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[personal profile] ellie_hell
Title: The Pull of One Magnet to Another - Part 5
Rating: R (Sexual activities)
Warnings: Mention of animal cruelty.
Beta: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] anarion who is always an inspiring plot consultant, and to [livejournal.com profile] omletlove who was an all-star beta, both for SPAG and plot; I couldn’t have hoped for a better beta, she’s amazing.
Pairing: Sherlock/John, with a tiny hint of Mycroft/Lestrade.
Word Count: 46 500 total, 9448 this part.
Summary: Mummy has arranged Mycroft’s marriage with an ex-army doctor. However, John meets Sherlock first, and sparks fly.
Disclaimer: The case was stolen from the movie Untraceable, and so was the computer speech.
Notes: Written several months ago for a prompt on the kink meme, but I wasn’t happy with it at the time, so I gave it a huge makeover. If anyone from the meme is reading this, I want to thank you for your huge support. The title comes from the song I Was Married by Tegan and Sara.

Back to first chapter.
Previous chapter.

Chapter 8

The first thing Sherlock registered when he woke up was how surprisingly, painfully, gloriously hard he was. Then, he noticed there was a hand on his arse, and suddenly, he wasn’t that surprised by his first realisation. Apparently, they hadn’t moved much during the night; he could feel John’s warm breath on his neck, the slow rise and fall of his chest against his own, and of course, the strong hand on his arse. Just thinking about that unexpected, yet not unpleasant touch made even more blood rush downwards, and he felt his cock twitch against…what was that? John’s upper thigh, most likely. That wouldn’t do; he had to get out of his bed before John woke up and noticed the erection pressed against him. Slowly and reluctantly, Sherlock started pulling away, but John groaned in his sleep, and he tightened the hold he had on Sherlock’s arse. The man was strong, even when sleeping.
 
Sighing and fighting the urge to rut against John’s thigh, Sherlock waited a few minutes before trying again, this time grabbing John’s wrist to prevent him from holding on. It took a while, mainly because their legs were so entangled it was hard to distinguish which belonged to whom. Once he was out of the bed, Sherlock took a few minutes to watch John sleep, but when he realised it was doing nothing to help get rid of his erection, he grabbed some clean clothes, and he made his way to the bathroom to take a very long, extremely cold shower. When he came down, John was awake and cleaning the dishes, still in his pyjama. He threw the dishcloth at Sherlock when he entered the kitchen, and out of reflex, he caught it. He observed John’s demeanour, and tried to determine whether he looked as though he regretted asking to share Sherlock’s bed the night before. Luckily, there wasn’t a trace of awkwardness in him, and the wave of relief Sherlock felt was particularly refreshing.
 
“I’m going up for a shower, can you dry the dishes? I have a plan for breakfast if you’re up for it,” John said, and just as he was about to leave the kitchen, he turned around.
 
“Thank you,” he said before hurrying out of the kitchen.
 
Sherlock didn’t have time to respond, and soon he heard the bathroom door close upstairs. He figured the dishes would dry by themselves if he left them alone, and he put the dishrag on the worktop. Then, he picked up his mobile phone that he had closed the night before in order not to be bothered by Mycroft of Mummy. Or both. He almost never powered down his phone; people called him about cases on his phone, but a new case had been the last thing on his mind the night before. He turned the device on and waited for the familiar beeping sound announcing he had missed calls or text messages. When it came, he was surprised to discover he only had one message from Lestrade, which he didn’t reply to.
 
When I said early morning, I meant early THIS morning.
 
Nothing from Mycroft, and nothing from Mummy. It was surprising, but he welcomed with open arms the fact that they were leaving him alone. Someone from Mycroft’s team of obedient minions had probably checked the ‘Watch Me Kill’ website, seen that John was alive and well, and had told Mycroft who had told Mummy. Wonderful! It wasn’t long before John came back down and he rolled his eyes when he noticed Sherlock hadn’t touched the dishes.
 
“Are you eating this morning? I was thinking about pancakes,” John said.
 
“For breakfast?”
 
“An army chef used to make them in the morning sometimes, I think he was French. Anyway, you seem like the kind to enjoy a sugar rush.”
 
“Pancakes sound delicious,” Sherlock replied.
 
“Well, the fridge is empty, so I’ll go to Tesco’s and I’ll be back in—”
 
“No,” Sherlock cut him off, “you’re not leaving without me, not after you ruined a killer’s plans.”
 
John laughed; he seemed remarkably cheerful this morning, and Sherlock could feel John’s almost childlike joy seeping through his skin and infecting every single one of his cells. They got out of the flat together, both looking around to make sure there wasn’t a thin black-haired Irish assassin about to pounce. Fortunately, the scariest thing they encountered was a particularly vicious little dog that looked at John’s ankle as hungrily as if they had been wrapped in bacon.
 
The trip was uneventful, but charming and domestic. Yet, there was a bitter taste to it, and Sherlock felt a rather painful pinch in his chest close to his heart as John handed him a dozen eggs. Was this what it would have been like to live with John? Working on cases, going to bed together, waking up in a tangle of limbs, going to the shops early in the morning, and gathering ingredients for breakfast? He could barely stand the thought of giving it up once Mycroft came back. What would happen to his interlude with John when their time was up? He could cling to the memories and bask in their sweetness, dealing with the pain caused by the remembrance of what John had looked like while he had slept close to him. Or he could try his best to delete every single memory of John. The thought was heart-wrenching, but maybe in the long run it would be the less painful option.
 
“What’s wrong?” John asked.
 
“Nothing’s wrong, John,” Sherlock answered, emerging from his gloomy thoughts.
 
“You seem a little…off.”
 
“I’m fine. I was thinking about the case,” he lied.
 
Sherlock mentally shook himself. He couldn’t walk around looking miserable while John was still with him, there would be plenty of time for misery and self pity later. He had two days left with John; he had to make sure their time together was pleasant. First, they would eat breakfast together. Then, they would go to Scotland Yard and give their statement. After that, the day was theirs. Perhaps Lestrade would have a small case for them, something that wouldn’t get John abducted, but that would still provide an enjoyable rush of adrenaline. Or they could take a walk again, test John’s leg and run a little bit. They could spend a lazy evening home; John curled up in his favourite armchair while Sherlock played the violin for him. Maybe, if he was very lucky, John would have trouble sleeping again, and Sherlock would make sure John knew he was available to provide comfort.
 
Very soon, they were back in the kitchen. As Sherlock had predicted, the dishes had dried without any assistance, and he pushed them aside while John started working on the pancake batter. Eggs, milk, sugar, and flour went into the bowl one after the other while Sherlock watched with a small smile. There was a smudge of flour on John’s nose that he apparently hadn’t noticed, and Sherlock got closer. He discretely dipped a long finger in the flour bag while John was beating the mixture and frowning at the stubborn lumps.
 
“You have flour on your face,” Sherlock announced, and John looked up, raising a hand to wipe at his face.
 
“Let me,” Sherlock said again, and he used his flour-coated finger to leave a long white trace on John’s cheek.
 
“Oh, you think that’s clever, don’t you?” John asked playfully, and he brandished the whisk as if it were a sword.
 
Then, he slowly slid a finger down one of the wire loops, gathering batter along the way that he flicked in Sherlock’s direction, getting a few droplets in his hair and on his cheeks. Sherlock gave such a masterly imitation of a threatening glare that John burst out laughing, his head thrown back and his eyes closed, unaware that Sherlock had grabbed a handful of flour. John yelped when the white powder was thrown in his face, and Sherlock’s low rumble of a laugh filled the kitchen.
 
John retaliated by plunging the whisk into the batter and flicking it at Sherlock a few times, sending long streaks of the pale preparation flying in his direction, hitting his chest and face. For a second, Sherlock stayed still as he felt the cold batter slide down his cheek and inside his shirt, but he was quick to recover; he grabbed a handful of sugar and started chasing John around the kitchen.
 
“You’ll pay for this John,” he growled, and John ran away from him, still laughing.
 
Sherlock managed to grab John’s wrist, and he pulled him close to sprinkle him with sugar, the small crystals making his hair glisten. Then, Sherlock retreated to the other side of the table and John grabbed an egg, looking at him threateningly.
 
“You wouldn’t dare,” Sherlock said.
 
“I wouldn’t?” John asked, raising a questioning eyebrow.
 
“You’ll regret it if you do.”
 
“That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” John replied, and he threw the egg in Sherlock’s direction.
 
Sherlock was quick to react. He bent down, and the egg flew over his crouched body and through the doorway, where it was caught by a puzzled DI Lestrade.
 
“Bloody hell! What’s going on in here?” he asked.
 
Sherlock got up and turned around, surprised that he hadn’t heard the DI come in. Mrs Hudson had probably let him up. Lestrade looked confused, and Sherlock didn’t have to be a genius to figure out why; John’s hair and chest were covered in flour and sugar, and Sherlock was dripping with pancake batter. John let out a small giggle, and Sherlock let himself be won over by the ridiculousness of the situation and he joined in. Both laughed, looking more like two children having been caught doing something particularly silly than two grown men making breakfast. Lestrade had to clear his throat numerous times to finally get their attention.
 
“Yes Lestrade, what is it?” Sherlock asked.
 
“The only reason I let you go yesterday was because you promised to be back early this morning.”
 
“It’s half nine! We planned on going after breakfast,” Sherlock said.
 
“Were you planning on actually eating breakfast, or did you intend to just…throw it around?” Lestrade asked while repressing a smile. Twenty years as an uncle had taught him how not to laugh when kids did something stupid. Like throwing pancake ingredients at each other.
 
“Just give us a couple of hours and we’ll meet you at the station,” Sherlock said.
 
“Well, I’m here already. John, if you give your statement now, I’ll leave you two alone with your…breakfast.”
 
“Oh, alright!” Sherlock sighed. “I’ll go clean myself up in the meantime,” he said before grabbing a clean shirt from his bedroom and going up to the bathroom.
 
The last thing he heard before closing the door was Lestrade politely refusing John’s offer to make him a pancake. It took a while to get all the pancake batter out of his hair, and in the end, he decided to take another shower. When he emerged from the bathroom, John and Lestrade were in deep conversation in the living room, and he sat with them until they were done. Then, it was John’s turn to take a shower while Lestrade and Sherlock discussed the case. From Sherlock’s point of view, it was useless. Jim Moriarty was a bit of an exhibitionist, but he was smart enough to avoid the scrutinising eye of Scotland Yard. Their conversation seemed as if it was stretching on forever, but it had probably only been a few minutes when Sherlock heard the doorbell ring.
 
:::
 
It wasn’t the first time Mycroft had to cut a business trip short because of his brother; Sherlock did have a knack for getting into trouble. However, his reasons for coming back early this time were highly unusual. For the first time (and, hopefully, the last one too), he was coming back because Sherlock, who seemed as if he had taken a strange liking to his betrothed, had put John’s life in danger. Thanks to his faithful associate whose job was to keep a watchful eye on the CCTV footage, Mycroft had a very good idea of what his brother had been up to since he had picked John up from the train station. What he had heard was worrying enough for him to come back earlier without telling Sherlock.
 
Mycroft hadn’t seen any pictures of John; the revealing of the future spouses was supposed to happen the first time they were face to face. For Mummy’s sake, he had wanted to observe the tradition. It almost hadn’t felt like cheating when he had asked his team of most trusted employees to run a background check on the man he was going to marry. He had been assured that John, an ex-army doctor, seemed like a perfectly adequate candidate, and that he wasn’t unattractive. He trusted his mother’s judgement, but it was so easy those days to hide one’s true identity on the Internet, and he wanted to make sure he wasn’t running blindly into a trap.
 
Meeting John for the first time actually made Mycroft a little nervous. Unsurprisingly, working for the British government meant he had to meet new people almost every day, but meeting his future husband was different. There was always the risk he wouldn’t like this John Watson his mother had found on the Internet, and the mere idea of how more difficult his life would become if he had to cancel his mother’s plans made him cringe. It was also possible that John wouldn’t like him, but if it were the case, it was unlikely John would ever call off the wedding. Mycroft was aware of the reasons that had motivated John to agree to an arranged marriage, and he wasn’t bothered by those reasons. However, he didn’t relish the thought of living with someone who despised him; he had had enough of that growing up with his brother.
 
He blocked those thoughts; it was useless worrying about that when John and he hadn’t exchanged a word yet. He had known of the dangers of an arranged marriage long before he had asked his mother to find him a husband, and it was obvious the advantages outweighed the risks. His other option would have been to look for a companion the usual way, which meant he would’ve had to find the time to meet people, flirt with them, organise dates, ring them, flirt some more, date again…. All in all, it involved too much legwork, and he had done enough of that while climbing his way up the government ladder. Really, he was far too busy to devote some of his precious free time to such a tedious task as dating.
 
Despite his placid exterior, his heart was beating abnormally fast when he rang the doorbell of 221B Baker Street. He was about to meet the man who would be his companion for, hopefully, the rest of his life. The man he would come back to in the evening after a long day at work, the man who would accompany him to the numerous dinners and charity events he had to attend. The man who would let him into his life and into his heart, who would accept his friendship and love, and who would turn to him when in need. The man who would share his life, and he blushed just thinking about it, his bed. When Sherlock’s landlady let him in, he climbed the stairs expectantly.
 
Sherlock was sitting in a leather chair, looking totally disgusted by his presence. That was normal. What was new was the man sitting across from his brother. From his point of view, Mycroft could see the man had grey hair, but the rest of him was hidden by the back of the chair. So, this was what his future fiancé’s back of the head looked like: grey and uncommonly, exceptionally soft looking.
 
“What are you doing here, Mycroft?” Sherlock asked, spitting his brother’s name like a curse.
 
“Is that your brother?” the man who had to be John Watson asked before getting up and turning around.
 
Mycroft swallowed with difficulty when he was faced with a remarkably handsome man. Under the hair (Mycroft still couldn’t believe how soft it looked), there was a proud forehead and tired eyes of a colour that looked a lot like melted dark chocolate. His lips were thin and curved upwards, giving him a playful countenance although he looked truly exhausted. His cheeks were covered with grey stubble, and there were a few strands of grey hair peeking through his collar. Mycroft now understood why the first sighting had to happen face to face; it was overwhelming to observe all John’s features at once.
 
Now that Mycroft had gotten over his initial reaction of ‘handsome’, all he could think was ‘manly’, yet not in a clichéd way. The man standing in front of him exuded masculinity, and if he hadn’t known John had been in the army, he would have thought ‘police officer’. There was something both authoritative and reassuring about the man, and when he smiled, all traces of fatigue vanished from his traits. He seemed genuinely pleased to meet Mycroft, which made him smile as he extended his hand.
 
“Mycroft Holmes, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
 
“Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade, and believe me, the pleasure’s all mine.”
 
Oh. So, this was the man who occasionally summoned his brother on cases, not his future husband. It made him wish he had taken the time to personally watch the CCTV footage of his brother instead of relying on his assistants. Something close to disappointment swelled up in him, but he refused to be disgruntled. Yes, he had been physically attracted to the DI, but it was probably only because he was expecting him to be his future husband. He didn’t doubt he would feel the same once in the presence of John Watson.
 
“Sherlock said you are the most dangerous man I’ll ever meet, I don’t know if I should curtsy or arrest you,” Lestrade added with a playful smile and a twinkle in his eyes.
 
Mycroft felt himself grow warmer around the collar, and he assured Lestrade that there was no need. He could almost hear Sherlock rolling his eyes in his chair, but he paid him no attention. Instead, he spent the next minutes discussing the case of the Internet Killer with the DI while Sherlock watched in what Mycroft liked to call his thinking pose. They chatted until a man coming down the stairs interrupted them.
 
“Seriously Sherlock, you’re insane. There was sugar in my belly button. Hell, there was some in my pants!”
 
Mycroft looked up, and he watched as the man who had to be the real John Watson came down the stairs. The man who, for some reason or other, had had sugar in his pants recently, was smaller than DI Lestrade, and if he had a little bit of grey in his hair, it was mostly a very light shade of brown. His blue eyes were sparkling, and he looked better rested than the DI. He was smaller, more compact, and everything about his stance screamed ‘military’. John stopped at the foot of the stairs, and he looked at Sherlock, then at Mycroft, and at Sherlock again.
 
“Oh, sorry, hello,” he said awkwardly, and after thinking for a few seconds, he walked up to Mycroft and offered his hand.
 
“I’m John Watson.”
 
“How good to meet you at last. I’m Mycroft Holmes,” Mycroft said, mentally berating himself for comparing his betrothed to another man during their first meeting.
 
John’s hand was firm, warm, and dry when he shook Mycroft’s. His smile was friendly and straightforward, and Mycroft could almost discern the edges of a strong body under the many layers of clothing. His team had been right; he was not unattractive. He looked like the kind of man who enjoyed calm evenings and lazy mornings, the kind of person who was gracious to everyone, and who would make a good impression. Yet, there was something in his eyes that suggested there was more to him than what was visible on the surface. Mycroft could see what his mother had seen in him; John looked like a living puzzle, as though he was made of contrasts and contradictions.
 
Gregory Lestrade left soon after, and Mycroft chatted briefly with John while Sherlock sulked in his chair. John kept looking at Sherlock questioningly, but his younger brother was an expert at brooding, and nothing could make him emerge from his grumpy state. Mycroft was used to it by now; it was the same attitude Sherlock adopted every time he visited him, but John seemed disconcerted by it.
 
“I’m eager to know more about the events of the last few days,” Mycroft said, “but, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to continue our conversation in the car on our way to my mother’s house.”
 
“Sure, I just need to gather my things,” John replied, and with one last look at Sherlock, he made his way up the stairs.
 
“You can wait in the car, John knows the way out,” Sherlock said.
 
“What do you see in him?” Mycroft asked quietly. “He doesn’t seem like your type.”
 
“What do you know about my type?” Sherlock asked. It was unusual for him to keep his voice down; he obviously didn’t want John to hear their conversation.
 
“Corpses, murderers, and people with interesting cases; those are the people you are usually drawn to. John Watson is none of that; hence my question. What do you see in him?”
 
“Piss off Mycroft.”
 
“I’m serious, Sherlock. Are you genuinely interested in him, or did I behold your latest scheme to make my life…difficult?”
 
“Go wait in the car, you are not welcome here,” Sherlock said, ignoring the question.
 
“Yes, that much is obvious,” Mycroft said, and for a few seconds that seemed much longer, he gazed into his younger brother’s eyes.
 
He looked for the reason he had offered John his spare bedroom, was it just because John’s help was required on a case? Sherlock seldom needed help, but John was a doctor, and he obviously possessed further knowledge than Sherlock when medicine was involved. It seemed highly unlikely that Sherlock had developed deeper feelings for such an ordinary-looking man; did his brother even have a sexual orientation? He had never seen him pursue someone romantically or sexually. It didn’t leave him with many options; either Sherlock genuinely needed John’s advice on the case (which didn’t explain John’s presence in Sherlock’s flat on Sunday and Monday) or he had decided he wanted what wasn’t his. Mycroft had seen it before; first it had been Mummy’s attention, then food, toys, privileges, books, and science equipment.
 
“If you’re not inclined to discuss the matter, I’ll wait in the car. I’ll see you on Sunday night for the engagement party,” Mycroft said as he left the flat.
 
:::
 
If possible, Sherlock curled up even more in his chair. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go! He had two more days, two full days before John had to attend his ridiculous engagement party. Mycroft had ruined everything, and how dared he barge in here to ask about the nature of his feelings for John when he couldn’t even name them himself. They were supposed to have breakfast together, he thought petulantly as he dug his feet deeper into the leather armrest.
 
“What’s wrong with you?” John asked when he came down the stairs with his enormous suitcase.
 
Sherlock looked up to glare at John, and his insides churned unpleasantly when he thought that not one week before, he had had difficulties hauling his luggage upstairs. What did he get for ridding his brother’s betrothed of his psychosomatic limp? He got his two last days with John stolen away from him, that’s what.
 
“Sherlock, what is it?” John asked as he kneeled beside Sherlock’s chair.
 
Sherlock fixed his pale eyes on John, and the possessive monster inside him gave an angry growl at the remembrance of how amiable John had been to Mycroft earlier. He desperately wanted to be mad at John, to hate him for accepting to marry his brother, but it was insanely difficult. He could almost still hear the echo of their shared laughter in the kitchen, but John was looking at him with such concern that he felt his determination to be angry melt away.
 
“Don’t marry him,” Sherlock said impulsively.
 
For a moment, there seemed to be a sad shadow passing through John’s eyes, but he closed them, and it was gone. He took a long, shaky breath and reopened his eyes, no trace of sadness visible. Instead, there was a strong determination, the will to fight. They were the eyes of a soldier.
 
“I have to,” John answered.
 
“Why?” Sherlock asked, instantly hating how weak and pleading he sounded.
 
“I—It’s the right thing to do.”
 
“I don’t understand.”
 
“I don’t expect you to. Please Sherlock, I have to—I need—Please come to the ceremony on Sunday night, maybe we can talk a little then,” John said as he got up and walked away.
 
Every step John took away from him felt like Sherlock was being stabbed, and he knew what being stabbed felt like; he had been twice. John didn’t even say goodbye when he closed the door behind him. He didn’t look back, and it hurt so much that Sherlock wanted to both run after him and far away from him. He had asked John not to marry Mycroft; he had shown his hand, but John hadn’t accepted, which was the same as being rejected. Yet, he still couldn’t manage the strength to be angry. Instead, he got up and watched as John got out of the building.
 
Look at me, Sherlock thought. Look at me and I’ll know it’s not over. Please, please John, look at me.
 
He watched as Mycroft’s driver got out of the black car, took John’s suitcase, and put it into the boot. John’s shoulders were slumped, and he was looking down; he seemed utterly defeated, and there wasn’t any visible trace of the soldier in him. Sherlock’s chest swelled with hope; it wasn’t too late for John to change his mind.
 
Come back to me. Please come back, he wished as the driver opened the door. John seemed to hesitate for a second, and finally he looked up. Sherlock’s hand shot out, and he pressed his open palm to the window. His mind was chanting ‘John, John’ incessantly as he watched John raise a tentative hand, a mimic of Sherlock’s motion. When he lowered his hand and got into the car, something in Sherlock broke.
 
Anger flared up in him, burning hot and white as it licked at his bones. He could feel it swelling up everywhere inside him, and he let it consume him. As if possessed, he walked to the kitchen and glared at the two similar mugs on the table beside the pancake batter. He was supposed to have two more days! He grabbed both mugs and threw them at the closest wall, feeling a slight twinge of satisfaction when he heard them break. It wasn’t enough, though. He then grabbed the heavy bowl, and with an anguished cry, he threw it onto the floor as violently as he could. The bowl smashed, pieces flying across the floor, and Sherlock was somewhat appeased when he watched the batter spilling slowly.
 
:::
 
Chapter 9

After John’s departure, Sherlock spent the day sulking and abusing his violin; the high screeches a reflection of how he felt inside. He moped for hours, replaying the morning in his mind over and over again. How could a day that had begun so well end up being so rotten? John had wanted to stay, hadn’t he? Sherlock examined the evidence again: John had seemed sad when Sherlock had asked him not to marry Mycroft, he had fumbled with words when he had tried to explain, and his reasons for getting married had been less than satisfactory. He had to. It was the right thing to do. The way he had said it, it seemed as if the situation wasn’t under his control or as though wasn’t the one benefiting from the union. Was John being forced into this? It seemed unlikely, but he refused to abandon the hypothesis. John had seemed so dejected when he had gotten into the car; it had to mean something. Yet, John had decided to leave with Mycroft, and unfortunately, that had to mean something too.
 
Sherlock barely slept, but it wasn’t that surprising; he had had plenty of rest the night before, so his body didn’t actually need to sleep yet. Also, his bed smelled like John. He could have spent the night on the sofa or in the kitchen to save himself the pain, but instead he spent it with his face buried in the pillow John had used. He had plenty of time to formulate a course of action. He couldn’t interfere with his mother’s plan, not unless he wanted to be harassed for the rest of his life. She had been working on Mycroft’s wedding ever since he had expressed the desire to eventually enter an arranged marriage. The search for the ideal candidate had taken years, and if he ever tampered with the wedding, he feared his mother’s wrath would be greater than it had been the time he had accidentally set fire to the library curtains. And a substantial part of the library. And his eyebrows. Sure, his mother wasn’t getting any younger, but if one person could rise from the dead and haunt him, she was the one. However, it was entirely different if John decided to leave Mycroft and come back to him. If John had been betrothed to anyone other than Mycroft, Sherlock wouldn’t have been above seducing him and tempting him until he hopefully strayed from his marriage. Unfortunately, Mycroft would see through that act immediately, so he had to rule out that option and hope John would return.
 
John would come back; it was only a matter of time. Soon, he would realise Mycroft was a boring and pompous sod, he would miss Sherlock, and he would come back. A small part of him was aware that he was in denial, but denial wasn’t half as painful as reality, so he embraced it, he let himself drown in it. When the sun started rising, he got up too; he had to get ready for John’s return. He took a shower and shaved, then he put on his blood-coloured shirt; the one John had liked, and he cleaned up the pancake batter on the kitchen floor.
 
When the flat was tidy enough (according to his standards), he got out to buy some more tea. He made sure Mrs Hudson was in her flat before leaving, and he gave her explicit instructions to let John in if (when?) he came knocking while Sherlock was away. On the way back, he came across a shrub of blooming lilacs and the smell unsettled him, bringing him back to Monday morning, when he and John had walked together in the park. The sudden onslaught of memories was so painful he nearly doubled over, and for a while he couldn’t move. When he came back to his senses, he picked a few branches and brought them back home with him.
 
He spent long hours waiting and getting high on the scent of lilacs that now filled his flat. He played beautiful melodies on his violin, things he thought John would like, and he prepared a new serving of pancake batter that he stored in the fridge. Then, he meticulously glued the pieces of their broken mugs back together, toying with the idea of mixing the red and blue pieces together, just for the sake of owning something that was a blend of John and himself. He finally decided to put them back the way they were. When he was done, he waited some more. By Saturday night, his faith was wavering a little, but he kept waiting, although he remained on the sofa; he couldn’t risk falling asleep in his bed and missing John’s return. He brought the pillow with him, though; it smelled like a mixture of John and himself by then, which was even better than when it had smelled solely of John.
 
With Sunday morning came a wave of disappointment. Mycroft and John’s engagement party was scheduled to begin in a little less than twelve hours, and the running countdown in his head was almost as alarming as the one he had watched on Jim’s website. He watched the hours pass in silence, watched as his shirt became more and more rumpled, but he refused to take it off. He wanted everything to be perfect for John’s return, even if it was harder and harder to believe in it with every passing hour. By the time the clock hit four, the weight of John’s absence was so heavy Sherlock could hardly breathe. If he had wanted to attend the party, he would have started getting ready, but he couldn’t go, not without giving himself away.
 
The decision not to attend wasn’t as easy to make as he had expected. He didn’t doubt the evening would be dreadful and incredibly painful, but John had requested his presence. He had said please in a heart wrenching voice, and he had asked him to come, saying they would talk. He desperately wanted to please John, but he wasn’t strong enough. He wasn’t ready to play the role of the brother-in-law, to congratulate the happy couple, and smile for ridiculous pictures. John would most likely be disappointed not to see him there, but there would be plenty of people to distract him. He waited until five, the starting hour of the cocktail party, to altogether abandon hope. He sat on the sofa with his knees drawn up to his chest, rested his forehead on his knees, and let misery fully grab hold of him.
 
For four hours, he didn’t move, but an incoming text eventually shook him out of his sulk, and prompted him to leave the flat in a hurry.
 
:::
 
Sherlock, please, John wrote, and he pushed the send button before adjusting his tie for the umpteenth time that night. He couldn’t wait to take it off and unbutton his shirt, but the evening was stretching on and on. He had shaken too many hands to keep count, and his palm didn’t feel like his own anymore. He was a stranger in his own body, just as he was a stranger in the spacious reception hall. He longed for a friendly and familiar face, for Sherlock. He was sitting at a table, alone, and observing the people who were gathered to celebrate his and Mycroft’s engagement. It was official; he was engaged. The evening had started with cocktails, followed by the actual ceremony, and a plethora of extremely tiresome pictures. Then, there had been dinner, and people were now scattered around the room in deep conversation, or in pairs on the dance floor. His fiancé was across the room, chatting with someone John thought was either an uncle or a colleague.
 
Mycroft was the definition of elegance. His three-piece suit was perfectly tailored, his moves were calculated and precise, his smiles were polite, his hair perfectly in place, and his voice like smooth caramel. He must have felt observed, because he looked up at John and smiled at him from across the room. John returned the smile and took a sip of his white wine. Mycroft had been nothing but courteous to him during the two days they had spent together at Mrs Holmes’ house. When Mycroft hadn’t been working, they had had long discussions. They had gotten to know each other better while taking long walks around the Holmes’ grounds and drinking tea in the library. It had been pleasant, but this didn’t feel like his life. The last time he had felt like himself, he had been running away from a tall genius determined to sprinkle him with sugar.
 
He smiled at the memory. The five days he had spent in Sherlock’s company had been exceptional, and he had felt truly alive for the first time since he had returned broken from the war. Living with the consulting detective had been a revelation; the man was brilliant. Sherlock was more intelligent than anyone John had ever met, but he was so starved for praise that John had been both touched and amused. Sherlock was also impulsive, infuriating, lazy, messy, reckless, petulant, and he possessed a childlike enthusiasm that John found heart-warming. He seemed to have a knack for doing incredibly stupid things for very logical reasons, and John had followed him without hesitation. Hell, he would follow again, even after all that had happened. Especially after all that had happened.
 
Once more, John scanned the room in search of the tall, dark-haired man. It wasn’t right, Sherlock was supposed to be here. They were friends! He almost laughed out loud at the thought. Of course they weren’t friends, one didn’t fantasise about his friend’s pale eyes, didn’t dream of being held tightly by his friend, and certainly didn’t think about his friend’s heart-shaped mouth wrapped around his cock while masturbating guiltily in the shower. It hadn’t been that bad at first, when he had thought it was nothing more than a physical attraction, but he had realised it was much more than that as soon as Sherlock’s arms had closed around him in that damned basement. He wasn’t just attracted to the man, he wanted him; he wanted every single piece of him for himself. He wanted the brilliant mind, the adrenalin and the danger, the comforting presence, the domestic shopping, the long nights under the duvet, and the ridiculous food fights. He longed for the strolls around London just as much as he wanted to chase after criminals, and he wanted to cook while the lazy git watched him from the kitchen chair. He wanted Sherlock to make him forget all about his injuries – real or psychosomatic – everyday, for the rest of his life.
 
Every time his thoughts soared with desires and hopes, the heavy burden of reality soon came crashing back. Unless he was with Sherlock, it was terribly difficult to forget about his current situation for long; his father’s glazed eyes were like ghosts haunting him and following him everywhere. He had started showing signs of Alzheimer’s a few years before John’s deployment, but his condition had taken a turn for the worse during his absence. While John had been on leave, he had helped his father move from his house to John’s uncle’s; living with Harry had never been an option since she spent most of her waking time smashed out of her skull. For a while, it had been fine, but his father was now too sick, and he couldn’t be left without supervision. John’s uncle was doing the best he could do, but he was pushing eighty, and he couldn’t cope with his brother’s forgetfulness and aggressiveness on his own anymore.
 
It was time to find his father an EMI home, but even with the help of Social Services, his army pension didn’t cover the remaining fees. His mother was long dead, he couldn’t count on Harry, and his attempts at finding a job had been unsuccessful; no one wanted a doctor with a psychosomatic limp and an intermittent tremor in his hand. A normal person would’ve taken a loan, and John had tried, but that hadn’t worked either. Once again, John berated himself for the mistakes he had made in his younger years. His family had always been prone to addiction, and John, good Watson that he was, had been no exception. For him, it hadn’t been alcohol, drugs, food, or sex. No, he had been seduced by gambling. It had started innocently enough with poker games, but soon he had gambled bigger and bigger sums. Sums he didn’t have. It was like being trapped in a whirlwind; it had happened so fast he had barely registered what was going on. He had applied for several loans, and being a medical student, it had been easy to obtain them. At first. As time had gone by, and as he had continued to spend money he didn’t have, he had gotten higher interest rates, and when he had finally gotten out of school, he had been buried in debt.
 
Meeting the minimum payment every month hadn’t been that hard while he had been working as a doctor. It had been even easier when he had been in Afghanistan since his expenses had been almost non-existent. He had even managed to pay more than the required amount most of the time, but he had been shot and invalided home. With his income drastically cut, he barely had enough to eat and pay the minimum due sum. When Mrs Holmes had contacted him, he had been desperate. His debt had been, still was, like an iron fist clutching at his heart, and he could feel his insides unpleasantly churning every time he thought about the enormous sum he owed. It was hard to breathe, and when he managed to relax enough to sleep, he had horrible dreams. It wouldn’t have been that bad if he had been alone, but he had to find a way to pay for his father’s EMI home. It was an absolute nightmare.
 
Nonetheless, he hadn’t said yes to Mrs Holmes’ offer right away. It had taken months of exchanged emails and phone calls before he had agreed to a face-to-face meeting. The first word in his mind when he had seen the woman who was just slightly younger than his own father had been ‘commanding’. She had the demeanour of a queen, the fading beauty of someone who had most likely looked like an elf in her youth, and a sparkling vivacity. She had come to the meeting prepared; she knew everything about John and his financial problems, she even knew about his father’s illness. Her arguments had been substantial; she had offered the full payment of his loan and a private room with an en suite for his father. He had refused, but the proposal hadn’t left his mind, and three days later, upon receiving another colossal bill, he had called her to accept, but on his own terms: he would let her pay for his father’s room, but he would take care of his debt. Without rent to pay and someone to share the food expenses with, he would be able to slowly reimburse the sum he owed.
 
Mycroft sounded like an ideal partner. First, he was a man; although he had been with both men and women, John preferred the company of men in long-term relationships. Second, Mrs Holmes had described him as somewhat old-fashioned, but with a lot of taste. She had said he occupied a very important position in the government, travelled often (something John enjoyed quite a lot), was patient, kind, hardworking, honest, caring, and handsome. Based on what Mrs Holmes had told him, John hadn’t doubted he and Mycroft would get along, and it didn’t seem impossible for him to eventually fall in love with someone like that. Soon after John had agreed, a first meeting had been scheduled one week prior to the engagement ceremony and two months before the wedding. The plan had been for him to stay at Mrs Holmes’ house with Mycroft before the engagement, and then move in with Mycroft. However, Mycroft’s presence had been required in Africa, and John had met the other Holmes brother instead.
 
A solid hand on his shoulder shook him out of his reverie, and he looked up to see the smiling face of his fiancé looming over him. John smiled back, and when Mycroft extended a hand, inviting him to dance, John accepted and followed him onto the dance floor. He had danced with other men before, but it had been in clubs where jumping around and grinding against each other were par for the course. Ballroom dancing was very different, and there was a second of awkwardness when John wondered if he was supposed to lead or follow, but Mycroft immediately took the lead, and they slowly swayed to the music. John felt incredibly guilty; he was dancing with his fiancé, and he couldn’t help imagining a slimmer torso, sharper cheekbones, messier hair, plumper lips, and – oh God – a rounder arse.
 
He had thought about asking Mrs Holmes if the offer was…transferable, of course he had, but she was counting on him, Mycroft was counting on him, and his own father was counting on him. He couldn’t risk losing everything just because of a stupid infatuation. Yet, he couldn’t convince himself that what he felt for Sherlock was infatuation, he knew it was much more than that; it looked a lot like – dare he say it – love. Still, he continued to refer to it that way, hoping one day he would come to believe it. In the meantime, he had to push Sherlock out of his thoughts; Mycroft was just as intelligent as his brother, he would know something was wrong. No more thinking about Sherlock, then.
 
But where was the man?
 
John sarcastically congratulated himself; he had successfully stopped thinking about Sherlock for a little over ten seconds. He had truly hoped Sherlock would show up. He had missed his presence during the two days they had spent apart, and he couldn’t deny he was a bit worried. He needed to make sure the object of his infatuation (ha!) was alright; he hadn’t seemed like himself when John had left his flat, and his face when he had practically begged John not to marry Mycroft had been heart-breaking. John knew Sherlock had felt it too, the attraction between the two of them. Maybe they could arrange to meet in secret once in a while…. As soon as the idea of having an affair crossed his mind, John berated himself, and he felt blood rush to his cheeks.
 
“Well, well…. Look who decided to grace us with his presence,” Mycroft murmured, and John turned around.
 
His mouth went dry when he saw Sherlock.
 
:::
 
Sherlock didn’t actually listen while his mother vehemently expressed her displeasure. He couldn’t quite grasp what the problem was; he was there, he had shown up, which was a lot considering he almost hadn’t come. He could feel his mobile phone in his jacket pocket, and he could swear it seemed heavier than usual, heavier with John’s words. Sherlock, please, he recalled as he looked around, scanning for the man.
 
“—and the least you could do was arrive on time for your brother’s engagement celebration! What about the wedding? Will I have to tie you up? Tell me now, because Lord knows I will find handcuffs if I have to,” his mother said, but he wasn’t paying attention.
 
John was dancing with Mycroft, but his eyes were fixed on him. They smiled at each other from across the room, and at that moment, Sherlock knew he would never be able to give John up. He was determined to find the motives that had pushed him into Mycroft’s arms, and to fix whatever needed to be fixed. He was a genius; he could do this. The first thing to do was to get John away from Mycroft’s fat and slimy hands. Then, he would play it by ear; how hard could it be to seduce someone who had begged him to come? When he could finally get away from his mother, he sneaked out of the banquet hall and took his phone out of his pocket to text John.
 
Take the employee’s lift to the lowest floor. The cleaning supply closet is the fourth door on your right.
 
He knew the hotel like the back of his hand; his mother had always thrown her receptions there, and he had had the time to explore every single corner of the place along the years. He knew the housekeeping staff had left, which meant the lowest floor would be the quietest place in the hotel. As he made his way down, he hoped John would come.
 
Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait that long before he heard the lift grumble as it descended, and very soon, he could hear John’s familiar steps on the concrete floor. Sherlock opened the door, and John slipped inside without a word. Once the door was closed again, the only source of light came from the crack underneath; it was so dark they could hardly see each other.
 
“You asked me to come,” John said.
 
“No, you did,” Sherlock replied.
 
“Yes, I—Sherlock….”
 
To hear his name pronounced with such want, to hear John’s begging tone, it was too much. He had planned to discuss the upcoming wedding, drag the truth out of John, and shower him with convincing arguments for them to be together. His resolutions melted away as soon as John said his name, and he wasn’t aware he had moved until he realised his hands were on John’s waist. He could feel John’s breath on his neck; slightly more elevated than what it should have been, and so, so warm. Sliding one hand over to John’s lower back to bring him closer, Sherlock bent down until his lips touched John’s ear. He could feel John shivering, and he smiled predatorily.
 
“I want you,” he whispered, and John pressed closer as he let out a shaky breath.
 
“Do you want me?” Sherlock whispered again, and his heart rate quickened when John let out a sound halfway between a whimper and a moan.
 
Sherlock was torn between the urge to claim John’s mouth and kiss him until he forgot how to breathe, and the need to draw this out, to savour the moment in case he never had another one. But it couldn’t be the last time; it felt as if they were welcoming each other home, not as though they were saying goodbye. Delicately, he kissed John’s earlobe, and he let his lips slide across John’s cheek until their mouths were almost touching, but not quite. They were breathing the same air, sharing the same space. John brought his hands up to Sherlock’s neck, his thumbs stroking the soft skin in exceedingly slow, tantalising movements.
 
“Yes,” he sighed, and he pulled Sherlock down for a kiss.
 
The mood changed as soon as their lips touched. As slow and seductive as they had been the moment before, they were now hungry and desperate. John was clutching at Sherlock’s shoulders, while Sherlock was pulling John closer to him, although they were already joined at the hips. He wanted more of John; he wanted to draw John through his own skin until they were the very same person. Then, there would be no wedding, just John and him sharing the same body forever.
 
Sherlock groaned into the kiss when he thought about the wedding, and therefore, his brother. He couldn’t think of Mycroft now, not when he was claiming John as his. He pushed John against the shelves, ignoring the clatter as several bottles fell to the floor. John slid Sherlock’s jacket down his shoulders and onto the floor, while Sherlock undid John’s tie and threw it across the room. John attacked Sherlock’s shirt buttons, and Sherlock tilted his head back, exposing his pale neck. John attached his lips to the soft flesh, sucking very softly as Sherlock let out an extraordinarily obscene moan that sent a rush of blood to John’s groin. He spent long minutes exploring Sherlock’s neck, tasting the skin he had longed to touch so often, while Sherlock started undoing John’s shirt buttons. When John sucked on his exposed Adam’s apple, Sherlock lost all dexterity in his fingers, and an extremely loud moan escaped his mouth before he could stop himself, making John chuckle.
 
“Jesus, you’re loud,” he said.
 
As a way to retaliate, Sherlock pinched John’s arse, which turned his soft chuckles into genuine laughter.
 
“What was that?” he asked.
 
“A way to shut you up, but it’s not working as well as I hoped,” Sherlock grumbled as he fumbled with John’s shirt.
 
When he was done, he pushed John’s jacket and shirt down his arms before shedding his own unbuttoned shirt. Now that their eyes had accustomed to the darkness, they could see a little better, and for a long moment, they looked at each other without a word, smiling. Then, the laughter bubble burst, and they resumed savouring each other’s mouths. Sherlock sighed into the kiss when he felt John’s naked skin against his; it was even better than what he had imagined. John’s chest was smooth, almost hairless save for a lovely golden trail leading from his belly button to a place under his trousers Sherlock couldn’t see. Yet. Sherlock was determined to further explore the area, so he broke the kiss and slid down until he could lick and suck the soft skin. He kissed a slow path down John’s chest until he was kneeling in front of him, and finally he could take a closer look at the golden trail he had previously glimpsed. It was remarkable, just like the rest of him, and Sherlock gently bit the soft skin over John’s waistband. He was muscled, but civilian life had softened him a little; he was perfect.
 
“I want to devour you,” Sherlock said, and John hummed in appreciation.
 
“I want to taste every single part of you,” he added, and John moaned softly, his hips thrusting involuntarily.
 
Sherlock took the hint, and he palmed John’s erection through his trousers.
 
“No, come back up here, I need to see you,” John said breathlessly, and Sherlock obliged.
 
When Sherlock was standing again, John pulled him close, grinding his cock against Sherlock’s thigh as he coaxed his lips open with his tongue. Sherlock let him in willingly, caressing John’s tongue with his own as he worked on unbuttoning the smaller man’s trousers. Then, he opened his flies and slid his right hand in, cupping John’s erection through his underwear. Despite John having difficulties regulating his breathing, he followed Sherlock’s lead and clumsily managed to undo his trousers, opening them before shoving a hand inside to cup the round arse he had been fantasising about for the last few days. Despite the cotton barrier of Sherlock’s boxers, he could still enjoy the warmth of the skin covering the well-defined muscles. Yet, it wasn’t enough; he needed more. His other hand joined the first inside Sherlock’s trousers, and he pulled him closer.
 
Sherlock broke the kiss with a surprised “Oh!”, and he let his head fall back, his eyes closing as John squeezed his arse just tightly enough to drive him utterly mad. For a moment, he forgot where his hand was, and what he had been doing with it, but John rutted against him, and he resumed the tantalising up and down motion while John planted wet open-mouthed kisses to his throat.
 
“Touch me,” Sherlock murmured, “John, please touch me, I need—”
 
“Yes, anything you want,” John answered, his trembling voice muffled by Sherlock’s neck.
 
John circled Sherlock’s narrow waist with his left arm, and he eased his right hand delicately inside the taller man’s underwear, shivering when the back of his hand touched the wet patch of pre-come on the front of Sherlock’s pants. He slowly closed his fingers around the warm and sensitive skin of Sherlock’s cock, and their simultaneous moans filled the cupboard. In that moment, only they existed; nothing else was real. There was only their combined scent, their laboured breathing and moans forming the most enticing of symphonies, and the feeling of their sweaty skins rubbing against each other.
 
John could barely think, but when Sherlock’s skilful hand travelled from inside his trousers to inside his underwear, something exploded behind his closed eyes. Although he wished the moment would never end, he knew it wouldn’t take long; the overwhelming pleasure promised by Sherlock’s lips and hands was destroying his control, pulling him towards release. He continued to stroke Sherlock faster, while basking in the overpowering pressure building in his groin.
 
When the door opened, both men jumped and quickly removed their hands from each other’s pants. The cupboard was flooded with light, and they had to blink several times before they could see properly. In the doorway stood Mycroft Holmes in all his glory. Other than a raised eyebrow, there wasn’t any sign of shock or surprise on his face.
 
“Sherlock, John, there you are.”

:::

Next chapter.
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Ellie L.

December 2012

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