marvelously noisy. Moans and gasps and John’s name in all kinds of intonations. John had the fleeting desire to hear Sherlock beg. But not now.
John relaxed his throat, brought Sherlock deeper, and sucked harder.
“Oh, fuck, John.”
It was impossible to smile with your mouth and throat full of prick, but John tried. And, for the record, he actually didn’t need Sherlock’s tightening grip on his hair to tell him the prick in his mouth was close to spurting; he could feel the tension building, vibrating to the snapping point, in Sherlock’s body.
Sherlock’s release flooded John’s mouth.
John pulled off Sherlock’s prick at once, lips pinched in a grimace. This was the only part he really didn’t like, but then a bundle of something was thrust at him.
John spit into what he would later learn was a pillowcase. He wiped his mouth and, finally, looked Sherlock in the face.
Sherlock’s chest was still heaving when he spoke,
“Thank you. That was…” He made a flourish with his hand. His eyes were slits.
“Speechless? That’s a high compliment.”
“Here, please.” Sherlock motioned to his lap. “You, here.”
John frowned. “Sherlock, I don’t want to hurt you. My weight, the pressure, on you might do you harm.”
“You won’t. Never you. Please.”
It took a couple of minutes and a couple dozen reassurances, but eventually John was facing Sherlock, straddling in his lap. They were, alternately, smiling at each other and kissing and stroking each other’s hair.
“John, it really is a bit of a wonder what a good night’s sleep does for you.”
“I know, right? But you have such an irresistible prick, Sherlock. It truly is mouth-watering. I suppose it’s possible one day I could tire of sucking it, but certainly not in the next four weeks.”
As soon as the words were out of John’s mouth, he wished he could recall them. He didn’t want to dwell on the contract or its end or the life he’d have to return to once Sherlock’s casts came off. He was about to apologise when Sherlock interrupted.
“I want to do it to you, to suck you off.”
“Sherlock, that’s impossible.”
“Only highly improbable. I’ve been thinking. It could work.”
“It’s reckless. I will not hurt you or hinder your recovery.”
“Just hear me out.”
And the more Sherlock talked, the more John, and his prick, became intrigued by the notion, and he found himself persuaded, and aroused, despite the fact that Sherlock spoke like an architect instead of a lover.
“All right. Let’s give it a try,” said John.
John followed Sherlock’s orders, and soon every pillow, cushion, and ballast in the flat was in employed in their project. He felt a bit like an Egyptian building a pyramid, and when Sherlock was finally propped up against the headboard, the resemblance to a Sphinx or some other desert monument was uncanny.
“Let’s have a trial run.”
John climbed on the bed, carefully straddling Sherlock’s form, then bending his knees until they rested on the soft ramps on either side of Sherlock.
And so, he lowered himself slowly, slowly, slowly to Sherlock’s open mouth.
Now it was Sherlock’s turn to nuzzle at the front of John’s pants, but that didn’t last long. He was soon wickedly snaking the tip of his tongue through the gap to tickle John’s prick.
“Sherlock, you know you aren’t going to suck my prick.”
Sherlock pulled back and huffed petulantly. “After all this work? And you see that it won’t hurt me! And you’re hard as rock! Why ever not?”
John reached down to put two fingers to Sherlock’s lips. Somehow Sherlock managed to kiss John’s fingers and his prick, the latter twitching appreciatively.
Dawn was just beginning to break, the darkness in the room becoming a bendable grey.
“You won’t be sucking my prick because I’ll be fucking your mouth.”
A tremor ran through both of them, and John didn’t feel quite so broken anymore. In fact, he was beginning to feel like ol’ Three Continents, the bastard.
“You’re quite right, of course, John. Much more precise.” Sherlock’s voice was beautifully strained. “You’ll be fucking my mouth.”
The breath behind the words brushed John’s prick and seemed to take John from hard to painfully hard in a matter of seconds.
“Your mouth was made for it, gorgeous. Made for taking my prick. Those lips. The way they curve.”
John looked down and, smoothing back Sherlock’s hair with his hand, saw those curved lips attempting to suck his prick through the fabric of his pants.
He grunted his disapproval, and Sherlock recoiled at once.
Somehow John made it off the bed without breaking a bone of his own, but just how he’d never know. There was enough light in the room now for them to see each other clearly. John waited until Sherlock’s eyes were at least half-open, and then he slowly, slowly, slowly peeled off his sleeveless vest.
“Yes,” exhaled Sherlock. “You don’t know what that does to me. Every time you do it.”
“I have an idea. And it’s extremely flattering. But how’s this?” John hooked his thumbs in his pants and yanked them down. He stepped out of them and stood up.
“John, fuck my mouth. Fuck it now and stop me from making a fool of myself by babbling nonsense about your handsome prick!”
John laughed. He was enjoying this too much not to drag it out just a moment more. He cupped his balls, then rolled them in his palm. “Handsome?”
“The devil’s own! If you knew how much time I’ve wasted thinking about all the ways I want it! In my hand, in my mouth, between my thighs, in my arse…”
John smiled and climbed back on the bed. “Bending you over the kitchen table?” he suggested as he settled back into position.
“Oh, thank God, I’m not the only one who has thought about that possib—”
John stopped Sherlock from saying more.
John’s head was tilted, looking down. He couldn’t tear his eyes away, not even to close them and just enjoy the intense sensations.
He reached a hand down and rubbed Sherlock’s cheek, feeling the swell as Sherlock took his prick over and over. John’s other hand was braced against the wall for balance.
“I’ve not felt this alive in ages,” confessed John quietly. “You’re doing so good, making me feel so good. And you look obscene. It’s beautiful and pornographic and you’re just taking me and taking me. It’s lovely.”
Sherlock hummed, and the vibration nearly triggered John’s orgasm then and there.
“I think it’s time, Sherlock.”
John’s world narrowed to Sherlock’s mouth and his prick and the thrusting and pleasure that connected them.
The hard slap to John’s bottom came quite unexpectedly.
And then so did John.
John anticipated sliding carefully, if not gracefully, from the padded scaffolding that he’d constructed under Sherlock’s orders, but it wasn’t to be.
John heard Sherlock’s swallow faintly, as if from far away, while his body went completely boneless. He began to lose control of his limbs and slump.
A sharp stab of panic stopped his descent.
He might land on Sherlock!
John gathered up all his rapidly dwindling energy and made one final purposeful act.
And crashed onto the far side of the bed, falling instantly into a state of unconsciousness.
Sherlock & John are still in bed. More porn. A short chapter just for fun.
I promise that next chapter they'll be out of bed, and I am hoping for a bit of a diversion into a casefic for the first half of October before we wind up toward the end of October/early November when Sherlock gets his casts off. I know how I want to end up, but we'll meander a bit hither and thither before we get there.
John cracked one eye open.
“Good. At first, I was flattered, but then I grew worried that I had broken you.”
John chuckled. “Nearly. Your blowjobs are as devastating as a land war in Asia.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
John brought his hand under his chest and pushed his upper body off the bed. “Did I hurt you on the way down?”
“Not at all. You made a spectacular dive.”
John grunted, then he ran his gaze up and down Sherlock’s form.
“Christ, you’re gorgeous.”
Sherlock’s grey eyes lit with amusement. “I swear, John, I’m half-tempted to hire some researchers to study the therapeutic effects of sleep on you.”
John gave a lop-sided grin, rolled to one side, putting his weight on one arm, then dropped his other arm down between his legs and gave his half-hard prick a single, dry stroke.
“How do you want it?” asked Sherlock while he deftly excavated a bottle of lubricant from somewhere in the range of pillows and cushions.
John considered, then said, “If you’re amenable…”
“May I come on your bare chest? Tossing myself.”
Sherlock nodded. “You may.”
John crawled up and pulled the sides of Sherlock’s pjyama top apart. The original buttons had been replaced by Velcro tabs.
“Would you like me out of it entirely?” asked Sherlock.
John nodded and licked his lips.
A beautiful bare canvas for his spoiling.
In a few minutes, John was carefully straddling Sherlock, stroking himself while he and Sherlock watched.
“Do you like having your arse played with?” asked Sherlock in a rapid-fire whisper.
When he replied, John matched Sherlock’s low, breathless urgent tone, as if they were conspirators exchanging secrets under pressure.
“A bit of play’s all right. Not fucked. You?”
“Not usually. But I think I’d like to be fucked by you.”
“No, Sherlock, not with all the pillows in the world!” cried John, his brow furrowed.
“We’re just talking,” said Sherlock soothingly. His eyes fell to John’s fist. “No, don’t slow down. Just talk, John, that’s all.”
“As dirty as you’d like. All hypothetical.”
“Well, in that case, I’d like to bend you over the kitchen table and fuck you senseless. In broad daylight. With the windows open so all of Baker Street can hear.”
Sherlock hummed. “Your name on my lips?”
“My name in your brain, too. And my big fat prick making you sore for days.”
“Ooof!” Sherlock’s hips bucked once. “I think I’d like that.”
“Would you ride my prick, Sherlock?”
“Willingly. Gratefully. And I’d beg for your prick at the most inopportune times. ‘Please, John.’ We wouldn’t be able to make it home. We’d know every nice dark alley in a ten-kilometre radius. Trousers ‘round my ankles. A nice fat plug holding me open for you.”
John groaned. He closed his eyes and his head drooped forward. “Sherlock, please tell me I can suck you off after this, after I come and admire my handiwork and clean you.”
Sherlock snorted. “You are a pun-loving idiot. Don’t you get it by now? You may do what you like with me! Whether you clean me or the lino or simply lie in this bed with your lovely prick on display!”
“Don’t say that.”
“Why not? It’s true.”
John gave an anguished, frustrated cry. “Because I’m gonna wanna wake up fucking you and go to sleep fucking you and fuck you through your gorgeous dreams. I’m mad for you, love.”
“And what in the bloody hell is wrong with all of that?”
John stared and stared at Sherlock’s chest, pale skin and dusky nipples decorated with milky streaks. He couldn’t help the swell of pride; he felt like an artist.
I did that.
“You’ve made a royal mess of me,” observed Sherlock with a grin. “And you love it.”
John laughed and nodded.
“Quick, Captain! Go get a wet flannel, then come suck me off. If I stay in bed much longer, the bedsores will set in!”
Sherlock reviews a cold case from Japan, 1936. Gen.
The plot is taken from The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada, which I just finished reading. MAJOR SPOILERS for parts of the solution, the plot, and hints about the identity of the killer.
The last of the files that Lestrade had brought was open on the kitchen table.
Sherlock tapped his phone as he held his card out to John.
“Would you go out? I’ve sent you the list.”
John’s phone beeped. He glanced at it. His eyebrows rose, then he nodded. He took the card with a smile.
“It’s a cold case,” said Sherlock. “Japan, 1936, to be precise. Not Lestrade’s own, of course, but he’s a bit of a crime historian in his own way.”
Sherlock smiled. “The best kind for a detective. The solved ones don’t really hold much allure.”
“Join me,” said Sherlock. “And after you’ve eaten, read this.” He pushed a document towards John and reached for one of the bento boxes John had set on the table. “It’s the English translation, naturally.”
When John had finished reading, he dropped the pages on the table.
“Glad I ate first. The last will and testament of a madman. And I don’t understand the astrology business at all. I’m a Taurus, by the way.”
“Capricorn,” said Sherlock. “But back to the case. What if I told you that in 1936, seven women of Heikichi Umezawa’s family were killed: his stepdaughter, his daughters, and his nieces, and that six of the women were dismembered, with different parts removed, and buried in different locations about Japan with samples of metals, much in the manner described in that document?”
“I’d say the madman made his, what did he call it, Azoth, the perfect woman, out of spare parts?”
Sherlock nodded. “But, as it so happens, Umezawa himself was killed before it happened. And so was his eldest daughter. They were killed on separate occasions.”
“Huh. A whole family wiped out?”
“Most of it.”
“Well, either he wasn’t really killed, or someone learned of his plan and carried it out for him posthumously. And you say it’s still unsolved. Were there no arrests at the time?”
“Oh, the police arrested Umezawa’s second wife, Masako, and she confessed and died in prison, but public opinion, and mine, is that she didn’t do it.”
“That’s a lot of dead people, Sherlock. And an awfully long time ago. You really think you can discover what happened now?”
“Perhaps. What would you say if I told you that Umezawa was killed in a locked room?”
John’s lips twisted in a smile. “A real locked room mystery?”
John chuckled. “You know, I…”
“Yes, I know. You like them. A lot.”
John frowned. “And just how do you know?”
“Carr’s The Hollow Man and Zangwill’s The Big Bow Mystery are downloaded on your phone. Classic locked room stories.”
“You’ve been going through my phone?!”
Sherlock huffed. “I was bored! You can’t imagine how bored I get in this chair!” He pouted, then mumbled, “I thought I’d show off again, but I’d deduced all the interesting stuff already.”
John shot him a look of mingled exasperation and affection. “All right, but don’t do it again. It’s not on.”
Sherlock sniffed and gave a reluctant nod; then like a child with a new toy, he piped energetically, “If you make us some matcha tea, I’ll tell you all about the murders.”
The case took over the sitting room.
John had rearranged the furniture according to Sherlock’s instructions. The walls were covered with maps and drawings and the flat surfaces held copies of police documents and photographs.
Sherlock wheeled around from point to point, muttering to himself.
John kept the tea hot and plentiful until, finally, he yawned.
“Rest, John. It’s late.”
“Yeah.” John looked from the stairs to the sofa to the hall.
“Yes, of course. I’m not going to sleep there, but you’re more than welcome to sleep in my bed if you think it would be more restful.”
“All right. Just a short kip.”
John’s bladder woke him some hours later. Whilst tending to business, he heard Sherlock’s voice in the sitting room.
Who on earth was he talking to at, John checked his watch, four in the morning?
It wasn’t English, that was for certain!
John finished and made his way down the hall.
“Sherlock?” he asked tentatively.
“Ah, John. Don’t be alarmed. It’s already noon in Tokyo. Come here. This is Kiyoshi Mitarai,” Sherlock pointed to the face on the computer screen, “I’ve been talking to him about the case. This is John Watson, my colleague.”
Colleague. John liked the sound of that. Much better than housekeeper or, he considered, live-in paid lover. He smiled and waved at the screen.
“The fellow behind him is Kazumi Ishioka. He likes mysteries even more than you do.”
John laughed and waved again. “So, have you figured it out yet?”
“Not yet,” said Sherlock. “But, by coincidence, Mitarai has got his hands on a key part of the puzzle: a confession of a police officer who was blackmailed into burying the bodies of the Azoth victims.”
“Really? Huh. So the person who buried them wasn’t the killer?”
“No. It explains a lot and it raises a few more questions.”
“All right. I’ll leave you to it, then.”
John went back to bed, and when he woke for a second time, he found Sherlock in the same position, but facing a blank screen. His eyes were closed, and his fingers were steepled at his lips.
John sensed it would be better not to disturb him, so he made his breakfast and ate it and did the washing up without a word. Then he got dressed and went about tidying the flat, well, the part of the flat that wasn’t consumed by the case.
John was considering doing an unnecessary load of laundry just to keep himself busy when Sherlock gave a sharp, wheezy intake of breath, opened his eyes, and reached for the computer.
Within minutes, he was in what sounded like a very heated discussion. Then just as suddenly as the consultation had begun, it ended. Sherlock clicked off and sighed.
“You figured it out?” asked John.
“No, Mitarai did. He hasn’t any proof, but he and Ishioka have gone to see if there is any to be had. Maybe the killer left behind a confession. After all, it’s been over eighty years. It’s brilliant, though. Which part do you want to hear about first: footprints in the snow or an old counterfeiter’s trick?”
“Start at the beginning.”
Sherlock finished his scribbling and slid the paper over to John.
“…and that, my dear Watson, is how you make six bodies out of five.”
“That is brilliant,” said John, shaking his head with disbelief. “Neat. Very neat.”
Sherlock hummed. “Of course, now, it wouldn’t work. DNA testing, etcetera, but it was clever, really clever.”
“But I don’t understand why, Sherlock?”
“I don’t either. I hope Mitarai and Ishioka will discover why.” He sighed heavily. “I’m tired, John.”
John knew what it costs him to say those words, and it was the most natural thing in the world for him to go ‘round the table and let Sherlock lean against him, to gently ruffle Sherlock’s hair, and kiss the top of his head, and whisper,
“A wash and bed?”
Sherlock didn’t do much of anything for the next three days. Then a message arrived from Tokyo.
“John! They did it!” exclaimed Sherlock before John had even reached the top of the stairs.
“Did what?” John asked as he set the shopping down on the table. “And who are ‘they’?”
“Mitarai and Ishioka. They got proof. I’ll admit I was doubtful that there would be any, but a letter was sent by the killer to the daughter of the police officer who was blackmailed. For reasons unknown, the letter was never opened.”
“Until now. Come. Read this.” Sherlock pointed to the screen.
John stood behind Sherlock, reading over his shoulder.
“Huh,” was all John could say at the end. “Poor thing.”
Then as Sherlock x’ed out of the document, John caught sight of a second attachment. “What’s that? It’s got my name on it.”
“And mine, too,” protested Sherlock.
John shot him a look.
“It’s nothing. I had Mitarai do an astrological reading for us.”
“Us?” John laughed. “That I’ve got to read!”
“You can read it after me,” said Sherlock, turning his head to look at John. “Not on, I think you said.”
John was still laughing as he walked away.
John reads a summary of astrological compatibility. Short chapter. Fluff.
A quick follow-on from the last chapter to say this fic isn't dead.
The text is lifted directly from The Astrology of Great Gay Sex by Myrna Lamb, which I got from the library (!), but I can't really recommend it. I mean, the sign profiles read much more like a kink meme than anything astrological. And so it definitely isn't anything that a professional Japanese astrologer would put together, just a bit of fluff with our boys.
…This is a fine relationship, a mutual admiration society. They work through their infrequent disagreements with little stress. Taurus and Capricorn are Earth signs with equally strong libidos and can expect to have a lasting and enjoyable sex life…
Good start, thought John, as he looked up from the pages and shot a glance at Sherlock, who was feigning interest in a crossword puzzle.
…It isn’t necessarily fireworks, but it is a slow and steady burn…
“I believe our most recent encounter qualifies as pyrotechnical, John, at least from my point of view.”
“Good. I thought so, too.”
…Taurans and most Capricorns are mainstream sexually and very into touch and kissing. They love to take their time in each sexual encounter, lingering over foreplay…
“That sounds all right,” mumbled John to himself.
…Both want about thirty minutes to an hour for sex, half that for foreplay and love to achieve orgasm at the same time…
“That seems oddly…?”
“Ridiculous?” suggested Sherlock.
“…specific. I mean, about the time. No quickies and no marathon lie-ins?”
“To everything there is a season, John.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
…Some Capricorns are into the BDSM lifestyle wanting to explore the range of sexual practices of bondage, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism…
John raised an eyebrow.
“At some point in the future, John, who can say, but at the moment, I have absolutely no interest in being bound, confined, limited, or made uncomfortable any more than I already am by these bloody casts!”
“Yeah, I can see that.”
…The Goat may be able to coax the Bull into role-playing and bondage but not likely into accepting pain as part of the pleasure…
John tapped the page. “This is spot on, Sherlock. A bit of fun, a bit of talk is fine, but I’m not hurting you.”
…Some couples have trouble communicating. Not these two. Their greatest strength is a kind of mutual directness in speech and action. Problems between them are few but one is significant. Taurus can be quite emotional, and Capricorn may not know how to handle him….
John shifted uncomfortably.
…The solution is simple. An upset Bull needs two things. He needs to be hugged and he needs to be fed. Once a Taurus relaxes over dinner or a cup of coffee, he opens up, gets talking, and the problem is en route to being solved…
John felt the heat rising in his cheeks. He did not look up.
…Conversely when the Goat has a nagging concern, he finds Taurus a remarkably good listener.
John relaxed. “Well, that’s all right, then. Mutual admiration society. I kind of like that.”
“You’re extraordinary, John.”
John felt feverish. He replied curtly, “You’re one to talk.”
“See? It is mutual. Now, enough nonsense. Dinner?”
“On me,” said Sherlock, raising his phone. “Then I want my thirty minutes of foreplay. I’ll be timing you.”
John giggled. “You old goat! I want my hug!”
“Then don’t be bullish and come here.”
John went to him.