There were few things that annoyed him quite so much as a craving. Those little tugs at his subconscious, the yearnings and demands he couldn't fulfill, couldn’t locate, couldn't pin down. It was infuriating. It distracted from his work. it upended his thinking.
Not long ago he had ranked his cravings to better sort them. It was only logical to dissect them and then attack them one by one by one.
There was the heroin. That was at the bottom but to be fair it was a short list.
The ritual of it was something he could lose himself in. The elastic tie on his forearm, tight, tight enough to hurt, effective enough to make weary, hidden veins bulge and show themselves. The worn, filthy spoon, the lighter when it would get down to its end, so light, so little fluid left. Was there enough, enough for one more spark, one more blaze? The idea of it not working, of his last hit having been his last hit sent a paranoid little thrill up his spine. He wanted it to work, needed it too, but the danger that it might not only fueled that surge of ecstasy when it did. Powder to spoon, water to powder, flame to spoon, and then watching the the brown concoction boil, drawing back the syringe, piercing the skin... the pain, the rush, that feeling so near orgasm as it roared through his veins.
The subjugation of it all.
Yes, that was part of it. In a world where very little mastered him this drug did and did so easily.
Slowly and with an effort he hated admitting was Herculean he excised it from his life. It was still there, the need for it, the want of it and every now and it then it would come calling, Rattling the doors and banging on the windows of his mind. At first crawling humbly, begging entrance but then giving up all artifice and demanding to be let in, demanding that Sherlock bow and yield.
He did not.
Next, were cigarettes. Yes, the cigarettes ranked higher than the opioid because it the latter was a meal, the former was dessert. The crinkle of the package in its cellophane before he pulled the little strip. That first hint of rich, sweet, tobacco so fragrant it made his mouth water. The strike of the match, yes a match because a lighter was for the heroin. A specific tool for every job. It was the same flare of flame but a different kind of burn as he took that first, long, deep drag. He would be satisfied for the moment, for the time being. But quick on the heels of a discarded stub the need came calling again, louder this time, furious, insistent and not willing to be ignored. And he liked it. And again he gave himself over to a need he was perfectly willing to admit was larger than himself. He bowed his head and he bent his knees and he admitted how weak and pathetic and needy he was and it felt so, so good.
But then, it was eventually time to bid that farewell too. And inch by inch, patch by patch he rose to his feet.
He had beaten them. Both of them. He was lord and master. No foreign substance ruled him and never would again. And for that...he was sad.
He realized the pattern here far too late. Not that he really believed there was anything he could have done about it had he discovered it earlier.
At 17 he had come to understand he enjoyed it when his lover/absolutely-not-boyfriend/class bully bound him with their school uniform necktie during one of their many after-school trysts. In class, they hurled insults at each other and Sherlock typically and easily bested him. But after school he was silent, mute, passive. He liked to submit, he liked to acquiesce, he liked to be dominated and there was nothing else that got him harder or got him off.
Eventually, he was able to connect the need to be subjugated to a lover with his need to be subjugated to a substance. It was one in the same.
Which brought him to his final addiction.
The one he couldn’t get over, the one he couldn’t will away.
The culmination of his cravings and desires.
All things coalesced in the man known as John Watson. He was the apex of his want and his need.
He finds himself preening for John, showing off. Of course he loves to show off no matter what but once John had entered his life, once he had voiced that first unbidden and bare naked compliment, "That was....amazing." Sherlock needed more.
He’s unlike anyone he’s ever met. Of course he fits into certain templates but there are other ways, important ways where he is unpredictable.It was easier to slip out of the flat when John wasn’t there. Long before he moved in Sherlock would go out in search of a different sort of lead. All in pursuit of the elusive experience. It usually ended with him arriving home in disappointment. No one was willing to go as far as he needed, as he wanted, none of them were capable of creative or independent thought. So dull. So unable to surprise. He typically returned home un-sated and unsatisfied.
But when John had entered his life, the need faded.
He admitted to himself only later that he had found the shooting of the cabbie by his new mate (He had a mate, now) incredibly erotic. The precision. The cold, decisiveness of it all. The power.
The scarred soldier. The weakened leg that wasn’t weak at all. The steady hands that didn’t shake, the steady gaze that didn’t falter. He hadn’t thought he’d want to dig so far into who John Watson was. And now he found himself in a hole so deep there seemed to be no way out.
“Feeling like I’m not paying you enough attention?” John asked one evening. Sherlock had been scanning his mail looking for something compelling but coming up empty handed.
“Beg pardon?” He asked glancing up, a frown on his face.
“You always dial back on your eating when you think I’ve been ignoring you. It’s your way of assuring my attention.”
“I’m fairly certain I do no such thing.” He said indignantly.
John smiles indulgently. No one smiles indulgently at Sherlock Holmes except for John.
“Eat.” He says, simply and there’s no room for argument.
Sherlock did as he was told.
John shakes his head fondly adding an eye roll to the end of the gesture.
Emotionally, Sherlock feeds off both the command and the affection for days afterwards.
“Sometimes I just think you use this as an excuse to grope me.” He joked as Sherlock essentially patted him down for his phone one day.
It had been so different from the first time.
Without thinking, very early on, he’d made a grab for the mobile he’d seen bulging from Johns front pocket. Never mind what other bulge he may have noted in that general vicinity.
The hand that had grabbed his wrist had been firm, tight and decidedly unyielding.
“I’m not one of those people you can just move about, Sherlock. And I am not an inanimate object. And if you go reaching into a man trousers you’d best be prepared for what might happen next.”
They stared at one another, John holding his gaze evenly. This was not the paranoid threat and profession of a frightened homophobe. This was something else entirely. Sherlock searched his face but it was unreadable.
“Quite right...I...apologize. Might I use your phone?”
John released his wrist and dug his phone out tossing it to him.
“Course you can. Take it in good health.” He replied and his smile had an annoyed sincerity to it.
Later on Sherlock analyzed John’s words and the meaning behind them. He hadn’t explicitly been told no.
The next time he did it, it was simply because he forgot. They were in the middle of a case and niceties, which were already naturally so far off his radar were tossed to the wind.
John didn’t say anything. He only glanced at him and Sherlock tried to ignore the added surge of adrenaline he felt.
Years ago he’d met a “psychic”, a charlatan obviously but she had said one thing that had quite irritatingly stuck in Sherlock’s brain.
As a dubious excuse for why she couldn’t answer his question regarding the whereabout of her son on the night of a murder she’d stated, “The closer I am to someone the less I’m able to read them.”
Damn it all if that wasn’t seeming to be true with he and John.
He’d been so easy to decipher those first few days, weeks but now...almost nothing.
It takes ages to concretely discover that John likes men and even longer to learn that he likes it a bit rough. Both discoveries had taken few if any deduction skills at all.
“You’ve got a bruise forming there.” Sherlock had stated not looking up from his paper.
“So I have. I was down the pub and later got into a bit of man to man, you know?”
“I admit things have been rather dull around here. I’m hoping we’ll pick up a case soon. Still, no reason to go out picking fights.” He added disapprovingly.
Sherlock had never forgotten the smile John offered him in return.
“Who said I was fighting? I just said it was man to man.” He rose from the couch without offering anymore. “Night, then.”
For Sherlock Holmes it felt tentatively like Christmas.
John took care of Sherlock’s wounds once and only once before the latter realized he should never allow this to happen again without a book shielding his lap.
John’s fingers, the stinging, the caressed, the aching, throbbing pain, depending on the injury or wound was too much. Within seconds he’d be at attention, squeezing his thighs together in an attempt to hide his erection and preserve his dignity. The ebb and flow of it all, the warning that “This will hurt.” followed by the pain, followed by the regretful, barely audible ”tsch” sound his tongue made followed by usually a bit more pain painted, caused and healed by those nimble, agile, caring fingers.
People were so wrong. He didn’t get off at crime scenes. He got off at this.
“I’m not your field nurse, Sherlock. Patching you up because you decided to do something thickheaded and foolhardy was not in the flatmate description. “You’ll not do this again.” He states with a finality people try for and fail at foisting on him.
Commands have a nasty habit of making him recalcitrant, but not this time.
“Yes, John.” He says and the genuine agreement and submission he hears in his own voice is both shocking and heartfelt.
John pauses for a second and Sherlock shifts with pleasant discomfort at the silence and the persistent hardness in his trousers.
“Good, boy.” John says finally and there’s of course a lightheartedness to it...but not as much as he would have guessed.
It was terribly annoying for Sherlock once he realizes that he loved John.
Sherlock begins to make time in his rather intractable schedule for masturbation. It’s mostly slotted for bedtime but occasionally he deviates and has one off in the shower.
The subject is John. The subject is always John. All other go-to’s and never-fails have receded into fuzzy memories.
How does John taste?
How does John feel?
How does it feel to hold him?
How does it feel to be held?
How does it feel to reach across him in the morning to retrieve his mobile, that first brush of skin against skin?
And most importantly, is he one of those blokes who, because he is in strict control of his non-sexual life wants to give up said control in his sex life?
Or, must his control be complete in every arena?
Sherlock hoped it wasn't the latter and for the fantasy to work he didn’t consider this option.
So he would proceed.
What does John’s cock look like, taste like, feel like?
How rough would he like to get?
What constitutes too rough?
How far would he be willing to explore?
Auto erotic asphyxiation?
What would this truly mean to him, beneath all the layers of lust?
What could it mean to John?
Clinical or not this was always more than enough speculation to get him going, hard, erect, hand moving swiftly until he came silent and stifled, fearful of speaking aloud the name he so desperately wanted to in an unmistakable tone.
John had texted him.
Got a lead.
And that had been enough to pique his interest.
He then texted an address, an address that seemed vaguely familiar and Sherlock immediately set off. Catching a cab he arrived at what turned out to be a club.
He paused for a second. He knew this place. He hadn’t been there in years of course but it still looked the same, the same music eking through the front doors, the same people milling about outside, the same people heading in.
What sort of lead had John been referring to? They’d just finished up a case and to the best of his knowledge nothing had come in. Then again perhaps the consulting detective’s associate was getting requests of his own now.
He walks in secretly hoping not to see any ‘friendly’ old faces. Fortunately, the turnover rate is high. He spots John immediately and hurries over.
“What have we got?” He asks.
“Shhh, we’re just observing for now. I’ll tell you in a moment. But I’ve got my eye on him and he’s just walked in.” John said in a rush. Sherlock started to turn his head to surreptitiously glance at the door but John stopped.
“Don’t. Eyes front.”
He did as he was told and watched the crowd instead. All around him was delineation. Doms and subs. Those in control and those so desperately wanting to be controlled. This was a grouping of people that demanded specificity. The rigidness of the roles, the complete lack of a possibility of switching appealed to him more than he could say. This mysterious case whatever it was fell away as he found himself nearly getting lost in his surroundings, the possibilities and the fantasies based on the man that stood next to him. This was stirring up all the echoes of his addiction and suddenly more than anything he wanted a needle in his arm, a cig in his mouth and John’s cock in his hand.
“Tell me about who we’re looking for.” he said, trying to pull himself back.
“Bit of a closet case. Lot’s of secrets this one. Just asking to be tracked down and found out.”
“For what purpose? What are the details?” Sherlock asked impatiently.
“He thinks he’s clever.” John continued as though he hadn’t heard him. “He thinks he’s too clever to be caught. But I spotted him right off. Figured I’d just wait for him to make a mistake. And sure enough he did. He walked right in here. Eyes wide open.”
Speaking of eyes Sherlock felt John’s on him and he realizes quite stupidly that this childish little trick had fooled him. So stupid. So simple. And yet here he was.
“Well, look what the cat dragged in.” A low and familiar voice said from behind him. Sherlock knew that voice and he turned to see Stephen. Once upon a time in a backroom of this very establishment Stephen had left appealing candle wax burns all up and down his chest, punishing him when he gasped. “I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.”
Stephen was completely ignoring John, but who could blame him, their body language was all wrong, why would he think...and in any case, what was there to think? After all-
“Yeah, mate, he’s with me. The time to reminisce has come and gone I’m afraid.” John stated, bursting into Sherlock’s musings and Stephen’s sentence. His voice was firm, sure and had a sharp, warning edge.
Stephen got the hint.
“Understood.” He said and stepped away.
Much of what happens next is a blur.
“I’m with you?” He asked with a frown that is not at all disagreeable, more disbelieving.
“Yeah, if you want. Two-way street, this is. We’ve moved from strangers to flatmates to colleagues to friends, don’t you think it’s time for another move?” He concludes and clears his throat.
They don’t stay at the club. The possibilities for the rest of the evening are far too big to be contained in this tiny establishment. They hail a cab home and neither says much. But John does smile at him every now and then and boldly, when they’re five minutes from the flat he takes his hand.
Once inside John takes off his jacket and drops his keys on the counter.
“So, what say we hammer out the practicalities tomorrow? The dating. Who pays for dinner. Which side of the bed each of us sleeps on.”
Sherlock was still in a bit of a state of shock. John was making decrees. John was making demands. John was sorting things out. It was nearly everything he wanted. Nearly...
“Because,” He continued. “This isn’t what you want to do tonight, is it?”
Sherlock swallowed and shook his head.
“No, no didn’t think so. Get on your knees. Now.” He said. And he didn’t raise his voice, didn’t change his body posture at all. He just commanded.
Sherlock was on his knees in a moment flat.
John walked over leisurely, clearly in no hurry.
“You know, Molly said something interesting awhile back. She said you’d tried one of those addicts anonymous group. By tried I can only assume she means you breezed past an open door on your way to somewhere else.”
He was right of course. That had been almost exactly what had happened. He popped round just as they were reciting their 12 steps.
“It occurs to me,” John began and the next words he said were almost as though he’d plucked them from Sherlock’s mind. “That the first step is to admit that you are powerless towards your addiction.”
John stood over him, towering, secure, a fortress, a giant and Sherlock basked in his shadow.
“Say it, Sherlock. Tell me, I am your addiction and tell me you are powerless.”
Without hesitation, he did as he was told.
“You are my addiction, John. And I am powerless.”
A smile, bright and genuine spread across John’s face. he bent over him and Sherlock braced himself for a kiss, hard and bruising, a kiss to once and for all establish the balance of power and whose side it was firmly on. Instead, the kiss was gentle, soft even perhaps a bit sweet. And he was surprised at how easily his body responded to that as well.
“Good, lad.” John said. “I believe this just might work.”
“I-” Sherlock began but was quickly cut off by the warning look John gave him. He should have known better. He was not to speak. Now was not the time for his opinion.
John smiled then and casual as you please yanked his subs head back by his hair. He seems so in control, so unsurprised by anything that’s happened. So at ease with all these revelations that had twisted Sherlock up inside.
Almost as though he’d planned it.
“Sorry, John. You’re in control now.” He said docilely.
“Oh, Sherlock, what you’ll come to understand eventually is that, I always was.”