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Slow Burn

Chapter Text

Joan grabs Sherlock's wrist, hard. He stumbles, twists. Looks at her like she is the one about to jump into a freezing cold river.


"They will get away," he says, with that air of desperation he gets when cannot solve a puzzle on the first try.


"I know." Joan slowly pulls him back from the low wall. Sherlock makes a move toward the river and she fists her other hand in his coat, drags him close. His breath is hot on her face, a white cloud in the cold air.


"Don't you dare," she hisses. "We are going home and we are going to let the police sort this out." Sherlock looks out over the river. Opens his mouth to speak, to make some terribly condescending remark about the police' capabilities no doubt and Joan wants to punch him.


She doesn't, but it's a close thing. She just tightens her grip on his wrist and Sherlock makes a very soft noise in the back of his throat.


"We are going home."


~ * ~


There is a slight bruise on Sherlock's wrist, reddened skin around a sickle of dark red from where Joan dug her fingernails into his flesh. Joan's breath leaves her on a helpless rush when she sees it.


Her first impulse is to apologize. She should. But there is something about the way Sherlock looks at her right then, how he stands so still with the ghost of a smile on his lips.


Wordlessly, she strokes a finger over the bruise, then turns away and busies herself with making tea.


~ * ~


Sherlock is walking around shirtless again. It's slightly distracting. Joan watches him out of the corner of her eyes, the way the muscles in his back move, the way he mutters to himself, touches his fingers to his wrist. The bruise has been gone for a few days.


Joan looks back down at her book and realizes she is trying to read the same paragraph for the fourth time. With a sigh, she closes the book. Hesitates for a moment. Raises her head and watches Sherlock without trying to hide it.


Joan is well aware that Sherlock can be considered quite attractive. She knows what that feels like, looking at an attractive man and wanting him. But this, this creeping itch under her skin that makes her run hot whenever she thinks about the noise he made when she grabbed him, when she hurt him.


This itch is making her reckless.


"Sherlock," she calls out. He comes to a halt, with his back to her.


"Miss Watson?" He sounds a little cocky. Joan is fairly sure he knows she's been watching him. She stands, leaving her book on the armchair, takes the few steps separating them. Stops so close to him he has to be able to feel her breath on the bare skin of his back. So close she can hear his breath hitch, but still he doesn't move an inch.


She wants to bite him. Wants to sink her teeth into the skin of his shoulder until he bleeds. Joan shivers with how much she wants it.


"Call me Joan," she whispers. "And put a damn shirt on."


~ * ~




"Well, yes. Sure."


"Some other time? That is not very specific."


"Yes, of course. Fine."




Joan isn't listening. Well, not deliberately, at least. She just happens to be very quietly standing just inside the door of her room while Sherlock paces in the hall. He sounds perfectly normal. Almost emotionless.


Perhaps it's the tattooed lady on the other end of the line. Joan wonders if Sherlock calls someone different every time he has to 'feed' his brain and body. Wonders if he always wants the same thing.


Handcuffs on a ladder. Six feet high.


The phone goes clattering to the floor. Joan wants to sigh. Then Sherlock lets out a terribly helpless noise, this half-choked yell of frustration.


Handcuffs on a ladder.


That itch crawls down Joan's spine, crawls downdowndown and settles burning hot between her legs, like wildfire.


~ * ~


She is cutting red peppers. Sherlock ambles down the hall, leans casually against the kitchen's doorjamb and watches her with a startling intensity. Joan tries to ignore him but she feels like she's always two seconds from cutting herself.


"If you have some deduction you have to share with me, out with it," she says, waving at him with a slice of pepper. "This staring is irritating." Sherlock hums a little.


"You want to have sex with me." Joan drops the pepper. She turns, stares. Sherlock ambles closer and speaks before she can reply.


"Well, not just sex. You want to punish me. You think I need to be punished. You think I need that, to be put into my place like a bad dog."


That's not true, she wants to say, but no words come. There is something awful about the conversational tone he uses. Joan's throat feels tight. She swallows. Looks down at the dropped pepper. She puts her knife down, washes her hands and faces Sherlock, who has remained silent the entire time. She looks at him now, really looks. Observes.


He stands with this air of casualness but the skin around his eyes is tense, his lips thin, and his hands twitch as her gaze flits down. He's trying too hard.


"You don't know what I want," she says softly. Sherlock's expression hardens.


"I don't? Go on, then. Tell me how I'm wrong." He's so damn arrogant, lower jaw shifted forward in that stubborn way he has, so full of himself and Joan wants––she wants…


"I want to bite you." The words come unbidden, too fast for Joan to stop them but she doesn't try, doesn't even want to. It all comes pouring out in a torrent, every stray thought and desire she's ever felt for him, every urge that has burned beneath her skin as she closes the distance between them, gets all up in his space.


"I want to mark you up, I want to hold you down so hard you bruise, I want to fuck you until you beg me to stop, I want to see if you can come on just my fingers, I want to make you scream, to make you cry, I want to tell you no, I want you to love it, I want you to get on your knees and beg to eat me out––"


They're standing nose to nose now, Joan breathing hard and Sherlock gone utterly still, his eyes bright like candleflame. She has never seen the expression on his face before.


"Right now?" he whispers, breathless like somebody stole the air right from his lungs.


Joan's heart stumbles a bit. She takes a breath. "Get on your knees."


He does, sinks to the floor with a grace that seems inhuman in this moment that has her rubbed so raw. Joan puts a hand in his hair, tugs his head back. His lips are parted slightly and she can't resist sliding her fingers over them, feeling their roughness and the hot wet inside of his mouth. She presses down on his tongue and he moans softly, eyes closing.


Joan's knees go a little weak at that. She cups his face, tilts it higher. "What do you say?"


Sherlock swallows, opens his eyes. "Please," he says, voice thick. "Please let me eat you out, Joan, please."


"Very good."


Sherlock's fingers are clumsy, trying to find the zipper of her skirt until she pulls it up and pushes her tights down, impatient to get his mouth between her legs. He licks her then, right through her panties, gets her wet. She laughs, half a pant, pulls on his hair again when he tries to take her panties off.


"Use your teeth," she whispers. "And don't touch yourself." He groans, right against her pussy. Joan shivers, feels heat pool low in her belly.


Sherlock is quick about it, makes Joan wonder if he's had practice, and how much – until he's really licking her, wriggling his tongue inside, dragging it up to her clit, circling and back down again. His lips are rough and his tongue is soft and wet and so warm. Pleasure makes Joan's blood sing, and when Sherlock starts sucking on her clit she comes, quick and hard, riding out the deep throb of it with her hands tight on the back of his head.


She eases him back and he whimpers. He's dug his fingers into his thighs and he's hard in his jeans, hips hitching in desperation. His mouth is red with her wetness smeared over his chin.


Beautiful, Joan thinks. She can't help smiling, giddy with the rush of it.


"Can I––" Sherlock swallows hard. "Can I come?"


She caresses his cheek.


"Not yet."


~ * ~


The second time is slower. Joan spreads Sherlock out on her bed, naked and spread-eagled but without the handcuffs.


"You move, I stop, alright?"


"Yeah." He smiles, skewed. "Will you bite me?"


Joan feels a grin tug at her mouth and doesn't try to stop it. "Among other things. Don't come until I tell you." She's sitting between his splayed thighs and puts her hands on his hips, digs her fingers in. Sherlock lets out a choked noise and shivers, full-body.


Joan kisses him, first. Leaves scratches on his belly and the soft insides of his thighs and licks the resulting sounds right out of his mouth. She bites his neck, his chest and hip, hard enough to leave a lasting imprint of her teeth.


When she's done sucking a hickey into his neck, she wraps one hand around his cock, strokes it carefully. Says, "You can come," and bites Sherlock's ear. He does, keening and trying to muffle it into the pillow.


I want to hear you. Joan keeps that one for next time.


~ * ~


When Joan wakes in the morning, she is almost uncomfortably aroused. Sherlock didn't stay the night, which doesn't surprise her. She finds him still in his bed, which does.


"No consulting today?"


Sherlock turns over, sleepy-eyed and bed-ruffled. "What are you doing in here?"


Joan thinks it should be quite obvious; she feels like somebody wrote 'I'm horny' in bright pink letters all over her. Sherlock does figure it out quickly once she stands at the edge of his bed, eyes widening slightly and blood rising in his cheeks.


"You seem to possess the libido of a teenager," he mutters, a little awed perhaps, as he spreads his legs.


Joan crawls on the bed until she's looming over him. "I was worse as a teenager." She smiles and steals a kiss that Sherlock melts into, morning breath and all.


"Turn on your belly," Joan says against his lips, pulling back to give him room to move. He squints at her over his shoulder when he's done and she gently manoeuvers his hands to the small of his back.




"Yes," comes the reply, drawn out on a hiss. Joan can feel the strain of his muscles as she strokes his shoulder, down to his wrists and grips them, holds them fast to his back. She shifts until her crotch is resting against the swell of his ass, two layers of cloth between them but still she can feel his body heat like a furnace.


She ruts into him, once, to get a feel for the motion and Sherlock gasps. Joan stills, leans over him. "Sherlock?"


His eyes are glazed over. "I––It's good," he whispers desperately. Joan hesitates for a moment, pleasure held at bay by caution but then, Sherlock spits, "Please, it's good!" like it's hurting him to say it and Joan slides into it. She ruts into him, friction and heat ratcheting her pleasure slowly but surely up. Sherlock pants harshly, these helpless sobbing breaths that sound incredibly loud in the quiet of morning, even though he tries to shove his face into the mattress. Joan gets goosebumps listening to him.


She braces one hand next to his head, the other on his wrists and speaks directly into his ear, "Don't hide," grinds her hips into him, once, twice, until he turns his head to the side, looks up at her from beneath heavy lashes.


"Yes," Joan breathes, shivers right down to her core, and on the next shove Sherlock outright sobs, hips bucking, coming apart under her and Joan comes, too, grinding into him and holding there, feeling the pulse of it crest and soften.


"That was good, right?" she asks, after she's let go of his hands and is lying next to him on her back. Sherlock is still on his belly, but he's drawn one hand up to his neck, touching the bite she left there less than twelve hours ago.


"Yes. That was very good," he says, face unreadable. And then he sits up and disappears into the bathroom without another word.

Chapter Text

Honey drips from the ceiling. Again. Joan puts a bowl on the floor to catch it, then makes her way up the stairs to the roof. Sherlock sits in his bee-watching chair, wearing another truly awful sweater. She stops beside him, and for a long moment they're both silent, just the sound of bees buzzing filling the evening air.


"What chapter are you writing?"




"Your bee book."


"Oh." Sherlock tilts his head. "I wasn't, actually. Not right now." He barely glances at her and it stings, more than Joan would like to admit. She wraps her arms around herself. It's cold, even with her cardigan.


"Sherlock, what are you doing?" It comes out angrier than she intended but it gets him to look at her, which is more than she got all day.


"I'm sitting, but I don't think that's what you mean."


Joan huffs an incredulous little laugh. "I mean that you've managed to ignore me since this morning, which is impressive considering we've never been apart for more than ten minutes. Don't you know how to talk to me anymore now that I know what you look like when you come?"


Sherlock stands abruptly. "I didn't want you to think that our frankly incredibly unprofessional adventure constituted some kind of relationship. I needed––" He breaks off. Joan feels very numb. Blindsided.


"…to function at optimum level, I know." Her voice sounds hollow. He scowls and mutters, "Yes." His jaw clenches, the tendons in his neck standing out. Joan's gaze catches on the movement, on the hickey in the curve of it. The skin seems darker, rougher than she remembers, like he's been scratching it––


"There's no need for repeat performances," Sherlock says and starts to move past her.


"Bullshit," she says quietly. He hesitates and Joan turns around, fixes him with her stare. "You don't need it, you want it. That's what frightens you, isn't it?"


He isn't moving. Not leaving, not turning.


"Because need, and addiction, that's one thing; but want… that's all on you. It's all you."


The bees's hum fills the silence, bloats it until it chafes at Joan. She looks at the ground, rubs at her face. She walks back to the stairs, turns around on the first step down.


"I want a repeat performance."


~ * ~


There are two bodies this time. There's no blood, no bruises, nothing. Sherlock flits around them like a hummingbird, snapping questions at passing police officers. Joan hangs back, uncomfortable. The victims are very young. Her guess is poison but Sherlock would probably declare it too easy. Suddenly he whirls around and breezes past her, feet catching in the thick, holey carpet. He tips forward and Joan reaches out to grab him, but he's already righting himself again and she holds on anyway, longer than is perhaps appropriate.




 Sherlock gives her a look that's almost hunted, continues hastily on his way.


Outside, still within the police tape, he touches her elbow. Leans down when she looks at him, whispers in her ear.


"The––the handcuffs. They're in the bottom drawer of the tallboy in the living room." Joan's heartrate picks up and she has the sudden wild urge to shove Sherlock against the next car and kiss him until he can't breathe.


Instead, she slides her arm into his coat where it's not visible to the people walking by and grips him, pulls him ever so slightly closer.


"Tell Gregson we're leaving." He does, with the slightest hitch in his voice. Joan smirks, just a little.


~ * ~


Sherlock's back hits the hits the wall before the door's even properly closed. Joan kicks it shut and then she's on him, pressed close in the dark hallway. For a rough moment they're just breathing each other's air, then, "You can touch me," she says and moves in for the kill.


She gets his lips open on a breath, licks into his mouth, kisses him deep and hard while his hands fumble along her waist, her shoulders, the back of her head. There's this low, hungry noise and Joan isn't sure if it was hers but Sherlock's breath hitches, legs sliding apart so she slots between them, his head rolling back against the wall.


It's an invitation if Joan's ever seen one and she sets her teeth to the bared skin, marks him up, Sherlock panting for it, his cock growing hard against her hip. His fingers are tight on her shoulders, like he's barely hanging on and it makes Joan's blood sing.


She eases up on him, one last bite to his neck, and drags him halfway up the stairs. Pulls off his coat. "Go shower. Clean yourself up and wait for me."


"Everywhere?" Sherlock looks mauled, with an eager gleam in his eyes, almost bouncing on the balls of his feet.


Joan shivers a little at the thought. "Everywhere."


She watches him go, shamelessly admiring his backside as he climbs the stairs. The handcuffs are easy to find, exactly where Sherlock said. They're just not the only thing in the drawer. A belt, a tub of lube and a––a feeldoe. Joan makes a very undignified noise.


The hum of the shower is audible now. She hesitates, pulse racing.


…Well. She's only human.


Sherlock's bed is closest so that's where the contents of the drawer end up, strewn across the cover. Joan toes off her shoes on the way to the bathroom, shawl, coat, cardigan leaving a trail like breadcrumbs behind her. Sherlock has left his clothes in a heap on the floor and the rest of Joan's join them.


A cloud of steam welcomes Joan as she opens the door, anticipation coiling deep in her gut. Sherlock is a blurry shape behind the fogged glass of the shower stall.


It's a little cramped, the two them inside with the door slid shut but it doesn't matter once she gets her hands on him, sliding over soap-slick skin, the touch sparking current like a livewire. He moves into it, shivers when she finds his bruises, presses her fingers into them. The hot water has driven his blood right to the surface, a flush that stretches all the way down his chest.


Joan feels the same heat rising under her skin and she turns the water back on, keeps Sherlock close with one hand on the small of his back, standing in the soft rush of it.


"I forgot to ask," she says, "if you had a safeword." Sherlock snorts lightly and she digs her nails into the meat of his ass.


"Do you?"


"…It's Reichenbach," he murmurs then, his voice gone tight and breathy. He tilts his head. "Can I…"


"Yeah." Joan meets him for a kiss, bites at his lips, one of his hands tangling in her wet hair while hers skim down his back. She reaches the dip of his spine, slips that one inch deeper until two fingers are resting in the cleft between his buttocks. Sherlock's hips shift a little.


"You clean yourself here, too?"


"I didn't get that far," he replies and he's grinning a bit, biting his lip like he's trying to hide it. Joan smirks, feels playful and reckless. "Yeah?" She slips further, just touching his hole. "Wanted me to do it, huh?"


"Yes," Sherlock hisses and Joan has to kiss him again, fumbling blind for the bottle of shower gel. She finally gets it open, squirting a fat drop of it on his lower back and he jerks at the sudden cold, his arms wrapping round her shoulders, holding on. She lets him, gets most of the second drop on her fingers and drops the bottle to the ground.


Sherlock sighs when she gets the first finger in, this long blissful sound that has gooseflesh breaking out all over Joan's skin. She pushes deeper, seeking, and suddenly he groans roughly, buries his face in the space between her neck and shoulder. Paydirt.


Water is falling on the top of his head and her back. She turns her head into it, whispers into his ear. "If you want more, you're gonna have to ask for it."


Sherlock's voice sounds like it's in tatters. "Will you open me up?"


Joan moves fast, after that. She gets him out of the shower and by the time she's kissing him down into his bed they're both semi-dry, towels strewn behind them like another breadcrumbs' trail. She gets him open with three fingers and a downright filthy amount of lube. He's kneeling on the foot of the bed, rocking back against her, and he keeps letting out these little mewls that she's almost sure he's not even aware of. The thought makes her shiver.


"Here's what's going to happen," she says once she's finished. "I'm going to wear the feeldoe and you're going to ride me; and if you can make me come like that, I'll think about letting you come."


"I think you underestimate me," Sherlock murmurs, smirking up at her. Joan pinches his nipple. "And you don't get to use your hands," she adds, folding his arms behind his back. "That's what the handcuffs are for."


His breathing staggers as she puts the cuffs on him and she soothes a hand down his spine, kisses the nape of his neck. Sherlock watches silently while she lubes the feeldoe and slides the bulbous end into herself. Joan shudders a bit once it settles, tugs at it and it tilts inside her, rubbing at her clit, pushing against all the right spots. She lies down on her back and beckons Sherlock who teeters forward on his knees with an expression that manages to be both long-suffering and dignified.


"You couldn't have waited to cuff me until after I sit on your prick, could you?" He mutters as he struggles to swing one leg over her hips without losing his balance. Joan smirks. "That would've been too easy." But she steadies him until his knee has found purchase on the mattress.


Sherlock wriggles around with a look of intense concentration on his face that melts into one of surprised pleasure as the slick head of the feeldoe catches on his perineum. Joan's insides clench at the sight.


"Come on," she coaxes, placing her hands on his thighs. He shuffles a bit more, stills, breathes deeply and lets gravity take him down. They're both panting by the time his buttocks touch her thighs.


Sherlock's biting his lip, breathing fast and shallowly as he starts to move. Joan moans quietly when he tilts his hips in a way that makes the feeldoe push into her sweet spot, hears him do the same. His first movements are a little awkward but soon he settles into a rocking motion that has them sighing in unison. His cock is red and hard and smearing wetness on her stomach every time he rocks forward.


"Faster," Joan orders, feeling heat and tension rising between her legs. Sherlock complies, head thrown back like he can't help it, and maybe she did underestimate him because she's going to come like this, easy, swift and crushing like a tidal wave.


She surges up when her orgasm takes her, catching Sherlock by the waist, holding him tight. He gasps, choked, surges against her. They crash, curl together, calming like waves after a storm.


"Joan," Sherlock whines, this high sound that's barely her name. She bucks, one last aftershock, panting. "I've got you. I've got you." His legs are curled tight around her back.


Joan opens the handcuffs and tips over and to the side, rolling until Sherlock is underneath her. He grabs at her shoulders as they go down, breath whooshing out of him. She kisses him, lips, jaw, collarbone, then she cuffs his hands again, this time above his head.


"Are-- are you gonna let me come?" he huffs and Joan can tell he's trying for cocky but falling short by several miles. She gives him a smile and hikes one of his legs over her shoulder.


"Patience," she says and bites his neck, gives him a shallow thrust. He moans, half-stifled, legs tightening around her. Joan continues the pace and braces herself on her hands to sits up.


Sherlock's head is thrown to the side, upper arm almost covering his face. Joan feels a rush of cold slither across her skin.


"No," she whispers and stops moving. "Don't do that."


He groans in disappointment, tries to drag her back in again with his legs. She doesn't yield, slaps his cuffed hands down on the mattress when he tries to touch his cock.


"Stop hiding from me," she spits. Sherlock looks at her then, eyes wide. "I'm not--" he starts but she silences him with a glare. "You are," she says. Then, softer: "I want to see you. I want to hear you."


Joan releases his hands. Sherlock watches her, chest heaving, sweat gleaming on his skin. Their breathing seems very loud suddenly, and the defeaning quiet grows; grows until Sherlock closes his eyes, swallows, opens them again.


"Please fuck me," he begs, "Joan."


She does, slides into him on an exhale, smooth, makes him sigh. Sinks deep, makes him cry out. Gets a hand on his cock and does it again, deeper, gentle, and Sherlock keens like a wild thing.


His body arches and Joan fucks him through it, fucks him until he's spent and boneless, until she comes again, shuddering.