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“It’s for a case,” Sherlock insists, although the fury in John’s back and shoulders and fists doesn’t abate in the slightest as he marches into the loo, where he no doubt intends to dump several hundred pounds’ worth of heroin into the toilet.

Such a waste. If nothing else, they might’ve sold it to gain a contact.

“The most efficient way to investigate a heroin dealer is to approach him as a client,” Sherlock continues. And if his tone is edging rather close to whinging, well, that can hardly be helped; John is being spectacularly difficult.

The toilet flushes, and John returns to the sitting room. His expression is so thunderous it’s a wonder the sky doesn’t offer up a torrent of rain and lightning in a show of solidarity.

“You don’t need to be investigating anyone, you fucking twat. If Greg had known this case would lead us to a drug dealer, he’d never have given it to you in the first place. Get up.”

John approaches the armchair where Sherlock is seated, his lips so thin and tense they’ve nearly disappeared, and Sherlock can’t help but roll his eyes. He thought John might’ve been pleased with him, perhaps even proud of him, for having resisted the urge to indulge, but apparently John is more keen to storm about the flat and ignore every word Sherlock has said.

“Do I need to take you to pee in a jar?” John demands.

“Don’t be an idiot. As I’ve said numerous times now—”

With something akin to a snarl, John grabs the hair at the top of Sherlock’s head and pulls.

Sherlock knows it is only to hold his head in place while John inspects his pupils. Just as Sherlock knows that later John will feel horrible about having done so. Even if Sherlock were high, John would feel horrible about it when the haze of anger finally cleared, because John believes very strongly that being insufferable is not an invitation to be bullied or injured. (That is, assuming the person being insufferable has not insulted or threatened someone John cares about, in which case John harms them and then is quite cheerful about it afterwards.)

Nevertheless, Sherlock’s scalp stings where his hair is held taut in John’s grip, and his neck is angled uncomfortably so that John can peer into his eyes, and the sensations are surprisingly… inoffensive. Even pleasant. Sherlock’s lips part and his eyelids flutter.

“Look at me,” John hisses, and Sherlock thinks, Oh god yes, as a little spark of arousal shoots through him and his entire body is suddenly alight, swaying towards John, feverishly warm. For the first time in years, Sherlock feels his penis is in danger of becoming erect while he is awake.

And, even more momentous, Sherlock wants it to.

Then John lets go and steps back, his eyes still narrowed in suspicion—he’s clearly intent on making Sherlock pee in a jar no matter what his own senses tell him—and Sherlock is so disappointed he nearly gives in to the urge to whine in protest and try to follow.

Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.

*

Sherlock spends the better part of three days trying to recreate the sensation.

In part because he has little better to do. After a conversation with John, Lestrade summarily bars him from the case and then enlists Mycroft to ensure Sherlock doesn’t try to sneak back onto it.

It wasn’t a very interesting one, anyway. Barely a five. Sherlock is content to be rid of it and devote himself entirely to his new endeavour.

His attempts to inspire the same reaction caused by John’s hands in his hair, however, are largely unsuccessful. He can mimic John’s grip perfectly—same location, same section of hair, same amount of force, same direction of the pull—but all he achieves is the beginnings of a headache.

Curiously, sitting in his chair and immersing himself in his mind palace to indulge in the vivid memory of John pulling his hair produces a tightness in his chest and a heaviness in his groin. Not arousal, not really, but… something not entirely dissimilar.

Then he tries to pull his own hair at the same time, and he feels so ridiculous that he can’t bear it. He stands and paces the sitting room and throws himself onto the sofa to sulk for the rest of the afternoon.

There is nothing for it, then. He’ll have to get John to do it again.

*

For every day that Sherlock doesn’t mind—or even, god help him, is thankful for—Mycroft’s existence, there are at least a dozen days Sherlock curses his parents for having sex at any point before his own conception and thus giving him an overbearing, interfering arsehole of a sibling.

“Surely you don’t think I’ve forgotten your last little deviation so soon?” Mycroft says calmly, as though Sherlock hasn’t just been abducted and forcibly manhandled into the back of a car under Mycroft’s orders.

Usually, Mycroft reserves this sort of treatment for common imbeciles he intends to threaten. Apparently, he has no qualms about subjecting Sherlock to it as well.

Sherlock huffs with disgust. “It was for a case.” How many times and for how long will he be forced to repeat this until he’s no longer hounded about it? “I had no intention of getting high.”

“And today?” Mycroft forces a smile, close-lipped and thus toothless but nevertheless distinctly sharklike. “Another case?”

Sherlock fights a grimace, fully aware that there is no chance of him leaving this car with his dignity untarnished. Best to just be out with it, then. “No. An experiment regarding social interaction and spontaneous physiological responses to certain… stimuli. I’m testing a hypothesis.”

It’s worth it to keep his eyes on Mycroft so he can witness his brother’s reaction when, as they say, the other shoe drops. Mycroft’s lip curls in distaste, and he leans backwards as though whatever Sherlock is affected by may be catching.

“Find another way to test it,” he says darkly.

They are silent the rest of the way to Baker Street.

*

“How the hell did you manage this?” John says.

Sherlock can’t see his face from this position, but from his tone, he suspects John’s expression is one of horror with just a tinge of awe. Similar to the way John looks at a particularly gruesome crime scene by a particularly clever criminal.

“I’ve no idea,” Sherlock lies, doing his best to sound waspish and harried. “Just get on with it.”

“I’m trying. Christ, Sherlock, it’s a fucking rat’s nest up here.”

Sherlock knows that it is. He saw to it personally, in fact. Nearly a full hour in front of the mirror making a mess of his hair, ensuring it is so tangled that it will take John ages—and a great deal of accidental pulling—to unknot it.

“Fucking hell, stop moving,” John hisses, although Sherlock is scarcely moving at all where he’s seated at the kitchen table with John standing behind him. “I’m trying not to hurt you.”

“It’s fine,” Sherlock assures him. That’s the whole point, after all, although John can’t know it. In fact, if by the end of this John’s not pulled his hair once, Sherlock will be highly—

Ah, there. A faint tug on a small section of hair follicles near the crown, heralded by a stinging sensation.

A sensation that is almost farcically unerotic.

“Sorry,” John mutters. “Didn’t mean to yank. Are you all right?”

Of course not. Sherlock’s disappointment is so vast he fancies it can be seen from the Southern hemisphere. Still, he answers, “Fine,” and waits for the next tug.

By the time John finishes, which isn’t long at all—he’s had loads of experience, Sherlock realises at some point, his sister got things tangled in her hair all the time when they were children—Sherlock still hasn’t experienced anything like the surge of arousal he’d felt previously.

Instead, he feels exceedingly drowsy. He’s not slept since John pulled his hair over the heroin—why would he? dull, boring, much better use of time to remember and relive and plot—and the constant, careful motion of John’s fingers in his hair at the moment is surprisingly hypnotic, soothing.

“There,” John says, stepping back. “How’s that?”

Sherlock feels his hair: still a little unkempt, frizzy, in need of a thorough wash and a comb, but the worst of the knots are gone. He’s impressed, despite himself. Who knew John had such nimble fingers?

“Acceptable,” he says, trying to shake off the rest of his drowsiness as he stands. “Thank you.”

Time for slightly more drastic measures, then.

*

John will blame it on the sleep deprivation.

Sherlock is almost certain of this, given how often John has taken to going on about Sherlock’s lack of sleep and the effects of long-term deprivation and “Please tell me you didn’t spend the entire night like that” and “I’ll knock you out if I have to, Sherlock, don’t think I won’t.”

So if Sherlock cocks up or John responds poorly, there will be no lasting damage to their friendship. Sherlock is actually quite confident of this.

So much so that when John returns to the flat after fixing Mrs Hudson’s slow-draining tub and stops dead just inside the door where Sherlock is waiting for him, Sherlock doesn’t feel concerned or hesitant in the slightest. He grins at John and receives a weak, tentative smile in response.

“Erm,” John says, “hello. Is there a reason you—”

Sherlock lunges forwards and kisses him.

It’s meant to be quick, little more than a mashing of his lips against John’s before John recoils in surprise, but John doesn’t recoil. Rather, John’s mouth goes slack even as the rest of his body goes rigid, and it’s very nearly a proper kiss. John’s bottom lip is trapped between both of Sherlock’s, soft and dry, and his breath fans over Sherlock’s philtrum.

It’s not unpleasant, he decides. Certainly the least offensive kiss in Sherlock’s life, although that isn’t saying much.

Then, finally, John surges backwards, mouth and eyes wide with shock. “What the hell was th—”

Sherlock kisses him again, more forcefully this time. So forcefully, in fact, that he inadvertently drives John’s shoulders into the wall with a painful-sounding thud. John grunts, clasping the biceps of Sherlock’s shirt, and—against all Sherlock’s expectations—angles his head encouragingly and opens his mouth.

And then it’s wet, the tip of John’s tongue brushing curiously against his, and consequently distinctly less enjoyable than the previous kiss. The taste of another person’s mouth, another person’s saliva mixing with his own, the transfer of bacteria from one wet environment to other, Sherlock dislikes it immensely. It feels uncomfortable. Claustrophobic.

No matter. He need only endure it a moment or two longer before—

John grabs a handful of Sherlock’s hair and wrenches, and Sherlock leaves off, stumbling backwards and tipping his head back into John’s grasp.

“What,” John spits when his lips are free of Sherlock’s, “the bloody hell—

Sherlock can’t help it. Days of wanting this and needing this and trying so hard to recreate this, and now that he has it, the sting is so much sweeter than he remembers, John’s grip so much more fierce and unrelenting. He moans, long and low, and nearly falls to his knees at the hot bolt of lust that rushes through him, threatening to wreck and raze him like he’s nothing more than a rickety shack in the face of an atomic bomb.

Almost immediately, John’s grip loosens, and then Sherlock does fall. His legs simply refuse to carry his weight and buckle beneath him. He’s vaguely aware of his knees colliding with the floor, of John’s hands leaving his hair, although Sherlock can still feel the ghost of them, a residual aching on his scalp. His eyelids are heavy, his head muzzy and his thoughts muddled.

He is, he realises abruptly, perhaps more sleep-deprived than he thought.

“Really?” comes John’s voice from above him, sounding peevish. “You berk. Something so simple, and you have to make it hopelessly complicated, don’t you?”

Apparently so.

*

John drags him to his bedroom, grumbling the entire walk through the kitchen and the hallway about Sherlock’s height and limbs and weight and also just his general personality.

“You’re ridiculous,” he says, shoving Sherlock onto his stomach in the centre of the bed, which is softer and more inviting than Sherlock remembers it being. “Do you hear me? Bloody fucking ridiculous. And we’re going to talk about this, all right? But not until you’ve slept at least eight fucking hours because I’m not entirely convinced you’re capable of rational thought.”

John leaves with a huff, and Sherlock stares a moment at his own pillow.

He blinks, and suddenly there is a heavy quilt on top of him, folded down and bundled so it blocks the worst of the sunlight from his window. He blinks again, and the room is dark and the quilt sweltering. He tosses it aside and stumbles to his feet to use the loo.

He wonders if it’s been eight hours yet.

Only one way to find out.

Once his bladder is empty, he stumbles into the kitchen to find the rest of the flat dark and silent. Night, then. John must be in bed.

Sherlock climbs the stairs and creeps into John’s bedroom, where he can see John’s shape beneath the duvet. Asleep. Shouldn’t mind, then, if Sherlock sits beside him and waits for him to wake.

As the mattress sinks beneath Sherlock’s weight, however, John jolts violently and raises his arms as though he means to shield himself. Or possibly to pre-emptively attack, although if that’s the case he stops himself in time. “What—Sherlock, what are you doing?”

“Oh good,” Sherlock says, and although the heavy fog of sleep has already threatened to descend again, he attempts to rouse himself. “You’re awake. I want you to pull my hair.”

It’s a reasonable request. He thinks it is, anyway, although his mind is uncharacteristically sluggish and refuses to open the mental file he’s got on acceptable behaviour in average social interactions. But it doesn’t sound unreasonable. After all, Sherlock wasn’t even given the opportunity earlier to enjoy his arousal and have a proper wank before he was being hauled off to sleep.

John, however, clearly disagrees, since he groans and rolls away. “Shut up, Sherlock. Go to sleep.”

“But I’ve been asleep,” Sherlock protests, and receives only a heavy, grumpy-sounding sigh in response.

So with an echoing sigh, Sherlock crawls beneath the covers with John and goes to sleep.

*

“Do you remember anything that happened yesterday?” John asks the following morning, after he’s cooked an obscenely large fry-up for Sherlock and then sat down to watch him eat it.

Sherlock’s mortification, now that he is rested and clearer-headed and remembers—in excruciating detail, his brilliant mind is occasionally a curse—how he came to find himself fully clothed in John’s bed this morning, provides him an entirely new understanding of the depths of his own deficiencies as a human being.

You threw yourself at him, kissed him, invaded his bed, and begged him to pull your hair, Sherlock thinks in despair. Well done. You are every bit as stupid as Mycroft has always said you are.

He is determined to deny all of it until his dying breath.

“Very little,” Sherlock says loftily, spearing a bit of sausage with his fork. “I remember Mrs Hudson called you downstairs for some reason or another. Everything afterwards is a bit of a blur.”

“Mm. So you don’t remember trying to kiss me and then coming in your pants when I pulled at your hair?”

Shocked, Sherlock chokes and has to spit his partially chewed sausage bit onto his plate. The sight of it, sodden and mushy, would put him off finishing, if John’s words haven’t already done so.

Sherlock most certainly did not come in his pants. Nor did he get anywhere near to it. He sets his cutlery on his plate with a loud clatter and takes a deep, bracing breath.

Before he can speak, however, John sighs dramatically. “Oh well. I would’ve been happy to do it again if you wanted, but….”

“Well,” Sherlock says, thinking quickly. He might’ve behaved stupidly the previous day, but it would be even more stupid to ignore the opportunity John has just dangled in front of him. Just the memory of John gripping his hair, yanking his head away—his breath stutters and a shiver sweeps down his spine and into his legs.

Then he notices that John’s lips have quirked up at one corner, that his eyes are practically shining with amusement. “Ha. It’s taken years, but I’m finally beginning to tell when you’re fibbing. I meant it, though. If you want me to give your hair a good tug, or anything else, I’m… keen. Very keen.”

Or anything else. How long has Sherlock wanted to have sex with John? He’s not even interested in sex, not really, but since the very beginning he’s been curious to know what it would be like to have sex with John.

“Good,” Sherlock says, feeling oddly winded. “That’s… good.”

*

Sherlock’s memories of sex are dusty and fragmented.

Owing mostly to the fact that some years ago, he deleted the details of them to make room for a comprehensive knowledge of nanotechnology. He kept only enough to verify that yes he had had different types of sex with various people of different genders and that no he hadn’t found any of the encounters particularly noteworthy.

He still experiences nocturnal penile tumescence, of course, and very rarely he is moved to masturbate, but for over a decade, the rest of it has held no allure for him whatsoever.

Now, however, John Watson crawls into bed after him, presses his chest against Sherlock’s back, and tugs gently at the hair at Sherlock’s nape until Sherlock’s neck is bent back, his head resting against John’s shoulder—and suddenly sex has a very, very strong allure indeed.

“How’s that?” John asks.

“Hold it tighter.” If Sherlock tries to lean forwards again, John’s grip loosens immediately to allow it. Sherlock doesn’t want it to. “I want….” He licks his lips, feeling uncharacteristically shy. He thinks he might actually feel the heat of a blush on his cheeks. “I don’t want to be able to move.”

With a thoughtful hum, John obliges. This time when Sherlock tries to angle forwards, John’s hold remains tight. The skin of Sherlock’s scalp screams in protest, and it feels for a second or two like his hair follicles will be ripped out.

Arousal flares and spreads throughout Sherlock’s body. His hands claw at the sheets for purchase, his eyes close, and he moans softly.

There’s a tentative touch to his temple—John’s lips, damp from his own tongue—and the sound of John’s voice follows. “That was a good noise, yeah? You like that? Just want to be sure.”

Sherlock attempts to nod, but John’s grip is unyielding. He moans again, more loudly, and his hips thrust weakly, seeking friction. His clothing seems uncomfortably restricting, although he’s not even fully erect yet. He can’t imagine how torturous it will feel when he is. The easiest solution, of course, would be to unzip his trousers and take out his prick, but his fingers refuse to cooperate. They’re content, evidently, to remain closed around a handful of sheets so tightly that his knuckles ache.

“Jesus,” John mutters.

There’s a brush of something against Sherlock’s forehead—John’s free hand, he thinks—and then John kisses his temple again. His lips are even wetter now and make a quiet smacking sound against Sherlock’s skin. Sherlock whimpers.

“Fuck you’re gorgeous,” says John. “You can get yourself off if you want. You don’t have to, obviously, but… I wouldn’t mind.”

Sherlock does want. Quite badly, as it happens. It’s utterly unprecedented, but at the moment he doesn’t want to spare the mental energy required to be surprised about that.

“Pillow,” Sherlock decides. “Get me one.”

The most convenient pillow is the one beneath Sherlock’s head, so that’s the one they use. (John’s doing a good job on his own of keeping Sherlock’s head lifted, after all.)

Sherlock wastes no time wedging the pillow between his thighs, which satisfies both his hands’ need for something to clasp and his penis’s need for friction. He curls his fingers round the corners and thrusts against it.

Although it’s a firm goose-feather pillow, it yields entirely too easily under the insistent rub of his cock against it. The material slips and shifts, bulging in all the wrong spots. In no time, Sherlock is growling in frustration, squeezing his thighs together as tightly as he can to try to hold the thing in place while he fucks it.

He must look ridiculous, fully clothed and humping a pillow like a mindless animal, but if John thinks so, he doesn’t let on.

“Here,” John says. “Budge over a bit, and lie down on it.”

His grip on Sherlock’s hair loosens enough that Sherlock can do precisely that: using the weight of his body to press the pillow into the mattress and hold it steady while he humps it. It’s not perfect, the feathers still scatter and flinch from the force of his thrusts, but it’s good enough at least that his prick throbs in satisfaction and he lets out a little cry of pleasure at the sensation.

“God,” John groans, kissing his jaw and then the side of his neck. “That feels good, doesn’t it? You’re gorgeous. Come on, Sherlock. Give it to it good and hard.”

So Sherlock gives in and ruts against it until he’s sweating and panting, his legs going so tense that his muscles spasm and threaten to cramp. In a matter of minutes, he’s close, so close that he’s shuddering with it and straining against John’s grip, trying in vain to duck his head and muffle his moans in the pillow while he fucks it.

“No you don’t,” John tells him. His hand in Sherlock’s hair tightens until little pinkish-red spots float in Sherlock’s vision. “Keep your head up. Just like this. I want to hear you when you make yourself come.”

Oh god, Sherlock thinks, and maybe even groans aloud, although it’s impossible to tell. His body hardly even seems his own any longer. It won’t stop twitching and thrusting against the pillow as though his entire existence depends on it—and at the moment, it certainly feels that way. Oh god, yes, he thinks, closing his eyes. Then, abruptly, Sherlock’s cock begins to pulse and spill into his pants, and his mouth opens wide around a moan so loud the walls seem to shake with it.

The orgasm is… it’s indescribable, washing over him like a series of violent waves until he’s sobbing and wondering if it will ever end—and hoping that it won’t.

John lets go suddenly, and far too soon, and Sherlock’s head jerks sharply forwards, momentarily disorienting him. Then he hears John’s zip being undone, the shuffling sound of fabric being moved—

His own orgasm forgotten, Sherlock abandons the pillow and rolls over to find John on his back with his jeans open and shoved to his thighs, his pants pushed down, and his prick exposed. It’s red and thick, uncircumcised, with exceedingly prominent veins. Sherlock finds it strangely aesthetically pleasing. Enough so that he is tempted to touch it—trace his fingers along one of the veins to see what sort of response that gains him, maybe even close his thumb and forefinger around it and squeeze. He resists, though, and wills himself to be content lying on his side watching John spit into his palm and then stroke his fist over his cock.

John’s other hand, Sherlock notices, is at his side, his fingers alternately clenching and releasing as though, like Sherlock’s before, they need something to clutch.

Sherlock dips his head and lifts John’s free hand to his fringe. In an instant, it’s closed around a small tuft of hair, and it twists until Sherlock cries out in pain.

They stay like that, staring at each other with half-lidded eyes, until John begins to shudder and come.

*

After a quick shower—dried ejaculate, unpleasant and inconvenient—Sherlock is annoyed to discover John no longer in his bed. Now that the sex is done, there is meant to be embracing and nuzzling and hair-stroking; Sherlock is almost certain of this.

Scowling, he follows the faint trail of John’s scent to the kitchen, where John is fully clothed again and waiting for the kettle to boil: one of his many responses to mild mental distress. Sexuality crisis? Sudden realisation of the depth of his attraction to Sherlock? Concern over the effects of sex on their friendship?

Tedious. Sherlock won’t stand for any of it.

“You were meant to wait,” Sherlock tells him.

John lifts his head, eyebrows raised. They rise even further as he scans Sherlock’s nude, still-damp body. “I beg your pardon?”

“You left. Get back into bed.”

“You left first, you know.”

Sherlock sighs. And here he’d been under the impression that John, highly experienced in sexual matters, wouldn’t be difficult about this. “I had dried ejaculate in my pubic hair, and both my pants and trousers were ruined. Obviously I intended to return after I’d dealt with all that.”

“You got up without a word and slammed the bathroom door behind you. How is that obvious?”

How is it not obvious? Sherlock thinks. I didn’t kick you out, did I? But this entire conversation is setting the wrong sort of tone, so he decides to let it go. “Fine. Noted. Come back to bed.” Then, because John still appears undecided, Sherlock ducks his head, shamming shy earnestness. He even bites his bottom lip and flutters his eyelashes, which makes John gulp. “Please?”

That does the trick. Without a word, John shuts the kettle off and follows Sherlock to the bedroom.

Once they are in bed, he lets Sherlock wind around him. Sherlock has always wondered what John would feel like in his arms, and is pleased to discover that the experience is enjoyable. John feels small and fragile, not at all the dangerous ex-soldier who is more than capable of protecting himself and doesn’t need Sherlock. It would be better, of course, if John were as nude as Sherlock, but Sherlock supposes they can leave that for next time.

Speaking of.

“I don’t like kissing,” says Sherlock, then amends: “Open-mouth kissing on the lips. Closed-mouth kissing is acceptable, as are open-mouth kisses on other parts of the body.”

“Oh.” John sounds startled. Understandable, Sherlock supposes, as he did (sort of) initiate an open-mouth kiss on the lips the day before. “Erm. Okay. No snogging. Got it.”

Satisfied, Sherlock continues. “Manual sex, oral sex, and frottage are acceptable. Anal play involving a tongue is acceptable; fingers are negotiable. Intercourse is non-negotiable. Giving or receiving, I’ve no interest in buggery in the slightest. Toys are… intriguing.”

“Jesus,” John says. A shudder rolls through his body. “Fuck, Sherlock, that’s…. You don’t think maybe you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself?”

Sherlock nuzzles at John’s neck, which sparks another longer shudder. John cups the back of Sherlock’s head, sinks his fingers into Sherlock’s hair, and makes a little scratching motion against Sherlock’s scalp, and oh. Sherlock likes that. He arches into the touch and moans.

“Of course not,” he answers, breathless with pleasure. He feels surprisingly confident about that.

*

John’s height quickly becomes Sherlock’s favourite feature. Primarily because when John stands behind him and pulls his hair, John’s shoulder is positioned perfectly for Sherlock to rest his head on it, his upper back bent and his face to the ceiling, while John reaches around with his free hand to jerk Sherlock’s cock.

Sherlock enjoys that position so much he fantasises about it constantly, and orchestrates scenario after scenario to ensure he will find himself in it at one point or another.

One afternoon, he removes his clothes and tidies the kitchen cupboards, standing with his arse to the sitting room for ages until John finally comes up behind him and yanks his head back in one swift motion. Once Sherlock’s head is sufficiently pillowed on the top of John’s shoulder, John noses at his cheek and kisses his jaw, murmuring “That’s it, Sherlock. Get hard for me,” while Sherlock’s prick thickens slowly until it is fully erect and throbbing in John’s surprisingly slick grip.

“Please,” Sherlock sighs, his mind growing hazy as arousal burns through him. “Please, touch me. I want it so badly.”

John chuckles, playfully cruel, and drags his fist down the length of Sherlock’s cock, pulling the foreskin until it covers the sensitive head and makes Sherlock moan and ache.

“I am touching you,” John teases. “Or do you mean you want me to fuck my fist on your cock?” Even before he’s finished asking, he’s already obliging. His hand moves faster until he’s pumping expertly at Sherlock’s prick. “You’re lucky I thought to fetch the lube first, you know. You dirty, impatient thing.”

Sherlock certainly feels dirty at the moment, and also very, very impatient. “Yes,” he whispers, eyelids drooping shut. “Yes, oh. That.”

His hips rock forwards, trying to thrust his cock into John’s slippery grasp, but John wrenches his hair in rebuke and presses his mouth to Sherlock’s cheek. Sherlock can feel John’s teeth against his skin when he growls, “Don’t you dare. After all the teasing you’ve done, standing here shaking that pretty arse at me. You’ll stay right here and fucking take it.”

And with a small, pleased whimper, Sherlock obeys. He remains utterly still, helpless, shaking, until he finally makes a mess of the floor, sending a series of whining “Oh, oh, oh”s towards the ceiling.

John strokes him, nuzzles his cheek, murmurs nonsense like “There we go” and “Isn’t that better,” until Sherlock’s twitching with the aftershocks and panting. As soon as John’s grip on his hair begins to loosen, Sherlock falls forwards, bending over the worktop, and holds his arse cheeks open, exposing his arsehole. He glances coquettishly over his shoulder, feeling a rush of smugness at John’s glassy-eyed stare.

“You said—” John says, his voice low and dripping with lust. “You don’t… I mean—”

“I don’t want to be fucked,” Sherlock confirms. He spares a moment to smirk when John sucks in a deep breath and sways at the naughty word. A favourite word of John’s during these situations, as Sherlock has already deduced. “But I’ve nothing against pretending. So come on, John. Fuck me.”

Exactly as Sherlock hoped, John grasps Sherlock’s hair, tugging until Sherlock’s chin is tipped up and his back is arched, while he tosses himself off, gasping “Oh my god, you filthy fucking tart.”

Sherlock feels brilliant, even incandescent, and as John grunts and spatters come on his arse, Sherlock thinks he could really become quite attached to sex, as long as he’s having it with John.

*

John’s height isn’t ideal for every sexual activity, unfortunately. Sherlock finds it utterly impossible, for instance, to fellate him efficiently unless John is either lying down or seated very low in a chair.

Thankfully, John makes up for any inconvenience by pulling Sherlock’s hair so hard that his scalp aches for hours.

“You’ve got a sensitive scalp,” John tells him, stroking languidly through Sherlock’s hair while Sherlock kneels between his bare thighs and wanks himself furiously.

“I don’t,” Sherlock insists. Tries to insist, anyway, although John’s fingers find and massage a sensitive area just above his ears, and the breathy “ahh” he makes in response no doubt renders his protest utterly useless.

“You do.” John grins down at him. “Look at you. Moaning like a whore from nothing but a scalp massage.”

It’s not even close to a proper scalp massage—which Sherlock has had, incidentally, and which has never felt anywhere near as erotic as what John is doing now—but Sherlock doesn’t have the breath to argue. He rubs his chin against John’s thigh, smearing the mess of John’s come across John’s skin and leg hair. (John’s semen is foul—bitter with a sour aftertaste—and Sherlock has begun refusing to swallow it. Fortunately, John seems quite content, enthusiastic even, to ejaculate on Sherlock’s face and body instead.)

With a laugh, John makes a fist around a large section of Sherlock’s hair and hauls Sherlock’s head back, exposing the full come-smeared column of his throat. Sherlock whimpers and feels his prick pulse in his hand, precome dribbling over his knuckles.

“Imagine if someday I dragged you round the room by your hair,” John says. “You’d probably come in your pants.”

Sherlock goes still, even as his cock jerks in complaint.

“Oh, John,” he says, awed. “Sometimes you can be surprisingly brilliant.”

*

By the first tour around the sitting room, being led by the hair at the top of his head like a poorly treated pet, Sherlock is gagging for it. He crawls slowly, his swollen prick bobbing uncomfortably with each motion, and imagines himself humping John’s leg, begging for John’s hand, bending over and baring his hole for John’s tongue.

By the second lap, the urgency has inexplicably faded. He’s still aroused, his prick so hard that it hurts and throbs like a burn, but the idea of being relieved of the sensation—of losing the thick cottony feeling that’s beginning to bloom in his head, of shooing away the light and floaty sensation in his limbs—is abhorrent.

John stops halfway through the third lap and leans down, licking his lips. Sherlock shakes his head emphatically.

“No?” John’s forehead wrinkles with concern.

“No. I—” Sherlock’s throat is dry. He swallows thickly and continues. “I don’t want to get off. I just want this some more. Is that, um…?”

“Oh, yeah.” John grins, as wide and bright and welcome as a sunrise. “Not a problem. I can do that.”

John lifts himself to his feet again and carries on, dragging Sherlock not just around the sitting room but into the kitchen and bedroom as well, until the skin on Sherlock’s knees is red and raw and hurts too much to continue.

At that point, he simply lies down where he is, which is in the hallway just outside the door to the loo, and rolls onto his side. John follows him, kneeling down and then sitting cross-legged just beside Sherlock’s head.

“Was that all right?” John asks. His hand cards tenderly through the hair above Sherlock’s ear, and Sherlock closes his eyes, feeling so light and feathery he wouldn’t be terribly surprised if he floated away on a breeze.

“Yes,” he says. “Excellent.”

*

Sherlock takes advantage of John’s early morning shift at the surgery to launch a thorough investigation of the pornography on his computer.

There’s less of it than he expects, and the collection is primarily composed of clips or scenes rather than full-length films. He watches them all in just over three hours and finds none that feature hair-pulling or even hair-stroking. For which Sherlock is immensely thankful—if he discovers John has been getting off on the idea of someone else’s hair being pulled besides Sherlock’s, he will not be held responsible for his actions.

Also interesting is that none of the videos—largely female-focused, although there are a few male-only ones mixed in as well—have any effect on Sherlock. Three hours of visual depictions of solo, oral, manual, vaginal, and anal sex, and he feels not even the first tendrils of arousal.

Just John, then, who can inspire such a reaction in Sherlock. Good. He is quite content to never again experience an erection that isn’t caused by John Watson.

That thought brings with it another, only tangentially related, which gradually grows in Sherlock’s mind like mould.

When John returns, carrying a Sainsbury’s bag, Sherlock fairly lunges at him, halfway panicked.

“You cannot,” Sherlock begins, then rethinks his approach. He hears Mrs Hudson’s voice in his mind: ‘You might be surprised how much more receptive people are when you don’t just demand things of them, dear.’ “That is, I would prefer if you didn’t have sex with any more women. Or men. Aside from me. Ever.”

He’s constructed what he thinks (hopes) is a convincing argument in his favour and is prepared to dive straight into it, but John only shrugs. “Okay.” He hands the carrier bag to Sherlock. “Here. You can put these in the cupboard. I hope pasta for dinner is all right with you.”

Sherlock, who doesn’t care a whit about dinner or Sainsbury’s or pasta, lets the bag drop to the floor. (“You cock,” John sighs, and bends to retrieve it.) “‘Okay’? I’ve just asked you to never again have sex with anyone but me. You don’t mind?”

“Course not.” John smiles, and a surprising portion of Sherlock’s panic is eradicated by the sight. “Apparently you don’t remember, but I did choose you over my ex-wife.”

“That is a massive oversimplification,” Sherlock feels compelled to point out. The reality, after all, involved a great deal of blood and betrayal with a touch of death and conspiracy.

“Yeah.” John’s smile turns wistful, and he is silent for a moment, remembering. “Still… doesn’t make it any less true, does it?”

“No.” Sherlock nods solemnly, conceding the point. “I suppose not.”

John nods back. “Besides, I’d never cheat on a boyfriend.”

Yes, Sherlock nearly says, obviously. Then John’s meaning dawns, and it feels as though his entire physiological processes shut down. Poison would scarcely be more effective than what John has just said.

“Anyway,” says John, and little crinkles appear at the corners of his eyes as he grins. Sherlock wants to kiss them, but is prevented by John reaching one hand towards him and smoothing the fringe from Sherlock’s face. His fingertips skid purposefully over the skin of Sherlock’s scalp. “Pasta is okay for dinner, yeah?”

Sherlock sways towards him, nearly purring in delight. “Yes,” he says. “Fine.”