John is completely exhausted when he gets out of the brightly painted cab that stops in front of the building number 221B in Baker Street. He stretches extensively while the driver opens the trunk and takes out his black suitcase. A tortured sigh escapes John as he slams the car door shut and spots the colourful traveltonewzealand.co.uk advertisement displayed on the side of the vehicle. He didn’t notice it before when he got inside, but considering his thirty-hour flight, such a thing was probably to be expected.
John’s neck, back and joints feel like they have been put through a meat grinder and replaced with rubber. Eyes and throat are sore from the dry airplane air, and the pressure on his ears has not yet subsided. Thanks to a whimpering toddler in the row right behind him, John wasn’t able to sleep a wink the whole flight. Wretched and deeply exhausted, he picks a few pounds from his wallet and hands them to the driver, thanks him and pulls out the handle of the suitcase to pull it over the pavement.
The last ten days, which were supposed to have been a two weeks holiday, felt more like a nightmare. Well, the first five days had been relatively pleasant. They had spent a few nights at the home of Bob and his wife Adelaine, exchanged stories, were shown around Wellington and had shared some excellent food. John had been particularly intrigued by the meals cooked in an earth oven. However, Sarah was not impressed. She considered it dirty and was therefore satisfied with the typical English dishes that could be found on every street corner.
After leaving Bob and Adelaine to settle in a hotel, the mood had only become more strained every day. It was absolutely not a problem with the hotel, since it was clean, well equipped (huge pool, excellent spa, friendly staff) and the view from the fifth floor was breathtaking. However, their shared holiday in New Zealand, those fourteen days without a single chance to avoid each other, hadn’t been good for them.
"We have nothing to talk about!" Sarah nagged one evening while jumping from the bed, slipping into her shorts.
"But I’m talking all the time!"
"I can no longer listen to it, John! It’s Sherlock this and Sherlock that – it’s unbearable! You’ve no other topic of discussion! You don’t even notice when you are talking about him! When I ask you something, the response most likely has something to do with Sherlock! Sherlock thinks! Sherlock told me! SherlockSherlockSherlock!"
"That is not true."
Yes, his denial could be called half-hearted at best. John knew that Sarah wasn’t wrong. John knew that Sherlock was fascinating. John knew there was nothing and no one he liked to talk more about. And why not? Who didn’t like the crazy adventures of the clever and world's only consulting detective? The source of inspiration for his blog! Well, obviously, Sarah Sawyer.
Thereafter, the mood had cooled by the minute, until John thought he heard ice crunch in her every word. At first, John didn’t dare open his mouth again, but soon, he completely lost interest in even trying. Of course, that was another thorn in Sarah’s side and they had one hell of a fight, which eventually ended with John changing the booking of his flight for an exorbitant sum and returning to London four days early.
Now, standing in front of the black door with the golden numbers and the knocker askew is like a balm on John’s ill-treated soul. His mobile had given up during the long flight and the stopover in Singapore had offered no opportunity to charge the device, so that sending a - thanks to roaming charges - overpriced message to Sherlock which would have announced his return early had been impossible. Judging by the ecstatic tingling in his belly, John is a little bit excited about being able to surprise Sherlock.
For a ridiculously brief moment, John ponders whether to heave the suitcase upstairs, but he decides against it. After a few hours of sleep and a good meal, he would see to this detail. Surely, Mrs Hudson would understand. John pushes the heavy suitcase into a corner of the entrance hall so it doesn’t get in the way, and climbs the seventeen steps to the first floor. The door is ajar. John enters the sitting room and a smile immediately appears on his lips. Only then does he realise how much he’s missed this dusty mess.
The flat looks exactly like it did when he left. With the small addition of some files which suspiciously look like they belong to Scotland Yard (which Sherlock hopefully received from Greg and didn’t nick), and a couple of empty teacups lying around. This can only mean that Mrs Hudson, who usually takes care of the inexorable chaos when John is not at home, is either visiting her sister for a few days or that Sherlock has scared her away. Hopefully not the latter. John would have to grovel to excuse the uncouth behaviour of his flatmate because Sherlock probably doesn’t even understand what he might have done wrong. But in John’s opinion Mrs Hudson is vital for the survival of the two men living here and she must therefore be handled with care. He makes a mental note to drop by her flat tomorrow at the latest and check if everything is in order.
But first, Sherlock is due a proper greeting. However, it turns out that he is neither in the kitchen, nor in his room. The door to the latter is merely ajar. Strange. Sherlock usually closes it carefully before leaving the house. The room is messier than usual. Sherlock’s chaos is normally limited to the other rooms, but now a couple of drawers are open, clothes hanging out or lying forgotten on the floor. The bed is unmade, the duvet kicked carelessly to the foot. Everything indicates that Sherlock had a major sulk paired with devastating boredom. Despite the three cases which lie on the sitting room table.
Not a good sign.
A surge of panic rises in John’s chest at the thought that Sherlock could have turned to another form of entertainment, which might require a drug test. Helplessly, he clenches his left fist. He digs the mobile out of his pocket, curses at the sight of the lifeless screen and is just about to climb the stairs to his bedroom when he hears a muffled moan of pleasure. John’s stomach suddenly clenches into a tight knot. A hot wave of arousal flows through his limbs and tingles up to the very tips of his fingers. His mouth is bone dry all of a sudden.
Although a voice in his head is hysterically yelling nononono, he sets one foot in front of the other, consciously avoiding every creaking inch of the steps with frayed nerves and sneaks upstairs. Another audible gasp makes him jump and freeze. John opens his mouth to silently suck air into his constricted lungs, and then continues with tentative steps. His eyes are fixed on his room’s door. It’s ajar. There is a thin strip of yellow light from his bedside lamp where the gap is, but that’s all he can see. Impossible to take a look inside without opening the door further.
John bites down on his lips so hard that he almost makes a pained sound. His body is completely confused. On the one hand something similar to anger simmers in his stomach because his roommate is apparently having sex in his room. (Is anyone else in there with him? For God's sake, please let him not be having S.E.X. with a stranger in my bed! And certainly not with someone I know!)
On the other hand the rational part of his brain registers his increased heart rate, the faltering breath, the sweaty palms, and finally the fierce pull in his groin. The long flight’s fatigue throbs somewhere behind his temples and tries in vain to regain his lost attention. Attention that is now completely fixated on the bright gap, which seems to be calling to him, so very promising. Like the moth to the light, John climbs the last three steps without making a sound. A small – obviously totally perverse – part of himself is a little proud of this achievement.
Standing directly in front of the gap, the angle is still wrong and John still has no direct view of the bed. What he can see is in the mirrored door of the wardrobe that Mrs Hudson had left him when he moved in. John’s heart skips. Just stops beating. Conks out. That must be because all his blood single-mindedly pools down between his legs and lets his cock swell so fast, it inevitably reminds him of his teenage years. Another passionate moan from inside the room jerks his body out of its current state of shock and lets him gasp for air. Meanwhile, the sight that greets John’s eyes in the mirror etches itself into his retinas.
Sherlock is kneeling naked on the bed with his back turned to John. His legs are spread wide. The view of his erect penis and tense testicles is unhindered, the entire area shaved smoothly and alarmingly intimate. To have his arms free Sherlock's upper body is resting on his chest and shoulders. Bracing his right wrist on his butt, tense fingers are clasping the wide end of a flexible object protruding from his arse. It’s a black dildo, shimmering wet in the lamplight. Stunned, John observes as the hand’s movements seamlessly transfer to the dildo; as it smoothly slides into his body and out again; as choppy breaths and wanton sounds writhe from the man’s throat.
The muscles in his arm constrict as Sherlock pushes the dildo deep into himself again, letting so much desire coursing through every fibre of his body that he struggles to keep his uncomfortable position and not tilt to one side. Even his toes are so tense that they cling to the loose sheets. The sphincter stretches obscenely around the black silicone. The play of light on sweaty skin is overwhelming. Sighing, Sherlock turns his head to the side to breathe more easily. Between his pillow and wild curls John catches sight of a red mouth, the beautiful bow of sensual lips.
Startled, John pulls his hand back. It had migrated over to his very prominent erection which was trapped in trousers that were now far too tight. Touching himself while watching his bloody roommate masturbate definitely oversteps boundaries, and John will not and cannot overstep those boundaries. At least not now. He is aware of the fact that he will not be able to forget these images; that they will follow him until he gives in to the urge – and beyond.
"Oh ... nnn ..." The sigh echoes shamelessly from the walls of his room. John watches as the free left hand that previously helped to balance out the fragile equilibrium emerges, fumbling under the lithe body of his flatmate. Almost timidly four fingertips slide over the soft skin of the testicles, roll and tickle them casually. They move on, closing themselves around the erect penis, agitatedly pushing the foreskin over the swollen glans. Over and over again. Without great finesse the pumping motion steadily speeds up while the hand on the dildo pauses, holding it convulsively in place. Sherlock's breathing accelerates rapidly; his whole body is stretched like a cat about to jump on its prey. When he comes his left leg upsets the balance by stretching itself. Seeking support, he pushes his face deep into the pillow. Most of his loud groan is swallowed, but not nearly enough to lessen its effect on John.
Pure ecstasy flashes through John's body, bites fiercely into his groin and makes him hold his breath laboriously. Somehow, he manages to break away almost at the same moment and rushes down the stairs without stepping on a creaking spot. Quick-witted he reaches for his black jacket with the leather patches on the coat rack, darts to the front door, dives out onto the street and closes it quietly behind him. It’s too warm for the jacket, but whether this is due to the outside temperature or the heat that has been building up inside him is impossible to say. Thinking about it at the moment is out of the question. Red-faced, he folds the jacket over his lower arm and presses it against his belly, which has the beneficial effect that the bulge in his jeans is sufficiently covered.
With sure steps, he rushes towards Regent's Park. Only when he reaches a remote area with a waterless fountain does John succeed in stopping his blind flight from 221B. He walks over to a bench and sits down. His hands and legs are still shaking so violently that the rational part of his brain spits out the words panic attack. Incredulous, John shakes his head, props his elbows on his knees and buries his face in his hands. (This is anything but panic. I know how panic feels. Ok, it is panic, but... different. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck.) He can’t even explain why he didn’t leave sooner. Why he didn’t pull the alarm bell earlier and do a runner when he first realised what was going on.
The images of Sherlock as he writhed on John’s bed and moaned lustfully replay unintentionally in a loop in John's mind. Every detail he was able to see from his hiding spot is indelibly etched into his memory, every sound burned into his tympanic membrane. How can he go back and face his roommate? Even if Sherlock hadn’t heard him, if John has succeeded in escaping from the apartment unnoticed... his roommate is Sherlock bloody Holmes. The man from whom you can hide absolutely nothing! However, at the moment even a blind man would most probably be able to deduce John’s dilemma.
And then John realises that his suitcase is still standing in the entry hall and that it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that John has witnessed everything.
After two hours of aimlessly walking around, John returns to Baker Street with his tail between his legs. On his wrist dangles a plastic bag filled with boxes from their favourite Chinese on the corner. A little peace offering, even if he cannot imagine that his gaffe will be so easily forgiven. He pushes the door open, enters and instantly realises that his suitcase has disappeared. Gulping down his nervousness, he goes upstairs and pays careful attention to – unlike before – meticulously tread on every creaky step that is known to him. Announced in this way, he enters the sitting room.
Sherlock sits cross-legged in his Le Corbusier chair. Fingertips posed, prayer like, in front of his mouth, his elbows propped up on the armrests to each side. He wears a simple, anthracite-coloured suit and a white shirt. His hair is still a little damp from the shower, but tamed compared to before.
"Hey, Sherlock. I brought food." John smiles self-consciously and goes directly into the kitchen to avoid the storm-blue eyes.
"You're back early. Did you have a quarrel with..." Sherlock wags his hand in the air as if it would help him to remember the name, "Betty?"
"Sarah," John corrects automatically and cannot resist a silent laugh while digging out boxes from the plastic bag and putting them on the kitchen table. "Let's just say ... we didn’t get along as well as I originally thought."
Sherlock wandered into the kitchen and started looking for dishes in the wall cupboard. "Just say 'Yes, we had a fight.' instead of trying to describe the facts with nicer words." He puts plates and spoons on the table, sits down and picks out the wooden chopsticks from the bag. John does the same, breaks them in two and places them deftly between his fingers, so that he can pick up a dumpling from a box.
"Yes, we had a fight. Satisfied?"
Sherlock nods appreciatively. "She doesn’t suit you anyway," he murmurs and shovels fried noodles from another box onto his plate.
With his mouth full, John looks at him across the table. He swallows the chewed mush with great difficulty, then hastily drinks some water. (Then, who’d suit me, you manipulative bastard?) Sighing quietly, John helps himself to another dumpling on which he chews leisurely.
"I’ve brought your suitcase upstairs by the way."
John chokes a little and coughs into his fist. Ginger is burning in his throat. "Thanks," he manages to say and reaches for his glass.
A small smile tugs at the corners of Sherlock's mouth. "You’re welcome."
When they are done with dinner, John wishes Sherlock a good night and goes upstairs. The staccato of his heartbeat vibrated in his throat. At the top of the landing, he pushes the door open, anticipating a completely devastated room. He hesitates for a couple of seconds before entering.
Everything is back to normal. The bed is freshly made, though not quite up to John’s usual military precision. No ominous sex toys have been left behind. No signs of vandalism or Sherlock's unorthodox experiments. John can’t help himself from taking a deep breath in relief.
The suitcase stands alone in front of the dresser, like a loyal friend. John takes out the charging cable and plugs his mobile in. He changes into sweatpants and a T-shirt; folds back the duvet and pauses for a moment. His gaze is fixed on the white sheets, which appear so unreal and innocent when he thinks back to what has recently happened here that he doubts it happened at all for a second. He glides both his hands over the fabric, eventually crawls under the duvet and presses his face into the fluffy pillow. It smells clean – like detergent and an unknown softener. Mrs Hudson probably changed the brand.
John is a little disappointed.
... your true nature.