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"Me?" John had asked.

Sherlock's lips had compressed, twitched unhappily, and he'd looked at the floor, then at the wall before nodding once, a painful quick jerk of his head before he'd stalked off into his room and shut the door behind him.

John had stood there feeling mostly just blank, at first, then feeling confused and a little bit angry and slightly sick. But he'd asked the question and so this was his own fault.

More because it was noon than out of hunger, John made himself beans on toast.  He didn’t want anything out of the refrigerator just now.  Even though he knew that wasn’t…

He ate staring at the hall to Sherlock's room. The taste made no impression on him and he managed to dribble sauce right down his front. So he called his lunch a fucking fucker and did his best to wash out the sauce before it stained and then went up for something clean.

He stood there for ages staring at his clothes. The dark red shirt looked like dried blood. Would the blue jumper make him look paler? Black was... black was right out. He grabbed just a grey shirt in the end and only realised halfway down the stairs that he'd worn the same thing the last time they'd had sex.

Everything was still empty and quiet, Sherlock's door still shut. John switched on the telly and sat facing it, but couldn't concentrate.  A load of blokes doing some kind of sketch; one got up as Snow White, the rest on their knees as dwarves.  An ad for a zombie film.  Someone eating ice cream and making a mess of it. When Sherlock's door opened, he jumped even though he'd been waiting.

"I don't--" Sherlock said, standing there, looking at the floor a few feet ahead of him. "I don't want you dead," he got out, voice losing its usual posh resonance halfway through, going thin and rough.

"Okay," John said. "That's -- Yeah, good. Just as well."

"Does it have to matter?" Sherlock said. He sounded angry and frustrated. He meant, Why does it have to matter?

"It's," John paused, shook his head, swallowed, lied. "It's fine."




Fetching Sherlock's post from the mantle, John glanced at the skull and his shoulders tensed, then rounded.  In quarter profile, Sherlock could just see him close his eyes for a moment.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous," Sherlock snapped at him, furious and humiliated. The idea had never occurred to him. The skull was an amusing bit of stage dressing. People tended to react viscerally to it, and their reactions were very informative. And he liked the way it put some people on edge. And he thought it was simply an aesthetically pleasing object. Besides which, it brought back memories of a very enjoyable case.

He'd never wanted to masturbate with it, for god's sake, any more than the experimental limbs and organs he brought home. That didn't make any sense. Even if he'd known and been attracted to its original owner, it was hardly a sexually appealing object now.

But how was John to know exactly how far his sickness extended, after all?

John handed him the envelopes, not looking at him. This was intolerable. He should have hidden himself better, should have lied better.

He should be better.

"It's not like that," he said, and then wished he hadn't. He'd heard that damning protest thousands of times from murderers, thieves, traitors.

"Well, good, that's a relief," John said, raising his chin, raising his eyebrows, "'cos, he was here first, and I'd hate to be the other man."

Sherlock's was a mind without the petty fetters and shields that normal boring people relied on. It had to be. He couldn't live with his genius boxed in by decency.

Even if it would mean never having experienced this idea: John's skull in his hands. Their lives were dangerous. If he were all alone, if that was all he had left of John--

Sherlock's imagination easily brought to life the sensation of pressing his mouth to bone. The teeth, if fixed in place properly, would at least be the same.

It's not like that. But John. If he were alone--

John had done this to him, somehow, given his perversion an extra twist.

"Okay, that was probably -- sorry," John said. Something in Sherlock's face had betrayed his upset, and John was blaming his dark little joke.

Sherlock adored John's black humour. He didn't want to lose it. He didn't want to lose anything of John. "No, no," Sherlock said, and manufactured a smile. "Thinking of something else."



John stood there in the harsh white light of the morgue and carefully didn't watch Sherlock with the body.

I've never, had been the first thing Sherlock had told him, and John believed it.

It isn't-- I'm not indiscriminate, Sherlock had said, and John had said, No, you never are.

Sherlock glanced at him and then away. The body on the table was a skinny young woman, and Sherlock wasn't indiscriminate. John didn't doubt him. That was the thing. John couldn't doubt Sherlock. But he was still having a fucking hard time with this.

"Something?" Molly asked, picking up on the tension but thinking it was about the case. Without remembering exactly how any of the punchlines went, John remembered Barts way back when: He and Mike and the rest, all desperate for a coffee and a laugh, making jokes about women morgue attendants and stiffs.

Sherlock just grunted.  No ruder than normal.

Sherlock hadn't said, but John kept imagining that the first time had been here, one of these rooms, all unforgiving light and clean refrigerated dead-white skin. All Sherlock had said was, It was-- the first time-- I'd known him. He was my client-- killed for involving me. I'd been-- he was attractive. He was attractive when he was alive. I didn't want him to die, John. I just... I looked at him, after; I raised his hand to check rigour and examine the nails, and... the way it moved--

John hadn't been able to stop himself speculating. Maybe Sherlock had actually been in love, that once. Couldn't let go.

John knew a lot of soldier's widows, and the problems they had moving on. You couldn't compete with a dead man.

Which was a bit funny, in the circumstances.



Sherlock suspected they didn't have enough sex to satisfy John in the long term. His own sex drive had never been particularly high, and John's lust, which seemed to simmer constantly for female partners, wasn't so insistent when it came to him. John would often settle for masturbation without even making an overture towards Sherlock. Sherlock was fairly sure that John always masturbated to the thought of women.

It had been the first time they'd been to the morgue, after John knew about him. John hadn't even been able to look at him while he was examining the body. The entirely unappealing body.

And then that night John did try to initiate sex. He was doing it to make a point, and that was hateful, and Sherlock stopped him with a glare, before walking out of the room.

He put on his bluetooth headphones and turned up the volume on his stereo and listened to Wagner -- sloppy overblown rubbish. He lay back on his bed and let it batter away at him, tumbling childish bustle one moment, tedious drawn out strings the next while Siegfried, that legendary mental deficient, lowed on about the handsome soldier he'd found. He was in for a nasty shock when he found the tits. At least Brunhilde, once woken from her magic sleep, brought a bit more life to things.

He cut them off in mid-duet, the significance of the scratches on the dead woman's shoulder suddenly announcing itself to his mind. "Blackberry bramble! Obvious!"

He shouted for John and ten minutes later they were in a cab.

He wanted to think about cases.  In cases, the corpse was just a tool that might yield the accusing scream of a trace chemical, or the exonerating whisper of a secret scar. In a case, the corpse was no more to him than the timetable in which suspect could be boxed into ever diminishing space, or the scene where a fibre in the wrong place -- the right place-- rang out like an alarm bell.  Cases made him glad.  It was good to think about cases.  And thinking about cases made sense.

Thinking about John made him glad, even though it didn’t make much sense.  The little sheltered shred of twisted gold at John’s nape, the way John held his gun as if the target were entirely his and it was impossible for him to miss, the smug way John liked to manhandle Sherlock after making him come, all this was nonsensically but unquestionably good.

The other thing made no sense, was not good, and never made him glad.  It was an unwelcome interloper making rare but unstoppable intrusions on his mind.



The first time they had sex, after John found out about Sherlock's... kink, they'd come back from stalking a serial arsonist on a pub crawl. They were both a bit drunk, and on the way up the stairs Sherlock let John go ahead of him and then grabbed him and bit the back of his neck, chuckling dirtily. They made it upstairs and then fell over -- quick sloppy handjobs on the floor, and except for Sherlock bitching about his bruised calf the next day, it was fine.

They had sex two weeks later sober, and halfway through -- both naked and Sherlock leaning over him, sucking his neck and teasing a nipple -- John suddenly wondered just how often Sherlock did imagine him dead.

Because he'd asked -- stupid, stupid. Sherlock had said, I'm not indiscriminate. And John had said, You never are, and then, So, only people you're already attracted to anyway. And Sherlock had sighed, Yes. And then he'd asked, Me? And Sherlock had nodded.

John never masturbated thinking of Sherlock. He'd never felt comfortable doing it while thinking of anyone he knew-- it was all porn stars off the internet and the occasional actress. Shouldn't it be flattering, being someone's fantasy?

At least John had made it into the running, at least Sherlock wasn't only ever thinking about that first dead bloke, the one John kept thinking he must've been in love with.

John's hand was cupped at the back of Sherlock's neck. He squeezed once, then let his arm fall away, down to the bed. He relaxed his shoulders, letting himself go limp.

Was it flattering, that Sherlock's fantasy was John without anything that made him John? Ridiculous: He only wants me for my body. Ha ha. But didn't that make sense? Sherlock reckoned John was just about mentally absent anyway.

John's stomach ached distantly, and his eyes prickled. He felt like he wanted to punch someone, and he wasn't relaxed at all now.

Sherlock raised his head, frowning a little questioningly. He could always tell when something was wrong but he wasn't a mind reader, much as he'd like people to think so.

John grabbed him by the shoulders and kissed him hard and rolled on top of him. He twisted and mouthed and moved, willing Sherlock to want him like this, want him warm and alive. Want John, and not just a body. 




It wasn't as if he thought about it all the time.

Of course he'd been fascinated by death since he was a boy, by the way events narrowed down and down to the point where murder became logically inevitable and the marks, like the lines of a proof, that those events left on the body. But there had never been sex in it until Victor.

Victor had been the first time he'd seen someone he knew as a corpse, the first he could remember. Of the earlier time, all he remembered was Mummy dragging at him, saying Let go, Sherlock, come away,  and Mycroft on the phone trying to get the emergency services to take his squeaky teenaged voice seriously and the sitting room carpet which was blue, had been blue all of Sherlock's life, now so dark, so red.

Victor Trevor had been beautiful, and his beauty had survived his death, despite the ashy tone his skin had taken.

Victor Trevor had twice, when they’d been together at uni, kissed Sherlock, and Sherlock had looked at Victor's softly gaping mouth, remembering how it felt, understanding it wouldn’t ever happen again now, and suffered a dizzying urge to bend down and restore Victor’s mouth to a more dignified state by kissing it closed.

The slack thump of Victor's arm falling out of Sherlock's hold had imprinted itself on Sherlock as if it had struck him rather than the table.

He'd finished the case. After that, he'd managed to block the thought out for most of two days before he could no longer stand it.

Then he'd masturbated while his mind circled endlessly through an imagined scenario, refining each image, each imagined transgression, the vocabulary -- cold, pliant, lolling -- of the internal monologue that accompanied it. The fantasy became so charged that after that first night -- cocksore and shaking -- he'd been almost as afraid to engage it again as he was ashamed of himself.

But the compulsion returned from time to time. It had been Victor, mostly. A few times Nastusia Bielat, the chemist, once Don Brakemore, the serial killer. And then John. Now only ever John.

It was worse, when it was John.

It was better, when it was John.




One night in the shower, John impulsively wrenched the handle around to cold, and then hissed and flinched and felt his shoulders roll in and his back round as the chill hit him. He stood there until his teeth ungritted and then turned around, taking it on his back. Then he got the giggles. He felt ridiculous, the punch line to a joke about sex and cold showers. The water, completely cold now, hurt. His cock was trying to shrivel back up into his body. He managed to stand there a little longer, the giggles melting away into shivers.

Sherlock was sitting on the couch, untidy and careless and looking graceful as a tiger, the twat. He was marking up one of Lestrade's cold case files in red ink. He looked ready to settle in with it for the night, but John had been reading the signs all evening, Sherlock's eyes flicking over him, Sherlock standing close behind him in the kitchen while he made tea, nose brushing the back of his neck briefly.

When Sherlock actually wanted it, John refused to let the chance pass him by. But this... well, fuck it, the idea was going to stick in his head until he did it, and he was already cold.

John was in just his robe, and he hadn't dried off properly. He wished the robe was warmer, and then he wished it was thinner because he'd suffered that shower and didn't want it to go to waste by warming up too quickly. He sat on the couch, which always felt a bit like invading Sherlock's sovereign territory, and he relaxed back against the cushions as much as he could, fighting the tension in his back. His heart was going fast, but he felt almost more like he was about to fight than fuck. He took a breath, licked his lips, bit them together. Then he picked up Sherlock's hand -- all delicate fingers a mile long -- and placed it at the base of his throat.

Sherlock jerked. His eyes were wide, which always made him look about twelve. He looked about to bolt. "John," he groaned. "John --" He shook his head and his throat clicked wetly with his next breath.

John slouched down further on the couch, holding Sherlock's hand against him. Hot. Sherlock's hand felt hot, and it was trembling. John licked his lips, let go, let his hand fall aside. "Must have been out of hot water," he said. He knew he sounded a little bit angry, couldn't help it. "So you'd best warm me up." It was just something to say to make this easier.

Both of them needed it to be easier. John couldn't make himself go limp, his belly and his shoulders just wouldn't let go.

With a shaky breath, Sherlock bent his hot mouth over John's and kissed him. Clumsier than Sherlock's usual kisses, and gentler. Sherlock pulled back, kissed John's throat on either side, soft biting motions of his lips. He bent to do the same to John's nipples, which were stiff with the cold. With each kiss he was inhaling shakily through his nose. Abruptly Sherlock slid to his knees on the floor and tugged the robe aside to get at John's belly, kissed over the lowest of John's ribs on either side, then his navel. His cheek pressed hot on John's belly and his arms slipped around John's waist and he breathed like John was terrifying, like John was torturing him.

Finally he raised his head, looked up at John. "May I take your robe off?" he asked. It wasn't the sort of thing Sherlock usually asked. Generally when he was in the mood he was focused and demanding, and if John wasn't stripping off fast enough, he'd bark at him to hurry it up.

John nodded.

He did his best to keep his arms limp, even if he couldn't relax. He let Sherlock undress him like a doll, moving his arms for him. Sherlock breathed harder and harder. He kept stroking John's skin, even though it was halfway to warming back up by now, sometimes with his hands, sometimes rubbing his cheeks against John. By the time the robe was off and just lying under John, Sherlock sounded on the way to hyperventilation. He still had all his clothes on, but his erection was obvious through his trousers.

Sherlock eased back, licked his lips, took another shuddery breath, and put a hand on either of John's knees.

John let his knees straighten a bit, his legs go limp as much as he could manage.

Sherlock's hands slipped slightly inward, and he pushed John's legs apart. When John let it happen, Sherlock moaned. His hands clenched on John's thighs and his eyes squeezed up as if this were hurting him.

John wanted to speak, didn't want to ruin it for Sherlock.

Sherlock lunged suddenly forward, on top of John, holding him close and kissing his face, his throat. John had been too nervous, too unsettled, and too cold to get hard, but Sherlock's cock felt big and hot and now he was rubbing himself against John -- not very comfortable, John was going to have friction burns after this.

When Sherlock's face shoved hard into the side of his neck, sucking and nipping under his jaw, John did his best to let his head drop limp and heavy back and to the other side. Sherlock made a sound like he'd been punched and, with his face still buried in John's neck, bucked against John's body. It took him a long time to finish, and he whimpered through the end of it, his hands clawing hard at John's shoulders.

Then he was just clinging to John, face still pressed tight to John's neck. After a moment he pushed up enough to kiss John's mouth, hard but clumsy with his shaking.

Hesitantly, John put his arms around Sherlock. He was still breathing too hard, panting for air against John's mouth. "John?" he gasped.

John slid the fingers of one hand up into Sherlock's warm curls, stroking the back of his head, and held him close with the other arm. "I've got you," he murmured. When Sherlock's hands uncurled from their grasp on John, they shook.

Sherlock had never been so into it before. Sherlock had never come like that when John was giving it his all, not even when John sucked him.

It hurt.

And that wasn't fair. Not a bit fair. Sherlock had never asked him to do this.

It didn't really help how urgently Sherlock tried to make it up to him. He didn't say anything, but once the shakes had eased off he dropped to the floor again and sucked John until he was hard and then kept his mouth there for what felt like forever, pulling out all the stops and finally fucking his mouth on John's cock until John came. It was good, but... it felt too much like a transaction.

When John was getting his breath back, Sherlock knelt up, one hand on John's knee, the other splayed on his stomach. "John," he murmured. He was looking at John's chest, not his face. "That was... kind. You don't--"

John reached out and stroked his cheek. He didn't want gratitude. He wanted it to be mutual. "Bit of variety's the spice of life," he tried.

Sherlock rolled his eyes, coming abruptly back to his arrogant self, not the needy thing that had grasped at what he hadn't expected John to give. "Trite, insipid, vacuous nonsense."

John managed a smile. Right, back to normal then. "There speaks a bloke who's never had a bit of ginger stuck up him."

Sherlock's eyes went wider. "Nor have you," he said slowly, but it was a question.



The ginger, when eventually they did try it, had a lovely slow build. Sherlock lay face down on the bed, at first only slightly sensitised by the prickle, then starting to shift as it became dull heat.

John's hand was holding him down by the end, firm on the small of his back while he writhed and whined, and when John finally let him turn over and gave his cock a few quick harsh strokes, he came all over himself.

While he was still twitching, John pushed a hand under him and pulled the plug of ginger free. "John!" Sherlock groaned, his body jerking as irritated flesh closed in on itself

"The burn will fade out eventually," John said. He was grinning, smug.

And then the expressive lines of John's face slipped just slightly, the grin losing a little of its self-satisfaction. "Liked that, did you?" he said. It was meant to be rhetorical teasing, but Sherlock thought it was a real question.

"Decidedly enjoyable."

John kissed him, but Sherlock knew he was disappointed.

Should he have made more of a performance of it? What did John want? For them to pretend that John was capable of matching Sherlock's deviation? Or that Sherlock's aberration ran less deep than it did?

Sherlock, physically sated but at a loss, just kissed John and held him for as long as John would allow it.



John came to in the back of an ambulance. Again. He couldn't remember anything after the crime scene, but being hit over the head from behind was generally a good guess in these situations.

Sherlock was there, had managed to bully his way in as usual. He was staring at John. When John's eyes focused on his face, Sherlock let out his breath in a long hah, and smiled. But the expression before that, still lingering in hints around Sherlock's eyes and his mouth-- fear. John realised Sherlock was holding his hand, and it ached a little because at one point when John had been out, Sherlock had been holding it very, very tightly.

Sherlock didn't want him dead. But Sherlock would want him even if he were. Was that what it came down to?



John sent him a text.

John had been taking a shower, but hadn't come back out after the water stopped. John often took showers when he'd realised Sherlock wanted sex. He seemed to think it was polite, though Sherlock actually rather liked to bury his face in the scents of John's day.

It had only been a cold shower that one time, which was more or less the definition of statistical insignificance, so it didn't mean anything. He hadn't thought it meant anything.

But John had sent him a text. From within the flat. Using a text message to communicate inside the flat was the sort of thing John generally either teased him or glared at Sherlock for doing.

come into your bedroom before I warm up jw

It took him over fifteen seconds to stand up from the couch, and then he walked to his own door, put his hand on the knob, bit his lip, and opened it.

All the lights were on, and John had, without Sherlock noticing, snuck in one of the small bright florescent clip lights Sherlock used for delicate work and clipped it to the top of one of the lamps, focused on the bed like a spotlight, like the light in a cadaver lab.

Sherlock stood just inside the door. John had taken it further this time.

Sherlock's bedding had been bundled up and put on the floor by the dresser, and instead there was a white sheet draped over the mattress, and another white sheet draped over John, covering all of him, covering his face. The fabric made John's body a sketch, an outline, long drooping arcs from feet to thighs, blurred shape of belly and chest, neck and face just dips between outcroppings of chin and nose and brow. It was a bit untidy down the left side, where John had pulled it up over himself and then worked his arm down to his side under the sheet. In the light, the whiteness and the shadows of the sheet were stark.

Sherlock watched John's chest and belly move just a little with his breath. He was trying to be still, but he couldn't help it. That was good. That made this possible. The fact of John's breath made it all right.

No, not even John's permission could make this all right.

Sherlock walked up and pulled the sheet down to the level of John's shoulders. John's eyes were open, staring up, mouth relaxed enough to be slightly parted. Sherlock's breath caught. He loved looking at John's face. John's face was never still like this.

For a moment John did slightly lose focus -- eyes starting to follow Sherlock's motion -- but then they fixed on the ceiling again. He wouldn't be able to hold that blank stare long Sherlock pulled the sheet a bit farther, so he could see John's chest. John's nipples, usually slightly plump, were furled and hard. John must have spent a long time under the cold water. It must have hurt.

It hurt Sherlock, hurt in his throat and his chest with a deep sting. He put a hand to the middle of John's chest. Yes, cold. Smooth, soft skin. He bent and kissed John's slightly parted lips and choked, a thick wet sound. Cold! Colder than his chest. John must have been holding a sliver of ice in his mouth and only swallowed it the moment Sherlock opened the door. The amount of preparation John had done astounded him. He'd planned it like a campaign, or a crime he meant to get away with.

Groaning, Sherlock kissed into John's mouth, cold and lax, lips sweetly pliant under his.

With a sigh, Sherlock straightened. John's eyes were going glassy, starting to tear. Sherlock gently put his hand over John's face, feeling the curves of John's eyes, one against his ring finger, one against his palm, the slight prickle of John's lashes. He moved the hand downward to close them, and felt the liquid slide of the lids over the eyes. He had to take a few long breaths. Gently he moved one lid back up, down again, opening and closing John's eye. The feel of the silky lid moving reminded him of foreskin. He closed John's eye again and moved his hand away.

Sherlock wet his lips and bent down to kiss John again, explored the cold teeth, small and smooth on their faces, the biting surfaces sharp and rough. He worked his tongue under John's, pressed to one side of the lingual frenulum, then the other, then put the tip of his tongue against the thin membrane and rode up and down its arc. Then he pushed his tongue as deep as he could go along the rough carpet down the centre of John's tongue. Finally he licked just inside John's lips. Silky, and starting to warm, but that could be the heat of his own body transferred.

Only when he raised his head did he realise -- lust and fear were muddling his brain, slowing his thoughts -- how careful John had been to breathe so softly and shallowly through his nose through all that, so the air in the dank hollow of his mouth stayed motionless.

Sherlock stroked John's philtrum with a fingertip. No air through the nose or mouth now that his hand was there. Sherlock wondered how long John could hold his breath. He pressed at John's blunt nose, feeling the flexible resilience of cartilage under the skin, and then moved his hand away. If John had to hold his breath too long, he'd have to breathe hard to regain it and that would ruin the illusion.

Sherlock sat down heavily on the side of the bed, and pulled John's arm out, lifted it. It was heavy, limp. It moved easily in Sherlock's grasp. He took John's limply cupped hand and one at a time straightened the chilly fingers and then bent them up. Hesitantly he raised the hand to his face, and slipped John's index and middle fingers into his mouth. Cold on his tongue. He tasted them, and then sucked on them.

This was sex, yes? John knew that. And John was breathing, John wasn't really absent, hard as he was trying to look it. John was quite capable of telling him if he went too far, did something that was wrong.

All of this was wrong. Sherlock was wrong -- sick and horribly aroused.

Sherlock pulled his shirt out of his trousers and slipped John's limp hand up inside. The shirt was tight, which kept John's hand pressed to him. He rubbed his own nipples with John's fingers, still quite cool, although that wouldn't last. It felt good, and strange, something between being touched by someone else and touching himself when numb. He made two of John's fingers pinch together on his nipple, and hissed.

He pulled John's hand free and dropped it, and the thud of it against the mattress sent a tiny extra jab of lust through him.

Hurriedly, Sherlock stripped off his shirt, got his trousers open, pushed them down around his thighs with his pants.

John was in the middle of the bed. On a real morgue slab that would have put him in easy reach when Sherlock was standing. That was how Sherlock had always imagined-- but the bed was a bit wide, so Sherlock sat again and then moved John's hand to his own lap.

He brushed, then jabbed clumsily at his erection with John's lax fingers, and his cock jumped and thickened. He manoeuvred John's hand until he could slide John's cool palm up and down his cock. The cold and the friction and the shock of this happening for real made him whimper. He made John's fingers curl around him and thrust into the loose ring. Still cool. Warming a bit, but he suspected John had turned the heating down; the room felt a bit chill on his own now-bared skin.

"Oh, John," he said, and rubbed John's hand on his cock a few more times, until he couldn't take it any more. He put the arm down and pulled the sheet entirely away. He had to just stare for a little while, all of John laid out for him, brightly lit so that he could see everything, the harsh light making him look paler. John still and unresisting and cold and limp.

He lifted John by the shoulders. Heavy, difficult, and oh, when he'd got John high enough, John's head dropped heavily back. Flopped back. Chin towards the ceiling and the neck stretched out. It was just the way he'd always-- "Oh god, John." He mouthed and kissed and bit at John's throat, hungry, desperate, ending with one sharp nip just under John's jaw. He was breathing hard.

He held John sitting up with one arm and with the other lifted John's head, brought it forward. John's scalp was already fairly warm, but the way his head dropped forward when no longer supported and then lolled slightly sideways with the slump of John's shoulders, that made up for it, that was perfect, painfully perfect, made Sherlock whimper.

Sherlock chased John's slack mouth and kissed him again, greedy for him, using his own lips to manipulate John's over John's teeth and gums. Then he put his head to John's shoulder and opened his mouth and bit there. He didn't bite hard this time, but he opened his mouth wide and pressed hard enough that when he pulled back he could see the dents of his teeth in John's skin making a long oval.

Breathing harder, he balanced John sitting more or less upright, and then let him fall back, saw the way he bounced and John's head ended up at an awkward angle. He moaned. It was astounding, how hard John was working at this. It was ugly and lovely and perfect. Again he took a reassuring moment to watch the slight betraying motion of John's chest. Then, gently, he repositioned John's head in a more comfortable position.

Sherlock licked his lips, and then got up on his knees and put his hands on John's cold thighs. John's legs, limp, were heavy enough that it took work to push them apart. He got them far enough that he could kneel between John's calves, and then, from there, shoved John's thighs wide.

The action, the reality of it, the sensation and the sight, dizzied him. He drooped forward over John, balancing on one hand next to John's hip, staring at the still body. "John, you're -- " the word was beautiful, but that would sound wrong, sound like he was talking about attraction, about sexiness, and this was more than that. Amazing, glorious, mysterious, everything, John. He masturbated, stroking four times, five, before he could stand to stop.

He bent down and bit another circle of dents around John's left nipple. Chilly skin, nipple still tight. Sherlock softened his mouth and sucked there, hard. He licked the other cool nipple.

He wanted to do this for hours, looking at John, manipulating John's skin over his muscles, and making the muscles move in every direction. But between John's thighs he was already warming, and John was working so hard to stay still for him.

Sherlock shifted back. John couldn't control himself entirely. His cock, despite the cruel cold shower it had suffered, was starting to thicken just a little. Sherlock nuzzled it. Not cold anymore. He should have gone faster. And yet he wished he'd drawn it all out far longer.

He pushed at his trousers until they were below his knees, and laid down on John's body.

It felt quite cold still against his belly and cock. It made him wince. It made him sigh in bliss. He rubbed up and down, up and down, and groaned. John's skin was soft, and Sherlock could use it as he liked.

Awkwardly, he reached between them to touch John's testicles, feel the weight and the movement of them. Then he pressed behind them, and stroked a fingertip further, between John's buttocks. Here was more John couldn't control, he couldn't make his sphincter go loose.

But Sherlock was shocked to find the skin slippery. Hesitantly he pressed just a little.

John had lubricated himself.

Sherlock pushed his finger inside, groaning, panting, unbelieving. Though they used the occasional toy, and sometimes fingers, they didn't bother much with anal penetration. They'd both found it a bit awkward, a bit uncomfortable, and very messy. Not worth it.

But this.

He could put his cock inside John's body. He could fuck John's body.

Sherlock's cock jerked and he sobbed out a shameful strangled noise.

It was hot inside, though maybe not quite as hot as usual, and John couldn't help the way he twitched a bit around Sherlock's finger.

But the body was limp and lax and still. Sherlock could flip it over, if he liked, and push easily into that helpfully slicked little hole. John's body would just lie there while Sherlock fucked it, head rocking and lolling about with the thrusts. Or if he was strong enough he might be able to pull the body slightly up off the bed, hands denting the cool pliant flesh of John's hips, and jerk John's arse back onto his cock. He could use John's body for anything he wanted, use the tight helpless flesh. John was his, here, his, entirely his, right here, forever.

Sherlock, staring at John's soft, still face, gave a hoarse helpless wail that choked off for lack of breath as his body started to spasm. He pulled his hand free from between John's legs, but he couldn't even get it to his cock fast enough to touch himself before he ejaculated. He arched painfully, feeling like a bloody rag being wrung out into hot dirty crimson droplets. "John," he moaned, letting himself fall forward. Cool skin under him. Cool and soft and unresponsive. Shameful pleasure stamped him down to nothing. His hips kicked forward again and again while the poisonous fizz of ecstasy burned up his spine, up to his skull, to the crown of his head.

By the end all he could do was whimper, a pathetic thin pleading sound his his throat. He was trembling. The room was cold, John was cold, but Sherlock was the one trembling. John remained still, though his breathing was more noticeable now, as was his cock, which was edging from warm to hot. But he was still.

"Stop... it," Sherlock said, a damp glottal stop between the words. His face felt swollen and stinging. "Stop. John," he begged. "Stop now." He kissed John's mouth, hard and desperate.

And John surged up, limbs suddenly firm and strong wrapping all around him. One arm looped Sherlock's shoulders, the other clamped lower, around his ribs. John's knees bent up on either side of Sherlock's thighs to cradle him. He kissed Sherlock back, a firm, brief kiss that tasted of salt, and then his head ducked with his face against the side of Sherlock's head.

Sherlock was shaking harder, quaking against John. His throat kept making funny, painful sounds and his eyes burned.

"Sherlock," John whispered, stroking up and down Sherlock's spine. "Hey, hey."

Meaningless, nonsense noise, but Sherlock couldn't be annoyed. He needed John to speak and move and hold him.

For a long while John did. When Sherlock could stand to move again, he rolled away off the bed, stopped long enough to pull out a handful of tissues and clean himself up a bit, then grabbed the duvet from the floor, and got right back into bed again, pulling it over them.

He meant to do something, anything, everything for John. John. John amazing and vital. He'd give John anything he asked, do anything John liked, let John do anything to him. Just as soon as he got John warm again.

John stroked his hair. "Come on, it's okay. Sherlock, hey, Sherlock-- "

Sherlock held him tight. John was still so cold. He had to get John warm. Shivering.

At some point after that, he slept.



The occasional cold shower wasn't much to ask. And that was the only part, in the end, that was actually unpleasant. The rest was lying there, keeping his breathing under control, and being...

Well, mostly it was being stroked, explored. There wasn't any of it he wouldn't have let Sherlock do anyway. The intensity of Sherlock's reaction, that was what was hard to take.

There was a bit of John that hoped he'd somehow domesticated Sherlock's... fetish, taken the sting out of its tail. There were people who did this sort of thing as a game. All in fun. You could buy sex coffins on the internet.

On the internet, it was all jokes and boys in eyeliner singing about the romance of gravedigging and rot. One of a menu of amusing perversions, easily discarded, inconsequential.

He wanted it to be that way, to shrink it down to the level of nipple clamps and collars and ball gags.

But that wasn't going to happen. Maybe it wouldn't always loom over Sherlock, wouldn't always have so much power over him. But it would never be just a game.

The truth was, though, John's obsession was just as strong. When he thought about walking away from Sherlock, that felt like going cold and flabby, felt like everything coming to a stop, felt like dying.

Call it what you wanted, he'd never give Sherlock up. The infuriating arrogant insufferable git was his. And wrong as it was, this gave him some way to hold onto the man. He didn't have to say it, they both knew. There are smarter men out there, and god knows better looking ones. And I may not be that first perfect dead bloke. But he's not here. I am. And nobody else would do this for you.  Nobody else can do that to you. So you're mine.



They didn't talk about it. When Sherlock thought about it at all, he hoped John would never do it again. And sometimes, after that, he masturbated with his eyes shut tight and his face screwed up so hard he gave himself a headache, because John had been so perfect, so terribly unbearably perfect.

Despite hours of thought devoted to analysing every element of John's sexual behaviour and every known or deduced fact of John's sexual history, Sherlock couldn't identify a single act or scenario that would remotely compare. John was game for most things, and certainly had preferences, but nothing that came close to Sherlock's shameful and catastrophic desire.

John seemed happy enough with sex any old way. So Sherlock tried to make it up in quantity. Whenever he realised it had been more than a week, he made a point of sex with John.

He was in the middle of a case, but the last time had been the previous Wednesday, so when John came out from his morning shower on Thursday, Sherlock went to his knees on the floor right there, opening the robe. John was scrubbed pink and there was steam in the air around him.

"Oh, you've got to be joking," John complained. "You couldn't have done that-- Sherlock! I've just had a wank in the shower!"

Sherlock lipped him softly. Warm, lovely John, flesh damp and soft from the shower. His lust for John like this was not so sharp, so hard edged, not so overwhelming, not so shaming or so frightening. This lust was a bit blunted, a bit dull.

And still the idea of John's pleasure ached sweetly somewhere inside Sherlock's own body. He wondered if this were some new and strange perversion he was developing.

He kissed John's cock. "Then you'll last a very long time."

"Sherlock, I won't even -- Sherlock! God! What's brought this -- Sherlock, Jesus!"

Sherlock drew back slowly, John's foreskin between his lips, tugging at it before finally letting it go. He looked up at John through his lashes, and then sank forward, kneading John's arse with one hand and taking in all of John's soft cock until springy still-damp hair touched his nose. Despite John's doubts, there was a firming and twitch against his tongue that promised eventual resurrection.

It did take a very long time, but Sherlock rather enjoyed it. Then he watched John eat lunch, and then Sherlock solved the case while John gazed at him with a look of hot admiration that Sherlock could easily have lived on for a week. But John made him eat dinner all the same.

Past dawn the next day he wandered upstairs and watched John sleeping: deep breaths that roughened sometimes into snoring, and a thousand tiny movements. When Sherlock stretched out on the bed, John rolled towards him, into his arms. Despite the scant evidence for the efficacy of subliminal suggestion, he whispered, "Outlive me, John. Please."

Then, he kissed John, kissed him warmly awake.