Life on the outside continued much the same. They did not tell anyone. They did not hold each other on the street. John stopped denying that they were a couple but few people noticed. Sherlock did not like to be an open book, and really, neither did John.

They moved up to John's room where there was a double bed and they were nearer to the bathroom. John's regimentally neat room soon became untidy with stray mugs of molding half drunk tea and scientific texts which John would move back downstairs with only a modicum of good grace.

Sherlock shared his research with John, on technique, positioning, restraint. How to hold a man back and bring him the most pleasure. Even how to please a woman. John was an eager student. He might not be able to learn to use chopsticks or to deduct from minute bits of information, but he could learn this, although he seriously doubted he would ever be with any man besides Sherlock and probably not with any woman.

"Just flick your tongue across the tip, John. It's very sensitive in women, and I've never met a woman who really wanted you to start bashing away at it. I think it makes them numb. Yes, just like that, and then take it slightly in your mouth. And oh, John, I think we're going to have to stop that lesson for today, no, no, don't stop."

Mrs. Hudson surely knew, or at least suspected strongly, but refrained from saying.

Mycroft, of course.

John sat across from him awkwardly in one of their meetings/kidnappings, surprisingly in Mycroft's office.

"How are my brother's needs, these days? Fulfilling them, is he?" said Mycroft drily.

John's head snapped up, but Mycroft was pointedly looking at his phone and John was dismissed.

Perhaps the guiding hand on the small of the back or the shoulder lingered a little longer than before. Or smiles were shared like a secret joke, but to Anderson, Donovan and the rest it was inconceivable that Sherlock could have a sex life, let alone a love life. And John was just ordinary John—Sherlock's pet.

Lestrade suspected because he cared so deeply about both men. He realized that he would gladly trust either of them with his life. And it made him happy to see them more relaxed, both drawn out of their protective shells. Whether that was due to a deep friendship or something more he felt he didn't need to know.

Interestingly it was people who didn't know them at all that were most certain. People who saw them in the hallway at the hospital or the police station recognized an intimacy that was oblivious to those who felt they knew their personalities.

Sherlock still disappeared for half the night on some case or other to John's horror and fury. And John still leapt out of bed or dropped whatever he was doing to dash away to Sherlock's summons even when angry.

Don't wait up. I will wake you with my tongue when I get home.


Oh, and get eggs and bread. You can make eggs in a basket in the morning.


I just bought eggs yesterday?


I used those to run some velocity tests, and the bread proved very susceptible to mold under the right conditions.


What conditions—our kitchen?


Often, after one of these times he would be directed—urgently—to a small French bistro in South Ken. where the owner who, of course, owed Sherlock would guide him to a table in the dark back where no one could see them and Sherlock would slip his hand over John's because he knew John liked it. And slip his foot across John's legs because they both liked it.

Your face last night as you came was indescribable.


Nothing is indescribable, John—abandoned, animalistic, beatific, carnal, delirious, frenzied?

Do try to find the right words, John. It's what makes your blog so boring.

But I will try to make the same face tonight.


And sometimes, when John was at work, he would think of Sherlock the night before, under John, on his knees gnawing on one knuckle to keep from screaming, whimpering anyway and bunching the bed sheets with his other hand. John would get so hard he would be afraid to stand up to see patients. Sometimes he would even need to go to the bathroom to jerk off, falling against the cool wall of the stall, gasping. At those times he liked to sext Sherlock, who found the trend "fascinating," knowing that Sherlock was at a crime scene or at the lab with Molly.

Need you inside me tonight. Want to taste you as you come.


Pick up Indian on the way home.


Once when Lestrade came to call and Sherlock was dashing out the door, Lestrade already half way down the stair, Sherlock rushed back in as he had done that first time only to fiercely kiss John and then was away again, leaving John standing clutching the dish he was drying afraid he would drop it.

And Sherlock was never, ever bored.

One night when John was snoring on the couch and Sherlock was working at his website, he looked over at John's form with that burning love that had never left his heart. John was surely a distraction, and Sherlock knew that he wasn't always as sharp as he had been because of his thoughts of John and protecting John. With a terrible stab that twisted in his gut, he realized that if anyone really wanted to get to him, really destroy him they would get to him through John. And what was worse, he wouldn't have the skills he needed to save John because he would be too distracted, too emotional. And that that must never, ever happen.

John woke with a snort, gesturing at the menus he asked, "What would it be tonight?"