Sherlock rolled his eyes. “Honestly, for a man of medicine, your anatomical vocabulary is abysmal.”
“Shut it,” John growled. “Shut it now, or so help me, Sherlock.”
“You'll what, John?” He interrupted with a hiss. “Rather difficult to make threats of violence with your hands just as bound as mine.”
“And exactly whose fault is that?” John snapped, craning his neck in an attempt to get a look at the ropes. A muscle in his shoulder cramped at the strain and he was forced to grit his teeth and ease back to a neutral position.
“Technically, as I'm not the one who tied us up at gunpoint, I can hardly shoulder that blame.”
“Technically, if you'd just shut up when I told you to, he wouldn't have pulled the gun in the first place.” John shifted, testing the strength of the knots. He fumbled along the weave of the rope until he could dig the very tips of his fingers into the broad bulk of hemp.
“Technically, I was only indulging his curiosity. He asked. If he didn't want to know I knew about the STI, he shouldn't have demanded my opinion.”
“I swear to god,” John muttered. “Technically, I'm just sorry he ran out of duct tape. Even if we'd be in a worse way for it. Just one big piece to shut you up for five sodding minutes.” He managed to worm one finger into the first knot and let out a grunt at the success.
“Technically, you're not sorry-”
“Shut up!” John barked. “Jesus, I can't even think with you yammering. Doesn't your mouth get tired?”
“Actually, no. Never has.”
John snorted. “Then I ought to put it to better use sometime.”
“Better use? Are you using vulgar innuendo again?”
“If by vulgar, you mean I was suggesting you suck me off when I get us out of here, then yes. Yes I was.” He muffled a curse as he tore a nail.
“Ah, and when exactly shall I plan to have the pleasure of such a dignified engagement?” Sherlock hopped his chair noisily against the wooden floor. “Preferably before they ignite the kindling on the ground floor.”
“One would hope,” John ground out.
“What are you even doing back there?” Sherlock twisted, trying to force his seat around.
“Stop!” John only managed to slip his fingers free of the knots before they drew tight again. “Jesus, Sherlock!” He clenched both hands into fists out of pure aggravation. “I will fucking leave you here! Just sit still and shut up!”
“You wouldn’t.” There wasn’t a hint of doubt in Sherlock’s voice.
John sighed and twisted his fingers back into the knot. “No. I wouldn’t.”
“You’d be miss me too much.”
John huffed and forced a smile as the rope slipped ever so slightly. “Sure I would.”
“And my yammering.”
“Still talking there?” Oh, that was bloody sore! He tried to ignore the way his hands were starting to throb from the contortion.
“And then who would suck your cock?”
John choked out a laugh. “Speaking of vulgar.”
“There is nothing vulgar about my fellatio, John.”
Nearly there. No, wait, fingers don’t bend that direction! He winced and bit back cuss. “Who shows up to a crime with five strips of duct tape and bloody rigging rope?”
John hummed and managed to get a solid, multi-fingered grip on the rope.
“Do you smell smoke”
“No,” he lied.
“You know, you’re a terrible liar.”
“You can punish me later.” There. There! With a painful yank and the strong probability of leaving a few layers of skin behind, John tugged his right hand free. Then his left.
“How long do you think you could keep from coming?” Sherlock asked almost absently.
John folded to untie his ankles. “How long do you think you could keep from talking?”
“Much longer than I suspect it will take for this building to turn to cinders. John. What are you doing?”
“Hang on.” He freed his second ankle and tumbled out of the chair. His grunt was lost in the echoing scrape of wood on wood as he kicked his chair halfway across the room. “Those were on awfully tight.”
“Oh, sorry for the inconvenience. Did you want to be comfortable as we burned to death?”
“Why? Would it be too much to ask?” John snorted and fumbled around in pockets of Sherlock’s coat until he found the pen-knife. “It would suit me better to feel my toes right now. I have a feeling that running is going to go a bit poorly for me.” He flicked the blade open and sliced through the multiple layers of duct tape around Sherlock’s wrists. “No wonder they ran out of the bloody stuff. It’s like a whole roll on here.”
“Apparently my reputation preceded me.”
“You? Have a reputation?” He stripped the tape and passed the knife forward.
Sherlock freed his own ankles. “Apparently.” He swirled out of the chair and offered a hand up, which John took gladly.
“Alright. That’s my plan done. What now?”
Sherlock cocked a brow. “I thought we’d established what happens next.”
John giggled. “Not in a smoke filled room, you git.”
Sherlock heaved a sigh. “Picky.”
John glanced helplessly at the stairwell, smoke pouring up from the ground floor and the warm glow of flames dancing off the walls below. “How?”
Sherlock grinned. “Fancy a swim?”
But then Sherlock’s chair was airborne, smashing through the window and splashing into the river below. “I think so.”
“No! Sherlock!” John tried to object again, but Sherlock’s grip on his arm in combination with his barely there feet left him unsteady. And Sherlock ran at the window, heaving John through ahead of himself. The water was much, much closer than John initially assumed, and he barely had time to suck in a breath before he plunged under the filthy flow. It was also far, far colder than he expected, and the meager breath he’d managed was knocked from his chest by the frigid river. He felt the corresponding drop in heart rate and for a second, it felt like he was dying. It was, being the Thames, also moving way faster than it appeared. And after being tumbled at least twice, John found up and broke the surface with a gasp.
It was a testament to the number of times it had happened before that John fell into an unconscious pattern of necessity. Air. Stabilize. Sherlock? Ladder. Dry land. And even lying on his back, half drowned and blinking up at threatening autumn skies, John started to laugh. There were sirens off in the distance. They’d have to contact the Met soon. Lestrade was going to be absolutely livid. And by God was he fucking freezing. But he laughed. And next to him, Sherlock chuckled too. “I can’t believe you threw me in the river.”
Sherlock hummed and let his arms flop out to his sides. “That’s what you find hard to believe?”
John giggled. “You’re a cock.”
Sherlock rolled his head to the side, giving John a lazy look. “What have I told you about using that word?”
John laughed harder.
Lestrade crossed his arms and scowled. “Is there some universe in which the pair of you don’t send me to an early grave?”
Sherlock snorted. “There is an infinite number of possibilities, Detective Inspector. One can only assume that there could be a minute, potential chance of it.”
John huffed a laugh and drew the blanket further around his shoulders. As entertaining as the conversation was, he was tired. The cold and bruises were settling into his bones and he’d begun to suspect he’d never be comfortable again. And perching on the rear bumper of the ambulance wasn’t the place to convalesce.
“Sherlock!” Lestrade snapped. “I specifically asked you! You were supposed to call me!”
Sherlock sucked in a sharp breath, probably about to unleash a tirade of epic and scathing proportions, but John cleared his throat to cut him off. “Sorry, Greg.”
The frown was emphatic, but something in Lestrade’s voice belied the sternness. “You should have warned me.”
“I know.” John shivered.
“Fuck’s sake. The bloody pair of you.” Lestrade sighed. “I should insist that the both of you get checked out.” He stabbed a blunt finger at first Sherlock then John. “But after what happened the last time…”
Sherlock chuckled and John managed to cough out a few laughs himself before he thought better of it. “No. No need.” John shook his head. “I’ll manage the antibiotics myself.”
“And you’ll go straight home,” Lestrade said flatly.
“Honestly, Lestrade,” Sherlock huffed. “Would you like to escort us yourself? Are we grounded? What time is curfew on a school night?”
“Sherlock,” John knocked his shoulder off of Sherlock’s arm.
“Ah, yes. I’d forgotten, John. We have plans, do we not?”
John furrowed his brow and blinked. He blinked a few times then he snickered. “That was before you threw me in the river.”
“I don’t believe that was stipulated in the agreement,” Sherlock smirked.
“Check the fine print, you git.”
“Well you’re both fine.” Lestrade crossed his arms again. “My office. Tomorrow before lunch. And I’m sending you home with Carlson. CARLSON!”
“What?” Sherlock snapped. “No!”
“Shut it.” John sniffed and stood, pulling the blanket tight again. “Thanks, Greg.”
It took a few more minutes, some well focused cajoling, and maybe a bit of pity bribing before Sherlock deigned to get into the squad car. And even then, it was to the front passenger seat. Thankfully, Carlson had turned up the heat to what must have been borderline uncomfortable levels. So John curled up in the back and was nearly asleep by the time they reached Baker Street.
“As much as I hate to wake you, I do suspect the Yard might be the slightest bit more capable at their job without you sleeping in their cars.”
John grunted himself awake sharply. “We have to go-”
Sherlock cut him off with a soft smile as he held up a bag from the local chemist. “Apparently Carlson feels bad enough for you that he didn’t bother to wake you for that pit stop either.”
John rubbed at his face and flashed a grateful smile at their escort. “Ta.” He got a nod in return, and that was just fine. Then he pushed himself from the car and trudged after Sherlock. Home. Through the door. Up the stairs. Oh, Mrs. Hudson had started a fire for them. And there was something in the oven giving off a wonderful smell. He sighed in relief.
“Go take a hot bath,” Sherlock murmured, pulling the damp blanket and coat from his shoulders.
“I’d fall asleep and drown myself.”
“Then shower. You smell like the Thames.”
John barked out a laugh. “You and me both.” It was a small sound of agreement, then Sherlock was behind him, ushering him down the hall and into the loo. It briefly occurred to him that the blankets and the coats were probably lying in a pile on the sitting room floor, but then the issue of peeling his sodden jeans off became more complicated. His fingers fumbled with the laces of his shoes, and suddenly they were slow and stupid again, cramping with the cold and the abusive use of the past few hours as exhaustion settled across his frame.
“Come here,” Sherlock pulled him forward by his belt loops and stooped to untie the shoes, and release the button on his jeans, and unzip the fly. And John shivered again. The small bathroom filled rapidly with steam, and John knew the heat would burn for the first few minutes. But Sherlock insistently ignored the grumbling, showing only slight patience when John hissed at the first touch of boiling water on his toes. “It’s not boiling,” Sherlock whispered, hands firmly on John’s hips. “Stop griping for once and trust me.”
“I don’t gripe.” He muttered, leaning back against Sherlock’s lanky frame and closing his eyes.
John hissed again as the water reached his wrists. This time it wasn’t about the cold.
“Rope is worse than duct tape sometimes,” he answered simply.
Sherlock growled out a low disapproval. “And these?” His fingers skirted a few fresh bruises forming along his shoulder blades and ribs.
John smiled wryly. “I’m bad at taking directions from gun wielding criminals.”
“You’re bad at taking direction in general.”
John snorted then hummed contentedly as long fingers began to massage shampoo into his hair. “Pot, kettle.”
“Is that why his friend was so cross?”
“I guarantee he’s more sore than I am.”
“Good.” John’s stomach rumbled loud enough to be heard over the falling water, and Sherlock laughed. “How is it you eat so much all the time and manage to stay fit?”
“Oi!” John swatted at his thigh. “How do you manage to stay fit without eating anything but biscuits?”
Sherlock raised a brow as John turned to rinse the shampoo. “Cock.”
They both dissolved into a fit of laughter.
It was late by the time they’d showered and changed and eaten. The sun was long down, and the stress of the day combined with a full belly, thank you Mrs. Hudson, and the warmth of the fire was enough to lull John into softened lump under the the thick blanket he'd unearthed and burritoed into on the couch. Sherlock clicked off the telly and shook John’s shoulder. “Come on. Bed.”
John grumbled and curled tighter into the blanket. “But this is warm.”
“You’re not sleeping on the couch.”
John squished his eyes tighter shut. “Mmn, warm.”
“John.” Sherlock slipped free of his spot on the sofa and stooped to whisper in John’s ear. “You can get up and make your own way to the bed, or I will carry you.”
John’s entire face scrunched. “You won’t.”
“I will.” He tugged John’s blanket away and headed for the bedroom.
John grumbled, whined, rolled himself off of the sofa onto the floor. He struggled to his feet and trudged through the kitchen. He came close to face-planting on the bed, saved only by a hand on his shoulder, easing him down to the pillows and under the covers. “See,” Sherlock murmured. “It’s warm in here too.”
“Was that entirely necessary?”
“Was what entirely necessary? The vast majority of things are unnecessary, so the answer is most assuredly no.” Sherlock hung his coat on the peg to punctuate his narky response.
John returned the now full kettle to its base with slightly more force than necessary. “It’s not Greg’s fault that you didn’t tell him where we were!”
“The response time of the Met is tediously poor in the best of situations. Do you honestly think it would have made a difference?”
“Made a difference?” John gave him an incredulous look. “Made a difference. Sherlock, what would we have done if I couldn’t get my hands free? Fucking hell, the fact that they even left us conscious!”
“I would have thought of something.”
“You would have… Unconscious and taped to sodding chair?! You would have-” John threw his hands up as the kettle clicked over and hunched over the counter, pretending to make the tea. “Next time, I’m leaving you there, you unfathomable cock.”
Sherlock slid his hands around John’s hips, molding his front to John’s spine. “You wouldn’t,” he purred.
John huffed out a laugh. “That was before you threw me in the river.”
“Hardly the first time.”
He shook his head slowly. “You’re terrible.”
“And what have I told you about using that word.”
John hummed and let his head rock back against Sherlock’s shoulder. “What word?”
John snorted. “And what’s wrong with cock?”
“There are far more appropriate, anatomically accurate words. You’re semi-literate. I expect more from you, doctor.”
“You’re the walking thesaurus, not me.” He bit back a groan at the scrape of teeth behind his ear. “What do you suggest?”
“Medically sound words. Penis, for example.”
“Prick,” John sighed back.
“You’re not even trying,” Sherlock hummed. “You could begin with the parts. Shaft, frenulum.”
John grinned. “Balls.” He yelped as Sherlock pinched his side. “What?” he chuckled.
“There is nothing sexy about balls, John.”
“Yeah, well, suck my testicles just doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
Sherlock nipped at his ear. “John.”
“Mmn?” It was hard to pay attention when Sherlock’s fingers were tracing the waistband of his jeans, sliding into his front pockets, tracing the seam along the inside of his thigh.
“I’m trying to be sexy.”
“You could read a phone book and be sexy.”
“I thought you wanted my mouth to be otherwise occupied.”
“Mmn hm.” He managed to reach a hand over his shoulder to wind his fingers into Sherlock’s curls. “You said it never gets tired.”
“Nope.” He popped the stopplosive against John’s neck. “I could run the tip of my tongue along the raphe. Suck on your scrotum.”
“Hmm,” John bit his lip against the desire to laugh.
“Press my thumb into your perineum.”
“Sherlock,” John groaned.
“Trace the corona.”
John snorted. He couldn’t help it.
“Sherlock,” John tipped himself forward, giggling.
He had to brace himself with a hand on the counter to wrap a hand around his belly. “Sherlock,” he laughed.
“What? John, what?!”
“I lied,” he giggled. “I lied. It’s not sexy.”
Sherlock frowned, but it very easily could have been a pout. “What’s not sexy?”
John sighed and turned, resting the small of his back against the worktop. “There’s a reason you don’t use words like that.”
“Yeah, sure. Precise,” John smirked. “It’s not for lack of creativity. It’s just…”
“You have more words than cock?” Sherlock arched a brow.
“I can be very creative, Sherlock.”
John caught the tip of his tongue between his teeth and grinned around it. “You don’t think I have other words? Sherlock, I was in the army for four years. I read medicine before that. Hell, I was teenaged boy.”
“Less than fifteen.”
“I bet you have less than fifteen,” he repeated assuredly.
“And what do you bet?”
“You’re banned from using the word cock for a week.”
“What about prick?”
Sherlock snorted and perched on the edge of the nearest stool. “One week.”
“And when I win?” John crossed his arms.
“My mouth. Otherwise occupied.” Sherlock tilted his head gestured for John to start. “It’s a good bet.”
“It’s a great bet,” John agreed. “Fifteen, you said?”
“Fifteen. And cock doesn’t count.”
John sighed. “Cock doesn’t count.”
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“Would you like them alphabetically?”
“Alphabeti- John, please.” Sherlock snorted.
“A - Anaconda. B - Bologna Pony. C - Chode. D - Disco Stick. E - the elephant trunk.”
“No one calls it…”
“They do mine. Fuck stick.” John tilted up his chin. “Gut wrench. Helmet. Ice lolly. John Thomas. Knob. Love muscle. Meat popsicle. Noodle. One-eyed trouser snake. Pocket Rocket. Quiver bone. Rod. Schlong.” He started ticking words off on his finger as he pushed off the counter. “Tonsil tickler. Unit. Veiny monster. Wanker.” He pushed right up into Sherlock’s personal space. “X-rated gumballs. Yoghurt slinger.”
Sherlock stared at him. He blinked as a wide grin stretched across John’s face. “Technically, gumballs is for the testicles.”
“Technically, that’s still twenty-five.”
John tilted his head, pressing the tip of the tongue into his cheek. “Technically?”
Sherlock pressed his mouth shut, a look of consternation on his face. “Bologna Pony? Really?”
“Suck. My. Cock.”
Sherlock pursed his lips. He furrowed his brow. Then John burst out chuckling and Sherlock couldn’t help but join in until John was laughing hard enough that he was crying and was forced to drop his forehead against Sherlock’s shoulder. “You’re not going to stop saying cock now, are you?”
John’s laugh turned into high-pitched giggles. “Never.”
Sherlock heaved a great sigh and shook his head. “Love muscle.”
John snorted. “Shut up."