Mycroft is absolutely opposed to the entire idea, as if Sherlock even needs another reason to pursue it.
They're lunching at Claridges - Mycroft's treat, he owes Sherlock for her help in recovering the archbishop's lost breed book - when she casually drops that she's stopped taking her suppressants. Mycroft goes gratifyingly gray in the face and stammers something about who and why and who and when and who, for God's sake. Sherlock taps her creme brulee spoon against her teeth and casts about, as if this particular detail has escaped her notice until just now.
"I hadn't really - I mean, I suppose John could, he's in the flat anyway," she says after a minute.
"Sherlock," Mycroft says, his voice low but shaking with barely restrained horror. "Of course you've never shown the slightest bit of interest in all these years, and of course you're rushing headlong into it now without a minute's forethought, but you cannot be serious. John? Sherlock, it's depraved."
Sherlock's head comes up, and her long gray eyes narrow.
"He's not sick," she says, "he got better. And he's not weak, you should see his muscles."
"He's damaged," Mycroft says, dropping his voice even lower.
Sherlock turns her head dismissively. Mycroft softens, clearly changing tack.
"I just mean - if you are going to," he says more coaxingly, "well, there's nothing wrong with the way you look, and money needn't be an object obviously, so - you could have a proper alpha, a prime alpha. Someone young and perfectly healthy - "
" - like yours, you mean," Sherlock smirks.
"Greg's limbs are all fully functional," Mycroft flares.
"And yet John could still knock the snot out of him," Sherlock says.
Mycroft ruffles indignantly, but he also looks at Sherlock with new interest.
"That's the first really omega thing I've ever heard you say," he says.
Sherlock shrugs, but there's an uncertain edge to her offhandedness.
"Well at least look around," Mycroft says. "You might have a while."
She might not, though. It's the first time she's been suppressant-free since puberty; no one can predict from day to day - or even hour to hour - when her heat will hit. She stops at the omega counter in Harrods on her way back to the flat and buys two street veils - a dark blue and black crepe, and a deep plum silk shot with royal purple. She wears the crepe the rest of the way home, just to try it out - she's not yet drawing any attention beyond the usual casual glances of betas. She removes it again at the front door in Baker Street, bundling it into the glossy green Harrods bag alongside the tissue-wrapped silk.
Upstairs, John is standing in the kitchen, his broad back turned to the doorway. He's leaning over an open newspaper, his hands on the table's edge, and his bad leg bent to spare it any of his weight. Sherlock finds herself wondering what would happen if she just started taking her suppressants again. Maybe she hasn't missed enough of them to do any harm yet. Or maybe she has, and her heat will come no matter what she does now.
"Hallo," John says, turning towards her as he straightens and centers his weight on both feet. "I didn't hear you. Are you coming in or going out?"
There's no scientific data one way or the other, but lots of people maintain that proximity to an alpha brings on a heat quicker than not.
"Coming in. Staying in," Sherlock says decisively.
They spend the rest of the afternoon at the kitchen table. John taps industriously at his laptop - no doubt another thrilling tale of detective Sherrinford Holmes, the bold, brilliant beta, and her well-meaning assistant James Watson, a prime alpha whose frequent breeds introduce more complication and crisis into their lives than half the criminals in London. Sherlock starts curating her vast collection of fiber samples, mounting a few threads of each on a microscope slide and writing out an exhaustive description of what she sees at each magnification.
Every hour or so she gets up to examine herself in the bathroom mirror, but her eyes look as sharp, her cheeks and lips as pale and cool as ever. After her third trip, John asks mildly if she's sick.
Sherlock's mother had always maintained that she could tell she was starting by her hands. I find myself looking at my hands and thinking, those are my hands, I touch things with those hands.
Sherlock contemplates her own slender fingers holding her pen. Those are my hands. I touch things with those hands. Well, obviously.
The first sign, later that evening, isn't in her at all; it's in John.
To spare his leg, John makes a habit of gathering up whatever book or magazine or newspaper he's reading, his pen, his laptop, and his mug before settling into his armchair after dinner. Barring a case, he won't move again until he goes up to bed. This evening, however, he's hauling himself out his armchair every ten minutes - his book is boring, his pen is dry, his tea is cold, his sweater is too heavy. Sherlock is sitting cross-legged in her own armchair, with a scroll of taped-together printer paper laid across her lap, engrossed in assembling a spreadsheet of fibers and their various forensic characteristics - absorbency, fading, and so on - but finally she looks up in rather absent annoyance.
"What is the matter with you?" she says.
And - Sherlock feels it as clearly as a slap - John's gaze drops from her face to her chest, where the open neck of her shirt exposes a shadowed slice of breastbone and the slight swell at the side of one breast. His expression flinches from vague irritation to something deeper, and he abruptly thrusts up out of his seat.
"I need some air," he says, already grabbing his jacket from the back of the door and lurching out of the room.
Sherlock claps her hands to her cheeks, then her throat, but her skin doesn't feel any different. Downstairs the street-door slams behind John.
Sherlock slips one hand inside her shirt, running her palm over her bare shoulder and breast, then up and around the nape of her neck.
It's generally accepted that very experienced alphas - Sherlock's never had a chance to examine John's breed book, Mycroft is such a killjoy, but the sheer number of pages is certainly suggestive - are the most sensitive to heat sign.
Sherlock runs her fingers over her face, feeling the complex interplay of muscle and flesh and bone under skin. Is it possible that John is responding to sign so faint that she can't even feel it herself? Of course, if any alpha on earth could do that, it would be John.
It doesn't mean they know what it is they're responding to, though, her mother had said.
Sherlock stops with her fingers tangled in her hair.
John might not realize that Sherlock ...
Her glance falls on John's laptop. For the first time, it strikes her as significant that John writes her as a beta. People assume, and Sherlock doesn't see the point of correcting them.
Sherlock presses her fingertips hard into her temples. It's alright, though. John will come back - where else can he go, realistically - and Sherlock will be showing clearly and it will be -
- well, she's not quite sure how it will be, but it will be, as de facto as air.
hi sorry i don't even know why i'm posting this in these little chunks, but here it is.
i yam blushing at this point, i'm not sure my id needs to see this much daylight.
Sherlock is slumped in her armchair, barefoot and barelegged, her knees drawn up and her heels dug into the edge of the seat cushion. Her shirt is unbuttoned almost to her stomach, her sleeves pushed up past her elbows.
She's sweating, the dark coils of her hair sticking to her temples and neck, moisture beading on her upperlip and bared breastbone. She's flushed everywhere; her lips and cheeks, the rims of her ears, and her fingertips are almost crimson.
She's breathing shallowly, carefully, trying not to jostle her body inside her skin anymore than absolutely necessary. She grips the chair's armrests, but periodically one hand rises of its own volition, her fingers going to her mouth or throat or thigh. She gives a stifled moan and shifts under her own touch, which threatens the fragile equilibrium she's guarding. She voices a surer, sharper moan, followed by a shaking sigh of despair, presses her hand back onto the armrest and closes her eyes.
She doesn't hear the street-door, or John's slow, uneven tread on the stairs.
Sherlock's eyes snap open. John is dropping his jacket and barrelling across the room, dropping heedlessly to his knees in front of her armchair.
"What's - " he begins, but he already knows - she can see it in him, his eyes darkening and his upper lip curling back from his teeth.
"John, it hurts," Sherlock manages, but that isn't the right word.
The pressure and heat in her groin is unbearable, the pounding of her blood in her clit is maddening, but it isn't pain.
"You're in heat," John marvels, his gaze raking over her. "How are you in heat?"
"I'm an omega," Sherlock says, as if John can't reasonably be expected to work this out for himself.
It's hitting him hard now, she can see the tension spring into his jaw and neck and the broad slopes of his shoulders inside the clinging knit of his sweater.
"Why didn't you show for me before?" John growls, bending his head and inhaling the air above her greedily.
"I take suppressants - all the time - always - I always have," Sherlock says in a rush.
There's a second where John stills, his eyes wide and dark, his mouth abruptly soft, as he parses her meaning. Then he's snarling, eyes slitted as he yanks open his belt and jeans buttons.
"This is mine," he hisses. "This heat is mine. You are mine."
Sherlock grits her teeth, digs her fingernails into her palms, and lowers her feet to the floor. The blood in her groin surges, her vision spangles darkly and she gives a small, shocked cry.
John takes hold of her knees - his palms are cool and hard, braided with calluses along the base of his fingers - and pries her legs apart. The air is chill on the wet insides of her thighs.
He touches her - his knuckles brushing her inner thigh, his fingers hooking the sodden crotch of her underwear out of the way - and Sherlock claps a hand over her mouth to hold in the sound of utter desperation welling in her throat.
He draws the pad of his thumb down over her, through the gleaming, clear slick between her labia. Sherlock jolts, the touch of dry rough skin like a searchlight through clouds. John leans over her.
"You're ready," he says, his voice low and rough against her ear. "You're ready for me to fuck you."
He turns his wrist, sinking his thumb into her. Sherlock convulses, gives a real cry and grabs John's wrist. Torn between pushing his hand away or pulling it in, she settles for sinking her nails hard into his skin.
"I can't - I can't bear it," she gasps.
John shakes her grip off, pulls his thumb out and takes hold of her, his big hand covering the mound of her pubic bone.
"You were ready hours ago," he rumbles. "You want it so much, now, don't you?"
"John, please, help me," Sherlock says, "I can't stand it."
"Alright, I'm here, I have what you want," John says.
He draws back enough to palm his jeans down onto his hips and his sweater and tee shirt hems up onto his ribs.
Sherlock doesn't have extensive grounds for comparison, it's true, but John is clearly - as they say built like a prime all over.
His skin is a pale, creamy gold, heavily furred with copper-red hair. His belly and sides are thickly muscled, the crests of his hipbones marked by deep furrows running down to his groin. The crisp frizz of his pubic hair is brown, with random threads of copper and gold. His cock is moderately long, and immoderately thick, with a fat, round glans already leaking heavily from the slit. Sherlock, suddenly struck by the comparative size of John's thumb and John's erection, squirms back in her armchair.
"That is impossible," she says.
"You want me to help," John says flatly. "This is what helps."
He tips her knees together again and tugs her underwear down her thighs, sweeps her it off over her feet and presses her legs apart again. He takes hold of his cock, his long fingers encircling the shaft, and guides the head into the folds of her vulva.
The first contact is liquid, a whispering slip of his most tender flesh against hers. Sherlock writhes, suddenly panic-stricken by the insignificance of the sensation, but then John catches her arms, pins her wrists to the seat of the armchair, and pushes forwards so that his cock pierces her swollen flesh. Sherlock cries out, trying to make some sense of what she's feeling - heat, black and bright, a push and a stretch that seems to consume every muscle and tendon.
"Oh my God," Sherlock gasps, throwing her head back and arching her spine. "It's - I can't."
John's hands tighten on her wrists, a clear bright pain that anchors her against the vast sensations forcing themselves through her.
"Oh, Sherlock," John groans, pushing himself deeper.
His eyes are almost black, stricken and shining, his teeth bared.
He lets go of her wrists and catches her by the hips instead. Sherlock bats at his arms and kicks her bare heels against his thighs.
"Don't be afraid," John croons, pressing down on her so that his body-weight presses the last stunning inches of his cock into her. "It's nothing to be afraid of."
Sherlock's groin feels simultaneously split apart and bound too tightly. She can't get her breath, she can't think -
John rears up, rolling his shoulders back and lifting his chin. Sherlock gives a strangled scream.
"Do something!" she pleads. "Move, or something."
John snorts and then - comprehension dawning - stares at her disbelief.
"Sherlock, do you - what kind of school did they send you to?"
"Wha - a very good one," Sherlock protests, but then she crumples into admission, "I just never listened to anything that wasn't chemistry."
John leans in again; the shift of his weight against her is enough to make Sherlock groan.
"My beautiful idiot," John says. "If I move we don't get anywhere - which will be very nice for me, but I think you're a bit far gone for playing about, don't you?"
Sherlock's thighs are shaking on either side of John's hips, her heels sliding and seeking for purchase on rough denim.
"Sherlock, you need to make me start coming," John says softly. "You need to move."
"I can't," Sherlock groans. "It's too much."
"Yes you can," John counters. "It won't take a lot, I'm not a boy anymore."
He slips his hands from her hips to the small of her back, and lifts her slightly, lets her sink again. His cock pulls out fractionally, pushes back in.
"Oh my God," Sherlock gasps.
The friction is a sharp, sudden counterpoint to the steady, unfocused roiling of heat and stretch between her legs.
"Just like that, can you do that?" John coaxes, shaping the shift of her pelvis with his hands again.
"No," Sherlock pleads, but she is.
She's moving tentatively, without rhythm or grace, but she's doing it: tilting her hips up and then down, working an inch or two of John's cock in and out. John lets go of her; Sherlock scrabbles one heel onto his behind and plants the other squarely on the floor for better leverage. The rub of his cock inside her is, at least, a powerful distraction from the relentless stretch.
John runs one hand up her bare side, up under the rucked folds of her half-unbuttoned shirt, and covers the small swell of her breast with his palm. The contact of rough skin against her swollen nipple sparks new paths of sensation, bright flashes of stimulation that dart down her sides and into her groin. Sherlock lifts her foot from the floor, locking both ankles on John's behind, and braces herself with a hand on the back of the armchair. She's moving more freely now, more swiftly, using the strength of her back and stomach and thighs to work herself back and forth on him. John squeezes her breast, pinches her nipple; Sherlock groans aloud and rolls her hips more extravagantly.
"Oh, Christ, yes," John growls, dropping his other hand to cup his balls appraisingly. "Like that - that's going to start me coming - my balls are filling up."
Sherlock gives a little start, then catches hold of his arm, compelling his gaze as she rocks under him.
"Sherlock," John breathes, "Sherlock."
Sherlock nods, her eyes narrowing, her fingers tightening on the sleeve of his sweater. John drops his head and closes his eyes.
"There," he murmurs, "oh - there."
Sherlock feels a tiny quiver, like a champagne bubble bursting. For a millisecond she feels some relief, then the pressure is back, worse than ever.
"There you go," John says, opening his eyes to grin down at her. "Now you're in business."
He straightens, and strips his sweater and tee shirt off in one layer. Sherlock can feel her hipbones creaking, can see her belly distending with the pressure of John's knot swelling inside her. John catches his breath, clearly overtaken by pleasure.
"What - you said it would help," Sherlock snaps, slapping two-handed at his bare arms and shoulders. "It's not helping."
"Whoa - okay, stop," John says, managing to get hold of her hands and baffle them against his chest. "This is not the time to start a fight, we are literally stuck with each other until you're done."
Another champagne bubble bursts, this one just a little more definite.
"Done?" Sherlock echoes plaintively.
Several champagne bubbles pop simultaneously. Sherlock might find it pleasant, if her nerves weren't already stunned by sensation and craving something definitive.
"How can you not know?" John says breathily. "This is basic human biology, Sherlock."
He takes one of her hands and guides it down, under her own behind, to his balls. They're swollen and hard, pulling the thin skin of his sac taut.
"I'm - oh - I'm coming in you," John says, and Sherlock can feel his balls pulse under her fingers when his voice breaks. "There's postaglandins in the semen - not much at first, but as my balls empty, more and more. That's what makes you come."
"What do I - what do I have to do?" Sherlock asks.
John shakes his head, clearly struggling for coherence now.
"It doesn't matter, that's the point," he gasps. "Move, or don't move - nothing on earth can hurry it up, nothing on earth can stop it from happening."
"Oh," Sherlock says, and then with dawning appreciation, "oh."
The tension is her groin reaches a new high, something quivers, a delicious falling away that eases her just enough to let her take a breath, then the tension is back and building again. John leans down on her, nuzzling his nose and mouth against her hair and temple and cheek.
"Oh, Christ," he growls, "that's it - you're taking it, taking my sperm, going to come from it."
His knot is locking them together so tightly his cock can't move in her, but Sherlock's clit is exposed by the stretch of her groin and pressed against his pubic hair. She writhes under him, gasping, and winds her arms around his bare shoulders. She strains, leaning into the intensity, triggering another small, falling respite. This time it blooms more strongly, pleasureable but too short, too timid.
John huffs against her ear, pleased and in pleasure himself.
"You're starting to feel it now, aren't you?" he says, rocking against her, rubbing the hairy base of his belly over her clit, a maddeningly short stroke with them fixed together by his knot. "Starting to feel the fuck."
Sherlock jerks, clawing at him, at his shoulders and neck, forcing him to lift his face so that she can dart her open mouth at his.
"John, John, oh God John, oh God," she gasps, while he smiles, biting the words gently from her lips.
The falls are coming faster, more precipitously now, she can't believe that she can feel such piercing, sweet pleasure and yet be so desperate for something else.
"Nearly there," John says, pulling out of her grasp despite her resistance. "Feel."
He draws her hand down to his balls again; they're smaller, soft, hanging in the loose folds of his sac.
"I'm nearly empty," John says.
Sherlock arches, her body tightening and then easing every few seconds now. John straightens, staring in delight as she rises and falls, throwing her head from side to side and biting her lips. He puts the heel of his hand over her clit, and Sherlock thrashes. She jerks her hips, her belly undulating, pulling fiercely at the knot filling her. John wrinkles his nose, his eyes slitted, his own pleasure ebbing but utterly engrossed in hers.
"Oh God, John - " Sherlock cries.
"You did it, you took it all," John croons, "you took what you needed."
Sherlock convulses, her head and shoulders and upper back curling off the seat of the armchair, her knees jerking up almost to her chest, her body shuddering, coming in long, powerful pulses that wipe everything else from her awareness. A sound - a scream, but deeper, more gutteral, more triumphant - rips out of her open mouth.
"Mine, my Sherlock," John is murmuring, even as she's still jolting around him, "mine, all mine."
Sherlock shivers, sobs in relief and exhaustion, and falls back on the seat. Another tremor shakes her, making her gasp weakly.
"I - no more," she whispers. "Please."
"All done," John assures her.
He gathers her in his arms and draws back onto his knees with her straddling his lap. Sherlock groans, half in pleasure, half in complaint.
"Shh," John says against her hair. "Just rest. At my age, it takes a while for this thing to go down."
Sherlock murmurs into his shoulder, her cheeks and lips pressed into red and ruined flesh.
"Just so you know," John says, "if you ever decide to do this again, it'll feel a lot better if you don't wait until you're half mad from heat sign - an alpha needs to be told to stay home. Don't let them go stomping off when they should be seeing to their duty."
"Consider yourself told," Sherlock smiles, turning her face into John's neck and closing her eyes.
wow, okay, that was random. we do seem to have a working version of john watson, though. what'll we do with him???